We're heading down a road where large numbers of cars will be powered by batteries in the future. Aside from the cost of batteries (dropping fast), the main reason for consumers to hesitate about jumping into an electric vehicle (EV) in the next few years, is range anxiety. We are not suddenly going to develop cars with batteries in them which will cover 500 miles on a charge, so how are we going to cover longer distance journeys?
The auto industry is (sensibly) proposing a solution which meets the average driver's needs about 95% of the time. You'll be able to drop the kids at school, get to work, and then home again via the shops all on one overnight charge, which you'll do either at or outside your home. But for road trips and non-average commuters, a host of new partner firms (and industries) claim to have a solution to the range problem. Best know of these is BetterPlace - who are developing an electric car charging network in several countries, and who will provide roadside swap stations in Israel and Japan within a couple of years, where you drive in and a depleted battery will be swapped - within two minutes - for a fully charged one.
But there's another solution which falls between the standard eight hour overnight charge, and the battery swap solution. It's known as the "fast charge" and it's a term which is being bandied about with increasing frippery. We've seen a section of the emerging EV industry (both start ups and established auto OEMs) change their tune about this. Back in 2007, no one had an answer to the problem of how to juice up the car's battery quickly if you ran out while on the go. Yet just two years later, here's the stock answer: