Then, I started having electric car dreams. I'd dream that I had a car with a huge battery. I'd drive to an "energy" station and drop off the mostly discharged battery in my car and pick up another, fully charged battery. I have no idea why I've had that dream again and again. So, this articles is not about the ideal car I would love to have... it's about a car I actually have dreamed about a bunch of times.
Thinking it through, the way the system would work is we'd have an electric car with one or two or three big batteries. Each would be rented. Each would have it's own microprocessor that would tell you the charge it had left. When you were ready to "gas up," you'd go to an energy or battery station and swap out batteries. Your car would tell you how much charge you had left, which you'd get credit for, and would show you how much of a charge the replacement battery you were picking up would have-- and software would make sure that you were only charged for the difference in what you were trading in and picking up, which would include swap charges.
Diagnostics in the battery microprocessor would make sure that you were handing in a healthy battery and diagnostics on your car would assure you that you were picking up one. Insurance would cover problems in-between.
Think of all the jobs that could develop around servicing changes. This is a technology that should be developed in the US, not China or India.
And this is technology that should be buildable now. Once this technology starts to become available, there's no doubt that batteries will get better-- lower cost to charge up, lower weight, smaller size, lasting longer... and as these develop, cars will need adapters to run them. Prices for the batteries will change. Big, heavy, faster discharging batterie will be rented for less. The govt. will run subsidy programs to re-cycle them. If the technology is built in the US, then everyone will win as batteries become obsolete as new, better ones replace older ones.