KYMCO, one of the world’s leading motorcycle, scooter, and ATV manufacturers, has just announced a major new expansion to the brand’s Ionex platform for swappable battery electric vehicles.
We’ve watched over the years as KYMCO has expanded its Ionex system, pushing out thousands of battery swap kiosks around its domestic market in Taiwan and producing a wide range of compatible electric scooters.
Similar to other major battery-swapping companies, Ionex has operated under a membership platform that allows riders to buy the electric scooter and then pay for battery swapping as a service instead of buying the batteries outright.
Batteries are usually the single most expensive component in an electric vehicle, so this setup helps dramatically reduce the purchase cost of EVs.
Battery swapping has been a tough sell on full-size electric cars but has been proven effective on smaller EVs like motorbikes since the batteries can be lifted and swapped by hand.
Now KYMCO is making a big announcement, showcasing its plan to impact the battery-swapping market with an expansion of its Ionex offerings. Or more accurately, it’s making three announcements – all of which we were able to see firsthand at the 2023 EICMA Milan Motorcycle Show last week.
Check out my experience of seeing KYMCO’s updates firsthand in the video below.
The first major announcement is the launch of “Ionex Battery-as-a-Service Solution” for energy companies that want to offer battery-as-a-service (BaaS) for customers.
The second is the development of a Battery Metering Unit (BMU) that will allow third-party vehicle manufacturers to manufacture EVs that are powered by the Ionex Common Battery, the main battery developed by KYMCO for its Ionex platform.
The third major announcement is the opening of the Ionex Energy Station, the swapping kiosk at the heart of the battery swap model, as a solution for third-party network operators.
Ionex Battery-as-a-Service Solution
KYMCO is opening up its system to allow energy companies to offer Battery-as-a-Service operations using the Ionex Common Battery and the Ionex Operating System.
The batteries themselves have already performed millions of swaps in the field, mostly in KYMCO’s domestic market of Taiwan, and the company says it’s now ready for energy companies to adopt the system.
Energy companies can theoretically outfit their existing locations, such as gas stations, with the ability to swap and charge batteries as well as offering vehicle charging from the same kiosk.
“The Ionex Battery-as-a-Service not only accelerates EV adoption but also re-defines the industry,” commented Ken Ma, President of MEV at Ampace, a joint venture of ATL and CATL. “The Ionex Battery-as-a-Service allows energy companies to focus on developing and supplying batteries with the best technology for all-electric motorcycle riders,” commented Vincent Wong, Senior Vice President of EVE Energy.
Ionex Battery Metering Unit for manufacturers
The newly unveiled Ionex Battery Metering Unit (BMU) is the brains of the operation that will make it easy for third-party OEMs to produce electric scooters and motorcycles that are powered by Ionex batteries.
The BMU is essentially a black box that holds all the magic inside, allowing other manufacturers to reduce their vehicle development time by relying on Ionex’s technology for powering the vehicles.
As the company explained, the BMU accurately tracks real-time battery usage and “comes with an Internet of Vehicles (IoV) control interface, allowing the vehicle to connect with the rider through the Ionex User App for abundant smart vehicle features and turning the rider’s mobile phone into the vehicle’s keyless device. It is also equipped with Over-The-Air (OTA) firmware updates and financial-grade encrypted data transmission, all the advanced digital technologies expected in the electric era.”
Ionex Energy Stations ready to roll out
The Ionex Energy Station is the company’s battery-swapping kiosk that is capable of charging and deploying batteries for swapping as well as electric vehicle charging. The system is cloud-connected and comes in various sizes, even down to mini-stations with just five battery slots.
The stations can be used with any BMU-equipped electric vehicle, opening the door to a wide range of EVs operating on the Ionex platform.
Earlier this summer we heard early details regarding KYMCO’s partnership with PTT, a massive Thai energy company, that is seeing Ionex stations rolled out in Thailand.
As Managing Director of Arun Plus, the EV ecosystem flagship of PTT, Ekachai Yimsakul explained:
“The Ionex Energy Station is a turnkey solution to build battery-swapping networks for electric motorcycle riders. It plays a crucially important role in our pursuit of becoming the leading global energy provider in the electric era.”
KYMCO of course isn’t the only battery-swapping game in town, but the company has made major strides in the last few years. With an increasing customer base and country list, Ionex is definitely a platform to keep an eye on.
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