Although many share the vision of ubiquitous infrastructure to support future fleets of electric vehicles, the concept of battery swapping, frequently championed by Better Place, doesn't seem to have the same appeal as the fast-charge station. In fact, in the past week, battery swapping has come under a bit of fire from different quarters. On one side of the globe, we have Mercedes' director of group research and car development, Thomas Weber, telling The Marker that not only is the swapping plan dangerous and could result in electrocution or fire, but that, "The industry has not even resolved matters as basic as the optimum location for an electric car's battery or the battery type." Ouch.

Meanwhile here in the States, the president of ECOtality, Johnathan Read, reeled off his own list of perceived problems with rival Better Place's battery swapping station concept. In an interview with the Cleantech Group during the launch of its EV Micro-Climate Working Group in Arizona he said, "It takes 10 or 15 minutes to fast charge, which isn't going to be much quicker or slower than swapping a battery, and certainly a lot less moving parts and potential points of failure. Let alone the capital costs required to build a battery swap infrastructure." He went on to make points about the speed of energy storage evolution and the difficulties of standardization. Of course, we're sure Better Place has already considered many of these points and is most likely in disagreement with the views of its critics. We would like to hear how they would respond but while we wait, feel free to leave your responses in the comments.

[Source: Haaretz / BusinessGreen.com]


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