Yes, battery swapping is alive, and it’s in commercial use in San Francisco, where a company called Ample provides swapping services to fleet partners such as Uber and Sally. Ample made its public debut in 2021 after 7 years in stealth mode, and has tested its technology with fleet drivers to understand the suitability of battery swapping for their use cases.
Now the company has demonstrated a new generation of its swapping technology, the product of “years of R&D, thousands of swaps, and more than a million electric miles driven behind the scenes.” As an EV approaches an Ample station, the station recognizes the vehicle and automatically raises its door. Once perfectly parked inside, the driver initiates the swap from the Ample app on her phone.
Ample’s new station design has allowed it to decrease swap time from 10 to 5 minutes. Its technology can support both small passenger cars and large delivery trucks. The company says new stations can be deployed in just 3 days, with no digging required. Ample says its “shoebox-sized modular batteries” can be integrated into any modern EV. Stations and components can be remotely monitored and controlled.
Also still alive: automaker Fisker, which now says it will partner with Ample to equip its vehicles with swappable batteries. Joint development is already underway, and the companies aim to deliver battery-swappable Fisker Ocean vehicles by Q1 2024.
The initial target customer for Fisker’s Ample-powered EVs will be fleet operators. The companies will share revenue related to the battery swapping mechanism.
“Our partnership with Ample will enable us to broaden the vehicle use case for our customers,” said Fisker CEO Henrik Fisker.
“We’re looking forward to assisting with making the Fisker Ocean available to a wide segment of customers as a part of our goal to bring more EVs on the road,” said Khaled Hassounah, co-founder and CEO of Ample.