I agree the ebuggy, while neat, has its own set of challenges. And that fast charging for 30 minutes or less is more practical than battery swapping. Could they even work that to less than 30 minutes? That could change, but so will battery chemistries.
Billvon, Every one of your reasons why battery swapping won't work has merit. Your comment lays out why this concept will likely not work. Quick charging seems to be the likely solution to letting EVs off the leash.
At a conference last week, I spoke with a design engineer from Lear. He is involved in crafting drive chains. He said the standard does not affect how the car is designed. It only affects how the car gets charged up.
I guess the lesson in all this, is that progress moves in fits in starts - but it has to start somewhere. The market will ultimately decide what is a "livable" solution, once the standards wars have died down.
Battery swaping is a stupid dream for all of the reasons already given, and also because of the skill needed to do it. Not only the electrical connections, but also the mechanical attachments will certainly stump a whole large segment of the population, with a lot of failures resulting.
And, once again, there has been no real consideration of the battery side of the much higher recharge rate. Could you even drive away in a car whose battery was already at the upper temperature limit, or even higher? How much battery life would be lost in such a charge? What about connector melt-down"? In the industrial world, where reliability matters a bit, the high current connectors used are fairly expensive, and they require a bit of skill to use and replace. There is the very real chance that a damaged fast charge connector would continue to be used and damage the connectors on the next few vehicles being charged.
As for the connector standards, and then the commuynication standards, we are probably likely to see a situation more like we have with computers, where the goal seems to be that each application uses a connector unlike any other in existance. This is done to assure a captive market for replacements.
So the result will probably be that charging stations will need to deal with many different interfaces, even if some allegedly universal standard is created. The resulting confusion will probably do more to damage the reputation of electric vehicles than any other problems would. It will be interesting indeed to see if there is any way that it could be made to work. The one way that I can see is for the charger to be part of the vehicle and the connector be for the AC power input, which would utilize current industrial standards for connectors and the actual connections.
Keep in mind that this is not a battery pack design, or a battery pack controller - it is just the charger side of things. The battery pack is responsible for its own thermal management. The battery pack can request as much (or as little) power as it wants, so no risk of having a high power charger damage a small/low power battery.
A standards war is almost inevitable at this point. On one side we have CHAdeMO (up to 500VDC at up to 125A), which uses its own (large) connector and signalling is done using CANbus. On the other side we have the new J1772-DC standard (200-450VDC at up to 200A), which employs one of the most hideous connectors I've ever seen, and uses homeplug power line carrier for signalling. (The original J1772 scheme, which the new one also supports, did its signalling by varying the duty cycle of a 1 Khz square wave.) And then there's Tesla, which has their own fast DC charging scheme, using a much smaller very sleek connector employing who-knows-what type of signalling.
A fair number of cars already have CHAdeMO support. And the State of California is reportedly in the process of installing around 200 CHAdeMO chargers. Tesla is rolling out superchargers in various places.
It may be possible to build adaptors - the Tesla Model S comes with a J1772 adaptor that works reasonably well in my limited (1 month) experience. But building an adator that handles 90Kw isn't exactly trivial even if you're able to run the DC through it directly, which is by no means certain to be possible in all cases.
Speaking as a veteran of the IETF/ITU standards war, I can't say I'm looking forward to another one.
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Noting that we now live in an era of “confusion and ill-conceived stuff,” Ammunition design studio founder Robert Brunner, speaking at Gigaom Roadmap, said that by adding connectivity to everything and its mother, we aren't necessarily doing ourselves any favors, with many ‘things’ just fine in their unconnected state.
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