Inspired by previous blog entries (vide supra), I visited the Exhibition in Yokohama that demonstrated their key elements of EV charging system.
(In their website, you can see a picture of their exhibition - only the overview, though)
The demonstration of EV's battery exchange was about half an hour - ca. 20 people (including me - with daughter) attended, which was the final session of that day.
The session began with the introduction by TV, which show why they focused on EV as the solution of "post-petroleum" era. In their introduction, they pointed out that vehicles is responsible for ca. 25 % of total CO2 emission, and their EV solution would give a huge reduction on CO2 emmision. In the introduction, they stressed that they are focusing on the development of the infrastructure rather than EV or battery itself. They offer two types of infrastructure, that is, one is EV charging on-site, and battery exchange is another.
They also briefly introduced their business plan/progress around the world, which said that they will launched their service commercially in Israel and Denmark within 5 years. They have interest in Japan because of the integration of car industry, and technological/historical background on EV development (that is also the reason why they decided to demonstrate their concept for the first time).
After the introduction, the battery exchange was demonstrated twice. EV-car (by Nissan) ran the course (ca. 100 m), and the battery was exchanged for each run. They showed that it took ca. 95 seconds for the exchange, with full automated system (from setting the vehicle, discharging the used battery, putting in fully charged battery, and finish.) The session finished after the demonstration.
I talked with the guy at the exhibition after the demonstration -
1) Weight of the battery? -> ca. 250 kg.
2) How about the difference from the ordinary cars? -> Not so different. One of our key concept is "to achieve the same convenience as the ordinary cars".
3) Battery in detail? -> Will be presented in the press-release in May 13th. Anyway, it is not brand-new one.
4) The business depend on the contents of the resource of the electricity - if you rely on thermal power plant too much, you may come across with the increase of CO2 emmision as the efficiency is better for vehicle engine, how do you think?
- >I agree with that point. Still, we will first focus on utilising over-produced electricity from renewable energy resources, such as solar, wind, etc. Eventually, we will rely on other electricities in the case we could not afford it. More than that, our customer has funded us because we offer a vision for "post petrol" era.
(Actually, I mentined the advantage of the use of "nuclear power", but he never mentioned it - probably, "Use renewable energy First" is one of their corporate culture.)
5) This project is supported by MOE (Ministry of the Environment). How will other ministries, such as METI, involve?
- >This project is supported by MOE as it is focusing on the reduction of CO2, and the use of renewable energy. We will have to deal with other ministries as our project proceeds.
I enjoyed talking with you. Thanks for your information, Mr. Better Place!