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Alternate Theory For Battery Swap Endgame

Ok, I'm having a hard time believing that Elon believes this battery swap thing is actually worth the time/money they're putting into this for the reasons they're giving. I'm not on board with the marketing theory, either, but I do have an alternate idea.

They know they need batteries at the SCs anyways to supplement the solar panels, right? So maybe they're trying to squeeze the most use out of them. Kind of killing 2 birds with one stone? Provide backup power for SCs and if someone wants to take one with them they can. Perhaps they're thinking: "Hey, we have to have batteries there anyways, what if we made them more versatile?" Maybe they would have opened with that, but on the other hand, maybe it wasn't ready yet.

Can someone comment on the technical/feasibility aspects of this proposal?

Sorry if this was already posted (looked and didn't see it).

If you think that the $10 to 20M needed to put in 20-40 swap stations in is going to make a difference on how fast superchargers are going to be put in, you should sell your Tesla and short TMC NOW! That would mean that a company valued at $11.5B that just paid back a huge loan on a giant successful offering is now so short of cash that they can't handle $20M over several years for a major infrastructure improvement.

Tesla are not rolling out superchargers at the rate they are because of cash limitations. Undoubtedly, it's due to logistical problems in sourcing locations, getting the hardware, etc.

I really don't get the negativity against the battery swap. First, it gives more flexibility to travellers (time vs. money) and second, it makes swapping batteries part of the EV repetoire.

I think Tesla's got 500 mile packs coming up sooner rather than later AND they will be available for "rent". Announcing that they will be allowing owners to swap out 150s whenever they need them for a long trip will cannibalize and alienate 85 sales.

Didn't noticed it mentioned in this thread, but also note that ZEV credits go from 4 to 7 for cars that support battery swapping. At $5k per credit and 20k cars per year that is $300m a year. I don't know the small print about how widespread the capability needs to be to qualify.

Assuming the small print is satisfied, then the credits cover the cost of the buildout of the stations - if they are even needed. Maybe simply demonstrating it is possible, and putting one at each service center is enough. $200m+ straight to the bottom line.

For the "Why swap?" question, forget the grand strategy bit and try this scenario instead:

1. Production line manager brags about 40-sec battery install time achieved by reprogramming the robots.

2. "Can you remove one as fast, and get swap time down to 90 sec?"

3. Bet won. Bragging reached Elon's staff.

4. Someone says, "That might be interesting for selling to fleets."

5. It might be hard to earn back the 500K cost of a BattSwap Station via individual MS owners, but with fleets contracting to keep the SwapStations busy....

6. Good publicity too. Twit the ICE naysayers with more EV stream-roller tactics. More free advertising, putting off the day of full-page ads a little longer.

7. Finally someone volunteers that people who rent (and perhaps park on the street) need a charging alternative when time is too short to work a long recharge into their schedule.

8. "Peg cost to the price of a full talk," someone says.

9. Then someone notes that gas station owners need an escape path. Maybe they will want BattSwap franchises.

As I have said elsewhere, Model S is okay for executive cars within a fleet (say, rentals), but it is the Model X that will appeal to fleets in a big way. Taxi, airport shuttles, even police.

How to launch it? Turn loose the event planners on the individual driver angle--makes for good theater (no need to stress the fleet angle for now).Result: June 20 video.

@wcalvin - Elon has said that the battery swap concept was part of the plan from the beginning.

wcalvin;
Plausible. Exact sequence may be different, but the considerations covered make sense.

Some SuperChargers already have 500kWh battery for grid buffering (Elon said it in last investor call, listen to it if you don't believe me) so Battery swaping is just better utilization of this grid buffering idea.
Also 500,000$ per swap station is a lot of money in my eyes but with 100 stations acros the US it's just 50 milions $, so not that big money for covering the most frequented routes in the US. My biggest worry is about price per swap (price per "recharged" mile comparing it to the price per ICE car mile). SuperChargers are great, we yet have to see how great SuperSwaps will be :-)

Some battery storage at superchargers would improve the performance of the facility. More cars charging at once would slow down the charging rate per car, unless you enlarge power source and number of stacked inverters, or use storage batteries to buffer the power-use surges. If the system happened to be connected through a demand meter to the grid, then the cost of electricity would go way up without batteries to balance out high use times and at night.

Hi DouglasR,
I have been watching Tesla for a number of years, it is true Elon and team have had the swappable battery idea at the start of Model S design. I remember vividly being disappointed when I started reading the Model S designs were omitting the swappable capabilities. I began to hope again when I noticed where and how the Model S battery was installed. Tesla knew better than to over promise and under deliver! Much smarter to get the awesome car out and figure out the battery swapping infrastructure in the background and use it as additional marketing WOW factor later!

Elon wanted the capability designed in, but has always had reservations about the business viability. Part of the motivation to demo it may be enhanced ZEV credits.

"Part of the motivation to demo it may be enhanced ZEV credits".

The rapid charging credits may well go away soon.


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