#1269: BitStop

Thinking about electric vehicles and mechanisms for swapping batteries, the idea took off in my head that existing methods of supplying fuels to vehicles are fairly primitive.

Instead of pumping petroleum-type fuel as a continuous stream, why not provide it in discrete units?

Today’s invention is a vending machine for standard-sized jerrycans of fuel. Users can find these located on the edge of town. They roll up, exchange a used can for a new one using their credit card inserted in a slot in the machine. (If their current can isn’t quite empty, they get a credit for the weighed remains, which are automatically pooled within in the machine to fill other cans. These amounts eventually amount to a whole ‘free’ unit of fuel).

The can is then stabbed into a connector on board their vehicle. The refuelling time could be under one minute. Once a week, say, a van arrives and replaces a whole machine with one full of new cans.

This has the added benefit that the fuel is kept sealed away from people. It’s also available in smaller, safer amounts, supported by many fewer staff, more locally and with less high-street queueing/disruption.

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