Swappable Batteries: Tell Me Again Why Not?

The Ripperton bike I just posted about with the hot-swap batteries (15sec for a swap-out, bitches), has me all wound up about hot-swap batteries.  Tell me again, why doesn’t this make perfect sense?  Why isn’t this the main focus of every EV design being made?  I’m talking every, here, not just motorcycles.  Is it just too perfect?  Is that it?

Starting with the Ripperton bike and the racing applications, it adds the ability to have recharge pit stops, right?  Halfway through the race you can stop for 30sec, slap in a new pack and beat the crap outta that baby for the rest of the race, when you’re field is working on half-spent capacity and the voltage sag that it gives you.  Seems like game over, to me.  Beyond just the ability to add more distance to the race.

On my personal motorcycle, for a trail bike I can throw a pack into the truck and slap it in at the gravel pit or wherever I ride.  For my commuter I could have a pack with a 40-mile range and make my commute to work (30 miles), swap it out with a pack I have charging there, put it on the charger and I always have a fresh pack.  Same equation on a car.  Smaller pack option, make it a hot-swap.  With a car, you could even carry the thing in the trunk.  Want to double your range?  You got your junk in the trunk.  (Yes, I’m fully aware of the size and weight of a car pack, but still…  even just for emergency use?  How much would a 5-mile lithium pack weigh?  Not all that much…)

I’ve heard the downside of this from an infrastructure standpoint, where people are proposing the idea as a gas-station option.  Drive in, swap out your pack, drive away…  and one that really doesn’t work, at this point, anyway.  There are too many problems- different designs, the cost of the pack, etc.  But on an EV, how hard is it to make a hot-swap pack as opposed to a permanent pack?  I’d argue, not hard at all, since that’s exactly what I’m doing with the R5e2.  Who cares that it’s not universal?  I just want to be able to pull in, drop out my old pack, slap in a new pack and ride away.

The biggest single question I get is about range.  The second question is about recharge time.  This makes both of those questions go away.

Everybody’s an armchair designer, but Brammo, Zero, all you others?  Tell me again, why aren’t you thinking in terms of a hot-swap pack?  Why wasn’t this the idea from the very beginning?  Zero even offered one…  why isn’t it on all their bikes?  Enquiring minds want to know.  The past aside, though, I think it’s undeniably what we’re going to see in the future, because it truly is a game-changer.

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4 responses to “Swappable Batteries: Tell Me Again Why Not?

  1. structural rigidity would be a lot harder to design and is very important for commercial products which to be safe. Quick swap packs means less attachments holding the battery in, making it harder to contain in a crash. Also it would be pretty hard to sell someone on the idea having to stand on a table to remove the pack.

    Cost, is the biggest reason you dont see it. For every bike you sell you would have to have another battery made to swap out with the first. This means the MSRP will go so the manufacturer can cover the costs.

    I think it is important to make a pack removable in about 5 minutes and I am trying to do that with my build

  2. Not buying the cost argument. Modules = standardization = savings from production scale. If you have a full pack, then the buyer doesn’t necessarily need to buy a second, if you have small packs then it’s included in the purchase price and maybe the same price as one big module.

    Hell, they do it for power tools. Same business model.

  3. The packs are already standardized thou? All the enertia’s use six modules, All the Zero motorcycles use the same 18s battery modules, The Tesla Model S uses 14 standard 6s modules and the roadster used 11 I think. All of these battery designs are scalable to meet different vehicle needs.

    I think what you are saying is that instead of one large pack you want a production bike to have smaller swappable packs? This means you have less range, because you have to go home to swap batteries OR you have higher costs, because you have to pay for the service of being able to pick up a swappable pack somewhere. The large pack will be less complex and have more range more of the time.

    I’d rather pay more to higher tech batteries which meet quick charging needs. Could be cheaper, more consumer friendly and have more range than swappable packs. I dont know whats better, just what is being research and produced, maybe swappable packs just need to be explored more with people like Ripperton.

  4. Pingback: The Battery Module Project « The Electric Chronicles·

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