See a Robot Change an Electric Car's Batteries in Minutes
See a Robot Change an Electric Car's Batteries in Minutes
5:22

See a Robot Change an Electric Car's Batteries in Minutes

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Speaker 1: You may be under the impression of the idea of swapping batteries in EVs to recharge them quickly is an idea that's already come and gone. Wasn't gonna work, but a startup I'm gonna introduce you to here in San Francisco says that's because it wasn't done right. Let's meet ample. Now the key to the ample system is this big metal frame you see under here, which is essentially an adapter. This is where the [00:00:30] factory battery was Here. You've got a robot coming in and doing the essential work of a battery swap at an ample station. It's reaching up here into this conversion sort of adapter interface that they put on the car, which replaced the factory battery. And now you've got a series of trays. It's about to undo one right now with these electronic servo lockers. It's its undoing right now. There [00:01:00] we go. Speaker 1: Okay. Here's a tray that the robot just pulled out of the car. The outer perimeter here in this metal box is the tray inside are four battery modules. These are unique to ample. They design these inside our cells that kind of look like giant AA batteries. Those are common across the EV industry. Ample doesn't make those. They assemble 'em into these modules and build 'em into these trays. This is where they hit this interesting middle ground of a monolithic big battery [00:01:30] like car makers do on one end of the spectrum or a completely customizable little granular battery that wouldn't be practical either. This is a middle ground that allows them to be semi custom. And SEMICON common across the large industry. Speaker 1: What's key about this system is that they're not taking the factory battery and replacing it with another giant battery that every car maker would have to agree to use. The logic here is that it's a lot easier to build some kind [00:02:00] of a custom interface for every electric car, but then for fill that interface with standardized battery units that this charging center robot knows exactly what to do with, by the way, if you're wondering how they charge these, that's done on site at each location, like we see behind me here, and you might say, wow, they must fast charge them so they can have plenty of 'em ready all the time. Not necessarily they're charged at what's roughly a level two charge rate, not unlike what you might have at home in your own garage, [00:02:30] Ample co-founder and president John DeSouza says the vision of universal everywhere you go super fast charging is still over hyped. Speaker 2: When we saw the us, uh, eight years ago, people told us look, next day, we'll start having 350 kilowat charges. Eight years later, people tell us that next day we'll have 350 kilowat charges. People are not building them because they cost a lot. There are very few cars that take them. The people don't build the cars because there are no charges and they're stuck in this and they're [00:03:00] energy and efficient. So fast charging is great for some people, but it won't solve all the problems. Speaker 1: The reason there's no rush is because they instead algorithmically balance the number of batteries they need for projected number of customers in a day and not using DC fast charging means that the batteries inside here, the cells last longer. So let's say you just need to get a half a charge. You just need to replace half [00:03:30] of these trays, not the whole giant thing, like some previous swap technologies envisioned. Another interesting idea is the batteries come out easily to be up for fresher ones, newer technology ones, ones that aren't defective. You can't do that with big batteries very easily, if at all, and certainly not cost effectively. Speaker 2: You all come in within a week and we could swap them all out. So for us, making a change is built into the model. It's very easy for us to change. You don't have, have to do a [00:04:00] huge recall to bring all the cars in and to go through. It's easy for us to, to, to go through and build that in Speaker 1: Historically car makers would have a not invented here, disinterest in technologies like these, but to Suza says he finds, they whistle a different tune in this battery era. Speaker 2: We're taking out a component, but often that component is not by them. It might be developed by some other company that delivers it to them. We'll actually not ask you to make any modifications to your car. That's a huge one to say, let's keep it the way it is. [00:04:30] And the second is our goal to partner with you. We're not trying to sell anything to OEMs, but to sell a lot more vehicles, Speaker 1: Even ample admits at home level two charging will be the answer for many electric at car buyers, but then there are the others for whom there is not a convenient charge waiting in the garage and they have to go out and deal with the vagaries of the public charging network. Speaker 2: So we are talking to people who have one car and they want that car to be electric means lot room, but they can't afford to, to take all the sacrifices that you have in charging Speaker 1: [00:05:00] Technology. These like these, remind me of one of my favorite mantras around the EV industry. It's not about bigger batteries and more range per charge. It's about making charging more fluid, tailored to the kind of driving each vehicle owner actually does and doing that economically.

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