Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/05/14/better_place/

E-car supplier demos battery swap-shop

Recharged In 60 Seconds, or thereabouts

By Alun Taylor

Posted in Science, 14th May 2009 09:43 GMT

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. ®