• Jul 5th 2011 at 8:58AM
  • 6
Better PLace battery swap demo – Click above for high-res image gallery

Over in Denmark, Better Place just unveiled Europe's first battery swap station. The celebratory event, held in the city of Gladsaxe, gives us an indication that Better Place is slowly but surely inching towards its goal of installing 20 swap stations and a nationwide charging infrastructure future in Denmark over the next nine months. The vehicle used to demonstrate the station's remarkable battery-swap capabilities was the Renault Fluence Z.E. – the UK's cheapest electric vehicle.

Better Place's battery swap stations are almost fully automated. Drivers simply swipe their membership card and the swapping action begins. That's how it works if your plug-in vehicle comes equipped with a swap-capable battery pack. If it doesn't, then battery swap stations are... well, useless. See the full press release after the break.

[Source: Better Place]
Show full PR text
Better Place Unveils Europe's First Battery Switch Station in Denmark

20 Battery Switch Stations to be deployed over the next nine months

COPENHAGEN, Denmark--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In preparation for commercial launch later this year, Better Place today unveiled the company's first Battery Switch station in Europe at an event in Gladsaxe, just outside Copenhagen. The station, which showcased the company's Battery Switch technology, switching a Renault Fluence Z.E., is the first of 20 Battery Switch Stations to be deployed across the country over the next nine months as part of the company's nationwide network of charging infrastructure that will launch later this year in partnership with DONG Energy and more than 45 municipalities.

"The Better Place solution offers a great driving experience, improves air quality and increases the share of renewable energy in the electric grid – all of this at a more affordable cost of ownership than comparable conventional cars"

In March, Better Place opened the Better Place Center in Hellerup, Denmark and since then, nearly 3,000 visitors have passed through the center and interest in a tour of the Better Place Center continues to grow. Moreover, nine out of 10 visitors have said after the visit, that they are considering buying an electric car. Better Place and Renault will begin marketing the Fluence Z.E. later this fall.

"The Better Place solution offers a great driving experience, improves air quality and increases the share of renewable energy in the electric grid – all of this at a more affordable cost of ownership than comparable conventional cars," said Johnny Hansen, CEO of Better Place Denmark. "I am convinced that with the Battery Switch model we have overcome the last barrier to the electric car's commercial breakthrough: range, and based on the interest we have received so far, I expect this to be the top selling car in Denmark in just a few years."

"Today marks a significant milestone for the partnership between Better Place and Renault. Together we are unlocking the full potential of electric cars, giving them virtually unlimited range because they no longer have to wait hours to charge. Danish consumers are poised to lead the transition to a more sustainable transportation model," said Henrik Bang, Renault Denmark.

The battery switch experience is a simple, fully-automated process that together with the Renault Fluence Z.E. gives drivers the autonomy of unlimited range. Customers simply swipe their membership card, which authenticates the car and subscription via the Operations Center to activate the switch. The rest of the process is automated, similar to going through a car wash, so the driver never has to leave the car. In just a few minutes, a robotic arm removes the depleted battery and replaces it with a full one and the driver is back on the road.

Denmark's adaptability in terms of new climate friendly technology, a strong commitment to renewable energy, largely powered by wind and political leadership that has set ambitious carbon reduction targets makes it the perfect match for Better Place and the Renault Fluence Z.E.

"Denmark is leading the global transition from oil based transportation to electric. Over the next nine months, the solution you see here will be replicated across the country – giving drivers the confidence and freedom to drive zero emission, zero oil cars with the same convenience they enjoy with today's gas cars," Hansen concluded.

About Better Place

Better Place is the electric car network that makes driving more affordable, convenient and sustainable through a revolutionary switchable battery model. Better Place is building the infrastructure and intelligent network to deliver a range of services to drivers, enable widespread adoption of electric vehicles, and optimize energy use. The Better Place network addresses historical limitations to adoption by providing unlimited driving range in a convenient and accessible manner. The company works with all parts of the transportation ecosystem, including automakers, battery suppliers, energy companies, and the public sector, to create a compelling solution. Based in California and privately held, Better Place has operating companies in Israel, Denmark, and Australia. More information is available at http://www.betterplace.com.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      True, there is a serious capital requirement for the extremely expensive and unnessecary BP infrastructure set-up. Have you thought of the electricity usage for the swap station alone....? Talk about CO2 unfriendly! In the end, the customers pay - always. Lured in by a cheap entry - due to leasing the battery and effectively letting go of any residual value of the Fluence (and it is the only available model and make with swap features with no other automakers in EU supporting this costly model) - the cost of operation will have to be covered by the consumer by their subscription. Buyer be aware. This is an expensive trap the Danes are embroiled in. Also, Nissan Leaf in Denmark is serviced by all available providers in Denmark with Nissan certified charging products and not just the one mentioned above. The DC fastcharge stations will come, but the lack of public funding for such implementations means there has to be a business case - unlike for the swap stations, which are indirectly funded by the DONGEnergy ratepayers...poor souls. They can switch now with the open market, but not too easy from what I hear.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I admire any effort to make electric cars viable , but this may be technological overkill , like having a robot to pump fuel into your gas tank. In the NY Times they mentioned a $350 a month cost for this service . Are you kidding ? Most EV's will be plugged in at home for practically nothing . Super-Fast chargers now take only 20 minutes or so if you're on the road , and a service station attendant could do the job with very little equipment if you had a replaceable battery . Or it could be self-serve for that matter . Right cause , wrong solution ?
      • 4 Years Ago
      "I expect this to be the top selling car in Denmark in just a few years." Good for them. 20 swap stations in 9 months is a big capital sink, but if they build it the ability to drive all-electric anywhere in Denmark with minimal delays will be a great real-world test of BP's approach. An even better test would be if battery swap and DC fast charge were both available throughout the country. Although the Nissan Leaf is available in Denmark and Nissan is partnering with ChoosEV for "semi-public charging stations", I can't find any evidence of DC fast charge stations in Denmark. If BP doesn't rapidly get a lot of customers the finances look challenging to me. When Better Place P.R. lied about the Chinese building 2,300 swapping stations, the Chinese company director actually said "The construction of a large-scale charging station costs 20 to 30 million yuan ($3.05-4.57 million) and a small-scale one costs less than 10 million yuan." So someone has to come up with the ~$35,000,000 for Denmark's 20 stations. If that money isn't coming from "partnership with DONG Energy and more than 45 municipalities" then either BP has to hit up its investors and bankers, or charge customers a lot.
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 4 Years Ago
      not a huge fan of the concept but should be interesting.
      • 3 Years Ago
      To make the EV affordable and good the batteries just have to be standard sized and use the same fastenings under the car. The alternatives are much more expensive for the user, but more prifitable for the manufacurer. The battery packs you can order when coming to a station are different depending on the car and how long you are planning to travel 'til the next swap station. The common standard should only force the industry to adapt to some measures and mecanical solution. They can then focus on building cars. The best accumulators are sophistigated and need advanced care, impossible to offer at home. Small batteries have had standard a long time and cars have been running on the same gas, not some special gas provided by Ford or Toyota.
      • 3 Years Ago
      So it's a year later and clearly this plan did not happen! Please someone please provide the street address of *any* operating Better Place battery swap station in Denmark. The one they demo'd in Gladsaxe seems to have vanished. There's some construction outside their office at Lygten 39, maybe that will become one.
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