Print 45 comment(s) - last by grath.. on Oct 30 at 9:00 PM

Cities would get up to 250,000 charging stations each

Electric cars have lots of potential, but currently they have many drawbacks as well. A couple of the biggest drawbacks for electric cars are limited driving range and the fact that most cities aren't set up with easy access to charging stations.

An American firm is looking to make charging electric vehicles easier in Australia. The firm is called Better Place and has unveiled plans that would place an electrical charging network costing $667 million in major cities in Australia. Working with Better Place to make the charging network a reality is Australian power company AGL and finance group Macquarie Capital.

The agreement with have the finance group raising the money to build the charge network and placing the network in the country's largest cities like Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane. AGL says that the electricity for the system would be generated by renewable means.

Each of the three cities would have a network of between 200,000 and 250,000 charging stations by 2012. Drivers of electric vehicles would pay similarly to a cellular calling plan where the cost is based on the amount of power used.

Better Place CEO Shai Agassi said in a statement, "We call it a ubiquitous charging network across the cities. We are investing in Australia's economy and adding jobs while helping the country take a generational leap forward toward oil independence."

Once the charge system is in place commuters would have less reason not to buy electric cars and the Australian government might offer tax incentives or free power for early adopters of the charge network.

Several carmakers that sell vehicles in Australia are bringing electric vehicles to market including GM and Renault-Nissan. Agassi is encouraging Australian carmakers to develop their own electric vehicles. The network will also have 150 switch stations in each city where drivers of electric cars can pull through a car wash like building and exchange depleted battery packs for fresh ones.

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RE: Great start
By Spivonious on 10/24/2008 11:49:21 AM , Rating: 2
I imagine the plugs will look just like the plugs in your house. Doing anything else would defeat the purpose of plug-in cars.

RE: Great start
By tjr508 on 10/24/2008 12:00:49 PM , Rating: 5
Not really. The charging process can be greatly optimized with equipment you may not want to be hauling around with you in your car. Also, factors like availability of a 3-phase source could reduce the amount of hardware needed to preform the said task of charging a battery.

RE: Great start
By grath on 10/30/2008 9:00:01 PM , Rating: 2
Something like the plugs in your house arent nearly durable or safe enough for this application. Think of the nozzle and hose at a gas pump that have to survive the near constant beating of people in a hurry slamming it back and forth between cradle and tank, subjected to a hot or cold wet greasy and dirty environment, breaking away if people drive off without removing it from their tank, and still doing the job safely. Handling electricity rather than combustible liquid does simplify the requirements and make it safer, but the environmental and durability challenge is the same.

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