Tag archives for battery swapping
Sure, your first response to the idea of Tesla introducing a battery swap system might be, “what, this again?” After all, we heard in 2009 that the Model S was built with battery swaps in mind and, in 2011, Tesla CEO Elon Musk explained the Model S battery swap idea this way: “When people take an occasional two-way long distance trip, they’ll get a replacement pack and then pick up their original one on the way back. The issue of giving up your one-year old pack for a three-year old one goes away.” The Supercharger network, too, was at one point supposed to feature battery swapping robots that could get the job done in as little as one minute.
But the Supercharger stations – as they exist today – don’t have that feature. And Musk has recently been much more excited about the benefits of quick charging than battery swaps. Which is why we forgive any ongoing skepticism that Tesla will introduce batter swaps to the Model S.
Except that the other day, Musk Tweeted, “There is a way for the Tesla Model S to be recharged throughout the country faster than you could fill a gas tank.” And our friends at Green Car Reports noticed this line from Tesla’s latest quarterly report (PDF):
Other factors that may influence the adoption of alternative fuel vehicles, and specifically electric vehicles, include … our capability to rapidly swap out the Model S battery pack and the development of specialized public facilities to perform such swapping, which do not currently exist but which we plan to introduce in the near future.
So, yeah. Now what? We asked Tesla directly, and Sarah Meron, VP of communications for Tesla Motors, told AutoblogGreen, “We don’t have any comment on battery swapping right now or timing of further announcements. But we’ll let you know when we do!”
Tesla has already announced replacement costs for its battery packs ($10,000 for the 60-kWh and $12,000 for the 85-kWh pack), but that’s if you need an entirely new pack and you purchased the warranty. This is something else entirely. Is Tesla going to make actual battery swaps available soon?
Related GalleryTesla Model S
Supplying energy for cars on the move is an important piece of the electric vehicle puzzle and in this regard Tesla Motors is taking a unique approach. At some time in the future – the company is not saying when, exactly – it plans to reveal what it calls its Supercharger network.
Although the company isn’t giving any details about the design of the individual stations, we expect something more than just a post with a plug. Much more. During the recent shareholders meeting where CEO Elon Musk briefly touched on the system, he declared that when people see how awesome it is and what Tesla has planned, it will blow their minds. We await this moment.
Of course, Musk can be given to a bit of hyperbole now and again. When discussing the five-star safety rating of the Model S, he said if there was a sixth star, the vehicle would have been awarded it as well. Still, hints as to what is involved with the Superchargers arose during the Q&A session after the main presentation and makes us think that this will indeed be pretty cool.
For example, we expect it to feature battery swapping. Long a controversial concept in the electric vehicle community, it is clear that Tesla is going to employ it in some fashion. Whether it will be available for every pack size – the Model S comes with either a 40-, 60- or 85-kWh pack – is not yet known, but it shouldn’t prevent you from retaining ownership of a specific pack. While fast charging your 85-kWh Model S might take around 45 minutes using the 90-kW station with its proprietary connector, the battery packs are engineered to enable a swap as quickly as one minute.
Another prominent feature will be solar panels. Musk is a big proponent of solar energy and it’s been reported that Tesla and SolarCity (where he also serves as chairman) are working together to create rooftop solar storage systems. What better place, we rhetorically ask with no pun intended, to implement such a scheme than atop stations stuffed with batteries. Musk says the panels will help illustrate the connection between sustainable power production and electric transport and go some way to combat the long tailpipe argument.
If you’d like to watch video of the shareholders meeting, it’s available at Tesla’s website for a while longer. Besides discussion of the Supercharger, there are a lot of little tidbits for those interested in the company and its product. More to come.