Battery Swaps Will Never Work

  • April 20, 2024

One of the fascinating things about all the problems with EVs is that people keep trying to come up with work-arounds rather than concede EVs are the problem – and stop trying to find work arounds. The solution to the problem of EVs is to abandon them – as people did a century ago, when it became clear the way to avoid the problems you got when you owned an EV was to drive something that wasn’t an EV – and didn’t have the problems.

This apparently takes time to penetrate some people’s heads.

Meanwhile, some people continue to look for “solutions” to the EV’s two main problems – their short-leash driving range and their long recharge times. These are compound problems, too. If it didn’t take so long to recharge an EV – best case scenario, at least 20-30 minutes at what some people have been taught to refer to as a “fast” charger, to get a partial (80 percent) charge – then it wouldn’t be a problem even if they could only go 200 or so miles before running low on charge.

At least, it would not be a serious problem – if you could get going again in five minutes or less with a fully charged battery.

Conversely, having to wait for 20-30 minutes to recover a partial charge would be less of a problem if an EV’s battery pack were capable of storing enough electricity to provide enough power to go at least 600 miles in between charges. Not 20 percent less than whatever’s indicated – as is generally true.

This would reduce the amount of time spent waiting for a charge, which would compensate for the time you’d still have to spend waiting for a charge. It’d still be 20-30 minutes. But it’d be just once a week rather than twice a week.

Of course, you’d still have the same basic problems.

Some people think they have the solution. You have probably already heard about it. Rather than spend time waiting for the EV’s battery to recharge, just swap out the battery. Superficially, this sounds like a good solution because most people will immediately think of other battery powered devices, such as cordless power tools. These typically come with a spare battery – so that when the one that’s powering the drill or whatever it is starts to get tired, you just pop it out and pop in the fully charged one that’s been sitting on the charger while you were working.

But “popping in” (and out) an EV battery is not such a simple thing.

First, obviously, they are extremely heavy – so you won’t be “popping in” (or out) anything. It would have to be done by a machine in some kind of automated facility – and that will get into money. Who is going to pay for that?

It would also not be easy – because EV batteries are not easy to get at. They are buried in the floorpans and take up (typically) most of the length and width of the floorpan. To get at one – let alone remove/replace one – it would be necessary to remove the body first. In order to get at what is styled the “skate” underneath. So you’d need a machine capable of removing (or at least, lifting) the body off the skate to get at the battery, without damaging either the body or the battery.

This will also get into money. And it will certainly take time. Perhaps not as much time as it takes to partially recharge a an EV’s battery pack – but longer than it takes to fully refill a gas tank.

Another problem is that while EVs are basically all the same, their batteries are different, in terms of their shape, their electrical connections and power output. So our hypothetical battery-swap joint would have to stock an inventory of different-make-model EV batteries to have the one you need in stock. These batteries would also need to be hooked up continuously to trickle charge apparatus to keep them charged (and warm and not too cold, too) while they’re waiting to be swapped – otherwise they’d lose charge – and there would need to be additional storage (and charge hook-ups/capacity) for the turned-in/discharged batteries.

Problems not solved.

Well, say the problem-solvers, it could be done faster – if EV batteries were standardized and one-size-fits all. And if EVs were designed the same way, so that it would be easier and presumably faster to lift the body off the skate and slide the old battery out and the new/charged-up battery in.

Maybe faster. But not as fast as pumping 15 gallons into a tank. And never mind the cost of making everything the same, so as to solve a problem that could be fixed at a stroke by acknowledging that EVs are the problem – and the solution is to stop forcing them on people until they solve the problems.

If they ever do, then it wouldn’t be necessary to force them on people.

But – aye – that’s precisely the problem . . . with EVs.

. . .

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