US electric-vehicle startup Fisker is bringing battery-swapping technology to its first model.
The first Ocean SUVs with swappable batteries will hit streets in 2024, Fisker says.
Battery swaps will take a few minutes and cost less than getting gas, according to the startup.
One of the biggest hurdles turning people off from buying electric cars is the time it takes to fill up.
Pull up to a fast-charging station with a low charge and it'll be 20-60 minutes until you're back on the road with a nearly full battery. Plug in at home on a lower-voltage connection and you're looking at a charging time of multiple hours.
Electric-vehicle startup Fisker has an ingenious solution to ease that pain. Rather than depleting and recharging the same battery over and over, why not swap out a dead pack for a fresh one and be on your way in minutes?
Fisker is partnering up with Ample, a battery-swapping startup, to offer just that to buyers of its Ocean SUV starting in 2024. The company says battery swapping will offer the same fill-up times as gasoline at a lower cost per mile.
Here's how Ample's tech works: After a driver pulls into one of the company's battery-swapping stations, the vehicle is lifted up and its dead battery is automatically removed and replaced with a fully-charged one. The whole process is autonomous and takes just a few minutes.
Fisker says it'll first target fleet operators looking to go electric without spending more or impacting their operations — think ride-hailing drivers who drive a lot and want to stop as efficiently as possible.
Fisker plans to start delivering the Ocean, its first model, on Friday. Deliveries will start in Europe, with the US to follow at a later unspecified date.
Some Uber drivers in California are already using Ample's tech to avoid long charging stops. And the company has big plans to expand its footprint to Europe and provide battery swapping for regular consumers, last-mile delivery, and car-sharing.
There are a few big advantages Ample's tech has over traditional charging, John de Souza, one of the company's founders, told Insider in a recent interview.
A site can be deployed in just a few days. (Because the batteries are charged slowly, the station doesn't need a super high-voltage connection, which requires lots of construction.) Charging batteries more slowly extends their usable life. Drivers will have the freedom to upgrade to the latest battery chemistries, rather than be locked into one pack for the lifetime of their vehicle.
And Ample potentially brings down the upfront cost of buying an EV, since buyers purchase a battery-less vehicle and pay over time for a battery subscription.
Battery-swapping is in its infancy in the US, but it's more developed elsewhere. Nio, a Chinese EV startup, has built out hundreds of swapping stations across China for its customers. Tesla at one point experimented with battery-swapping tech, but abandoned the project.
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Read the original article on Business Insider