The Japanese have just started testing a fleet of ‘drop & go’ electric taxis, which don’t recharge their batteries, but instead exchange their exhausted batteries for fresh ones via a drive-thru station. It certainly removes the hassle of stranded cabs with angry drivers hanging around all over town, or cabbies dumping passengers in the middle of the journey to go recharge the motor.
The Lithium Ion cells have a range of 70 – 80 km on a charge, and can be replaced in about a minute, using an underbody ramp system. The test company, Better Place Japan, is running with just 3 taxis at the moment, but hope to expand that to double digits by the end of next year, and eventually, if the trial is successful, include drop and go buses as well. It’s a fascinating glimpse of one option for the future of public transport.
In the test, the company uses three EVs as taxis. And it disclosed a battery replacement station built in Tokyo. Three batteries are available at the station. When a taxi comes to the station, its battery will be replaced in about a minute. “It is much faster than charging a battery,” Better Place Japan said. “So, it will drastically improve the convenience of electric vehicles.”