Better Place is Testing Battery-Swapping in Tokyo

Photo: Better Place
59 Seconds Average Swapping Time
Better Place, in collaboration with the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy of Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and Nihon Kotsu Co., Tokyo's largest taxi operator, has been doing real-world testing of a battery-swapping station in Tokyo. The trial, which started last April and has just been extended until November, aims to determine the "feasibility of battery switch as means for taxis to have instant, zero emission, range extension."

"Up to this point, there has been very little information about how an EV battery will perform in heavily used, real-world, taxi conditions. This program has provided us with critical insights into the battery performance in a switch model and switch station performance for the toughest customers - taxi drivers," said Kiyotaka Fujii, President of Better Place Japan. "By extending this program, we hope to gain further insights into the battery performance and durability of the switch station itself, which will be invaluable as we move towards commercial launch later next year in Israel and Denmark."

While a comprehensive analysis of the data is still being conducted, some initial data points about the taxi project include:
• 40,311 number of kilometers driven
• Taxi drivers went through the switch station 2,122 number of times
• Average switch time 59.1 seconds
• 3,020 passengers have ridden in the taxis

Some of you will divide the number of kilometers driven by the number of times the battery were swapped and be disappointed at the low number of kilometers per charge, but I think that they've probably been swapping the batteries a lot more than necessary to better test how the station would perform on a busy day.

Whether the results of the trial are positive or negative, it should give valuable information about how to go about electrifying transportation, and while I don't think that battery-swapping stations are likely to become mainstream in the long run (I'm hoping that batteries will improve fast enough, and that they'll be able to better handle fast charging), it's always good to try many different things to see which comes out ahead. It's not always the one we expect...

For more on Better Place's battery swapping station, check out: Better Place's Automated Electric Car Battery Swap Station.

Via Better Place, ABG
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Tags: Electric Cars | Japan | Transportation

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