Financial daily newspaper Børsen reports that from autumn this year, a new feature in the Danish roadside landscape will begin to appear. They will not come into use for a year or two, so passers-by may not instantly notice they are battery switch stations that will form an essential infrastructural component of Shai Agassi's Better Place electric car concept, in which Denmark's leading energy company DONG Energy is a partner.
Jens Moberg, CEO of Better Place in Denmark, told Børsen of the significance of being able to make a physical start on the infrastructure in advance of the UN Climate Change Conference COP15 in Copenhagen in December: "Being able to present a battery switch station that is both reliable and efficient means a lot in relation to how quickly we can advance. We expect that the whole infrastructure will be in place by late 2011 or early 2012."
Moberg believes that the battery switch infrastructure will be a decisive factor in persuading Danes to invest in electric cars. Existing battery technology limits the range of an electric car to around 160 km, and despite the fact that most Danes only drive 45 km per day, many nonetheless perceive the limited range as a problem.
Electric cars have acquired a "local runabout" image on this account, but Moberg believes that with a nationwide infrastructure of battery switch and charge spots in place, electric cars will be able to challenge internal combustion engine cars on practicality and flexibility.
The other major influencer tempting Danish consumers to shift to electric cars is price. Denmark's current energy policy agreement tax-exempts electric cars until at least 2012 – no small concession considering that it's a 180% tax that has been lifted, and thus no small price advantage against combustion engine competition.
Børsen also writes that Denmark's tax minister Kristian Jensen has emphasised that electric cars are not expected to be subject to any significant taxation until at least 2015.