EC approves switchable battery research project
Automotive supplier Continental and ten other European and Israeli companies active in the electric vehicle sector, have joined together to form ‘Easybat’, a consortium dedicated to furthering EV development. On March 2 the consortium announced formal approval from the European Commission for a research and development programme into means of facilitating the European production of electric cars with switchable batteries. The March 2 announcement is the first switchable battery electric car project approved by the Commission.
The project calls for the Easybat consortium to develop “off-the-shelf” automotive grade components and interfaces that enable the auto industry to easily integrate battery switching technology into their electric car platforms. The first large scale application of battery switching technology will be shown by consortium members Better Place and Renault with the commercial launch of the Renault Fluence Z.E. in Israel and Denmark by the end of this year.
The Easybat solution will, explains Continental, consist of interfaces for switching a battery in and out of an electric car quickly and safely; the connector interfaces between the car, the battery, the communications network, and the battery cooling system; and design specifications that meet European industry and safety standards. The solution will be integrated and tested on fully electric vehicles to ensure it meets production-grade manufacturing criteria and European safety standards.
Upon conclusion, it is anticipated that Easybat will have a next generation, commercially available solution for battery switch integration components and design plans that allow for different types of batteries, not just a single standardised battery. Car manufacturers that want to focus on proprietary battery technology can do so and still be able to integrate their technology into a switchable battery electric car platform as envisioned by Easybat.
Part of the Seventh EU Framework Program (FP7), Easybat is a two and a half year project, which is expected to run until June 2013. The European Commission will contribute 2.2 million euros to fund the project.
Each Easybat member brings its own specialised strength to the consortium: Better Place, Renault and Continental will contribute their expertise in producing production-grade switchable battery electric cars. European standardisation organisations, CEN/CENELEC, will facilitate the creation of agreements between the parties for the creation of consensus documents to facilitate standards development for battery switching. TÜV Rheinland and KEMA will ensure that the Easybat solution complies with European safety directives and standards. Leading research institutes in Germany (RWTH Aachen University, Fraunhofer Institute für Produktionstechnik und Automatisierung, and Technische Universität München), Denmark (Danish Technological Institute) and Israel (University of Haifa) will team together to provide research support.