RANGE EX­TEN­SION

Car (South Africa) - - MAIL -

Thanks for a great magazine, es­pe­cially the tech­ni­cal ar­ti­cles.

Pure elec­tric ve­hi­cles [EV] have range is­sues, as we all know, and you can­not drive from Pretoria to Cape Town on a sin­gle charge of the bat­ter­ies – well, not yet, any­way.

Years ago, when I started read­ing up on EV tech­nol­ogy, it came to me that per­haps the best way to tackle the range prob­lem would be the fol­low­ing: ve­hi­cle man­u­fac­tur­ers should get to­gether and stan­dard­ise bat­tery packs to a cer­tain de­gree, in or­der for them to be re­moved and re­placed with ease.

Let’s say a typ­i­cal elec­tric car is driven and the bat­ter­ies run low on charge, the driver could stop at a lling sta­tion and, while hav­ing a cup of cof­fee, the bat­tery is re­moved and a fully charged equiv­a­lent pack is in­serted into their ve­hi­cle. This should take less than 15 min­utes and the driver is charged a nom­i­nal fee. The elec­tric ve­hi­cle is then ready to do an­other 500 km, equiv­a­lent to a petrol ve­hi­cle, or what­ever range it can do on this charge, un­til the next lling sta­tion is reached to re­peat the process. This will work only if all man­u­fac­tur­ers reach an agree­ment to stan­dard­ise bat­tery packs.

This also cre­ates job op­por­tu­ni­ties. Charg­ing bat­tery packs can be done overnight at lling sta­tions, which will al­ways have enough bat­tery packs fully charged and ready to in­sert when needed. Most man­u­fac­tur­ers have al­ready reached global con­sen­sus on the plugs and sock­ets that are needed to charge EV (IEC 621961/IEC 62196-2), so why not the bat­tery-pack de­sign in or­der for bene ts can be tapped? PETER W Pretoria [This is a good idea in prin­ci­ple, Peter, and was also the aim of an Is­raeli com­pany called Bet­ter Place that was founded in 2007. It was at the fore­front of bat­tery swap­ping and had ac­tual sta­tions in place for elec­tric taxis as a demon­stra­tion of the tech­nol­ogy. How­ever, it failed and went bank­rupt in 2013. Stan­dard­i­s­a­tion of bat­tery packs was one is­sue, but the main rea­son for the idea not tak­ing off was cost. A lithium-ion bat­tery pack is by far

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