Shell is going to invest millions in start-up Ample in Silicon Valley. Ample has, in his own words, developed a technology to charge electric cars quickly. This has been announced by the company, which has not yet been officially launched.
Ample completed a first round of financing of $ 31 mln, which was led by Shell Ventures. Other investors are Moore Strategic Ventures, Repsol Energy Ventures, Hemi Ventures and TRIREC.
‘The financing will be used in the coming months to implement Ample technology at multiple locations’, Ample said in a press release.
“Building a scalable solution for charging electric vehicles requires a new approach to infrastructure and partners who are committed to the development of electrification as the new energy supply,” says Khaled Hassounah, CEO and co-founder of Ample in a press statement.
Ample has developed a platform that fully charges an electric car within a few minutes. ‘As an alternative to traditional charging, Ample uses autonomous robotics and smart-battery technology,’ the company writes.
Rapid loaders already exist, but are still mainly along motorways, such as Fastned. That Dutch company is growing fast, but is not making a profit yet. Tesla also has its own network of fast chargers.
Automatic change of batteries
Exactly what Ample technology looks like is not known. The company is still in the start-up phase and the website only mentions ‘Coming Soon’ and the text ‘electric cars for everyone’.
According to the news website electrec, which reports about electric cars, it would appear from a document that Ample is working on a charging technology in which the batteries in the car are fully automatic. This technique would not require a connection to the electricity grid.
Previously, Tesla also worked on a similar technology, but the company later put that project in the refrigerator. Last year, reports appeared that Tesla is again looking at the technology. The Israeli company Better Place also worked on battery change technology years ago, but the company went bankrupt in 2012.
‘Create a big new company’
According to Steve McGrath of investment director of Shell Ventures, Shell wants to link Ample’s technology to the company’s existing network of service stations. ‘It can help us to achieve our aspirations to create a large new company in the field of energy supply solutions for electric vehicles’.
The investment by Shell is not the first of the oil and gas multinational in a company that deals with electric cars. Last year Shell took over NewMotion, which has a network of tens of thousands of charging points in Europe. Shell also installs charging stations for electric cars at its filling stations.