EPA electric vehicle drive sparks battery program

The Environmental Protection Administration’s drive to promote a nationwide battery exchange system is beginning to pay dividends, with a local firm to set up 3,000 battery exchange stations in Taiwan in the next three years.

“Standardization and battery exchange stations will boost the use of electric vehicles in our nation,” EPA Minister Shen Shu-hung said Jan. 4. “Taiwan has the ability to manufacture electric bikes, cars and buses, but they all use different types of batteries.”

The battery stations, to be set up by City Power Co. Ltd., will be for electric motorcycles only.

“In the future, drivers will be able to replace used-up batteries at exchange stations located in gas stations, convenience stores, motorbike repair shops or parking lots, and pay by using the same easy cards for Taipei’s Mass Rapid Transit system,” said City Power Spokesman Hung Kuo-hsiu.

According to the EPA, EVs are not more widely used because it takes too long to recharge a single battery. In addition, the number of power-charging stations is insufficient.

To overcome these difficulties, last year the EPA began to promote a battery exchange system, according to which the nation’s producers of EVs, batteries and related components would jointly develop a standardized battery exchange system.

While recharging a battery normally takes more than 30 minutes, replacing one at an exchange station takes just two.

The U.S.-based EV company Better Place is reportedly also in talks with local manufacturers to establish battery exchange stations nationwide.

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