I know, I know, but this is not a flying car, just a rough animation

Part car wash, part kerosene canister exchange, the Unlimited Range Electric Car System (URECA) is an idea that could solve a lot of the current problems with EVs and their limited ranges. Maybe. With a lot of work.

As you can see in the animated video on YouTube (after the first minute of build-up via a live-action driving shot), the URECA concept is a quick battery-exchange program for EVs. You simply drive up, pay for the service, place your front wheels on certain sensors, and an automated arm reaches out of the ground and takes your depleted battery and then inserts a freshly charged one. It's the kind of box-exterior thinking that could go a long way to making EVs more acceptable to a lot of people.

I want EVs to work, but I think this idea needs a lot more work, and not just on the first things you think of RE different battery and car manufacturers that would need to agree on a serious set of standards. Here are the problems I immediately thought of, listed in order from easiest to most difficult to solve:
  1. What about different car sizes? You'd need more than one front tire sensor and an arm that can judge the height of the undercarriage.
  2. Batteries are heavy. Why would you hoist them up in the air? Shouldn't the design be totally underground (this might solve most of problem #4, too)?
  3. What happens if you surrender a battery that is only half-discharged? Will you only have to pay half as much for the new one? If not, won't people try to run their batteries to right near empty before turning them in?
  4. Would thieves be tempted to break into a URECA and steal the batteries? These things ain't cheap, you know.
Whatever the case, aside from the YouTube video, the URECA system is pretty much MIA on Google. I've emailed the person listed in the video credits to see if we can't get some answers to the issues I've pointed out, and to find out more on who's behind the system. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: URECA owner responds to our comments.

[Source: Fresh Creation]


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