The New Petrol Stop: Battery Switch Stations

07 March 2011 at 11:53

In order for EVs to provide a "no compromise" solution, they need to deliver the same freedom to go anywhere that drivers of combustion engine cars enjoy today.

Long battery recharge times are a matter of physics. Even as batteries and charging infrastructure improve, using EVs for long journeys will require a way to quickly and reliably extend the range provided by a battery. Better Place provides this solution via a network of battery switch stations that use an ingenious robotic system to switch new batteries for depleted ones, cool and charge the batteries in inventory, and manage the complex logistics to ensure that each EV gets a fully-charged battery each time the vehicle arrives at a station.

Better Place is working with automakers to ensure that EVs and battery switch stations are compatible. EVs are giving automakers new freedom for innovative designs since the engine, exhaust and complex gearing systems are replaced by simple gearboxes, electric motors and solid state batteries. Flat or ‘pancake’ batteries under the floor of a car allow the cars to have a lower center of gravity, improving handling and increasing interior packaging flexibility. In addition to the performance benefits, an easily accessible location simplifies manufacturing and will reduce maintenance costs.

At Better Place battery switch stations, drivers enter a lane and the station takes over from there. The car proceeds along a conveyor while the automated switch platform below the vehicle aligns under the battery, washes the underbody, initiates the battery release process and lowers the battery from the vehicle. The depleted battery is placed onto a storage rack for charging, monitoring and preparation for the another vehicle. A fully-charged battery is then lifted into the waiting car. The switch process takes less time than a stop at the gas station and the driver and passengers may remain in the car throughout.

Check out the vide obelow for a nexample of this in action!

  

Comments

Name: Scott

Comment: This is a good idea, but how will you pay for the battery and how much would a battery cost when you go into the garage?

Name: Guy Poole

Comment: Absolutely brilliant ideato give EV's more range... BUT and it is a big but there would have to be a commonality in car design! I don't think mercedes would agree to a similar system to Kia.. and that I think is where the system will fail!

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