Better Place battery swapping station – Click above for high-res image gallery

Better Place will attempt to meet another milestone in battery-swapping history by conducting its first commercial test in Tokyo later this month. If successful, the company can lay claim to the first ever commercial, automatic battery swap, a process that still seems a little far-fetched to us.

Better Place has demonstrated the success of its battery swapping technology before but that was under tight, controlled conditions on a prototype setup. The demonstration later this month will put real-world, battery-powered taxis operated by Nihon Kotsu to the test. Better Place's battery-swapping project kicked off in Tokyo at the beginning of the year with a goal to analyze real-world impact on battery degradation, range and related aspects. Japan has expressed a desire to replace its entire fleet of 60,000 taxis with electrical vehicles, a move that could cut the nations overall CO2 emissions by 20 percent. To us, the novel idea of battery swapping is a bit too complicated when compared to fast charging that can fill a battery to about 80 percent capacity in just minutes, but we look forward to seeing how the real-world test pans out.



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