Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Electric Cars (cont.): ‘Better Place’ Makes News

A Better Place electric car pulls into the dock of a
fully automated battery transfer station.

• May 14 Update: Chevron may close refinery

The marketing and PR savvy of Better Place, the company intent on wiring cities around the globe for electric car hookups and battery changes, was evident on the Internet today. The company seems to have made news just about everywhere, including a blurb in the Honolulu Advertiser and a longer piece in the Star-Bulletin.

The big event was a Yokohama, Japan demonstration of the company’s automated battery switching technology. It’s frankly nothing like we had envisioned and looks more like a NASA “clean room” than a service station.

The above image is from a YouTube video of the demonstration, and if the switch routinely happens that fast, it will be quicker than a full-tank fill-up. The procedure happens while the driver sits in the car.

We confess to being more than a little impressed, and we look forward to seeing similar demonstrations here on Oahu, where the so-called mileage limitations of electric cars won’t scare away prospective buyers. You can drive nearly everywhere on the island well within the range of a single charge.

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