Ford Not Sold on Battery-Swapping for Electric Cars

A Good Idea that Faces Many Big Challenges
I couldn't resist using that old photo from an experiment that Mercedes did in the 1970s with battery swapping. The modern version of that technology is a lot more automated than this (see our post about Better Place's robotized swapping station), but the general idea is the same and not all the auto makers that are working on electric cars are enthused about it. Among those that aren't sold on the idea is Ford.Nancy Gioia, the director of global electrification at Ford (cool title), told ACE:

"Battery swapping is an interesting concept, but there are potential pitfalls that must be overcome. A lot of EVs, because of the size of batteries and energy density, may have liquid cooling and that cooling loop has to break to change a battery. It's a difficult thing to do." [...]

"Battery packs are expected to change year to year as technology improves." With newly developed battery packs produced yearly, the total numbers of batteries on hand at the swapping stations could quickly reach into the thousands. The sheer size of a battery swapping station would require careful planning and purchasing of lots much larger than gas stations. In tight inner city areas, available land of this size is likely very limited.

It's also hard to expect that automakers will agree to limit themselves to a particular model of battery since things are changing so fast and having the best battery can mean a serious competitive advantage. Maybe some open standards could be adopted that would still leave enough room for innovation, but would it be possible to do? Companies like Better Place certainly hope so, but it won't be easy.

Via All Cars Electric
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