Japan Toys with Battery-Rechargeable Taxis

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Japan's Agency for Natural Resources and Energy has begun funding a field test of electric vehicles (EVs) with replaceable batteries. The test consists of three EVs, each one used as a taxi, which can putter into a battery replacement station built in Tokyo and have its battery replaced in about 60 seconds.

"It is much faster than charging a battery," Better Place Japan said. "So, it will drastically improve the convenience of electric vehicles."

All three taxis are stationed in Roppongi Hills in Tokyo and are operated by Nihon Kotsu Co Ltd. Powering the taxis are rechargeable lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries made by A123 systems, each with a capacity of 17kWh. According to Better Place Japan, the batteries have enough juice in them for taxis to run about 70km to 80km (about 43.5 miles to 49.7 miles).

"The convenience of battery-replaceable EVs is very high," said Ichiro Fukue, vice president of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which is cooperating with Better Place Japan in the development of a battery replacement system. "If it is recognized by the public, they are highly likely to become common."

Image Credit: techon.nikkeibp.co.jp

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