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Birò electric car's battery can be removed for charging indoors

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September 12, 2013

The Estrima Birò now comes with the option of a battery that can be removed and pulled alo...

The Estrima Birò now comes with the option of a battery that can be removed and pulled along like a suitcase

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Along with the ever-persistent problem of range anxiety, one of the things that keeps many people from taking electric cars seriously is the limited number of charging stations. What happens if your destination doesn't have one, or if you have to park your car out on the street when you're at home? In the case of some electric scooters and bicycles, users can remove the vehicle's battery and take it with them to charge indoors. Now, Italian automaker Estrima is offering that same feature in its Birò electric car.

Although the Birò is unheard-of in much of the world, the tiny two-seater has been selling in Italy and other European countries for several years now. It has two brushless 48-volt in-wheel electric motors (in the rear) that take it to a top speed of 45 km/h (28 mph), although its Boost feature allows it to temporarily go faster when needed.

Buyers have so far been able to choose between lead, lithium-ion and higher-capacity "Lithium Maxi" batteries, none of which were designed for quick removal. Now, however, Estrima has added the option of a lithium-ion Re-Move battery.

Like the car's already-available lithium battery, it provides approximately 40 km (25 miles) of driving range, and can be charged in four hours. Unlike that battery, however, the Re-Move has wheels and is mounted on a track, so it can be easily slid out through a hatch in the back of the vehicle once it's parked. No wires or plugs need to be detached.

Besides making charging a simpler matter, the Re-Move system also lets users instantly swa...

Once it's out, the 26-lb (12-kg) battery's telescopic handle can be extended, allowing the user to pull it along like a suitcase. It can then be charged from a regular electrical outlet. That said, it's also possible to charge the battery while it's still in the car.

Besides making charging a simpler matter, the Re-Move system also lets users instantly swap in a freshly-charged battery for one that's depleted – something that could come in handy for rental or car-sharing applications. Additionally, a car with no battery is going to be pretty difficult to steal.

The basic battery-less Birò sells for €7,990 (US$10,626) in European countries other than Italy, where it goes for €6,990. Batteries start at €1,490 ($1,982) for the lead option, although the lithium-ion Re-Move will cost you €3,990 ($5,307) – so the total price for a Re-Move-equipped Birò adds up to €11,980 ($15,934).

The car can be seen in action in the video below.

Source: Estrima via Veicoli Elettrici News

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.   All articles by Ben Coxworth
13 Comments

Yeah, I want to haul around a battery.

Jamie Lill
12th September, 2013 @ 12:48 pm PDT

I've actually thought about this. Until charging lots in parking lots become common this makes sense. If you have ever driven an old diesel in cold weather you know how true this is, finding a place to plug in the engine to keep it warm is next to impossible.

@ Jamie Lill: Yeah, it is a pain, but when electric cars are common finding a place to charge will be easy. As it is right now it is next to impossible so something like this makes sense for the short term.

exodous
12th September, 2013 @ 02:00 pm PDT

Whaa--Jamie. Then DON'T-- they are offering it as an 'option'.

yrag
12th September, 2013 @ 02:38 pm PDT

Now we are talking!

This makes a TON of sense for anyone that is living in an apartment and does not have the ability to charge from home. My wife and I were seriously considering a Leaf, but due to the fact that we have no means of charging it from home, we went for a conventional Prius instead.

If a battery pack was removable and had wheels... I could see the ability of wheeling it around to bring it inside to charge. (so long as you don't need to carry it up a flight of stairs). And at only 30 lbs, I question why they don't offer a larger 60 lb version. W/ wheels and a handle, 60 lbs would be easily manageable.

Milton
12th September, 2013 @ 02:51 pm PDT

They are trying to recover cost of development. The vehicle battery cost is too high.

Regarding the detachable option, 12kg is not that heavy. Make them into a briefcase form factor.

Nairda
12th September, 2013 @ 06:57 pm PDT

That max speed seems designed to fit within the EU definition of a moped.

digi_owl
13th September, 2013 @ 12:49 am PDT

This car would work somewhere like Italy where they are used to mixing fast and slow traffic on the same road (such as the Piaggio Ape 50cc three-wheeled pickup and van) but I think it would be dangerously slow for other markets. I can't see this car working well in London or New York, which may have slow average traffic speed overall, but peaks of much faster movement, as well as drivers who don't give a damn about anyone else's safety.

bergamot69
13th September, 2013 @ 05:17 am PDT

The thing is a joke. Just drive the thing into the house and to the outlet.

Slowburn
13th September, 2013 @ 09:21 am PDT

Given the speed and range of the toy just give it pneumatic power that will also provide cooling in the summer. The Energy storage device will have a longer life as well.

Also make the home air compressor generate the domestic hot water as well.

Slowburn
13th September, 2013 @ 09:34 am PDT

This is good for apartment dwellers who don't have access to outdoor electrical outlets.

And that dolly could hold another battery for a larger, faster EV.

Art Toegemann
13th September, 2013 @ 09:55 am PDT

great for the golf course.

frogola
13th September, 2013 @ 10:56 am PDT

That's nothing more than a fancy Golf Cart. I don't think you can call those "Cars" Cars would need to have a much higher top speed and Range. I'm going to have to call this a "fail" post.

Stuart M Anderson
13th September, 2013 @ 11:59 pm PDT

First anything with a chemical battery is a toy and not suited for transportation.

That said, Batteries are extremely expensive. This will definitely make it easy to steel.

I am going to try to find out how this connects and design a UPC around this battery. That way people can buy stolen batteries and then buy my device and have a long lasting UPC for their home.

SOrry but if you are stupid enough to buy an electric vehicle you deserve to have the battery stolen.

Mantion
14th September, 2013 @ 06:01 pm PDT
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