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Taiwan's Electric Scooter Riders Get a Charge From RFID

KentFa Advanced Technology is installing stations where scooter operators can trade in their bikes' depleted batteries for fully charged ones.
By Claire Swedberg
Jan 25, 2013Electric vehicle manufacturer KentFa Advanced Technology has installed 60 battery-exchange stations in Taiwan, with the goal of encouraging the use of electric scooters rather than gas-powered models. The stations, which employ radio frequency identification technology, enable scooter operators to exchange their depleted batteries for others fully charged.

Scooters and motorcycles are the predominant mode of transportation in Taiwan, according to the country's Ministry of Transportation & Communications, with 13.5 million currently in use on the island nation's roads. This amounts to 375 scooters or motorcycles per square kilometer, most located within densely populated cities. Currently, the ministry reports, only approximately 122,500 scooters are electric.


Each exchange station has an Alien Technology RFID reader to identify every battery stored within the station's 15 compartments.

To reduce the amount of air pollution generated by gasoline-powered vehicles, the Taiwan Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) launched a program last year to provide battery-exchange stations in the streets of Taiwan's cities, initially in the industrial town of Kaohsiung, and then expanding to Taipei. Without the exchange stations, those driving battery-powered scooters generally must recharge their vehicles' batteries at home, which is time-consuming and impractical for workers with long commutes who may need to recharge the batteries before leaving their workplace at the end of a shift. While Taiwan maintains more than 8,000 battery-recharging stations, using them is often inconvenient since scooter drivers must drop off their bike batteries at a recharging station and then retrieve them several hours later, says T.H. Liu, the director of EPC Solutions Taiwan, which provided consulting support for the KentFa project.

The Taiwan EPA speculated that it would be more convenient to simply replace a spent battery with a fully charged one, for a fee, at public locations throughout the cities in which the majority of traffic occurs.

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