Why fast battery swaps are the key to electric cars' success

Electric cars may be a treehugger's dream, but few people are willing to rely on a car with limited range. What if you suddenly get a call that your kid was hurt at school 20 miles away, and your fancy electric car is in the middle of a recharge with enough juice to go only 15? It's more convenient to have a car that you can drive anywhere on a whim, not just following some restricted daily commuter run. But there's a way to have the best of both worlds.

The key to achieving this flexibility with electric vehicles? Simple and quick battery swaps would do the trick, with a network of battery stations that can swap out standard-sized batteries in just a couple of minutes. The station would have racks of charging batteries, all getting ready for the next customer. Once such a network is fully established, you'd be able to drive your electric car anywhere without fear of running out of juice.

While this might sound like some kind of utopian pie-in-the-sky dream, networks like this already exist in for taxis in Japan and are currently being established in countries like Denmark and Israel. The two-minute swap goal is real too, as you can see in the video of a Tokyo taxi going in for a swap.

Some electric cars use proprietary batteries that you buy and keep with the car, but the swappable battery solution is really the only system that will satisfy the American driver's wanderlust.

Fast Company