NuTech’s Portable Battery Swapping Stations

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At this point, most of us have heard of Better Place and their battery swap station idea, but they aren’t the only ones who’ve though of such a thing. NuTech, a company I recently discovered at the Alt Car Expo in Santa Monica, CA, has developed their own take on the concept of drive-thru battery swap stations… only theirs is portable.

The concept of a portable battery swap station strikes me as more realistic than a permanent structure; gas stations who also want to service electric vehicles can just rent one, park it on their property, and return it if they aren’t making enough money. Also, it doesn’t need a huge commitment to building new infrastructure. Battery swapping seems to make so much more sense than charging stations, and NuTech’s solution may just be the ticket.

Recently there has been a huge hubbub about setting up a charging station corridor along Highway 101, but I don’t think the idea fits with how most people travel between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Few travelers want to stop and hang out for a three hours along the way— let’s face it, driving this distance can be as quick as flying, when calculated door-to-door.

NuTech’s swapping stations could be a quick and easy way to enable the current refueling infrastructure to adapt to electric vehicles. The challenge will be in dealing with the variety of batteries and installation methods employed by the various manufacturers. For example, Zero Motorcycle batteries are designed to be easily swapped, while Brammo’s are not. And if a gas station owner is expected to carry the full range of EV batteries, that could represent a capital investment they’re not willing to undertake. How difficult would it be for EV manufacturers to standardize batteries? And would it make more sense to start working toward that now, or wait and see if EV batteries become capable of the sort of endurance that would make this technology unnecessary?

Image Credit: NuTech

 

Susanna Schick

Susanna is passionate about anything fast and electric. As long as it's only got two wheels. She covers electric motorcycle racing events, test rides electric motorcycles, and interviews industry leaders. Occasionally she deigns to cover automobile events in Los Angeles for us as well. However, she dreams of a day when Los Angeles' streets resemble the two-wheeled paradise she discovered living in Barcelona and will not rest until she's converted the masses to two-wheeled bliss.