New York: Imagine being able to switch out and recharge the batteries in electric cars just like you do in a flashlight?
Engineers at the University of California - San Diego have already converted a car, a 2002 four-door Volkswagen Golf, into this technology.
Rather than swapping out the whole battery, they swapped out and recharged smaller units within the battery known as modules.
They named the project Modular Battery Exchange and Active Management (M-BEAM).
They built all the modules for one of the two battery packs they plan to use and are now looking for sponsors for their project, including companies or individuals that appreciate the benefits of having small exchangeable battery modules in an electric vehicle.
"This is a game-changing technology. This idea may seem straightforward but there were some tough technical challenges that we had to solve to make this system robust and practical," said Lou Shrinkle, an electrical engineer.
Swapping battery modules could also have far-reaching implications for mobile and decentralised electrical energy storage systems such as solar backup and portable generators.
"The technology can make energy storage more configurable, promote safety, simplify maintenance and eventually eliminate the use of fossil fuels for these applications," Shrinkle added.
With this technology, they believe they can drive from San Diego to the coast of South Carolina in less than 60 hours - without going over the speed limit.
Electric shock can also be a risk during removal and replacement of high voltage modules.
"The battery management system we developed ensures that the output voltage of the battery is equal to zero unless the battery is in the vehicle and enabled by a key switch," researchers pointed out.