Better Place, a Silicon Valley based company that hopes to take a leading role in the charging infrastructure for EVs, has developed a unique method to replenish electric cars when the batteries become depleted. Rather than time consuming charging, Better Place believes that battery swapping will make EV use both more convenient and extend their range making them capable of traveling much further on a daily basis.
Better Place CEO Shai Agassi wants to develop an extensive battery swapping network that allows EV drivers to pull into a station and swap depleted batteries for fresh ones. Vehicles would require standardized battery packs to allow them to pull into a station and have the battery exchanged.
On Tuesday, the company revealed the first video of how the process would work and the speed with which the entire swap could be completed.
They have partnered with Renault-Nissan and are working towards a standardized battery pack so the battery swap could be feasible between all EVs on the road at some point.
The demonstration of the battery exchange system took place in Japan. The cars were provided by Mitsubishi and Subaru, and the city of Tokyo provided the power for the event that showcased Better Place's battery swap system.
CEO Shai Agassi made a few remarks during the event highlighting the importance of the demonstration. Agassi said, “Today marks a major milestone for the automotive industry as well as for Better Place. For nearly a century, the automotive industry has been inextricably tied to oil. Today, we’re demonstrating a new path forward where the future of transportation and energy is driven by our desire for a clean planet and a robust economic recovery fueled by investments in clean technology, and one in which the well-being of the automotive industry is intrinsically coupled with the well-being of the environment.”
The swapping stations are estimated to cost about $500,000 each and the company would make them accessible by the use of a prepaid card similar to prepaid cell phones. You would purchase a given number of swaps per month based on need and run your card through to initiate the battery swap.
The entire process of battery swapping is designed to be completed in less time than it would take to fill up a gas tank. According to Agassi, “The goal was to make the switch of a battery faster than filling your tank. We have seen this device work in under 40 seconds in our shop.”
Watch the video and see the swap in action.
Source: Better Place