Better Place charging scheme gets more pit-stop time in Tokyo

Commercial launches planned for late 2011 in Israel, Denmark.
Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor

Electric vehicle charging infrastructure company Better Place will get until the end of 2010 to collect more information from its trial with taxis in Japan's largest city. In April, the company began working with that nation's Agency for Natural Resource and Energy of Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. Close to 40,311 kilometers have been driven as part of the original three-month test. That's about 25,048 miles.

The test is focused on the use of switchable batteries, which can help extend the range of electric vehicles without keeping them off the road too long. According to Better Place, the average switch time (so far) for the batteries is about 59.1 seconds over the course of 2,122 switches for the three electric vehicles being tested. Sort of brings new meaning to the phrase, pit stop.

In any event, Better Place is switching off the pilot this month to crunch some data. It will resume again in September and keep the Tokyo trial going until the end of the year. Says Kiyotaka Fujii, president of Better Place Japan: "By extending this program, we hope to gain further insights into the battery performance and durability of the switch station itself, which will be invaluable as we move towards commercial launch later next year in Israel and Denmark."

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