Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Are Safe

A battery swapping (or switching) station is a place at which a vehicle’s discharged battery or battery pack can be immediately swapped for a fully charged one, eliminating the delay involved in waiting for the vehicle’s battery to charge. The Better Place network was the first modern commercial deployment of the battery switching model. The Renault Fluence Z.E. was the first electric car enabled with switchable battery technology available for the Better Place network in operation in Israel and Denmark. Better Place used the same technology to swap batteries that F-16jet fighter aircraft use to load their bombs.
Better Place launched its first battery-swapping station in Israel, in Kiryat Ekron, near Rehovot in March 2011. The battery exchange process took five minutes. As of December 2012, about 600 Fluence Z.E.s had been sold in the country. Sales during the first quarter of 2013 improved, with 297 cars sold, bringing the total fleet in Israel close to 900. As of December 2012, there were 17 battery switch stations fully operational in Denmark, enabling customers to drive anywhere across the country in an electric car. Fluence Z.E. sales totaled 198 units through December 2012.
Better Place filed for bankruptcy in Israel in May 2013. The company’s financial difficulties were caused by the high investment required to develop the charging and swapping infrastructure, about US$850 million in private capital, and a market penetration significantly lower than originally predicted by Shai Agassi. Fewer than 1,000 Fluence Z.E. cars had been deployed in Israel and only around 400 units in Denmark. Under Better Place’s business model, the company owned the batteries, so the court liquidator had to decide what to do with customers who did not have ownership of the battery and risked being left with a useless car.

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