Auto industry newcomer Shai Agassi of Better Place traveled to Yokahoma, Japan last week to demonstrate the world’s first “battery switch technology” for electric cars. Agassi’s goal is to extend the limited range of electric cars by creating stations where the cars’ depleted battery packs could be swapped for fully-charged packs in a matter of minutes. Better Place demonstrated the technology on a modified Nissan electric crossover SUV for Japan’s Ministry of Environment.
Agassi’s company is committed to the concept of “zero-emission mobility,” which it would achieve through the use of the switching stations and charge stations backed by wind and solar power. It’s an incredibly ambitious goal, and Better Place has justifiably been the beneficiary of mountains of press coverage from NPR, Time, Newsweek, Scientific American, and countless other news outlets. The question is whether Better Place can convince the world to revolutionize its roadside infrastructure and convince the auto industry to modify its vehicle designs in order to accommodate the concept. For those who haven’t seen Better Place’s website, it’s worthwhile to take a peek at the video showing their switching concept.