A comment on another blog inspired me to rant about PBP again so I'm expanding on that here. I'm so tired of Shai Agassi and his Project Better Place and have been working on debunking the myth ever since I became aware of it. Much like the hydrogen boondoggle he just won't go away. His concept is twofold, first he want's to treat charging your car similar to cell phone minutes, and secondly he want's to create a network of swap stations to quickly change out batteries. Here's why he's wrong, and why his plan will only make owning an EV more expensive.
A swappable battery pack that aligns perfectly every time and makes tight high power connections every time means added engineering and expense in an EV and limits design flexibility. Getting automakers to agree on a standard pack size, shape, voltage, and management is frankly impossible. Different battery chemistries have different characteristics, different vehicles will have different sizes and shapes, power demands, it's impossible. Just try using a different brand battery in your cordless drill. Swap stations are complex and costly. Every EV will need spare batteries stashed at various places in case they might need them, how do you predict how many and where to put them? With the most expensive EV component being the battery, how does building a stockpile of extra packs lower the costs? BP is not going to absorb those costs, they will be pushed onto the EV owner. Since most charging will be done at night, at home, at reduced rates, why go through all this for the 1% of the time you might need it? Especially when fast charge stations can do the same thing more easily.
PBP is not an electricity provider, not an EV builder, and not a battery maker. So why do I want to pay them extra for services that others already provide? One benefit of an EV is charging at home cheaply, especially at night rates, why create a system that makes that more expensive?
PBP is pushing their business model in small countries such as Israel and small islands such as Hawaii. This is amazing as batteries already allow you to travel their entire length on a single charge! Why do I need to swap my battery, or pay extra for the privilege of using PBP chargers, when my pack isn't empty? As I posted this morning on Jack Rickard's blog, EVTV, PBP is nothing more than an overpriced shell game. Don't buy into the hype.
Others have concerns with the idea as well: BP Critique