As electric vehicle chargers come to Macy's, battery swapping hits China

US electric vehicle charging firm ECOtality announced this week that it would install chargers at Macy's department stores, the latest in a series of moves which will make chargers more accessible to the public.

Shoppers at the popular stores in the San Diego region will be able to charge their electric vehicles while they shop at the popular outlet, the first department store chain to sign up ECOtality's EV Project.

Installation will kick off in the coming months and if the scheme is popular, ECOtality says that it will be expanded to other locations.

Charging stations are rapidly popping up at big name outlets as more and more electric vehicles hit the road in the US - ECOtality already offers stations at Best Buy, while its competitor ChargePoint opened the first charging point at a McDonald's restaurant last year.

Nonetheless, not everyone is convinced that EV charging is a panacea for electric motoring - so far the rapid growth of chargers has failed to dampen fears over the relatively short range and long charge times of electric vehicles.

Better Place, a company which is betting that drivers would prefer to battery swap, rather than battery charge, announced it was moving into China this week after signing a deal with the world's eighth largest utility firm.

Better Place and China Southern Power Grid Co. are set to build a battery switch station in Guangzhou before the year is out, in an attempt to "further advance electric cars with switchable batteries in China."

The firm, which opened its first European center in the Danish capital Copenhagen March 3, also released figures that suggested it's not the only one with a strong interest in battery-swapping technology - some 100,000 visitors every year have visited its "education" center near Tel Aviv, in Copenhagen, and Toronto.

http://www.ecotality.com
http://www.betterplace.com

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