Per Elon at All Things D...after tomorrow's, around June 20 is next (presumably the "fifth" in the trilogy)
Any meaningful number of kWh would require a huge volume for super caps. Not happening. Low volumetric energy density.
Brian H +1
Unless Tesla has had a major (unknown) breakthrough in super-cap technology, the only battery with sufficient energy density for the trunk is metal-air batteries.. Current super caps weigh too much to be practical.
Weight is less a problem for supercaps than the opposite: lightness. They're BIG for the charge and weight. Volume. Cubic meters, not kilograms, is the issue. They'd fill the frunk, trunk and back seat for half the charge of the battery.
No supercaps. This one is easy. Check the 10Q. The June 20 demonstration will be a simple battery swap on the Model S. Under 10 minutes.
The big "announcement" will be Tesla's hair club for men. You pay $200 per month and you don't worry about your battery. You can just swap it at any of a number of service centers/charge stations to refill it. And you don't have to worry about cycle life or battery warranty, or deprectiatio from same. You own the car and just swap batteries endlessly.
They can rebuild the modules very easily for any failures or capacity reduction and put them right back into the "pool".
Kind of a Better Place for Tesla only. Recurring revenue, and a solution to Tesla's nagging problem of the short cycle life of the consumer cells from Panasonic.
For owners, elimination of battery risk. And a used Tesla is just as good as a new one vis a vis batteries.
It's actually kind of brilliant.
No, it won't be a battery swap. There is just no business case for this and it is not a practical endeavor. The battery underneath the car requires many different connections, bolts, etc. that would require a raised platform and robot to handle. I don't see how this is going to work, financially. It will require staff. It will also require Model S owners to allow their cars to be raised, their expensive brand new battery to be swapped for a used one, etc. This just doesn't make any sense on any logical level, to me anyway.
My money is on a new battery technology altogether that will replace the Model S battery, or a software update that will allow Tesla to push the charging envelope, or both. What do you think would make a more compelling live demonstration to the consumer at large - replacing a huge, unwieldy battery when you can just charge the one you have in 20 minutes, or doing a "fill-off" pitting a Model S against an ICE vehicle with similar range? The former will get a ho-hum reaction while the latter will set the media on fire. Which do you think would be more beneficial to a company which does not advertise and wishes to remove anxiety from the minds of consumers when it comes to electric cars?
Battery swaps might wow Tesla owners, but showing a Tesla charging faster than filling an ICE vehicle will wow everyone else.
Perhaps battery swapping on today's cars is not practical (based on comments about the difficulty of doing it). By the same token, however, there is no commercially available aluminum-air battery that would work in the car today either. So in both cases, we are talking about the future.
But TM has patent applications for new battery technology! Yes, and TM has also stated clearly that it will provide main battery swapping in the future. I certainly don't think there is a stronger technological case for an auxiliary battery than for a main battery swapping process.
Is the economic case stronger for an auxiliary battery than for a main battery swapping process? It depends. For long distance travel, an auxiliary battery really doesn't add much beyond what we get from superchargers. Adding more and faster superchargers is clearly a good strategy to facilitate road trips and combat range anxiety. Over time, range will increase with improvements in the main battery in any event. With a well developed supercharger network and a better deployment of high amperage level two chargers, I would have few occasions when I might need "swappable" auxiliary batteries, and I certainly would not be willing to pay a lot for the service. It is a technology that would be expensive to develop and deploy, yet would provide only incremental benefits over the currently existing and planned technologies.
The economic case for swapping the main battery is not based on the need to take road trips. TM has already introduced the idea of swapping the main battery as a way to allay fears of battery degradation: for $12,000, you can swap your battery for a new one after eight years. So the technology is definitely on the horizon, and a price has even been stated for it. How much more would someone be willing to pay for the right to swap the main battery not just after eight years, but, say, once a week? The facilities to do this would not need to be installed everywhere because the service would not be available everywhere. But what if those facilities were to be slowly rolled out to the 20-30 densest urban areas in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world? The capital requirements for those facilities would be modest. The service would certainly appeal to residents of apartments and condos who otherwise lack charging facilities. Someone willing to pay $12,000 for a battery replacement option at the end of eight years should be willing to pay even more for a program that would include free electricity over the entire period of ownership. And because the battery can always be swapped for one with the energy capacity of a new battery, there should be no worry about giving up my good battery for someone else's old, used battery.
I have no idea what Elon will demonstrate on June 20. However, it does appear to me that most of the speculation put forward in this thread and the other one is based on what people want to see, not on what they are most likely to see. I am not persuaded that a totally new type of auxiliary battery is more likely to be demonstrated on June 20 than a process for quickly swapping the main battery. And remember, we still have not seen all the details of the battery replacement option. Perhaps on June 20 Elon will announce the battery replacement option plus. :)
A battery-swap plan could be x$/mo. Sign up for the service, pay a little extra each month and have access to battery-swap as needed. Initially the swap stations could be at Tesla service centers. If they prove successful, maybe we see stand alone stations similar to gas stations.
Most importantly, Elon wants to erode range anxiety. While you can debate the economic viability of swap, it's presence changes the conversation and reduces (not eliminates) the final obstacle to mass adoption of electric cars: slow refueling.
Some greeted with laughter speculation that Elon may announce stepping down as CEO of Tesla. in an interview he was being pressed by reporters to open up about his Hyperloop plans. He said there would be more about that after his June 20 announcement. That suggests he may indeed step down.
All that his comments about Hyperloop had to with the June 20 announcement refer to keeping everyone's eyes on Tesla.
Elon has already said that he doesn't have the bandwidth to do Hyperloop and that he is going to offer it to someone with experience in big projects. He doesn't even intend to hold onto Patents.
I'd be more concerned that as battery technology improves, you'll see him move over to vertical takeoff vertical landing electric jets.
As @mjrickard stated, most likely outcome is some kind of battery swap since Tesla already announced it in 10Q.
Tesla is Tesla because of Elon Musk; I do wish people would stop planting the idea of him stepping down. Blasphemy!
A major "need" for the supplementary battery I can envisage is side-tripping: left turns off the major SC-serviced routes. Range to go into the boonies and return.
As for the idea of Elon Musk stepping down, he has grown increasingly insistent that at a minimum he wants to see Tesla through Gen III, even though that means sacrificing being the driving force behind the Hyperloop. Enough said.
mjrickard tries to inject some fud
"Tesla's nagging problem of the short cycle life of the consumer cells from Panasonic."
No Roadsters or early Model S'es have been reported with any battery degradation worth mentioning.
Swapstation capex, logistics, inventory are prohibitive. Turning the whole fleet's batteries into TM inventory? Not happening. Now or ever.
Way too much focus here on batteries for the June 20th announcement. Maybe some day down the line but the logistics of storing large skateboards of batteries seems too much too soon.
Where are all the brilliant innovative ideas among Tesla owners? There are a lot of smart people on these forums who are very capable of thinking outside the box. Since it is "under our nose" I would lean more towards something that has to do with the driving dynamics (could be software related, something already built in that has not been activated yet because too many pieces needed to fall into place first). Hmmmm, maybe a hologram heads-up display? Discuss.
I have no idea what's in store, but I doubt the viability of subscription swapping any time soon. I'm not too far from a Service Center - about 40 miles. Even if I lived 5 miles from one, it's not like it would be convenient to run over there whenever I need a charge. How many people get exasperated if they have to make a U-turn to get to a gas station? Imagine having to go one or five or thirty miles in the wrong direction to top up? Maybe once in a while as prep for a long road trip if I could get an extra-long-range rental battery, but not on a regular basis. As much as I love my Model S, if I found myself having to live AND work where I couldn't charge it every day I would sell it in a heart beat. Special trips out to the highway to hit the supercharger or to the service center for a swap are just not reasonable to expect someone to do over the long term. No matter how dense the supercharger network is it will never be as dense as the network of gas stations. And people who live in the city and don't have dedicated parking at home or work where they can reliably charge are going to be left out of this market for the foreseeable future. To fix that, there will have to be a huge paradigm shift towards car sharing, like ZipCar or something and away from individual car ownership. Either that or radical infrastructure changes like road-bed induction charging. Much as I'd love to see the death of the ICE, it isn't coming any time soon. You just have to get in out of the suburbs to see that.
The reason people are so focused on battery tech for the announcement is because of Elon's tweets and comments at the shareholder's meeting. He clearly indicated that the next announcement/demonstration (after the supercharger announcement) would be related to the time it takes a Model S to recharge vs an ICE car to refuel.
Personally, I think the idea of a Model S and ICE car both taking the same freeway exit at the same time, pulling into their respective refilling stations, and seeing which gets back on the road faster has merit. The battery swapping doesn't get me excited, and even though Tesla has stated that it may be coming, Elon has said that he doesn't see it working from a business point of view. The real mystery to me is still the "right under your nose" comment. So, maybe the metal-air frunk battery is the long shot bet...
AWD option for Model S!
I think he said it would make Model S owners happy. Offering options I have to pay for is not my idea of making me happy.
Just using the Panasonic 4 Ah 18650 batteries instead of the current 3.1 Ah batteries would increase nominal range to 400 miles. Populate the rest of the pack with 20% more batteries and we would get 500 nominal miles. Cost would go up by $20,000 and if added smart cruise control, collision safety, lane assist, nicer seats, like Mercedes... cost may go up, lot of folks would buy them at $125+K or more! Don't forget AWD with total BHP at 500-600 BHP!!!
Never underestimate the hi end global consumer. They would be pay $150+K.
Current batteries in the Model S have shown no significant deterioration. Most folks like me would charge the car at home, using the washer/drier 240 V connection set for battery economy... 98% of the time. With the 2% I would use the supercharger once it is available. Until then, use my old ICE car.
Last thing I want is to deal with a mechanic that changes batteries. I am getting the regular tires that last a lot longer than performance tires. Replacement tires better last 50,000+ miles.
Hey, Guys, I don't want Elon to step down. (I heard that speculation elsewhere.) The stock price is forward-looking -- its basis is faith in Elon. He'd betray that faith by stepping down. Tesla isn't anywhere near mature enough to allow him to step down.
That said, we can't deny Elon is a serial innovator. He's as close to Edison that this generation has produced. The electric light didn't suffer because Tom got interested in phonographs. Where he did fail was his DC power grid, which he lost to the AC grid of Westinghouse and, ironically, a guy named Tesla.
I'm hoping for Model S AWD.
Edison also failed with the concrete house--guess he needed marketing.
At the shareholder meeting, Elon was asked if the "20-minute charge" about which there has been a lot of talk recently, is what he meant when he tweeted:
"There is a way for the Tesla Model S to be recharged throughout the country faster than you could fill a gas tank."
"That is not it."
Then Elon reminded everyone that there would be a "live demonstration" on June 20th.
So from this, I think that we can deduce what he is going to announce quite accurately. With the information given above, I think it is obvious the demonstration will focus on charge times.
It takes about 3 minutes to fill the tank on my Honda Civic, but I can cut him a couple extra minutes because it can be argued that my tank is smaller than average.
Also, I can give him another 5 minutes because many people go inside the store to get a coke or use the bathroom, which, it could be argued, is part of the experience of "gassing up your car."
So charge time? 10 minutes?
And oh yeah, I guess we might as well cut him enough slack and let him get away with only halfway charging the battery, since he has been emphasizing this technology in those terms for quite a while.
Generous, I know, but that's the most slack I am willing to give him considering his statements.
It goes without saying that this will be accomplished by using an improved supercharger - probably a 120 Kw version - not just because there's been a lot of progress on this front and we know they are working very hard in this area, but also because he has pretty much ruled out big breakthroughs in ultra-capacitors or battery-swapping in the near future.
Also, given that he specifically mention the "Tesla Model S" in his tweet, I would imagine this demonstration will be done with the current battery technology. Otherwise he would have included some pre-qualifying modifier, like "the future Model S," because know how he hates it when people misrepresent what he says. I would not rule out that some sort of upgrade that will be required.
So, what do I think he's going to announce on the 20th? Here it is:
"Supercharge your standard Tesla to a range of 150 miles in less than 10 minutes.
That's what I think.
Model S owners would be very happy with unlimited 4G connectivity for life and software updates that will tweak for more range!
"Under your nose".....
gonna replace the steering wheel with a joystick. That way when the optional foldout wings are installed, it will be ready for flight.
They are unveiling a 500 mile battery and adding a built-in porta potty option to allow hard core drivers to go the entire range without stopping.
I'm still betting on the beginning of European deliveries. (Or have they already started?)
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