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

It’s a part of town’s efforts to chop down on the danger of battery fires, a few of which have been sparked by e-bike batteries charging inside condo buildings, in accordance with the hearth division. For extra on this system and the way it would possibly assist handle 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 manner via the strains of supply staff 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 beneath tents, assigning riders to one of many three startups which can 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 convey battery swapping to town.

Battery swapping is a rising expertise in some elements of the world, nevertheless 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 strategy, offering batteries which can be already appropriate with nearly all of e-bikes supply drivers use right now, with little modification required.

I watched a Popwheels worker show the corporate’s battery swapping station to a number of newly enrolled drivers. Every one would strategy the Popwheels cupboard, which is roughly the scale and form of a bookcase and has 16 numbered metallic 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 wire 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 completely charged e-bike battery the rider might unplug and slide out. Presto!

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