Europe’s first electric vehicles with interchangeable batteries are now available in Romania

Deniza Cristian 09/11/2022 | 14:00

Romanian brand Smart Balance launches Europe’s first electric vehicle rental service with interchangeable batteries under the e-Mobility Rentals brand. Hundreds of not-polluting vehicles will be making Food Delivery in Romania.

 

Initially, the service will be aimed at companies, and later it will be available to individuals (car sharing and car rental). The electric vehicles with removable batteries are two- or three-seater quadricycles. They have two batteries with a range of up to 150 km, but a major advantage is that, once discharged, these batteries can be exchanged free of charge for 100% charged ones in one of the 10 Swap Stations provided by Smart Balance in Bucharest.

In the near future, the Romanian company e-Mobility Rentals plans to diversify its rental fleet with both multiple models of quadricycles and electric cars, both with interchangeable batteries.

Discharged batteries can be replaced with 100% charged ones in one of the 10 Charging Swap Stations in Bucharest, which will be placed at key points in all sectors of Bucharest, so that the user has easy and quick access to this benefit. Thus, these electric vehicles can run non-stop, like a car on fuel, and at significantly lower prices.

“We have created a rental concept that was originally intended as a B2B, to help food delivery companies such as Takeaway, Glovo, UberEats, Tazz, etc., but the productive range of use of this rental model is also beneficial for personal use by individuals. With these electric vehicles, along with the ease of changing batteries through the charging swap stations service (available through an app developed by Smart Balance), I want to remove the fear of using electric cars because of range anxiety. Basically, we offer a rental service for electric vehicles and scooters, which helps on the one hand urban mobility by relieving traffic congestion, and on the other hand reducing pollution in urban agglomerations,” said Pruna Cosmin, CEO of e-Mobility Rentals.

Charging swap stations in Bucharest – unlimited autonomy

These Swap Stations will help people stop wasting time charging their battery, as it can be done in less than a minute. The space will be small and only one parking space will be needed to serve several such electric vehicles.

“The idea of the battery swap came from the need to protect the environment and help traffic participants to have UNLIMITED range. We created this concept because of the lack of infrastructure for charging electric vehicles as well as the battery technology that still does not offer us an optimal price for the desired quality.

We targeted both electric cars and electric scooters with the CATL branded battery infrastructure used by battery giant Tesla for increased range of each lithium battery. Both cars and scooters can be used with the universal battery which has a range of 70 km for cars and 100 km for scooters,” said Pruna Cosmin.

Among the e-Mobility Rentals customers for these electric vehicles are food delivery companies in Bucharest, which want more than 500 of these electric vehicles. Currently, the first 100 electric vehicles have arrived in Romania and another 200-300 units will arrive by spring.

What is the range of electric vehicles

To start with, two types of electric vehicles will be available, one for people, which can be used successfully by caterers, and another with significant storage space, which can be used to transport goods/products. Their range is about 160 km under normal conditions with two batteries, but with 10 stations for changing and charging the batteries, the range becomes unlimited.

The electric vehicles have two 55 Ah CATL batteries, one lead-acid and one lithium, each giving a range of 80 km. They are located in the back under the seat.

Once the first battery has run out of power, the driver can plug in the second one for another 50 miles of range. If a driver needs more than two batteries for 24 hours, which are included in the monthly rental rate, he can pick up the 3rd battery from a swap station for which he will pay 10 lei.

How much the new electric vehicles cost

The first 100 quadricycles to arrive in Romania have a 4 kW (5.5 hp) electric motor and can be driven by 16-year-olds with a category B1 license. A model costs around €17 000. With the bonus offered by the Rabla Plus program, the price is halved. The cars can be bought in installments from delivery companies.

In the near future, e-Mobility Rentals will make available on the Romanian market the rental of high-performance electric vehicles, which will be classified in the M1 class Cars. These premium models will have a range of about 300 km and will be able to run at speeds of up to 120 km/h, which will significantly expand the range of use of this rental system.

Thus, e-Mobility Rentals will have both quadricycles and electric cars with interchangeable batteries for rental and sale. Also available in the fleet are electric scooters, which use the same battery as the quadricycles.

The electric scooters available for hire have a range of 100 km and can be driven with a category A (maximum speed 80 km/h) or B (maximum speed 45 km/h) license, depending on the model chosen. By March, 100 electric scooters will be in the rental fleet to facilitate demand in the spring-autumn season.

e-Mobility Rentals wants to be present in other cities in Romania through a franchise system, whereby dealers buy electric vehicles, batteries and swaps from the importer, and use its know-how to implement this set of products and services in the desired coverage area.

The Romanian company is also present in Belgium, where it plans to launch a rental service with electric vehicles with interchangeable batteries. Greece and Spain are also on the list.

Smart Balance has been in the electric vehicle market for about 6 years. The company has patented 1-2 mobility products each year. It is now also active in countries such as France, Germany, UK, Austria, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Hungary, Romania, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Croatia, Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Poland and is constantly expanding.

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