How Ample is bringing battery change to the US

San Francisco-based Ample has brought electric vehicle battery swapping to the US The company was in stealth mode for seven years before recently launching five swapping stations in the Bay Area. Uber drivers in the area are Ample’s first customers.

The concept is not new. A startup called Better Place launched a battery and electric vehicle swap business after raising $ 850 million in venture funding, but it eventually went bankrupt in 2013. Tesla also demonstrated battery swapping in 2013, but only opened one season for about a year. Elon Musk said that Tesla owners weren’t interested in him.

Battery replacement is already common in China. Electric vehicle maker Nio, for example, plans to double its network of exchange stations to 500 this year and plans to open stations in Norway as part of its expansion in Europe.

Ample takes a different approach, with modular batteries and a focus on fleets. CNBC took a look inside its San Francisco headquarters and battery factory to learn how the company plans to bring battery swapping into the mainstream.

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