Berlin-based Swobbee wants to bring micro-mobility battery swapping to Europe – TechCrunch

Swobbee, a Berlin-based startup working to commercialize battery swaps for mobile mobility vehicles, has raised $6.5 million in investor-led Series A funding. new strategy EIT InnoEnergy, a major promoter of sustainable energy in Europe supported by the European Union.

According to Thomas Duscha, CEO and co-founder of this startup, the startup will rely on both InnoEnergy’s funds and network in the European green tech space to build a network of battery swap stations across Germany and into two countries new Europe.

If Swobbee’s business concept sounds familiar, you’re probably thinking of Gogoro, the Taiwanese battery-swap, electric motorcycle giant that is dominating its home country and expanding across the world. Asia. The company recently launched a battery swap network in china and plans to do the same in India.

“Our role model is Gogoro,” Duscha tells TechCrunch. “Gogoro’s is a model that is highly vertically integrated with e-motorcycles, but as we know e-motorcycles will never be the number one mode of transport in Europe, so we believes in small mobility like e-bikes, cargo bikes and scooters. ”

Aside from Swobbee’s focus on smaller micromobility, there are some other differences between the German startup and Gogoro’s business model. By manufacturing its own motorcycles and forming partnerships with OEMs, Gogoro was able to commercialize and scale a battery. Swobbee’s swap stations can store six different batteries to fit a variety of vehicles, and the startup plans to offer two more batteries this year to expand its network to more more players.

“We standardized it so that there’s only one compartment designed for a particular new battery that needs to be swapped out, and you can really set up the infrastructure once and then adapt it to your needs. city,” said Duscha, noting that Swobbee has integrated batteries made by vehicle manufacturers Segway and Okai into a battery swap system.

Since its founding in 2017, Swobbee has primarily targeted companies with a homogeneous microvehicle fleet, such as door-to-door delivery providers or established micro-mobile operators. share, as a way to test and extend your model. The startup already provides charging infrastructure for logistics providers such as Hermes, DHL Logistics and DPD, and also works with shared operator Tier Mobility. While Tier has Battery-swapped energy grid geared towards racersthe work that Swobbee does for Level – and previously worked for Spin before the company leaves its European operations and was purchased by Tier – at the back. Level officers used Swobbee stations to change the batteries of vehicles with no stations on the road.

Mr. Duscha said Swobbee had recently contracted with one of the “leading” micro-mobile operators as a customer, but he declined to specify. However, he did say that the nature of that partnership would be the same as Swobbee’s deal with Tier.

The goal by 2022 is not only to expand its fleet of customers, but also to reach the average consumer by personal vehicle, closer to the Gogoro model.

“This year, we are testing a B2C model with the European Union, where we want to explore whether a replaceable battery or a battery-sharing service could be a good fit for European customers,” said Duscha. or not”. “We know that in Asia, especially in East Asia, it’s working pretty well, but we need to see if this works in Europe.”

This pilot will involve providing Berliners with battery-free vehicles and seeing how they use Swobbee’s existing battery swap network to charge. The logic behind this is that, while many companies exist to sell electric vehicles directly to customers, there aren’t many service or maintenance networks that allow drivers to easily upgrade their batteries. likely to die in the next few years, and far before the rest of the car wears out.

For the pilot to succeed, Swobbee will need to expand its network. According to Swobbee’s application, the company currently has 19 public stations in Germany, with nine in or near Berlin, four in Stuttgart, two outside Düsseldorf, one in Frankfurt and three in Freiburg. Duscha says the actual number is more than 50 because many are exclusive.

Swobbee’s current tactic to grow its footprint is to deploy gas stations on its own or through partnerships with gas stations, utility companies or the retail market, says Duscha. Each station measures less than 1 square meter, which makes it easier to squeeze into prime downtown real estate where swaps are needed the most.

According to Duscha, Series A gives Swobbee a pre-money valuation of around 30 million euros, or about $33 million. Later this year, the startup aims to raise the A+ score to double digits and bring in another strategic partner, such as a large-scale pan-European utility company or even a Car manufacturers from the east are scaling up. into new markets.

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