Berlin-based startup Swobbee has raised $6.5 million in Series A funding to help commercialise its battery-swapping tech for micromobility vehicles.
Battery swapping is becoming an increasingly common solution to the problem of charging vehicles – particularly those with short dwell times, such as delivery vehicles.
The funding round was led by EIT InnoEnergy, a company that specialises in sustainable energy investment and is supported by the European Union.
Swobbee will use InnoEnergy’s funds and network to build its battery swapping service across Germany and into two new European countries, Thomas Duscha, CEO and co-founder, told TechCrunch.
Swobbee’s swapping stations will be able to hold six different battery types to fit a range of vehicles. The company also plans to bring two further battery types onboard to help open it network of swapping stations to more customers.
“We have standardized it so that only a compartment that is designed for a special battery needs to be swapped, and you can really set up the infrastructure once and then adapt to the needs of the city,” said Duscha.
Founded in 2017, Swobbee has largely focused on last-mile delivery providers or shared micromobility operators. The company has also provided charging infrastructure to companies such as DHL, DPD, and Hermes, and it also works with shared e-scooter and e-bike company Tier Mobility.
“This year, we are piloting together with the European Union a B2C model where we would like to discover if swappable batteries or battery-sharing services could be a thing for European customers,” said Duscha.
“We know that in Asia, especially in East Asia, it’s pretty much working, but we need to see if this also works in Europe.”
The pilot scheme will see the company give Berliners vehicles sans battery in order to see how they get on relying on Swobbee’s network to charge.
According to Swobbee, its nine charging stations in or near Berlin should be enough to get started. All told, the company operates 19 stations around Germany, with four in Stuttgart, three in Freiburg, two outside Düsseldorf, and one in Frankfurt. However, it does also have a number of stations that are exclusively operated by customers.