Graham Hill Solves The Electric Car Charging Problem

Tuesday, 9. August 2011

Hi, Graham Hill here, thank you so much for visiting my blog, I hope you learn a lot and as a result end up driving a great car. In order to do so you can get all the information you need by buying my book, An Insider Guide To Car Finance or use me to finance your next car. Happy driving.
Nissan Leaf electric vehicle and recharging st...

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For some time I’ve been discussing the merits (or otherwise) of electric cars. Are they fit for purpose or not? The problem is really twofold, firstly the very high cost, even allowing for the £5,000 per car subsidy from the Government, and secondly the range, which in most cars isn’t much more than 100 miles. OK make that threefold as there is also the time that it takes to re-charge the car at a charge point, it will never be as quick as a petrol, diesel or even hydrogen car. So what is the answer?

I’ve reported on two possible solutions. The first was the under road charging being tested in Japan. They have an electric vehicle in a theme park that travels all day but picks up electricity to recharge the batteries from under the road. The same principle as the cordless toothbrush that re-charges when placed back on its stand.

They are testing the idea on stretches of normal roads. The second idea was the petrol electric hybrid. You mainly use the electric engine to power the car but if you run low on electric power you have a small petrol driven motor that will get you to your destination.

Both ideas have merit but what about the high cost which will be even higher in the case of the hybrid? Another suggestion was to lease the batteries to at least eliminate the large cost of the batteries making the cars more affordable to buy but how about this for an idea?

First of all standardise the size and shape of batteries, you may not be able to have a one size fits all so you may have to settle on say 3 sizes of battery which you lease at a fixed monthly cost.

However, the cars are designed so that the batteries can be easily exchanged with facilities set up at certain filling stations for fast exchange taking off your old drained battery and replacing with a fully charged battery.

Just show your exchange card, like a fuel card, and the engineer does a quick swap putting the exchanged battery back on charge, in and out in 5 minutes, no payment necessary, just a swipe of the card.

The car can still be trickle charged when at home or when parked although if the system is widespread and quick you wouldn’t need to. The exchange station could restrict the charging to off peak whenever possible. Good idea? Or have I missed something important? By Graham Hill

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