• Aug 11, 2010
Electric vehicle infrastructure provider Better Place has concluded a three-month field test in Tokyo to prove its battery swapping technology works as promised. In cooperation with Nissan and battery supplier A123 System, three Rogue crossovers were converted to electric drive and given replaceable batteries. The battery-powered Rogues were used as taxis in the Japanese capital and had their 17 kilowatt-hour batteries replaced several times a day. In the test form, the Rogue EV has a real world range of 50-60 miles.

Apparently there was only one incident of one of the cabs needing a tow back to the swap station when a driver ran out of juice early in the test period. The rest of the time, everything worked out. Later this year, Better Place will launch a similar test in Israel before rolling out a full network of stations there and in Denmark by the end of 2011. In Israel and Europe, Renault will be supplying a version of its Fluence sedan with swappable batteries. Aside from Renault and Nissan, no other automakers have signed up to work with Better Place's battery swap scheme. You can watch a video of the battery swap here.

[Source: Green Car Advisor]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 15 Comments
      • 20 Hours Ago
      Well, 17 Kwh and 50 to 60 mile range might be acceptable for a prototype test, but to be successfu with the general publicl they're going to have to increase the battery capacity capacity and range. Double that would be a minimum for success, triple would be better.

      Unfortunately, that means re-designing the whole system and re-testing as well. They should have started this test with a bigger battery pack.
      • 20 Hours Ago
      "Electric vehicle infrastructure provider Better Place"

      What?.. PBP is in the business of selling cars and miles in a "cell phone minutes" model.

      The battery swap stations are a tiny portion of their range-anxiety-reducing-system, the vast majority of their cars will be recharged at home.
        • 20 Hours Ago
        I still don't understand how PBP will "sell you miles" when you recharge at home. Will you pay your electric utility and then pay them again for battery use? Will they make you install a separate circuit or their own charger?
      • 20 Hours Ago
      Nissan are not getting involved in battery swap, only Renault.
        • 20 Hours Ago
        Yeah, I doubt that Renaults were available in Japan.
        Nissan have said repeatedly though that they are not taking part in battery swap at any scale.
        • 20 Hours Ago
        Yeah, but Ghosn is very clear in maintaining two separate company identities.
        For a start, Renault is heavily involved in the French Government's electrification drive, which is a very different thing to anything that happens in the US or UK.
        Everyone from the local authorities to La Poste are going to get Renault and Peugeot cars and vans, whilst Nissan will be on the outside.
        Conversely Nissan is much more prominent in the developing world.
        • 20 Hours Ago
        Nissan Rogues were used in the Tokyo test.
        • 20 Hours Ago
        But in the big picture, aren't they the kinda the same company?

        "In 1999, Nissan entered a two way alliance with Renault S.A. of France, which owns 44.4% of Nissan while Nissan holds 15% of Renault shares, as of 2008."
      • 20 Hours Ago
      I hope this works out well. It does require significant infrastructure investment, as opposed to standard EVs (yeah, 480V, 3-phase chargers are infrastructure, but it's way less than you need for a gas-station), but it eliminates the range-anxiety factor and gets things moving quickly for urban transit. It makes today's tech instantly applicable and cheap, which I like.

      Who knows, battery swapping schemes might even have legs in the future for long-haul cargo trucking. Just swap out your 300kWh packs at the weigh station and hit the road for another 100 miles hauling 60 tons...
      • 20 Hours Ago
      Still a Crappy idea and the wrong direction to go in!
      • 20 Hours Ago
      Well, 17 Kwh and 50 to 60 mile range might be acceptable for a prototype test, but to be successful with the general public they're going to have to increase the battery capacity capacity and range. Double that would be a minimum for success, triple would be better.

      Unfortunately, that means re-designing the whole system and re-testing as well. They should have started this test with a bigger battery pack.
      • 20 Hours Ago
      The most appropriate use of EVs will be in cities, and a large percentage in cities will not have ready access to charging stations: therefore, battery swapping is an excellent idea for city EVs.
      • 20 Hours Ago
      Interesting they use A123 battery instead of AESC battery used in the Nissan Leaf.
      • 20 Hours Ago
      • 20 Hours Ago
      Yeah, even though I do not like the 'cell phone' business model, I hope Better Place has some success since I like the battery swap concept. As far as I can tell, battery swapping is the best way of dealing with the limited range and long fuel time of pure EVs. I am skeptical of fast charge systems since I think they may damage batteries a bit . . . and since batteries are so expensive/valuable, you really do not want to damage them.

      If there were battery swap stations at every current gasoline station, we could get away with cars that have a 100 mile range. You could even drive across the country. Yes, you would be stopping every 100 miles but the battery swaps can be a little faster than traditional gasoline refueling. Gas would still be much better but at least that would work. If batteries got cheap & had a 300 mile range, then the battery swap stations would make the driving no different than gasoline.
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