Tesla CEO Elon Musk wants to convince people that are sceptical about electric vehicles, that they are the future. He may have gone a long way last night in doing just that. In a demonstration that took place at the Tesla Design Studio in Los Angeles, he showed that it can be done faster than filling an Audi up with a tank of gas. And the driver doesn’t ever have to get out of the vehicle. Very impressive. In fact, Musk showed that two Tesla Model S cars could have their batteries swapped out in the time it took to fill up one car with gas at the fastest station in LA. Are you convinced yet?
This is not a new revelation, but Tesla designed the Model S from the beginning to be capable of this. Last night Musk said, "We designed Model S from the beginning to be capable of swapping out the battery pack faster than you can fill a gas tank. Are we clear? Good.” But Tesla made a surprise announcement that there will be a battery swap system put in place that will allow drivers to pull “over” the swap station and get it replaced.
The choice is faster or free
Musk said last night that at these new “Tesla Stations” the driver will have the choice of using a Supercharge that will be free, or have the choice of a battery pack swap which is “faster than you can fill a gas tank.” So the decision the driver makes is does he or she prefer “faster or free.” Sounds like the driver wins either way doesn’t it? The Supercharging of the battery will be totally free and the fully charged battery pack replacement will cost the Model S owner about the same as a tank of gas.
At the Tesla Station owners drive over the marked spot and just sit in the car as the automated machine emerges from the station in the ground and swaps the battery with a fully charged one. And for added convenience, Tesla will bill the owner’s credit card for the battery-swap visit. According to Musk, the battery-swapping service will cost between $60 and $80 which is about the same as filling up with 15 gallons of gasoline in California.
Tesla will launch new stations in busy areas
There is one condition owners must meet. They must swap back their original battery (which will be stored at the station) on the return trip or they will face paying the difference in cost. Each battery will have a warranty available on the replacement pack depending on its condition. The warranty is the balance of the standard 8-year term, dependent on the age of the pack received.
Will this new Tesla battery swap station really work? Each station will cost Tesla close to a half-a-million dollars to build next to their Supercharger locations. We already saw the recent bankruptcy of Project Better Place who had a similar idea of such a system. Musk wants us to believe that electric cars are the future. If Tesla can pull it off, he just may be right. The new Tesla Stations will initially be launched in busy Tesla areas, like the I5 corridor in California and between Boston and Washington, DC. Are you convinced by Musk?
Watch Tesla Motors demonstrates 90-second Model S battery-swapping tech video.
And see how the battery swap could work now after the arrival of Tesla's million-mile batteries.
Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press and the founder of Subaru Report where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.