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Swap Demo - Crowdsourced Projections

So it's official: we're on for a very exciting live demo Thursday. (Will be there for sure).

New battery swapping technology will let you add charge to you Model S in less time than gas.

Here's your chance to show your chops as a Tesla forum expert. Make your educated guesses at the following specs:

1. Capacity added per pack swap (kWH): 85, 60, 40 ... ?

2. Sub components per pack: 1, 2, 4 ...?

3 Weight of each component (lbs): 1,000, 200, 100, 40 .., ?

4. Swap hardware option cost: $2k, $1K, $500, free .... ?

5. Exchange fee per swap: $199, $99. $69 .... .?

6. Swap Locations: TM Service centers, SC's, TM Swap centers, existing retailers ... ?

Ply your wits and see how well the wisdom of the crowd predicts the results.

Winning prediction gets halo post.

My shot -

1. 60
2. 4
3. 40
4. $500
5. $49
6. Selected Retsilers


I'm guessing they will swap whole battery from the car.

1. your own pack capacity - so 85 or 60
2. 1
3. ~1250 lbs
4. $500 for new cars, $2000 for retrofitting old cars
5. $15 for 85kWh, $10 for 60kWh battery pack
6. TM service centers and TM swap centers

The entire battery will be swapped. So 1-3 identical to above post (Jolinar)

4. already there on the car; free
5. fees will be more complex than just pay per swap; maybe annual fee or even buying the car and renting the battery pack
6. will not be available soon; no more than 10 stations before 2016; will probably be set up at superchargers locations, that's where you need a quick "refuel"

1. Capacity added per pack swap (kWH): 85
2. Sub components per pack: 4
3 Weight of each component (lbs): 40
4. Swap hardware option cost: $2k
5. Exchange fee per swap: Free
6. Swap Locations: TM Service centers and TM Swap centers


Is it possible that Tesla is going to "swap" a new generation battery into the model s that has the ability to charge faster than you can fill your gas tank?

This is a very smart move. It will allow Tesla to change the batteries to newr types in a distributed way rather than going to a service garage. It can provide an upgrade from 60 to 85Kw too.
I think it is a very smart move.

Nicu is right on each item except I think it will only be a proof of concept demo at this point. Maybe a suggestion that it could be an economically viable route for taxi fleets. I just don't see the economics for average user or Tesla motors.

While main pack swapping appears to be the demo on June 20; I am still hanging on by a thread for a secondary range pack swap. Why you ask? Elon tweeted this in response to a comment about the founder of Better Place: "@zatulsky Shai actually got the idea from a visit to Tesla. The idea is obvious (many things allow battery swap), but the technology is not." What technology is Elon referring to? The robot that does the swap or (my hope) the technology for a secondary range pack. Also, main pack swapping does not jive well with the "right under your nose" tweet, which implies it is something already in current cars.

@ Thumper

It seems we agree, the economics would hardly work now. That's why I said it will not be implemented soon at large scale. Later I realized it could work for fleets like taxis or rental cars (a real market direction).

Tesla is already building a network of superchargers, another one (even if same locations) would at least double the investment needed, not to count all the batteries that will be needed for that and them losing value every day.

But showing that battery swap is possible on today's Models S will reassure buyers that they are "future proof". Tesla needs to remove all barriers to buy this car, real or perceived. On top of that, a cool tech will send waves in the press, so lots of free advertising.

Possible does not equal practical. Of course swapping the main pack was technically baked into the design of the car, but for economic reasons I don't think it's desirable. A demo of swapping the main pack being technically possible will not wow prospective buyers. Options that aren't realistic for them will not affect their purchase decision.

Tesla will not capitalize a redundant fleet of the car's most expensive component, and buyers will not buy two of them either. No one will fund a main pack swap fleet (just ask better place).

Extending range and refill convenience (time and place utility) will be what moves the needle.

Elon is very purposeful at solving this piece of the puzzle.

I think we'll see an add-on range pack you can pick up at stocking retailers across the country.

Ergo my guess:

1. 60
2. 4
3. 40
4. $500
5. $49
6. Selected Retailers

Interesting puzzle.

Thumper +1 Love the taxi fleet route; sweet!

No, it will be a main pack swap. The real question is how this will be implemented:
1. Proof of concept only?
2. A service aimed at fleet owners?
3. An urban service for apartment and condo dwellers without charging capability?
4. A part of the battery replacement option?
5. A service for long-distance travelers, implemented at all the supercharger sites?

Each of these would have a different set of answers to the questions posted in this thread. So here are my guesses:

1. 60 or 85, depending on the car.
2. 1 piece.
3. ~1,200 lb.
4. TBA
5. TBA
6. TM service centers

Mark K - I am with you. Here are my numbers:

1. 80
2. 6
3. 25
4. $4000
5. $50
6. Gas Stations

1) Entire battery pack; only the one that is the most common ie. 85 kWh
2) 1
3) ~ 1200 lbs.
4) Cost to upgrade to swapping capability: $2000
5) $19 per swap and/or subscription fee; similar to cell phone/tablet data usage with AT&T and Verizon, and iCloud data storage with Apple:

eg. $19 per single swap
$39 per day
$129 per week
$149 per month
$599 per year
You can subscribe at any time from your car, phone, internet, or participating retail swap centers.

6) Tesla will partner with existing nationwide/multi-national chains that will slowly lose business over the coming decades as electrification of personal transportation grows. Examples are:
auto parts dealers/service centers like Pep Boys, Auto Zone, O' Reilly, Midas
quick oil change chains like Jiffy Lube, Quick Lube, EZ Lube
gas stations and mini-marts

These existing chain stores tend to be located in population centers (except the gas stations are everywhere). This complements the supercharging network where the stations are along major highways but not in population centers.

Battery swapping will address the segment of the population that does not have access to home charging like those in urban areas and apartments.

Supercharging will continue to be free but battery swapping will not. Battery swapping cannot be free because the infrastructure is more expensive, there will be inventory and transportation expenses, and the partners need to generate revenue.

There will need to be some kind of reservation/inventory system. The onboard map in your car would show the locations along your intended route that have available batteries. You can reserve a battery but there will be a financial penalty if you reserve but do not actually swap a battery (like Redbox DVD's).

It will be interesting to see what Tesla comes up with and if they can make it work. I don't think it will be anything I will be using in the next few months. In the meantime, I will have to rely on supercharging for trips outside of our range.

That's what my crystal ball says!

I have no idea what they are going to do or how but I know what I would like....

How about a suit-case sized rechargeable battery that can be inserted in the trunk and is good for an extra 70 miles. Can be recharged at home or away and swappable for a fully charged one at service stations, stores and super charge locations.

I am confused by these predictions of paying annual, monthly (or even weekly) charges for a pack swap. I can understand a one-time fee like the SC option. But paying that much every month or year is not that much better than paying for gas, cost-wise. It starts to eat away substantially at your net cost-to-own benefit over ICE cars.

Aside from being green, the other major benefit to long-distance travel with the S (aside from how well it drives) is that you don't pay anything for it. Elon has said numerous times: 'free, forever, on sunlight' . Well, it would kind of kill that proclamation if you now had to pony up $20 or $100 or whatever, every time you swapped a battery at a SC station.

That being said Here's my prediction:

1. Entire battery pack, matching your existing one
2. 1
3. 1250lbs
4. free
5. $2000 one-time fee for unlimited usage, or possible, free.
6. SC stations

EM had said that the supercharging stations would have energy storage in combination with the solar panels. Is this it? Packs charged for swapping are tied to the grid in the interim? It sounds brilliant to me - maximizing the use of every component available - the packs are sitting there waiting for people to swap, why not use them?

Anyway, here's my guess on the original post. I am convinced, per past swapping statements SEC filings, it's clear to me that the swapping will be for the pack itself.

Without some slick software flexibility (detecting which size pack you have and adjusting all systems operations appropriately), I will further assume that if you have a 60, you cannot swap for an 85 (that would be cool, though, and would probably require a complete overhaul of the pricing structure of a new purchase and the eventual swap upgrade).

I'm not sure I understand #4. If you mean an MS retrofit - that's free, because no retrofit is necessary. The car was designed from the beginning for battery swapping (from Elon Musk back in '10 or '09).

If #4 means the cost of installation of a swapping station, then that's important and certainly not free.

Based on the above assumptions, here's my guess:

1) 60 or 85, depending on your current configuration;
2) 1;
3) whatever the 60 and 85 packs weigh;

4a) upgrade/option = free (Model S designed for swapping, no hardware retrofit or software upgrade);

4b) additional $100k for every supercharger station with a swapping bay;

5) $40 per swap (less than a full tank of regular 87 octane in the US), or $440/yr (assuming 1 swap/mo x 12 minus 1 month free); and

6) at over 50% (but not all) of the planned supercharging stations, and probably at select Tesla service centers and Tesla stores.

I tend to think that rd2 may be right about charging for does counter EM's, if the packs are being used with the solar panels, then the service would (eventually) pay for itself in terms of selling energy back to the grid from the panels.

I'll stand by my guess since I already posted it, but rd2 has a point. The more I think about it, it is perfectly reasonable that individual swaps are probably going to be free (no "pay at the pump"), and there would probably be a one-time $2k activation fee (like the $2k supercharging activation for the MS60).

@Tom A and @rd2

A $2,000 activation fee would completely undercut the $12,000 battery replacement option. You could wait until year eight, do a single swap for $2,000, and beat the replacement option price by $10,000. You are saying that, in addition to the swap at year eight, you get free swapping whenever you want it for only $2,000? Free electricity for life? Not gonna happen at that price. Maybe $15,000?


Good point. It would depend on whether there would be any revisions of the current purchasing structure, battery warranty and replacement option. If there are no changes, then I'd say either a one-time $12k to $15k activation fee might be more reasonable, or a subscription fee as myself and others have proposed.

The battery warranty and the replacement option do not make any sense when combined with swapping...would you have to swap it back for your own? Will your pack (that came with your MS) be at the first swapping station you visited, waiting for you when you return?

This will make for an interesting evening, to say the least!


I see your point - how valuable is 'free electricity for life'? Well, I think that it falls in line with the existing SC concept, which is free (except for the $2k one-time fee). And aside from Gilroy and perhaps 1 other location, the SC option is not being abused by daily commuters as far as I know. My understanding is that SC locations are designed to be along intercity freeways. So if battery swap is simply augmenting that capability, which should it not be free as well? 99% of customers will still be paying for daily charges in their garages.

You also have a point that the upgrade to a new battery is $12,000. But I highly doubt that Tesla will be giving customers 'new' batteries at these swap stations. More likely, they'll be heavily used batteries, exchanged numerous times. I think you'll agree that this is not the same value as a brand new battery. Some people will want a brand new battery and pay the $12k at 8 years. But probably more people will be happy to just get used ones for that bargain price.

Ultimately, I have no idea if it's smarter for Tesla to try to sell brand new packs (which are expensive to make) to customers directly, or to keep a supply of used ones (basically little to no additional cost) for swapping. If the batteries are indeed part of the SC energy storage structure, as one poster suggested above, then it might make sense since you already have the units deployed.

I can't wait to see what they reveal on Thursday!

Nr. 3 is set:
@elonmusk: Battery pack swap works with all Tesla Model S cars, past and present. It was always there.

Edit: nr. 4

New safety testing required for any add-on. Fatal Flaw.

I've thought about Elon's trilogy and how each relates to average ICE car buyers, not the (usual) analytical-types frequently this forum. The ones who just want to get from A to B.

1. Fear of buying a car where the company goes bankrupt, ala FIsker. - Addressed - Sales exceed targets. Debt paid off. Lots of capital.

2. Fear of unknown resale value - Addressed - Lease/Buyback option.

3. Fear of costly and unexpected battery replacement - Addressed - Unconditional battery warranty.

4. Fear of not being able to travel long distances - Addressed - SC network

5. By far the biggest fear - Being stuck on the highway with a dead battery because of unforeseen circumstances, e.g., traffic jams, weather, etc - To Be Addressed - by Mobile Battery Swaps by ranger teams. Driver calls TM to report anticipated problem. TM calls ranger with details, including battery size. Swap takes place on flatbed. Old battery recharged at service center where it is picked up on return trip. Think AAA with a twist.

Far fetched? Sure, but no more so than some of the other theories -and- it coincides with Elon's tweet: It's not about IF, it's about HOW..and maybe WHERE.

As far as I know they never actually sold the battery replacement option despite announcing it. I got my car in May and have not had an option to pre-purchase a replacement pack. I suspect this announcement will be the reason they haven't offered the replacement yet.

This forum needs one more wacky idea. Ever see how machine-gun ammunition is stored/used? There's a flexible membrane with holes in it that turns a bunch of independent, random cartridges into a single strand of ammo. Replace the bullets with batteries, and voila! Instant recharging. Open up two little ports on the 'battery' hook up a new membrane to one port... grab the other membrane - and pull! Hey, Elon said the 'demo' could go wrong. There could be a jam!

Rangers - Especially if they are 40 lb modules, rangers can easily stock several in their service vehicles and get you running again in minutes.

Safety - the frunk location is massively surrounded by safety structures, and the Al Air chemistry has inherent safety benefits without the need for cooling. It can be packaged to dump its electrolyte downward when breached, rendering the battery an inert aluminum crumple structure, which actually enhances safety.

TM would also have time to run crash tests before general availability (probably next year).

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