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Denmark lands Europe's first Better Place EV battery swapping station

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Better Place continued on its quest of global EV-battery-switching domination, Tuesday, bringing its special drop-and-swap charging solution to the fine folks of Gladsaxe, Denmark. An automated robot arm ceremoniously traded out the battery in a Renault Fluence Z.E., marking the beginning of a nine-month roll out across the country. The aptly titled Battery Switch station is the first of its kind in Europe and the first of 20 to be installed in Denmark. It was a monumental occasion, to be sure, one that could have only benefited from a performance of Michael Jackson's Heal the World as sung by Danish humanoid (and ladies' man) Geminoid-DK. Full PR after the break.

[Thanks, Tesoo]

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Better Place Unveils Europe's First Battery Switch Station in Denmark

June 28, 2011

20 Battery Switch Stations to be deployed over the next nine months

Copenhagen, Denmark (June 28, 2011) - In preparation for commercial launch later this year, Better Place today unveiled the company's first Battery Switch station in Europe at an event in Gladsaxe, just outside Copenhagen. The station, which showcased the company's Battery Switch technology, switching a Renault Fluence Z.E., is the first of 20 Battery Switch Stations to be deployed across the country over the next nine months as part of the company's nationwide network of charging infrastructure that will launch later this year in partnership with DONG Energy and more than 45 municipalities.

In March, Better Place opened the Better Place Center in Hellerup, Denmark and since then, nearly 3,000 visitors have passed through the center and interest in a tour of the Better Place Center continues to grow. Moreover, nine out of 10 visitors have said after the visit, that they are considering buying an electric car. Better Place and Renault will begin marketing the Fluence Z.E. later this fall.

"The Better Place solution offers a great driving experience, improves air quality and increases the share of renewable energy in the electric grid – all of this at a more affordable cost of ownership than comparable conventional cars," said Johnny Hansen, CEO of Better Place Denmark. "I am convinced that with the Battery Switch model we have overcome the last barrier to the electric car's commercial breakthrough: range, and based on the interest we have received so far, I expect this to be the top selling car in Denmark in just a few years."

"Today marks a significant milestone for the partnership between Better Place and Renault. Together we are unlocking the full potential of electric cars, giving them virtually unlimited range because they no longer have to wait hours to charge. Danish consumers are poised to lead the transition to a more sustainable transportation model," said Henrik Bang, Renault Denmark.

The battery switch experience is a simple, fully-automated process that together with the Renault Fluence Z.E. gives drivers the autonomy of unlimited range. Customers simply swipe their membership card, which authenticates the car and subscription via the Operations Center to activate the switch. The rest of the process is automated, similar to going through a car wash, so the driver never has to leave the car. In just a few minutes, a robotic arm removes the depleted battery and replaces it with a full one and the driver is back on the road.

Denmark's adaptability in terms of new climate friendly technology, a strong commitment to renewable energy, largely powered by wind and political leadership that has set ambitious carbon reduction targets makes it the perfect match for Better Place and the Renault Fluence Z.E.

"Denmark is leading the global transition from oil based transportation to electric. Over the next nine months, the solution you see here will be replicated across the country – giving drivers the confidence and freedom to drive zero emission, zero oil cars with the same convenience they enjoy with today's gas cars," Hansen concluded.

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