While it’s understood electric car owners gain range confidence after a couple months of EV ownership, a question still lingers how an EV owner handles longer trips. The easy alternatives are to either rent a gasoline powered car, buy a plug-in hybrid (like the Volt), or use a fast charging station. Not too long ago Better Place was offering another alternative, rapid battery swapping, but that company fizzled out in a big way. Now a company, eBuggy a.k.a. Nomadic Power, is talking of a different implementation of battery swapping: Battery trailers.
The idea is pretty straight-forward. You connect a small trailer to the car, the trailer carries a battery pack, and you connect that pack to the car. The addon battery pack is easily swappable at a road-side service center, and would not require any expensive robotic equipment, nor require the car companies to conform their battery packs to a standardized pack shape. It would require some cooperation among car makers on a charging port that doesn’t stop the car from running.
It’s really that simple, and conceptually every EV driver thinks up the same idea. The difference between you, me, and them, is that these people have gone ahead and done it.
There is a huge gaping technical issue. The existing charging port design locks the vehicle from being driven if the port is connected to a charging station. That’s a safety feature meant to prevent drivers from driving off with the car plugged in.
Nomadic Power’s trailer would have to connect to a DC charging port, and would have to negotiate between car and trailer about what voltage the trailer supplies to supply to the car. This is similar to the negotiation that has to occur at a DC Fast Charging station. But, again, the charging port would have to be configured so it doesn’t prevent the car from driving.
In use, you’d pull in at a battery trailer exchange station and an attendant would swap trailers for you and make sure to plug in the trailer you just dropped off. Trailers being stored at an exchange station could be used for smart grid services, giving the company a second revenue stream with which they could reduce the cost of offering battery exchange services.
The Nomadic Power website claims their battery exchange stations would be very cheap to set up. I imagine this’d be a little more complex than the propane tank services you see at many gasoline stations. By comparison each Better Place station cost about $250,000 to build.
- Highway design could decrease death and injury risk, if “we” chose smarter designs - March 28, 2015
- GM really did trademark “range anxiety”, only later to abandon that mark - March 25, 2015
- US Government releases new regulations on hydraulic fracturing, that some call “toothless” - March 20, 2015
- Tesla Motors magic pill to solve range anxiety doesn’t quite instill range confidence - March 19, 2015
- Update on Galena IL oil train – 21 cars involved, which were the supposedly safer CP1232 design - March 7, 2015
- Another oil bomb train – why are they shipping crude oil by train? – Symptoms of fossil fuel addiction - March 6, 2015
- Chevron relinquishes fracking in Romania, as part of broader pull-out from Eastern European fracking operations - February 22, 2015
- Answer anti- electric car articles with truth and pride – truth outshines all distortions - February 19, 2015
- Apple taking big risk on developing a car? Please, Apple, don’t go there! - February 16, 2015
- Toyota, Nissan, Honda working on Japanese fuel cell infrastructure for Japanese government - February 12, 2015