• Fri. Jun 14th, 2024

Battery swapping could make charging faster than gas fill-ups, here’s how it could work


May 20, 2023
Battery swapping could make charging faster than gas fill-ups, here's how it could work


Battery swapping would essentially mean a driver buys an
electric vehicle, but subscribes to the battery.
  • Many drivers say long electric vehicle charge time is a barrier to them adopting the cars.
  • Startup Ample says battery swapping could be faster than filling your car up with gas.
  • See how Ample’s next-gen station could ‘charge’ your EV with a simple, automated swap. 

Battery swapping — taking an electric vehicle battery out of the car once it’s out of charge, and replacing it with a fully charged battery — isn’t a brand new concept, and has had a challenging journey over the past several years. But the idea of getting your electric car a full “charge” in just a matter of minutes has gotten swapping some more recent momentum.

Charging an electric car can take a while, depending on the type of charger a driver uses. In your own garage with a standard plug, or maybe at your office, it might take 8 hours. At faster plugs out in public, you might be waiting at least 20 minutes with a Level 3 charger, or maybe an hour or two with a Level 2.

Regardless, it’s no question that charging currently takes a little bit longer than fueling up a gas-powered car at a gas station. 

That’s where battery swapping could come into play, and startup Ample is eager to get automakers on board with the idea. It’d essentially mean a driver buys an electric vehicle but subscribes to the battery, Ample CEO Khaled Hassounah told Insider.

The upfront cost of a new EV (relatively high, on average) could be brought down if a buyer only has to pay for the vehicle itself, and not the pricey battery.

EV battery swapping infrastructure could be built in a matter of days.

A row of Ample's battery swapping stations.
Ample battery swapping is modular, and multiple vehicles can swap at once.

That’s compared with the weeks or even months of building, electrical, and utility work that’s necessary to get a traditional charging station in the ground, especially fast charging. Ample says its stations could be built in 3 days and are modular, enabling multiple stations to be stacked together so multiple cars can swap at the same time.

Drivers pull up and park their EV inside the Ample station.

An example of Ample's battery swapping station.
Battery swapping would essentially mean a driver buys an electric vehicle, but subscribes to the battery.

Ample recently announced a partnership with EV startup Fisker, and other automakers are starting to consider the offering for their customers, too. But the idea has largely only gained early traction outside of the US so far.

On Ample’s app, a driver starts the swap.

A driver opens the Ample battery swapping app on their phone and opts to start the swap.
Drivers can use Ample’s app to start the battery swap.

The swap itself can be done autonomously. 

The Ample battery swapping platform rises, and the driver can hop out of the car.

The Ample battery swapping station elevates the electric vehicle.
Ample’s battery swapping station elevates the EV for an easy swap.

On first thought, battery swapping seems best for a ride-sharing application, and Ample has been working on getting Uber drivers in EVs equipped for swapping (it’d mean drivers don’t have to spend precious road time at charging stations). But Ample has always had its eye on swapping possibilities with the average consumer, and now, it’s targeting last-mile delivery trucks, too.

The EV is positioned in the right spot that aligns with the swapping equipment.

An electric vehicle's tires is positioned correctly in the station to receive the swap.
Ample battery swapping is done autonomously.


Equipment autonomously navigates to under the EV, where the battery is.

The Ample station prepares to swap an electric vehicle's battery.
Ample battery swapping can save ride-share drivers and everyday consumers time.


The station removes the existing battery and swaps it out for a new one.

Ample's battery swapping station autonomously prepares for the swap.
Ample’s battery swapping used to take 10 minutes, but now it takes 5.

The spent batteries that are collected are then racked, monitored, charged, and eventually, swapped into another EV.

The driver pulls out of the station in five minutes and drives off with a whole new battery and full charge.

A driver leaves the battery swapping station with a new, fully charged EV battery.
Ample battery swapping


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