Attempts to stimulate the Alternative Fuel Vehicle Markets by GM, Ford, Chrysler (Fiat) and ALL big Automakers are practically non existent because they fail to see the realities of the market and then fail to respond to it. At least Tesla is trying.. but it too missed the mark on its latest try by developing the battery exchange.
Maybe some of you have seen the recent article this week about Tesla:
Tesla Introduces Faster ‘Gas Station’ System
It is a system that makes refilling/Recharging the electric battery fast and efficiently… And by “recharging,” they mean replacing.
REPLACING … as in dropping a Model S’ depleted battery pack — which can weigh half a ton — out from the undercarriage of the vehicle and replacing it with a fully charged one.
Think of it as pulling up to a filling station and instead of sticking a hose into the filler cap and refilling your empty tank, simply replacing the empty gas tank with one that’s full of gas. Only in this case, the gas station is a Tesla Station (a.k.a. a Tesla Supercharger station) and the “gas tank” weighs more than 1,000 pounds.
Tesla previewed the fully automated process at its Hawthorne, Calif., design studio. There are no pumps to pay and the driver never even has to exit the vehicle. Simply pull into the Tesla Station, locate the battery swap spot, follow the on-board prompts, and the battery-swapping machinery takes over from there.
Sitting in a pit in the ground beneath the car is a fully charged battery, which the system prepares for installation as it locates its vehicle’s existing battery pack bolts. The bolts are then unscrewed with the help of “high-precision nut runners,” allowing the existing pack to be lowered into the pit, then the new pack moves into position and is inserted into the car’s body. The bolts are tightened again, and away the car goes.
The whole process takes just over a minute and a half, or about half the time it takes to fill up the average automobile.
You can read the rest of that article here if you want to know a little more…. http://autos.yahoo.com/blogs/motoramic/tesla-launches-battery-swapping-two-minute-recharging-115343291.html
What amazed me in some ways is that it did not reference the Israeli Company called “A Better Place” who was doing this and who went out of business late 2012.
The concept is a step in the right direction…. but only a step…. and as such I had written this reply below in the comment section of the article…. BUT for some unknown reason I kept getting error messages and it would not post…. so I am writing it here:
From the headline I thought for a moment that Tesla took a new and exciting approach to making Alternative Fuel vehicles a mass market reality… but nope… this is modeled almost after an Israeli Company the now-defunct “A Better Place” program that went out of business late last year.
Sadly BOTH Tesla Electric Vehicles and Traditional Auto Manufactures Ford GM, Nissan, Toyota Chrysler/Fiat who could make Electric, Natural Gas and Hydrogen vehicles viable to the mass market in less than 24 months with a new concept that would provide 100,000+ refueling locations throughout the USA, by changing the current entrenched paradigm by redefining the problems that it BELIEVES it faces or has in this endeavor.
The myopic mentality of the vehicle manufacturers is more obvious from this issue than any other the industry has faced since the production line innovation of Henry Ford.
Anyone want to make a few billion dollars bringing these companies to the table to make alternative fuel vehicles the dominant sales leader in the USA in less than 5 years?? All you have to do is get the manufacturers CEO’s to seriously look at something they have not previouslyconsidered.
Doing the same thing for 100+ years does not mean it is the only way. SOMETIMES a real change has to occur. But one that will not risk the enterprise itself but allow a rapid change to take place based on infrastructure and demand changes. Current manufactures are not seeing beyond their own methodologies in finding how to be innovative outside the 100 year old structure that fails to adapt to a current world that has the ability to change and modify faster as long as the current paradigm is changed and not destroyed.
Ford, GM and the other traditional manufactures are so far behind this changing world with their old world mentality that I wonder if I will live long enough to see them actually change that demand curve for Alternative duel vehicles in the future.
Telsa has out run the current infrastructure of the country and the TOTAL potential number of households that can “PLUG IN” a vehicle or who can afford low mileage daily usage is led than 20% for EVERYBODY in the electric vehicle market. AND I DO LOVE TESLA and their vehicles.. but I have to face the reality of the current infrastructure and market in their future growth.
The problems are not insurmountable, BUT there has to be accommodation to the viability of a supporting infrastructure. While this battery replacement is a good idea in theory, it fails to take into account the inconvenience and limitations of the ultimate consumer. Tesla is on the right track but it has not taken into account other alternatives that fit better with the Consumer. BUT they are leaps and bounds above the sad and miserable lack luster approach of the big traditional manufactures.
When will someone finally wake up to what I have been proposing for more than 2 years now and take this seriously, and realize there is a huge profit to be made while changing our country to a net exporter of Oil and GAS…. but even more interesting it would allow the company that does what has been suggested the potential to OWN the market. Hence approximately 26 billion in profits from the ancillary products and distribution in less than 10 years.
Think of the same story that made Microsoft what it is today. From a garage to the giant and for the longest time it was never a manufacture of hardware.. only the software necessary to make the critical hardware run. THIS is what can be accomplished is the right people want to make an impact on society AND make money at the same time.
THIS is the kind of Innovation and paradigm changes that the Auto industry needs today but is to afraid to embrace. Boon Pickens was on the path but has chosen the slow growth and failed to really partner with the manufactures. Such failure is gut wrenching to watch… but watch I do until the real innovators take control … after I am dead I presume.