A Central European country is showing fleet managers in the UK a possible solution to getting the maximum road use out of their electric vans as it opens up its first battery swap station.
The innovative idea has been embraced by van drivers in Slovakia with the first swapping station opening in Bratislava, the capital, earlier this month. The station is run by low emission champions Greenway, and they claim that a battery on a 3.5 tonne van can be changed in just seven minutes, a massive difference to the 10 hours it could take to completely recharge it. It will immediately give food for thought to fleet managers in the UK considering changing over to an all electric fleet but concerned about the down time on vans undertaking a recharge.
The first vehicles to use the station in Slovakia are Citroen Relay vans, known as Jumper vans in central Europe. The owners will no longer have to wait six hours, the average recharge time for a Relay van, but will be able to drive away in less than 10 minutes with a fully charged battery. Greenway anticipates commercial operators setting up a monthly account rather than pay for every charge, a system that once again would work very well in the UK.
Greenway are hoping the idea will quickly catch on and they soon have a network covering all of Slovakia, but for the moment are trialing the idea with just two commercial organisations. Van insurance providers are sure to be inundated for quotes on electric vehicles if the initiative takes off and Greenway are certain their product will help provide a realistic, energy efficient alternative to combustion models for long-distance cargo carrying vehicles.