Battery swap stations are like gas pumps for EVs

Seeing as we don't yet have ultracapacitors in our electric cars that can recharge themselves in seconds or minutes that would make refueling comparable to gasoline, the only reliable way to get a hot n' fresh stack of batts looks to be these robotic battery swapping stations.

Although physically swapping giant battery packs seems like a rather inelegant (not to mention ungainly) solution to the problem of electric vehicle charge times, without some major technological advances, in the near term battery swapping could be the only realistic way to go.

Whether or not it ends up being realistic, a company called Better Place has installed a consumer battery swapping station in Israel, designed to change out battery packs on their fleet of for-lease Renault Fluence Z.Es. It's sort of like a car wash: you drive up, tap an RFID card on a reader, and the station grabs your car and positions it for you. Then, a hatch opens underneath, and your old battery gets sucked out and a new, fully charge one is installed in its place. In about three minutes, you're on your way.

This is just the first of nine (and eventually 40) battery swap stations that Better Place plans to construct around Israel, which would give drivers the ability to travel more or less continuously, just like if they were driving a vehicle powered by gasoline. Their hope is that this system will eliminate the range anxiety that has become the defining downside of battery powered cars, but my hope is that we'll figure out some better power storage and charging systems before infrastructure like this becomes a necessity.

Better Place, via Truth About Cars and Engadget

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