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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 foolsgambit11 on 10/24/2008 8:00:31 PM , Rating: 3
Better yet would be a two-pronged approach to charging a battery - fast charge and trickle charge. At a gas station, or some location with 3-phase, you could do a quick 10-minute charge, and at home, you could do a trickle charge.

If you have sufficient range for everyday driving (say, 150 miles or so), you can charge slowly at home overnight. If you are going further than that, you'll have to put up with 10 minute pit-stops every two hours or so. Surprise! That's a good idea anyway. Get out, stretch your legs, go to the bathroom. Or sit in your car, turn on the DVD player you have mounted in the dash and watch part of a movie. I don't care. But 10 minutes every 2 hours instead of 5 minutes every 3 hours (a rough estimate of filling up with gas) isn't as big of a deal as people make it out to be.

Still, I don't think we're quite to the 10 minute bulk-charge mark yet. We're somewhere around 20 minutes, if I remember correctly. But I can see the electric car being practical and popular in the next 10 to 20 years. Of course, it always seems to be 10 years off....

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