Ample to grow EV battery swapping


San Francisco based electric vehicle (EV) battery swapping venture Ample has raised $160 million in its latest funding round.

The company, which has now secured a total of $230 million, intends to accelerate the deployment of its battery swapping infrastructure both within the US as well as internationally.

The funding was led by cleantech VC firm Moore Strategic Ventures and included existing investors ENEOS Corporation from Japan and Shell Ventures as well as Singapore’s public transportation operator Momentum Venture Capital (formerly SMRT Ventures) and Thailand’s state-owned gas and oil company PTT.

Ample, which was founded seven years ago but emerged with its first offering only in March of this year, appears to be well positioned to tap the growing resurgence of interest in EV battery swapping as an alternative to recharging on the road.

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The technology was pioneered a decade ago in the early days of the emergence of EVs but failed largely due to the costs of establishing the infrastructure and lack of standards.

Ample’s technology comprises a fully autonomous swapping station that removes depleted battery modules from the EV and replaces them with fully charged ones. The depleted battery modules are then placed on shelves where they are recharged.

The stations require no construction and can be placed wherever two parking spots are available. The modular battery architecture is intended to allow use by any EV.

“As fast, cheap and convenient as gas,” asserts Ample.

Ample has been working with Uber and in partnership with the EV rideshare, taxi, and last-mile rental operator Sally is to deploy its solution as part of a complete EV framework in major cities across the US, including San Francisco, New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago.

Through the partnership with ENEOS, Ample also is to take its technology to Japan, with the initial deployment involving several passenger and last-mile delivery companies by March 2022.

It also is intended to study the use of a swapping station as a large stationary battery as input to the optimisation of energy utilisation and the ability to use the batteries as an emergency power source.