Tokyo taxis to trial battery switch system

August 26, 2009

Tokyo taxis will be the first in the world to test new electric-car batteries that can be replaced in less time than it takes to fill up the petrol tank, the firm behind the system said Wednesday.

Up to four electric taxis will take part in the trial of the new technology, which enables a depleted to be replaced with a fully charged one in about a minute, California-based Better Place announced.

The vehicles, operated by Tokyo's largest operator Nihon Kotsu, will run from the Roppongi Hills shopping and office complex in the Japanese capital from January next year, under a trial commissioned by the government.

The system, which removes the depleted battery from the underside of the vehicle and replaces it with another one, was designed to spare electric car users the hassle of waiting around while a battery is recharged.

The trial comes amid growing interest in fuel-efficient cars. Nissan plans to start selling its first all electric car in late 2010 in Japan, the United States, and Europe. It will lease the battery separately.

Better Place, launched in 2007 by entrepreneur Shai Agassi, is also teaming up with companies or governments in Israel, Denmark, Australia, the United States and Canada to promote the use of .

(c) 2009 AFP

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