E-car supplier demos battery swap-shop
Recharged In 60 Seconds, or thereabouts
Leccy Tech Better Place has demonstrated a prototype battery swapping machine for leccy cars, able to exchange the flat battery of a modified Nissan with a fully charged one in just over 60 seconds.
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Better Place’s CEO, Shai Agassi, claimed its robo-swapper has even managed to perform the task within 40 seconds – great news for the seriously time-poor e-car driver.
The firm’s inked plans to build 100 battery swap stations in Israel by 2011, in addition to 150,000 plug-in charge points. The rollout won’t be cheap, though, as each battery swapper alone costs a cool $500,000 (£329,000/€367,000).
Swap stations have also been planned for Denmark, Australia, California and Hawaii – all places where Better Place has signed development deals with governments and utility firms to hasten electric car adoption.
But the technical issues involved in swapping leccy car batteries pale in comparison to the problem of getting the world's car makers to agree on standard shapes, sizes, connectors and so forth.
Executives at Ford and Toyota have already raised concerns over a number of potential problems with the robo-swapper, including the quality of replacement batteries and the durability of weatherproofing seals. ®
"What's wrong with placing recharge points on the road?"
- If you'd see the sort of scumbags who wander the streets at night around where I live, you wouldn't even bother considering that. You're right about parking - I often don't even get to park in my own *street*.
- In the case of mass uptake, you're talking about dozens of vehicles in each street each with its own cable attached to a point at the kerb, which creates a hell of a mess for a start even with short cables. What sort of extra load does this place on the under street cabling anyway?
- RFID is trivial to fool so thats a non starter. There isn't a current digital transaction technology that is even relatively safe from abuse, so you might want to think that one through a bit more.
-Another negative is that kerbside charging infrastructure is a politicians wet dream. It is the perfect excuse to both monitor and tax the urban motorist in new and interesting ways. Screw that ... we've had enough trouble fighting off the imposition of CPZs proposed by our local authority. Twice. In one year.
"The problem with other fuels is which to chose? Are all those compatible within the same engine?"
What engine? There is no engine in a fuel cell vehicle. Its all electric. Chlorine is just one example - what about Alcohol? That has none of the big danger you see in top-fuel motor racing since no combustion is involved. That and it is currently being produced commercially by the bio-ethanol industry. Fuel cell vehicles have been successfully prototyped and shown to work well. There is enough potential to make further research and development well worth the effort, to fine tune issues such as methods for refuelling and safe/compact onboard storage.
Regarding 'cheaper' electricity - thats an illusion. Your power bills from the utility company might be slightly lower per unit, but the new nuclear power stations required to supply the extra juice are going to be costing you more in huge unseen subsidies funded by YOU in the tax you pay to the government. Not to mention the astronomical amounts you are already paying to decommission the old ones. Funny how the power company shareholders don't seem to footing THAT bill, huh?
The batterys will be owned by who ?
Who gets stuffed with the cost of replacement batterys, the service station ?, the poor smo who used it last (sorry sir can't give you another one your last one won't hold a charge anymore)
If all the batteries are wholey owned by BP fer instance then it will be uncompetitive.
Picture the Service station on a entrance to the M1, it will need a wharehouse just for the damm duff batteries as everyone has to pop in for a new one to make sure they can finish the journey.
@ Sean Healey
Why would the home charging stations need to be physically connected to your flat? That would never work. Not least where I live in London you'd be lucky to park in front of your own property and next to your own charge point. You're right that wouldn't work here.
What's wrong with placing recharge points on the road? Big undertaking? As much as placing parking meters on the road. But how would you be charged and what about security? I think with rfid technology your car can be correctly identified and the cost correctly charged. There is nothing here that is not achievable with today's technology.
The problem with other fuels is which to chose? Are all those compatible within the same engine? How would their emissions effect the local community? Are they viable for mass consumption? How do you make them safe in a crash situation? (I'm pretty sure Chlorine is a very toxic substance.) It would seem there is still a lot needed in development. Why not develop these solutions to provide electricity for the grid in a local power generation scheme to lower the cost of our electricity needs?