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Practical electric car infrastructure

"Gas stations" rent out rechargeable batteries.
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As pointed out many times, a major drawback with electric cars is the time it takes to charge them. This idea solves that problem and also saves gas stations from closure when gas becomes obsolete. Every new electric car should have a standardized battery compartment, which holds a removable battery about 2'x1'x1' or however big it needs to be. The fueling station then has banks of these batteries constantly being charged. People pay a set rate to get one battery, which will take them a certain number of miles. When the battery is empty they go to a fueling station and swap out the old battery for a fresh one. The empty battery goes in the charging bank, the driver pays $30 or so to rent a new battery, leaves happy.
Eventually batteries wear out and won't hold a charge. At this point the fueling station can send them back to the company and they will be recycled and replaced with a fresh one.

-easy refueling of electric cars
-save gas station industry
-technologically feasible (I think)

-some stations may run out of batteries while others are overstocked
-flow of money could need tweaking
-massive amounts of electricity required by gas stations.

DIYMatt, Apr 12 2009

In the process of being baked in Israel. http://www.time.com...599,1705518,00.html
[Veho, Apr 12 2009]


       I'm afraid this idea isn't exactly original. It's been proposed many times. It has two significant issues. One is that the "battery" in an electrical car is/would be a several hundred pound, several tens cubic feet battery bank. Changing out would require a fork lift or automated system, not insoluble, but difficult, especially to make the design secure in case of an accident.
Second is adoption. A single station wouldn't be enough, it would have to be adopted over a wide area. Convincing enough stations to do this will be difficult. This is true of any new fuel (I believe there are something like 5 hydrogen stations in the US right now). Plug in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) may solve this once they hit the market, by encouraging phased adoption.
MechE, Apr 12 2009

       I think the big problem is battery life cycle. People could keep swapping out till they got a newer one and then keep it for home recharging, but in any case this is by no means a new idea. (-)
MisterQED, Apr 12 2009

       Israel is proposing to introduce electric cars supported by a network of service stations that would do just that: remove the empty battery and install a freshly charged one. Note that the batteries would be part of the service, not part of the vehicle.
Veho, Apr 12 2009

       I've been trying to work this out for city transit: buses come in, maintenance workers change the battery packs, the buses go out again... rush hour'd be a bitch.   

       But your local "gas station" could become your local power station, maybe with neighbourhood water-heating as well.
FlyingToaster, Apr 12 2009

       Wow, I'm as smart as the Israelis!
DIYMatt, Apr 12 2009

       I think most charge stations will be full esrvice rest stops where you sit and eat for 1/2 hour or so anyways. Since you only go here on a road trip it doesn't bother you much. During the week when commuting to work it isn't an issue, there are 4~8hr stretches to leave it plugged in. most corner-store gas stations will perish.
AutoMcDonough, Mar 03 2010


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