Swobbee is helping New York City bring safe, outdoor, and reliable battery charging to e-bike delivery workers.

  • As part of a pilot program launching in February, an initial group of delivery workers will have free access to Swobbee’s battery-swapping stations and other new battery-charging infrastructure.
  • The pilot program, a collaboration with the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT), the Economic Development Corporation (EDC) and Newlab, is Mayor Adams’ “Charge Safe, Ride Safe” action plan to support safe e-bike charging and help prevent battery-related structural fires.

New York, 29 February 2024 — New York City in partnership with Newlab, a venture platform focused on climate and deep tech, has launched a pilot project to help prevent battery fires in electric micromobility vehicles and improve safety for delivery workers by expanding access to charging infrastructure. The initial pilots include three innovative companies: Swobbee, Popwheels, and Swiftmile.

Beginning this month, a first group of delivery workers will be able to securely charge their vehicles and exchange depleted batteries at Swobbee stations at multiple locations across the city. The project will gather data on the usage and user experience of new charging options, with two related end goals: scaling up New York’s e-mobility charging infrastructure and improving conditions for delivery drivers who rely on electric micromobility.

The instance of fires caused by batteries in electric micromobility vehicles in New York City has gone up from just 40 in 2020 to 220 in 2022. Battery fires, which often result from improper charging or physical damage, pose an increasing danger for workers as third-party delivery grows and e-mobility becomes more popular in the industry. New York’s approximately 65,000 delivery drivers must provide their own e-bikes for work, increasing their exposure to fire risks from inexpensive but low-quality batteries.

To address these, the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT), EDC and Newlab issued a call for pilots last year, seeking novel technologies to make electric micromobility charging safer and more dependable while meeting the daily needs of delivery workers. As part of this project, Swobbee will complete the installation of 4 battery swapping stations in New York City, which will initially serve 30–60 workers. Workers on e-bikes can quickly swap out their vehicle’s UL-certified battery and replace it with a fresh one, reducing wait times and ensuring that batteries are charged safely.

„We are extremely excited about this opportunity to contribute to New York’s mobility transition and to offer delivery drivers a reliable charging solution. Our swapping stations were specifically designed to tackle challenges like this,” said Swobbee US Managing Director, Stephan von Wolff.  “To ensure maximum safety for the delivery workers, we’re introducing the safest battery technology around. This lithium ferrophosphate (LFP) technology outperforms any conventional lithium-ion alternative—and with a lower total cost of ownership. We’re convinced that this accessibility and safety can serve as a blueprint for the City’s approach to fire safety and sustainability moving forward.“

“First-of-their-kind collaborative pilots like this are essential to de-risking new technologies and shaping solutions so that they work for people and for our City. This work epitomizes Newlab’s focus on scaling real-world solutions to urgent challenges that are critical to our sustainable future and we are thrilled to partner with Swobbee to get their technology deployed in New York City,” said Shaina Horowitz, Vice President of Applied Innovation at Newlab.

The four pilot battery-swapping stations will be installed starting in late February and are ready for use by the first cohort of delivery drivers by early March. Results from the project will be used to assess the technology’s fit and usability for the City’s delivery workers, and to inform Swobbee’s broader rollout in New York.

“This partnership is a great example of technology being used to its highest potential,” comments Jennifer Dungs, Global Head of Mobility at EIT InnoEnergy, one of Swobbee’s leading investors. “I’m proud to see Swobbee contributing to the development of a robust battery-swapping network and making e-mobility safer for everyone by creating a simple way to access healthy batteries anytime. It’s more than just providing charging and batteries; ultimately, it’s about creating conditions that support the needs of delivery drivers and other e-mobility users.”

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