For over half a century, California has pioneered America’s efforts to deploy cleaner cars. That’s why we’re honored to receive a nearly $15 million grant from the California Energy Commission to manufacture America’s next generation of electric vehicle batteries. This grant represents a vote of confidence in EV battery swapping and underscores its continued importance for the U.S. EV ecosystem in the years and decades to come.
With just 1% of annual American vehicle miles traveled via EVs, America has a long way to go on its electrification journey. Last month, the Biden administration announced plans to install 500,000 EV charging stations across America. We applaud this, but there are 275 million cars to electrify in the U.S. alone which will demand an all-hands-on-deck technology approach. The CEC’s grant to Ample points toward the importance of an additional pathway to electrification. It will support the expansion and operation of our first automated battery module production facility in Brisbane, California where we will produce swappable battery packs for roughly 14,400 vehicles annually.
There are two main ways to power an EV: charging and battery swapping. Charging works great for EV owners with private garages and low-utilization vehicles while battery swapping is the more efficient and economical solution for high-utilization vehicles that need to get back on the road quickly (e.g. ride share and delivery vehicles) and those who don’t have reliable access to overnight charging (e.g. street parkers). Because of this, battery swapping has already taken off in China, the world’s largest EV market, as a way to power taxis, delivery trucks and private cars. But it’s still relatively new to the U.S. and California.
The move towards swapping in California has been a long time coming. Last year, the CEC’s Zero-Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Plan (ZIP) singled out battery swapping as an emerging technology that is “grid-friendly” and “allows rapid and convenient charging for the consumer.” But it also pointed out that there weren’t many battery swapping vehicles available in California. This grant will help change that. It also shows that battery swapping is on California’s electrification agenda as a potent way to support communities that aren’t currently able to electrify.
The CEC funding will allow Ample to remain in California as we scale up the production of modular batteries – to better serve the needs of our current partners and expand the reach of battery swapping to new partners and communities. Because they are made in America, Ample’s battery packs will be eligible for production incentives through the newly passed Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). Ample is proud to support the Biden Administration’s goals for EV manufacturing and deployment.
In a letter of support for the grant, Seth Smith, Public Policy Manager at Uber, said “California’s Clean Miles Standard (CMS) will require 90% of vehicle miles traveled by rideshare fleets in California to be in zero-emission vehicles by 2030, with interim targets beginning in 2023. With an eye toward these goals, Uber is intently focused on enabling zero-emission mobility options for drivers. Ample’s battery swapping provides an important avenue for compliance with California’s CMS.”
Former City of Brisbane mayor Coleen Mackin, touted the benefits Ample will bring to her community: “Ample’s proposal to expand its modular battery manufacturing facility in Brisbane will bring well-paid clean energy jobs. It will be an important part in our strategy for community and environmental revitalization. Ample will also help further adaptation to electric vehicles. While residents who lack access to at-home charging are still reluctant to purchase electric cars, Ample would like to address this by setting up battery swapping stations in Brisbane.”
We’re thankful to the CEC for recognizing battery swapping as a next-generation technology that can help California overcome existing hurdles with charging infrastructure.
Now, we’ve got some batteries to make.