Ample battery swap startup reaches unicorn status with new funding round

Written by Paul Linert

(Reuters) – San Francisco-based startup Ample focused on swapping batteries for electric cars has raised another $50 million, the company said Wednesday, in a round led by Blackstone.

The latest funding comes on the heels of a $160 million round in August that raised the company’s valuation to $890 million, according to investor website PitchBook. Amble is now valued at more than $1 billion, according to a source familiar with the financing.

The seven-year-old company has raised more than $275 million from a deep list of investors, including the investment arms of global energy firms Royal Dutch Shell, Repsol and Eneos, according to PitchBook. The latest round was joined by Banco Santander.

Ample has partnered with ride-hailing company Uber, which initially provides battery exchange services to Uber drivers in California, with plans to expand the partnership to Europe. It is also entering the Japanese market in partnership with Eneos.

Ample operates automated switching stations that it says can replace a depleted battery with a fully charged one in less than 10 minutes — much less time than it takes a typical EV battery pack to recharge.

The concept of battery replacement is not new. Although Tesla Inc initially tested a plan to offer battery replacements to customers and then withdrew from it, electric vehicle maker Nio Inc allows customers to swap batteries at more than 200 locations in China. Honda Motor Co. has partnered with Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. and scooter maker Piaggio to develop interchangeable batteries for light electric vehicles.

(Reporting by Paul Linert in Detroit; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *