Ample Announces $160 Million Series C to Further EV Battery Swapping Development
Electric mobility firm Ample has announced the closure of a $160 Million Series C round led by Moore Strategic Ventures with participation from returning investors ENEOS and Shell Ventures.
The round brings the total funding raised by Ample to $230M, following previous investments from Momentum Venture Capital, Rose Park Advisors, Thailand’s state-owned gas and oil company PTT, and others.
Ample will reportedly use the fresh funds to ramp up research and production of the company’s modular battery swapping technology across the US and abroad.
A prototype showcasing Ample’s battery charging station. Image used courtesy of Ample.
Improving EVs’ Charging Efficiency
Founded in 2014 by John de Souza and Khaled Hassounah, Ample’s goal is to accelerate the transition to electric mobility through novel technologies.
To this end, the San Francisco-based based firm has designed an energy delivery solution that, according to its website, is “as fast, as convenient, and as cheap as gas while being powered by 100% renewable energy.”
The Ample team is composed of technologists, designers, and environmental enthusiasts from 24 different countries and speaking 14 different languages.
“We strive to create an inclusive environment where everyone, regardless of gender, race, religion, or age can thrive,”
Following the recent investment, the Ample team is now growing, with the company looking for engineers specialized in different areas.
Battery Swapping: an Overview
From a technical standpoint, battery swapping refers to the practice of simply removing a battery unit when it is fully discharged, and replacing it with a fully charged one.
The spent battery is then recharged and stored at a Battery Swapping Station (BSS) until it is utilized in another EV.
Exchanging whole batteries is a cumbersome process, however, so since roughly 2014, firms and researchers alike have developed technologies to swap out and recharge smaller units within the battery, known as modules.
Ample’s modular battery swapping is entirely automated. Image used courtesy of Ample.
Ample’s approach to battery swapping is also modular, and since its inception, the company has worked towards the creation of an infrastructure solution that could scale fast while also supporting any electric vehicle and any driver profile.
In addition, this infrastructure should also offer a clear path to transitioning to renewable energy sources, to make it easier for gas drivers to move to EVs with no compromises.
“So far, we’ve seen great excitement and demand for our technology from both fleet managers and car manufacturers,” Ample wrote in a blog post, commenting on the news.
Ample’s Modular Battery Swapping
For context, Ample’s modular battery swapping can reportedly deliver 100% charge to any EV in under 10 minutes, and even when considering battery density increases, Ample said its technology can maintain the same delivery efficiency.
Ample stations are, on average, three to ten times cheaper than traditional fast-charging stations, with an ensuing cost of energy delivery 10-20% cheaper than gas.
They are also designed for rapid deployment, reportedly making it possible to equip an entire metropolitan area with an extensive network in a matter of weeks.
Ample stations can be easily deployed and don’t take up much space. Image used courtesy of Ample.
In addition, Ample’s technology is designed to be fully modular, which makes them compatible without any redesign on the part of car manufacturers.
It is also fully automated, being based on a combination of computer vision and secure wireless communication between the station and the vehicle.
All Ample stations can capture wind and solar power when it’s available, and then convert that energy to EVs when needed.
A Substantial Investment
The recent Series C funding round will now aid Ample in accelerating the next phase of deployment, both within the US and internationally.
The $160-million sum will specifically go towards the development of new battery and energy delivery technologies, in collaboration with various partner companies.
“Since our launch out of stealth in March of this year, in addition to our ongoing work with Uber, we have announced a collaboration with energy company ENEOS to bring our technology to Japan,” the company said, commenting on the investment.
Ample also recently entered a partnership with NYC-based fleet provider Sally and is planning to announce additional strategic partnerships soon.
“Today’s announcement is an exciting continuation of our momentum thus far,” the Ample team wrote. “More importantly, it demonstrates the global market’s interest in energy solutions that will improve our planet and the impact we have on it now, and for generations to come.”