SF Bay Area taps Better Place for electric taxis

San Francisco-area residents will see electric car taxis and automated battery-switching stations by the end of next year as part of a Department of Transportation-funded project.

A battery switching station for electric taxis in Tokyo. On the right, you can see the white cars drive in. On the left, fresh batteries are delivered from below.
A battery-switching station for electric taxis in Tokyo. On the right, you can see the white cars drive in. On the left, fresh batteries are delivered from below. Screen capture by Martin LaMonica/CNET

Electric taxis with swappable battery packs are slated to come to the San Francisco Bay Area next year through a U.S. Department of Transportation-funded project.

The $6.9 million, three-year project will result in 61 electric-drive taxi cabs and four stations where depleted batteries can be swapped in for fresh ones, according to Better Place, which was awarded the grant. Switching stations will be available in the corridor between San Francisco and San Jose, with the first ones installed by the end of 2011, according to Better Place.

It's part of $14 million in grants the Transportation Department is expected to announce later today related to electric vehicles.

Because of their intensive use, taxis are a good candidate for using electric vehicles to reduce pollution, a Better Place representative said. Since they typically can't take long breaks for charging, they fit the battery-swapping model advocated by Better Place, she added. The actual electric cars for the project have not yet been chosen.

Earlier this year, Better Place installed battery-switching stations for electric taxis in Tokyo , which will be a model for the Bay Area program. Better Place developed the system where cars drive up a ramp and robotic machines automatically remove a battery from a car and insert a freshly charged battery within a few minutes.

 

ARTICLE DISCUSSION

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Don't Miss
Hot Products
Trending on CNET

Hot on CNET

Saving your life at speed and in style

Volvo have been responsible for some of the greatest advancements in car safety. We list off the top ways they've kept you safe today, even if you don't drive one.