Smart Idea: Standardized Batteries For Electric Vehicles
One of the biggest costs associated with electric vehicle technology is the batteries, and this cost has kept electric vehicles out of reach for many people. One reason for this is proprietary battery technology used by each vehicle manufacturer, an issue that could be solved by applying a technique used by most other electronics for decades: standardized batteries.
Everybody is familiar with standard batteries, many electronic items use the same AA or AAA batteries, regardless of whether they’re Energizer, Duracell or any other brand. The cost benefit of standardized batteries can easily be seen by comparing the cost of a pair of AA batteries with a proprietary cell phone battery pack.
If electric vehicle manufacturers agreed upon a standard for their battery technology, costs for the batteries would go down as more companies produced the batteries on a large scale. A standard battery design would also allow for universal charging stations to be built across the country, and even battery swapping stations where you could exchange your drained batteries for freshly recharged ones in a matter of minutes.
A common interface would at least allow multiple brands of batteries to work in the vehicle while still allowing for independent innovation such as adding ultracapacitors to decrease charge time and store energy from braking, or supply energy for rapid acceleration. As long as the battery module interacted with the vehicle and charging station the same way, any changes or upgrades beyond the basic standard would be completely transparent, quietly improving the vehicle’s performance.