A new start-up is looking to construct a network of battery-swap stations so that electric vehicle (EV) owners are no longer affected by slow charge times. Ample are envisaging an automated system where “Lego-like” modular batteries can be swapped in and out of all sorts of different vehicles.
The Driven reports that Ample has been working on the concept for seven years but is only now moving out of “stealth mode”.
The firm says no special infrastructure would be needed for its battery-swap stations and that each one would only need the equivalent of two parking spots.
“With fast installation, a whole city can be ready for EVs in weeks when it used to take months or even years,” says the firm.
An Ample EV battery would be made out of modules to accommodate any make, design or model of vehicle, “from commuting to ridesharing to last-mile delivery, even autonomous.”
Using a combination of computer vision and secure wireless communication with the vehicle, the Ample station would identify the location of each battery module to be swapped.
Discharged modules would be removed and placed on shelves to be charged and ready for another vehicle and fully charged modules would be put in.
It all sounds a bit theoretical with significant potential for resistance from manufacturers and owners – but the project’s attracted $70m in funding.
Ample says it is collaborating with Uber and working with, “some of the world’s largest automakers to integrate modular battery design into their electric cars” – although it doesn’t say which ones.
You can see how it would work within an individual fleet, however – indeed micro-mobility firm Lime recently announced that the next generation of its e-bike would use the same battery as its e-scooters to make management simpler.