I love Nissan, and I have been watching their electric vehicle plans. They are incredibly smart in partnering with local governments: Israel, Portugal, Denmark, Oregon, and Hawai'i. I might have missed a few.
Of course, ever manufacturer wants to dominate the market. But it would be cool if you could drive your Toyota, Ford, Nissan, or Honda up to a station and get a standardized battery.
From better place's web site, it looks like the battery drops in from the top. A lot of EVs I've read about have the motors in the wheels. If that's so, what used to be the engine compartment can now be used to plunk down a big battery.
I would like to learn more about the technology works. Are the batteries lowered from under the car, or slid out from the end?
From what I've read, it's almost like a robot reaches in from the top and takes out one battery, exchanging it for a fresh one.
I am still wondering how you pay for the energy you use. I'm sure they've figured it out. But if I drive 100 miles on my battery, and my neighbor only goes 50, we won't pay the same amount will we? Or will they let drivers pay a flat rate and you just drive as much as you want?
I'll obviously have to read up a bit more on their business model.
The only problem with Project Better Place is that you are now dependent on paying a company a fee for the battery, and likely will have to pay for someone's profit margins in the process, killing much of the economic savings that could result from using an EV(and possibly making it far more expensive than gasoline use in the process, when it otherwise would be extremely cheap).
A few fast charge stations scattered around the islands should be sufficient to meet the needs of Hawaii given the short driving distance involved to get anywhere in Hawaii; the vast majority of charging would be done at home slowly. The need for rapid charging would be extremely low with any car that had a range greater than 100 miles in Hawaii.
Who owns the batteries?
I'd hate to turn in the new batteries from the car I just bought and get a set of memory retentive, worn out substitutes that won't carry me as far before being flat.
After 18 months my Li-ion phone battery was down to 2 minutes talk time on a "full charge". My work laptop Li-ion battery won't accept more than an 86% charge. The PbA in my work shed trickle charged from a solar panel now barely powers the 13 watt CF night light.
I'd love to trade any of those for a fresh replacement. Wanna swap?