Photo: Keigo Sato (Model Ci, Custom Product Development)
“My goal was to introduce a removable battery. Being able to remove the battery, brings the user more freedom and flexibility. A light-weight, lithium-ion battery allows users to carry it with ease, bring a spare and charge wherever. In addition, the WHILL Model Ci battery allows users to travel with their device, since lithium-ion batteries with a capacity of 300Wh or less are compliant with most airlines’ guidelines, simply remove it at the gate and stow with carry-on luggage.”
Charge your battery wherever*
I had wanted to develop a detachable battery for a long time. Outlets in users’ homes are not always in convenient spots. In apartments, or small spaces, there might not be room to leave the device to charge. Thus, some people use their building’s parking lot or parking garage to charge their device. These situations are why I wanted to create a light-weight, removable battery.
*For outdoor charging, we recommend that you keep your battery and/or EV in a place sheltered from rain and dust.
Partnering with Panasonic Corporation
The Model Ci’s battery is designed exclusively for WHILL by Panasonic. When we decided on the specifications for the lithium-ion battery, it was a very important task choosing our supplier.
As a new company in the personal EV market, we could only place relatively small orders with our suppliers, which made it a challenge to procure high quality parts when requiring a relatively low volume. In addition to procuring top-of-the-line parts, we wanted to be leaders in EV technology and design. For example, we wanted users to be able to check their battery status as well as find a way to incorporate the battery into the design itself, maintaining a cool, sleek look.
Given the circumstances, Panasonic Corporation agreed to partner with us. I think they felt the appeal of WHILL and Model Ci production. Moreover, there was trust and a sense of expectation as a company built by everyone who supported the Model A.
By Panasonic sympathizing with our enthusiasm, we were able to produce a high quality battery for the Model Ci, while remaining at a popular price point. The Model Ci battery is comprised of ideas and innovations that are not limited by the traditional concept of a mobility device.
Reducing the concern about batteries running out
We understand how detrimental it can be when a battery runs out while a user is on the go. We set out to reduce this source of worry, by focusing on technical improvement for the Model Ci battery. In the future, I’d also like to promote social change in terms of access for mobility device users. For example, destinations, airports and public spaces would have areas to charge EVs or rent batteries. If it becomes commonplace to charge an EV at a cafe, it will help make mobility to be more convenient and fun. I’d like to advance this concept together with users in the future.
Keigo Sato, Model Ci Custom Product Development
Sato graduated from the Bio Robotics Department at Tohoku University, Graduate School of Engineering. Coming from the Toyota Motor Corporation, he joined WHILL in 2015. As Manager of Model Ci Custom Product Development Office, Sato creates product options for WHILL EVs, helping users make their device an extension of themselves.