Better Place has one of the more unique ways of dealing with exhausted electric car batteries. While it does offer charging stations which take quite a while to charge your battery, it also offers the option of simply switching it out. A 100 car fleet of electric vehicles will now begin testing the infrastructure which stretches across Israel.
Way back in 2008, we reported on Better Place’s partnership with France, Israel and Denmark to install battery swap and charging stations. The company also partnered with Renault to create electric cars with easily swapped out batteries. According to Technology Review the company just received the first 100 Renault Fluence Z E (Zero Emission) electric vehicles that will be used in Israel to demonstrate Better Place’s battery swap technology.
The process works as follows:
- 1. A Renault Fluence Z E alerts its driver that the battery is low.
- 2. The driver consults her navigation app that shows where to find the closest battery swap station.
- 3. The driver drives to the nearest station and pulls into the battery swap bay.
- 4. The used battery is removed and a fully charged battery is installed all from below the vehicle using a robotic process. It takes about the same amount of time that it takes to fill up a gas tank.
- 5. The driver exits the bay and continues on her way.
- The battery swap technology makes long trips much easier than having to plug into a charging station every so often for a fifteen minute to four hour charging process. Instead you pull in for a matter of minutes and continue driving until you need another swap. Of course there are charging stations available as well that allow for charging overnight and while shopping, working, sightseeing or dining.
The Renault Fluence Z E uses “225-kilogram lithium-ion batteries with a range of 160 kilometers”(about 100 miles). The cars will be initially leased only by Better Place employees. Once the kinks have been worked out of the system, Better Place will offer others the option of leasing a Fluence through another company and using battery swap technology and charging stations through a subscription service.
Better Place signed a leasing agreement with The Eldan Group, the largest car rental group in Israel, back in December. Eldan will “acquire hundreds of Renault Fluence Z.E. electric cars from Better Place in 2012.” Companies and private customers that sign up for electric cars will also sign for a membership subscription with Better Place for use of the charging infrastructure and Customer Care. Fossil Fuels are extremely expensive in Israel, as are taxes on fossil fuel vehicles. So switching to an electric vehicle will be an attractive option for many.
Better Place is the only company that provides battery swap technology for its customers. Coulomb, GE and other charging infrastructure companies are building charging stations in various parts of the world, but only Better Place gives you a quick way to simply “swap and go” when needed.
Above Photo from Better Place.Tags: battery swap stations, Better Place, charging stations, Denmark, electric car, electric vehicle, France, Israel, Renault, The Eldan Group