Consortium develops technology for switchable drive batteries

March 04, 2011 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Rapidly exchanging the batteries for electric vehicles could be an alternative solution to the time-consuming process of recharging. The European Commission now has given green light to a development project aiming at creating the associated technology.

A consortium led by Better Place, a company driving business models, infrastructure and technologies around switchable batteries for electric vehicles will develop standardized vehicle components and interfaces, enabling the vehicle industry to integrate the battery switching technology into their electric cars. The EASYBAT consortium embraces automotive OEM Renault SA, tier one Continental AG, consulting company Ernst & Young, testing services provider TÜV Rheinland as well as five research institutes.

Better Place and Renault intend to roll out the first large-volume battery switching application already in the current year, associated with the commercial launch of the Renault Fluence Z. E. in Israel and Danmark.

The EASYBAT solution will consist of interfaces for switching a battery in and out of an electric car quickly and safely; the connector interfaces between the car, the battery, the communications network, and the battery cooling system; and design specifications that meet European industry and safety standards. The solution will be integrated and tested on fully electric vehicles to ensure it meets production-grade manufacturing criteria and European safety standards.

Upon conclusion, EASYBAT will have a commercially available solution for battery switch integration components and design plans that allow for different types of batteries, not just a single standardized battery. Car manufacturers that want to focus on proprietary battery technology can do so and still be able to integrate their technology into a switchable battery electric car platform as envisioned by EASYBAT, the consortium promises.

EASYBAT is part of the seventh EU Framework and expected to run until mid-2013. The EC will partly fund the project with 2.2 million euros.