Energy

Resolving EV inhibitions

For personal use in urban areas, electric vehicles are clearly in our immediate future. But not everyone lives in a home where battery charging is a simple and affordable process.

Fast charging stations are costly to build, damaging to batteries, and may be expensive to use, drawing power at times of peak demand.

But battery swapping may be a solution for many who suffer EV inhibitions.

Dave Borlace operates one of my favourite YouTube sites: Just Have a Think. As usual, he provides a balanced, non-commercial look at the pros and cons of battery swapping.

Categories: Energy

6 replies »

  1. I’ve owned an EV for about 2 1/2 years and I have to say one the biggest advantages is charging up in my garage. No hunting around for a charge station or swap station. It is as simple as charging your cell phone. Seldom do we use a charge station unless we are traveling a great distance.

    Battery technology and architecture is also very proprietary. For many EV manufacturers, it is their ‘secret sauce’. I can’t see all the EV manufacturers getting together and agreeing on a universal battery design. It just won’t happen. The consumer wins if companies are free to advance battery technology.

    A big thumbs down to battery swapping for passenger vehicles. It probably makes some sense for motorcycles and large truck fleets.

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    • Agreed that for many people, charging at home is the preferred option. Particularly true for people in modern single family dwellings. But that may be problematic for people in other forms of accommodation.

      By example, to put a reasonable vehicle charging system into our residence, we would need to upgrade electrical service, which would involve new underground cabling and conduit from the connection point and a new electrical panel. When we looked at an upgrade some years ago, the cost was substantial.

      Multi-unit residences present challenges for maintaining EVs as well, and those types of homes are becoming the way of living in cities and suburbs. I talked with a municipal councillor yesterday who believes urban densification will accelerate and single families will be less likely to occupy housing lots of 600 square metres and more.

      One potential of battery swapping is that companies providing the service may rely on self-generation of electricity. That will be attractive because the cost of energy from the grid has been rising steadily while the cost of alternatives was dropping. Given BC Hydro’s mounting costs and commitments to capital spending, the price of electricity from the grid will increase significantly in the next decade. The cost of power from rooftop solar will go in the opposite direction.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, if batteries could re charge themselves as the vehicle drove, it would be a great thing. If I were working today and commuting I’d drive a hybrid. As it is, being retired and driving about once a week, my two vehicles will last me the rest of my life or until they take away my driver’s license. Now if the engines drop out of the truck and van, I’d be looking at a hybrid although that electric truck sure is nice and i do like trucks.

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  3. Many of us do a form of this swapping with our bbq propane tanks. If you don’t want to wait around for a refill, you leave your tank and pick up an already-filled one.

    It hasn’t happened to me yet — but there could be a time when I have handed in a near-new tank and been ‘stuck’ with a tank that has one month left on it before its safety stamp expires… after which I’d have to buy a new tank at the next refill.

    I’d have to think there’s hesitancy in giving up the battery that came with your car (if you have no issues with its reliability) in exchange for a battery of unknown history. Maybe yours is 3 months old and you’ve been trickle-charging — and this new one has been rapid charged for a few years. On the other hand, you’d be motivated to give up a battery that you’ve been having concerns with. I suspect the swap stations are ahead of my concerns…

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    • Some battery swapping business models have automobile owners NOT owning the batteries, just paying a recharge fee or a subscription amount. Whether the battery is two months old or 60 months old may not matter much to the car driver.

      This would decrease the initial capital cost of an EV. High prices for what seem like mediocre electric vehicles (small in size, limited in range, etc.) is a barrier that keeps people from converting from ICE to EV.

      GM issues second recall of Chevy Bolt EVs after vehicles catch fire

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