US start-up Ample has raised $160 million (137 million euros) in its Series C funding round. The San Francisco-based company develops battery swap solutions for electric cars.
The sum from the Series C funding brings the company’s total funding raised to $230 million (197 million euros), according to Reuters. Ample says existing investors such as Eneos and Shell Ventures participated in the current round, as well as new investors such as Momentum Venture Capital (the investment arm of SMRT, the public transport operator in Singapore), the Thai state oil and gas group PTT and the financial investor Rose Park Advisors. Spanish oil company Repsol also has a stake in Ample.
Ample says that this round will enable the company to accelerate the next phase of deployment in the US and internationally. Ample says this will enable new battery and energy delivery technologies for its automakers and fleet partners.
Ample was founded seven years ago and has spent a long time working on its technology in the background. Unlike Chinese carmakers Nio and Xpeng, Ample’s battery swap technology is said to be usable across manufacturers. After going public this year, the company announced two partnerships with investors Shell and Eneos and began pilot projects in the USA. In June the company expanded projects in the US and Japan.
“We’ve been saying for the past few months that this technology is ready for prime time, so now we intend to prove it,” founder Khaled Hassounah told Reuters. The fledgling service will be expanded to more cities and drivers, he said. Test facilities in Madrid and Singapore, for example, are also planned. Hassounah apparently did not mention Thailand, where the government has reportedly big electric mobility plans with the participation of new investor PTT.
Ample is targeting automated battery replacement, with the process taking less than ten minutes, according to Hassounah and co-founder John de Souza. The process is said to “work with any electric vehicle” and be “as cheap as petrol”.
Ample has said in the past that it considered fast charging to be insufficient – as it takes longer than a battery swap, usually only charges to 80 per cent and worsens the durability of the batteries. The swap solution uses a battery that is charged to 100 per cent. De Souza says Ample also wants to appeal to commercial fleet operators who “cannot afford downtime for prolonged charging”.
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