Last week, I wrote about the Unlimited Range Electric Car Systems (URECA) quick battery changer. I noted some severe difficulties with URECA, and emailed Jake Hammerslag, the founder and president of URECA, and he responded not only to my comments, but our readers as well. If you missed it the first time, you can read the original post here, and then come back to see what Hammerslag has to say:

"I am the principal owner of URECA (Unlimited Range Electric Car Systems), which owns the patents listed at the end of the video presentation. Here are my comments which hopefully will answer some of the questions posed by you and your readers.
  1. The batteries and battery location must be standardized, just like the plug of electrical appliances is standard and will fit all electrical outlets (at least in the US). This same problem had to be addressed years ago by Thomas Edison, when he standardized the light bulb screw-in socket.
  2. Having the Exchange/Charge system underground is a very good idea, but may be a tad more expensive (and more expensive to expand) than overhead systems. Actually, both systems could be used (especially initially at existing gas stations) as long as the battery is dispensed at the proper hight and place.
  3. Partially charged batteries may often have to be exchanged for the same price, regardless of the level of charge remaining. As long as the amount charged per exchange is low compared to the cost of filling a partially emptied gas tank, the cost should average out after a relatively short time, when a number of exchanges have been made. A more sophisticated system could measure the charge remaining in the surrendered battery (it will have to be checked anyway for life expectancy to signal removal and replacement periodically) and charge the credit card accordingly (see (4) below).
  4. Batteries are good for only a number of charges/discharges and then must be removed from the system for recycling . That's why the animated presentation shows doors to enter the Exchange/Charge System for maintenance, which includes replacing worn out batteries. Remember that the batteries are owned by the Exchange/Charge System owner, not the vehicle owner (which will make the vehicle that much less expensive to purchase).
  5. Battery theft will probably be less of a problem than car theft itself, which already exists today with all cars. It seems that theft of the battery (from the car itself or the Exchange/Charge system) will probably be more difficult and of less value to the thief than stealing the car itself.
  6. A battery with enough capacity to be equal to a tank full of gas is bound to be heavy and large (and expensive). However, systems for handling and moving large and heavy objects have been around for years (look at elevators) and should not represent an insurmountable problem. Also, especially with the success of hybrids, much work is being done on batteries, which should in time reduce their size, weight and cost and increase their capacity.
The bottom line is: The URECA patented system reduces "refueling" from hours to seconds, totally eliminates the need of gasoline or diesel fuel (and our dependence on it) and also eliminates the need of gasoline engines and generators as are used in hybrids. But it will take considerable investments by perhaps car manufacturers (like maybe Toyota) and perhaps help from the Government."

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