Battery Switch Stations give you access to a fresh, fully charged battery in about the same time that it takes to fill up a car with gas. So range is no longer an issue. And the electric car is perfectly practical.
Unlimited switching, fixed cost.
Every Better Place membership includes unlimited switching at any Battery Switch Station in our network. And, unlike gas prices, your monthly membership cost is fixed. Your move, Big Oil.
Next up: Drive through a Battery Switch Station.
How It All Works
Drive. Switch. Go. It Sounds Easy, Mainly Because It Is.
The Battery Switch Station in action.
Pull up to the stop sign and put your car in neutral. Then maybe crank some music. Because your job's done.
An automatic conveyer belt engages and moves your car through the station. First stop: the undercarriage of your car is quickly cleaned and dried.
Meanwhile, our Better Place robot prepares a compatible, fully charged and fully tested battery for the switch.
The conveyer aligns your car for the switch. The robot removes the old battery, replaces it with the new one and confirms the connection.
You drive off with a fresh, fully charged battery, having spent only a few minutes in the Battery Switch Station.
With you happily on your way, a robotic arm transfers your depleted battery to the charging rack where it's connected to a cooling system, rapidly charged and thoroughly tested before reuse.
Quality is key.
Better Place batteries come from the best manufacturers in the business. And we go to great lengths to take care of them:
A climate-controlled environment extends battery life
Constant and rigorous diagnostic tests ensure high performance
All batteries are cooled during fast charging to eliminate overheating
As technology improves, new batteries are introduced into our network
Batteries that don't meet our high standards are immediately removed from the Battery Switch Station
Better Place Battery Switch Stations are built from the ground up with safety in mind.
All industry safety and reliability standards are met and exceeded
Battery Switch Stations are in full compliance with all local country codes
For maximum safety and uptime, highly trained technicians constantly monitor all systems
Sophisticated motion-detection systems ensure that only one car is in the switching lane at a time and stand ready to shut the entire system down in the event of an unplanned entry by a person (or even the opening of a car door)
A safe, thoughtfully planned conveyer system eliminates the chance of small objects (or anything for that matter) falling into the machinery below
Where they go: the grand plan.
Our plan for the strategic deployment of Battery Switch Stations throughout regions and countries begins with data. Lots of data, from the government and the private sector. We look at the same stats that city planners use to plan roads, highway expansion projects and even new cities. We study how, when and where people drive. We look at projections. Then we run this data through a complex algorithm to determine the optimal number, size and placement of our Battery Switch Stations.
Of course, reality changes the best of plans. Sometimes real estate is not available. Sometimes local ordinances prevent construction. So the computer goes back to work, determining the best scenario based on the realistic challenges our homework revealed. The end result? A network of Battery Switch Stations that'll serve the most drivers in any given region. World, here we come.
Next up: The technology behind a Battery Switch Station.
Behind the scenes at a battery switch station
Welcome to Mission Control.
A look inside the Battery Switch Station.
Super-fast charging. Super-fast cooling.
Charging at a Battery Switch Station is as advanced as it gets. Simultaneous battery cooling allows our industrial-grade chargers to operate at a rate of 50kW. That means we can safely and effectively charge a typical battery from empty to full in under a half hour. Sure, that's fast. But it's our battery management techniques that truly set us apart from the standard electric car chargers you see around town.
Battery management. Or, as we call it, pampering.
Our success depends on our ability to give our drivers the best possible batteries, in the best possible condition, time and again. We take that seriously. To ensure the highest level of performance, our Battery Switch Stations employ some of the most advanced technology around.
Precise Climate Control
The environment surrounding our entire inventory of batteries is strictly (and redundantly) controlled to keep the temperature and humidity within ideal ranges for battery storage.
Our chargers constantly communicate with a higher automated authority we call the Battery Management System (BMS). Powerful and precise, BMS software oversees the charging process by monitoring various parameters such as the temperature and voltage within individual battery cells to keep them in an optimal state of health.
The Smart Cart
Even the removal of degraded batteries is automated — and fast. When a battery drops below our high standards, a robotic arm places it into a specialized Smart Cart that safely shuttles it out — and brings a new battery into the Battery Switch Station in less than five minutes. Easy.
Intense oversight. The human touch.
Safety, climate control, charging, storage, switching — it's all overseen by a highly trained team in the Better Place Operations Center (OC). Working remotely, and with the help of massive computing power, the team closely monitors the day-to-day functioning of every aspect of the Battery Switch Station. Most things they handle are routine, but they can dispatch a quick-response team of technicians to any Battery Switch Station if needed.
Communication? Roger that.
While battery switching is entirely automated, there's always a real person within reach to answer questions or respond to inquiries immediately. Drivers can contact us in a number of ways:
An intercom at the Battery Switch Station gate connects directly to our Customer Care center, 24/7/365.
Drivers can always use Better Place Oscar (our in-dash connectivity software) to reach Customer Care at any time, day or night. Connecting via Oscar can be done by phone or PC as well.
Finally, a mobile hotline number gives drivers instant access to Customer Care.
Customer Care is kind of our thing. So Better Place members can expect unusually fast responses to any unlikely issue they encounter at a Battery Switch Station (or elsewhere).