Just imagine, you're driving along on the motorway in an electro-mobile, you plan to travel 1000 kms., of course with a second driver. You've read correctly, an electro-mobile. Not a hybrid, no range-extender. All that is simply ballast.
By the way, the momentary range indicated is 57 kms. The next filling station is 5 kms. away and the one after that, 42 kms. You choose the next one because it's marked with a blue 'E'. You ignore the pumps in the lanes 1 - 4 and slot into lane - 8, which, right now, is free.
You release the catch for the bonnet, climb out and lift it up. Due to the fact that your E-drive unit is mounted fairly low, flanged onto the drive shaft, the question of front- or rear wheel drive is of secondary importance. All you can see are seven battery-modules, with their removing-grips pointing up at you, behind, at the bottom they are all connected to a plug-in socket strip, indeed, each one can be individually unplugged.
The plug-in socket strip in the car and the ones at the filling stations (1) initially posed problems. After all, we're dealing with 450 volts DC in the battery module and on the socket strip. In the meantime, the connection points on both sides are completely encapsulated. Some manufacturers even describe them as being 'watertight'. Only just before docking do the electronics notice this and then open the capsule, inaccessible, e.g., for children's hands.
On the right, next to the seven modules, is the same range indicator display as you have on the dashboard. Next to you, on the left, where the petrol pumps are normally found, there are again, rows of inentical modules, far more than would fit into your car. Above each of them there is an indicator showing the respective capacity and the current price.
You now start changing them, all those in your car come out and are replaced with those having the highest capacity because you intend to do a lot of driving and would like to avoid 'filling-up stops'. During the change-over, you notice that the remaining range has risen to 210 kms. This is a bit of a surprise because when you bought the car almost 4 years ago, with the best possible batteries, your range was less than 150 kms. Once again one can see just how much work the battery manufacturers have put into increasing their performance.
By the way, this change-over procedure only took about the same amount of time as filling up with 20 liters of fuel. The payment can be made in the shop as usual or directly on the apron with a credit card. The price will be shown as soon as you remove the first module. Indeed, for each module that you give up as 'deposit', a certain amount will be taken off your bill.
You're in luck this time. Due to the fact that you've been using high-quality batteries for your whole trip, the price for 'filling-up' is not all that high. Since each battery module contains an energy management function, whose residual-value display is calibrated for the respective battery. This, in fact , influences the price more than the the amont of charge left in the battery.
So, if at the end of the month, you find your money running out, you can change down to more cheaper batteries. Thus, it's possible, that through 'filling-up', and although your range is increased, you may even get some money back. Like deposit-bottles in the supermarket. Some people simply return the empty bottles without buying anything else.
Do you still remember which occasion it was, that caused you to think about buying an E-mobile? It was at the time, when the manufacturers and the mineral oil concerns agreed on this very efficient system and no longer demanded the annoying monthly rental of the batteries. Once the running costs for the batteries was settled, you knew that your chance to drive an electric car had come.
You were now paying only for actual consumption and battery wear and tear, and not monthly, regardless of how many electric kilometers you had driven. Those who always charged their cars at home, also had to pay sometime, then when they wanted to change their very worn out batteries for new ones. You had also read in the newspaper, that the government was also convinced about the system and would subsidise it, to get the sales of E-mobiles off to a good start.
The question remained, how large would the individual battery module be? It would be too large for Pedalecs and E-bikes, indeed, E-motorcycles would be able to manage two of them in a smart casing. On the left and right of the rear wheel, there where the panniers or side-cases would be mounted. That would make really long trips possible and these bikes would 'fill up' exactly the same as cars do.
OK, there will still be cars on the side of the road with the 'tank empty', because the driver misjudged the distance to the next filling station or simply hasn't been able to adapt him/herself to the new developments. Previously, one would have thought that the E-mobile would have to be towed away. Indeed why? One could just as easily take one module, like the earlier reserve cannister, to the next filling station and exchange it.
In the meantime of course, the accessory market is blossoming. One can have flat socket connections installed in the boot by special workshops. The choice is then yours, either you have only little luggage and plenty of range, or the other way around. There are also devices for the batteries own controller, which can be read-out to determine the quality or the value of the respective modules, without having to drive to a filling station.
Now, what about the heavy off-road vehicles? They would then still have front- and rear wheel drive electric motors and because of the height and length of their bonnets they would have plenty of space for two rows of battery modules. The module change at the filling station takes a little longer but then again, they have always needed more time to fill up anyway because of their comparativly large fuel tanks. Unfortunately, the theft of fully charged SUVs is also increasing. The cars will be found later on, without batteries. It would be an easy undertaking for thieves to turn the stolen batteries into hard cash.
As a result of this, an internal coding of all batteries is being considered, so that stolen batteries cannot be exchanged at the filling station i.e., the numbers of stolen batteries are reported to the police and to the dealers. Leaving the changing lane without paying may also be prevented, perhaps by means of a barrier of some sort. As was to be expected, the really smart guys have already found a way of manipulating the battery controller to show an old battery as being a brand new one.
There is a discussion taking place, about a new charging system for filling stations, which, during peak periods, slows down the charging or even allows the charge to be fed back into the electricity network. This would be regulated by an accelerated price-change per kWh. Once all the filling stations have been adapted, it would mean a terrific saving of capacities for the electricity storage and possibly, also as far as expanding the network is concerned. 09/12