Electric vehicle infrastructure company Better Place has had its fair share of challenges in trying to get battery-swap technology off the ground. While they are still seeking $100 million in future investments, a Slovakia-based GreenWay has applied the same idea in a new way. The catch: GreenWay doesn't need $100 million to do it. Operating on a lower budget, GreenWay says they are able to take a lot of cost out of battery swapping. And they think they have also found the perfect application for it: nation-wide package delivery.
The concept is to retrofit diesel Citroen cargo vans with electric drives, powered by an easily removable battery. The LiFeYPo4 battery packs sends out energy to a 100 kW motor and provides about 75-100 miles of range. The energy savings for this setup would more than pay for the conversion over the life of the vehicle given the increasing price of diesel.
The cost savings over Better Place's automated battery-swap setup comes with a bit of manual labor. The delivery driver does the battery swapping by driving a forklift into the battery bay and pulling out a new one while exchanging the old one. The whole process takes only 7 minutes and is much cheaper than Better Place's estimated $1 million setup. The battery is easily accessible inside the van's cargo area.
[Source: Plugin Cars]