The first public trial of a system that �refills' electric cars in minutes will be launched this month. The Californian company Better Place will test its automated battery-swap stations in Tokyo. Globally, road vehicles generate around a fifth of carbon dioxide emissions. The figure is the same for the UK. According to a study for the Department for Transport, widespread adoption of electric vehicles with a range of 30 miles or more could halve road transport emissions. One of the biggest challenges, however, to the large-scale implementation of electric cars is the problem of infrastructure for recharging. Better Place has come up with a model that involves building networks of charging points and battery-switch stations. At these a robotic mechanism will swap the empty battery in a car for a fully charged one. This means electric cars can be 'refilled' in minutes, rather than taking several hours to charge their batteries. On 26 April in Tokyo Better Place will begin the first public trial of its battery-switching stations. "We're applying the switch technology to taxis and working with Tokyo's largest taxi operators, Nihon Kotsu," said Better Place. The trial is expected to last for 90 days. The first part of Better Place's technology, a network of 100 public charging points, is already being trialled in Copenhagen. Using data from the trials, Better Place will launch its first commercial network in Israel at the end of the year.