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Swappable batteries are the key to making micromobility work

  • Tech
  • charging infrastructure
  • Micromobility
  • battery

Swappable batteries are the key to making micromobility work

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Over the past few years, shared e-scooters have become more advantageous and safer. But a atypical claiming remains: the botheration of recharging. While the electric agent industry grapples with apropos about range, time taken to recharge and charging infrastructure, things are potentially far simpler for micromobility. Tony Günther, Head of eCommerce at Okai’s Berlin Office, explains how changeable batteries are convalescent the industry.

I’m a micromobility enthusiast with a vision to advance city transport. In 2015 two accompany and I launched an electric skateboard business. Despite our lobbying efforts, European policymakers ruled adjoin skateboards. But what was bad for e-skateboards was good for e-scooters, as cities across the US and Europe accepted them as a abeyant last-mile solution. Through my lobbying efforts I had met with the Okai Berlin office.

The more we talked the more I synched with Okai’s ability and vision. Okai architect Jiangtao Lu grew up with an attraction for motor mechanics. In 2006 he started a business making gasoline-powered scooters, infusing his love for mechanics and design with a vision of ‘Safe, simple, fun busline for everyone’, a line that appealed to me.

An industry on the up and advantageous challenges

Today Okai and Ninebot-Segway and are the world’s two better e-scooter manufacturers, having grown partly on the back of a administration boom. In 2019 the e-scooter administration industry was worth an estimated $743 actor in Europe and the US and is accepted to grow at 25% CAGR to 2025, alluring billions of dollars from adventure capitalists. But it hasn’t all been decline for e-scooters, with administration providers accusatory about the short lifecycle of devices, as well as the cost and complication of maintenance; there were also calls for a ban because of safety concerns. In the past couple years e-scooters have started to accommodate safety appearance like our congenital helmet, indicator lights and better braking systems. They’ve also become more durable: by way of archetype our ES400 batch alien to administration providers last year is still operating at near 100%.

Battery recharging challenge

But the claiming of array recharging remains, with some administration providers paying absolute contractors to drive around cities in agitation cartage accession devices…hardly an advertisement for ecomobility. Everyone knows that recharging represents a major check for electric cartage compared to agitation ones, which can refuel in account at calmly amid stations. How could we help to create a recharging basement arrangement that would annihilate the need to aggregate up spent devices?

Building a recharging arrangement out of swappable batteries and goodwill

Okai worked carefully with administration providers and decidedly with European leader Tier, to answer the question. The first step was to commit to a convenient swappable array system. Okai has centralized design and array expertise, and so the engineers and designers were tasked with making ‘safe, simple, fun’ array swapping a reality. Fitting to accouterments and software of TIERs (through the PushMe acquisition) avant-garde in-store charging cabinet, Okai developed the ES400B Electric Scooter and the Okai EB100 Electric Bike, which use the same swappable array system, also a unique innovation. TIERs charging chiffonier that requires no appropriate accession is ideal for small accessibility stores and cafes. Users are given a free ride for bottomward the array at the store, Tier covers the electricity cost, and shop owners account from added chump traffic. Thanks to accord amid architect and operator, we now have better unit economics for the administration industry. We also have a adapt for free-floating basement that applies agenda technology and administration ability to reduce costs and emissions.

A win-win-win solution

Tier is rolling the system out in all European cities where it operates, with the accessible account that it can be used for e-bikes and possibly other cartage in the future. We accept that array swapping will become the gold accepted for the industry, as its such an affected band-aid to a circuitous problem, with wins for users, administration providers and small business. Not to acknowledgment a abridgement in emissions and alone vehicles. But things may get complicated when TIER’s competitors follow suit, whereby we have assorted cabinets angry for space in the same stores, or users abnormality around town trying to find the right chiffonier for their battery.

The good news is that cities can see for themselves the allowances of the swappable array and adapt accordingly, conceivably standardizing cabinets and batteries, making them usable across several administration providers. We will absolutely play our part in convalescent the account for users, the economics for sharers and the cleanliness for cities. We also trust that our addition will accommodate an absorbing study for the EV industry.

This commodity was accounting by Tony Günther, Head of eCommerce, Okai Berlin Office, on The Urban Advancement Daily, the agreeable site of the Urban Advancement Company, a Paris-based aggregation which is moving the business of advancement advanced through concrete and basic events and services. Join their association of 10K global advancement professionals by signing up for the Urban Advancement Weekly newsletter. Read the aboriginal article here and follow them on Linkedin and Twitter


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Published November 6, 2020 — 14:00 UTC

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