Renault Fluence EV; photo by canonsnapper (source: Flickr Creative Commons)

On April 26th the city of Tokyo, Japan will experiment with a new public system for charging electric vehicles. The ‘battery swap’ method robotically changes empty batteries for fully charged ones at specially equipped charging stations. This innovative system, developed by the American company Better Place, provides a much quicker way of charging electric cars than the traditional ‘plug in and wait’ option.

The battery swap system will be tested for a three-month trial period by a major taxi firm located in Tokyo’s central Roppongi district.

From an article in the Guardian:

All of our components will be tested together with the Renault Fluence electric vehicles. There will be 10 cars this year, and as we work out the kinks in the system we’ll scale up by bringing in additional vehicles and deploying additional infrastructure.

–Better Place

Better Place is also running a trial of EV 100 charging stations in Copenhagen and has plans for ventures in Israel, Australia, Hawaii and California.

Additional resources:

VOA News – Electric Vehicles Charge Ahead in US

Electric cars: solutions to the ‘refueling’ dilemma?