Why New York Metropolis is testing battery swapping for e-bikes


It’s a part of town’s efforts to chop down on the chance of battery fires, a few of which have been sparked by e-bike batteries charging inside house buildings, in response to the hearth division. For extra on this system and the way it may assist deal with fires, try my newest story. Within the meantime, right here’s what I heard from supply drivers and the startups on the kickoff occasion.

On a windy late-February day, I wove my approach by way of the traces of supply employees who confirmed as much as the occasion in Manhattan’s Cooper Sq.. A few of them straddled their bikes in line, whereas others propped up their bikes in clusters. Colourful luggage sporting the logos of assorted supply providers sprouted from their cargo racks.

Metropolis officers labored at tables underneath tents, assigning riders to one of many three startups which might be partnering with town for the brand new program. One firm, Swiftmile, is constructing fast-charging bike racks for drivers. The opposite two, Popwheels and Swobbee, are aiming to deliver battery swapping to town.

Battery swapping is a rising know-how in some elements of the world, however it’s not widespread within the US, so I used to be particularly intrigued by the 2 firms who had arrange battery swap cupboards.

Swobbee runs a small community of swapping stations around the globe, together with at its base in Germany. It’s retrofitting bikes to accommodate its battery, which attaches to the rear of the bike. Popwheels is taking a barely completely different method, offering batteries which might be already suitable with the vast majority of e-bikes supply drivers use in the present day, with little modification required.

I watched a Popwheels worker exhibit the corporate’s battery swapping station to a number of newly enrolled drivers. Each would method the Popwheels cupboard, which is roughly the dimensions and form of a bookcase and has 16 numbered steel doorways on the entrance. After they made a couple of faucets on their smartphone, a door would swing open. Inside, there was house to slip in a used battery and a twine to plug into it. As soon as the battery was within the cupboard and the door had been shut, one other door would open, revealing a totally charged e-bike battery the rider may unplug and slide out. Presto!


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