Following demonstrations of the battery switch technology with prototype vehicles in Yokohama and Tokyo, Japan, Better Place also revealed the battery switch process for the Renault Fluence Z.E., the first mass market electric vehicle set to launch in Israel and Denmark at the end of this year.
The battery switch experience is a simple, fully-automated process that together with the Renault Fluence Z.E. gives drivers the autonomy of unlimited range. Customers simply swipe their membership card, which authenticates the car and subscription via the Operations Center to activate the switch. The rest of the process is automated, similar to going through a car wash, so the driver never has to leave the car. In less than five minutes, a robotic arm removes the depleted battery and replaces it with a full one and the driver is back on the road.
Better Place also announced the company’s infrastructure deployment roadmap for the country.
As part of the deployment plan, Better Place exposed the locations for the first nine of 40 Battery Switch Stations that will be deployed by the end of this year in locations across Israel including: Hadera, Modi’in, Mahanaim, Mitzpeh Ramon, Be’er Sheva, Yavne, Beit Shean and Bilu Junction.
To date, Better Place has signed 400 agreements with parking lot owners across Israel to deploy thousands of charge spots with the first 200 sites already under construction. In addition, 27 municipalities have signed agreements to ensure that Better Place charge spots are deployed in central locations in their respective cities.
Drivers can buy the electric car without the battery and sign up for a Better Place membership package based on kilometers/miles driven.
By separating the ownership of the car and the battery, Better Place is able to remove the driver burdens of cost, acquisition, maintenance, warranty, and residual value concerns. As part of the package, customers have access to the entire Better Place solution which includes:
• Installation of private Charge Spot
• Unlimited access to Better Place’s network of public Charge Spots
• Unlimited access to Better Place’s network of automated Battery Switch Stations
• Personalized energy management and navigation services via in-car and network software
• Access to an inventory of batteries with a guaranteed service level agreement
• 24-hour access to customer service and support
• Energy usage
Better Place Also previewed the in-car software platform that provides the interface between the customer, the battery, the car and Better Place. The combination of GPS, navigation, and energy management eliminates range anxiety by letting the driver know how much energy they have at any given time and the location of the closest Battery Switch Station or Charge Spot.
The key to the entire system is the Operations Center, which can manage all of the company’s networks around the world. It works in real-time communicating with the utility or grid operator on energy supply and demand from cars plugged in to the network, helps to prioritize customer charging, and optimize the battery inventory. In addition, the Operations Center gives a 24/7 view of the network and how it is performing allowing for the best possible customer service.