With several countries across the world looking to achieve carbon neutrality over the next couple of decades, there has been a major push towards adopting zero-emission vehicles. While conventional vehicles are powered by an internal combustion engine (“ICE”) that emits plenty of carbon at the tailpipe, electric vehicles (“EVs”) run on rechargeable lithium-ion battery packs and produce zero emissions at the tailpipe. However, one area where EVs still haven’t caught up to ICE vehicles is ultra-fast charging, with charging an EV typically taking anywhere from 45 minutes to 12 hours.
In a world where refueling a gas-powered vehicle takes just a couple of minutes, the lack of superfast charging for electric vehicles is sure to hold back EV adoption. In fact, plenty of drivers have mentioned charging concerns as one of the reasons they haven’t made the switch to electric vehicles. But, if a startup based in California is successful, drivers will definitely be more comfortable with the prospect of owning an EV.
Ample, a startup based in San Francisco, has unveiled an EV charging network that uses battery swapping technology and can fully recharge an EV in not more than 10 minutes. Founded by Khaled Hassounah and John de Souza, Ample’s battery swapping initiative started via a collaboration with ride-hailing giant Uber. With more than $70 million in funding from private investors, the charging network currently caters to Uber’s fleet within the San Francisco area and Ample expects to roll the network out to the mass market in a couple of years.
The only two stations in full use are currently in San Francisco, recharging Uber’s fleet, but Ample is working on installing more stations in major cities across California. Range anxiety is a major factor against widespread EV adoption, and Ample hopes to allay drivers’ charging fears by making EV charging stations as widely available and as fast as traditional gas stations.
Although Ample isn’t the first firm to use battery-swapping technology (Chinese EV maker NIO has had great success with the model in China), it is the first to introduce a modular battery-swapping system. According to co-founder and CEO Hassounah, this system is similar to LEGO blocks. The size of the EV will determine how many battery modules it requires, and since the modules are designed to be adaptable for different vehicles, most EV models can be charged via this battery swapping system.
By swapping a depleted battery with a fully charged one, Ample can cut charging time down to only a few minutes. And you don’t even have to exit your vehicle as the entire system runs on online apps and automation. President of Ample John de Souza says the company’s goal is to make zero-emission electric vehicles accessible to as many people as possible.
Speaking of making zero-emissions automobiles accessible, global payments giant Net Element (NASDAQ: NETE) seems to be on a mission to do just that if its announcement of a reverse merger with South California electric car maker Mullen Technologies Inc. is anything to go by.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Net Element (NASDAQ: NETE) are available in the company’s newsroom at http://ibn.fm/NETE
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