The prospect of electric cars that can be recharged within 10 to 15 minutes moved a step closer last week with the announcement of a new pilot project in Arizona.
Car giant Nissan announced that it has signed a partnership with electric vehicle charging technology firm ECOtality and Pima Association of Governments, which represents the Tucson, Arizona region, that will see the three parties work together on rolling out a charging network. ECOtality said that it would aim to have parts of the public recharging infrastructure rolled out by 2010, in readiness for the US launch of Nissan’s zero emission vehicle. Nissan added that under the agreement it would then make a supply of electric vehicles available to the regions public and private fleets. The group said it would also work to promote public and business awareness of the new recharging grid and the benefits associated with electric vehicles.
In an interview with The Cleantech Group, ECOtality President and chief executive Jonathan Read, also used the launch of the new working group to lay down the gauntlet to recharging network rival Project Better Place, arguing that fast charging technologies such as those being trialled in Arizona will prove more convenient and cost effective than Project Better Place’s battery swap model. “It takes 10 or 15 minutes to fast charge, which isn’t going to be much quicker or slower than swapping a battery, and certainly a lot less moving parts and potential points of failure. Let alone the capital costs required to build a battery swap infrastructure,” he said. “Batteries are going to get larger. Range is going to get greatly improved. The amount of energy that you’re going to pour into a vehicle in a given timeframe is going to increase shortly.” He added that attempts to develop standardised batteries that can be swapped in and out of cars when they are flat would be hampered by the rapid rate of battery development.”I don’t think we’ll ever get to a situation where we have unitary batteries, as envisioned by Better Place, because there will always be new technologies, with companies vying to be better than the next,” said Read.
Nissan said that it was not wedded to either approach, but did argue that fast charge networks could be rolled out with a lower capital cost.
[Thank you to BusinessGreen.com]
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