Sally, Ample Partner on EV Fleet Support

Article By : Maurizio Di Paolo Emilio

Ample will set up battery-swapping stations for the customers of Sally, a startup that rents out fleets of electric vehicles.

Sally, an electric vehicle (EV) fleet operator, has partnered with Ample, a company with an automated Modular Battery Swapping service, to support Sally customers.

Sally is a New York City-based startup that rents EVs to companies that operate taxi, rideshare and last-mile delivery services. Sally has provided the first fleet

A rendering of a Sally driver center next to an Ample Swapping Station. (Click on the image for a larger view)

of yellow EV taxis in New York City and is putting fleets of Uber and Lyft vehicles on the road in Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco.

The Sally-Ample partnership is expected to provide rapid refueling to encourage the uptake of electric vehicles. The first “Swapping Station” in New York will be opened in Long Island City.

Recharging electric vehicles is a challenge for the EV industry. Achieving fast charging would increase the number of people who would consider purchasing an EV. In an interview with EE Times, John de Souza, Ample President and co-founder, pointed out that for the industry to have a significant impact on GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions, it is important to move gas miles driven to electric miles.

“Currently, the average number of miles driven on an EV is lower than a gas car, which means that to move all miles to electric, more cars are needed — which goes counter to lowering GHG (Green House Gas) emissions. The Ample-Sally partnership helps achieve the goals of GHG emission reduction by providing a solution for all vehicles, including high mileage vehicles, to transition to electric thus accelerating the transition to electric miles. By showing that EVs can work in the most demanding use cases, such as ridesharing, the Ample-Sally partnership is demonstrating that there is a viable path to zero-emission vehicles that do not require significant compromises of time, cost, and convenience,” said de Souza.

Currently, there are two big issues that are slowing EV adoptions, as de Souza commented. The first and most obvious is the infrastructure issue. EV charging is a challenge for the following reasons:

  • It is expensive and hard to make profitable for charging providers.
  • It is taxing on the grid for the utility companies.
  • It is too slow for drivers.

The second issue is related to the batteries as

  • Fast charging deteriorates the battery and limits resale value which is a challenge for OEMs.
  • Range decreases over time which is a challenge for fleet owners and drivers.
  • Battery limits how long the vehicle can be used, reducing the benefit of lower maintenance of EVs as well as the impact on GHG emissions.

Battery swapping
Ample has stated that a network of swapping stations can be deployed in an entire city in six weeks. The technology service aims to make the transition to electric vehicles convenient and operational.

Since commercial vehicles only generate revenue when they are in operation, it is important to access a charging system very quickly — in minutes rather than hours. The existing fast-charging infrastructure still needs to speed up not only time but also reliability, as Ample pointed out.

Ample Station – battery swapping

“Working with Sally fits perfectly into our mission to electrify fleets and ultimately get one billion EVs on the road. Sally has set the industry standard for vehicle rentals for rideshare, taxi, and last-mile delivery and has a deep understanding of how to deploy EVs at scale while supporting drivers in their transition to electric mobility. We believe that a fully integrated service that combines access to electric vehicles and efficient energy delivery systems is critical for the success of electric vehicles in the rideshare, taxi, and last-mile industries. This partnership will help achieve exactly that,” said de Souza.

The combined forces of the two companies will aim to design EV service stations so that drivers can themselves quickly change the battery of their vehicle and, at the same time, have a space where drivers can rest before getting back on the road.

“As part of our launch with Sally, we’ll be leveraging their local knowledge of each market and assessing drivers’ needs. Initially, we’ll ensure that the metro area is well covered with swapping stations, and we’ll be adding more stations as necessary. The goal is to ultimately make swapping stations as ubiquitous as gas stations —and here’s a video about how it works,” said de Souza.

The automotive industry’s two-pronged push towards higher fuel efficiency and lower carbon dioxide emissions pose a number of technical challenges for the sensing systems required to support these platforms, as well as for the battery management systems and all aspects of the powertrain. Ample has stated that its station does not require any modifications to the car (either hardware or software). The modular batteries stack up like Lego blocks, so they can fit into any model of an electric vehicle.

This article was originally published on EE Times.

Maurizio Di Paolo Emilio holds a Ph.D. in Physics and is a telecommunication engineer and journalist. He has worked on various international projects in the field of gravitational wave research. He collaborates with research institutions to design data acquisition and control systems for space applications. He is the author of several books published by Springer, as well as numerous scientific and technical publications on electronics design.

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