Saturday, November 6, 2010

SF Taxi Cabs the First Wave of EV Revolution in the Bay Area

The San Francisco Bay Area has been at the forefront of the electric vehicle (EV) innovation wave that has gotten major venture capitalists involved on an unprecedented scale. Back in May, I wrote about the SF-based firm Better Place and their (well-funded) project to bring $1.4 billion of investment to create a neighborhood level electric charging station network state-wide. There's also an established "electric highway" of EV charging stations on Hwy. 101 designed to service exclusively the Tesla Roadster, however limited that project may be in scope.

One of the first, and most highly visible, manifestations of the EV revolution in San Francisco will come in the form of a fully-electric fleet of taxi cabs throughout the city, funded by the US Dept. of Transportation. Over the next three years, four battery charging stations will be placed across the city. These stations will swap the taxi's batteries in as little as 45 seconds. To be practical for wide application, the charging stations must be efficient and lightning-quick; no taxi cab company in its right mind would let its vehicles sit idle for hours charging under the dominant EV charger technology in place in most cities today.

The project is a replication of an earlier system Better Place executed in Tokyo, using one of that megacity's largest taxi cab companies, Nihon Kotsu. The taxicabs in that experimental project drove over 25,000 miles using fully electric power from the Better Place charging stations.

This remarkable project implementation from Better Place is just one more reason why Inhabitat calls San Francisco "set to lead the electric vehicle revolution."

Via: Inhabitat

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