The battery swapping saga continues to develop as French automaker Renault announced it will delay the launch of the Fluence Z.E. electric sedan in Australia indefinitely.
According to Renault, partner Better Place is not on track with its promise to establish abroad and practical battery swapping network in Australia. Therefore, the automaker will put a hold on the launch of the Fluence Z.E. there until Better Place catches up with the times.
Renault says Better Place's battery swapping network isn't sufficient to support the launch of the Fluence Z.E.
Back in June of 2011, Renault promised that the Fluence Z.E. would launch in Australia during the second quarter of 2012. Now, Renault says the electric sedan will make the journey to Australia in the second half of 2013, with a nationwide rollout expected in 2014.
Even 2014 seems questionable though as Better Place continues to struggle (background info available here) to stay on track.
For the record, Better Place spokeswoman Felicity Glennie-Holmes defended the firm with this lengthy statement:
"We always said that the launch of the switch infrastructure in Australia would be 12 to 18 months behind our other markets."
"When we originally talked about switch networks around the world we had an ambitious plan. We’ve gone live in both Israel and Denmark and we have national coverage in both of those countries, but those deployments happened a little later than we anticipated, and so therefore the Australian deployment will also be a little later. With any new technology there are always unexpected things that come up."
The Fluence Z.E. can charge by plugging in, so what's the need for battery swapping?
"Whether that’s in technology and software development or whether it’s in actual deployment or site acquisition, introducing a whole new way of driving to the world isn’t something that can be done overnight, so I think what we’ve experienced is the natural process of implementing a completely new system into different countries."
"We’ve been doing some really detailed network planning, so we’ve mapped and analyzed most of the driver experiences in the major metropolitan areas. We’ll first deploy in Canberra and progressively rollout across the rest of the country."
We here at InsideEVs see no urgent need for battery swapping as plugging in seems to fulfill the current demands of most electric vehicle owners. Does battery swapping even make sense?