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Possiblity to replace/upgrade battery in future (ex: 40kWh to say 120kWh pack, etc)

Hi all,

I am planning on getting the 40kWh pack (though the performance 85kWh version is mighty tempting!). With battery tech advancing though, in 3-5 years we could see a 120kWh pack for example. Would it be possible to upgrade the battery? Though it seems like it might not be cost effective to "dispose" of a 40kWh (possibly $20k) battery.

- Tony

The for sure answer right now is possibly since TM hasn't said either way.

60KW pack is the best value for your money($10K). It can be upgraded later.
~Waymond

I agree that the 60kWh pack is the best bang for the buck, but I don't think anyone from Tesla has said that you'll be able to upgrade it later.

The battery is designed to be swapped out, but Tesla has advised buyers to purchase the battery that will suit their current and future needs. My strategy is to buy big, with the expectation of trading my battery up after the warranty expires in 8 years.

I read the part from the facts page under energy and battery which states:

"While technically possible to upgrade from a 40 kWh battery to a larger battery at a later time, Tesla recommends configuring your Model S with the battery that meets both present and future needs."

To me, it seem to be difficult task to upgrade from the "40KWh" battery. This could mean that the other batteries is more possible for upgrade.

so, 60kwh and/or 85kwh packs "might" be more possible to upgrade in the future.

We will have to wait for the final statement from TM on batteries upgrade.

~Waymond

I agree. As Tesla states it is technically feasible to upgrade from a 40 kWh battery. The question is when would Tesla be willing to offer such an option and what,if any, additional modifications would be required besides the battery pack itself.

Earlier Tesla made a point of stating how easily it would be to change out to larger battery packs with the proper equipment. There would be a credibility issue if now they reversed their position and stated there was a technical reason preventing it.

My guess is that Tesla simply doesn't want to leave the impression that they are prepared to offer an upgrade option early on. In other words it is likely purely a businsess issue, not a technical issue.

In the Facts webpage Tesla states:

"Given rapidly changing battery technology, it is impossible to accurately forecast the cost of future battery replacements."

So even if Tesla were prepared to offer such an upgrade it is not possible to forecast if the economies in 3-5 years would justify such an upgrade.

Larry

If enough model S sedans are sold, aftermarket battery pack upgrades will be available. It is best to order the model s with a battery pack that will serve your needs during the warranty period (eight years).

Yeah I'm actually leaning towards the 60kWh pack, I think that hits the sweet spot, versus the 40kWh pack (the additional performance is nice too). In 8 years I can't even begin to imagine what the EV landscape will look like.

As for upgrading battery packs and business considerations, yeah that crossed my mind. Technically they've said they can swap batteries, so technically upgrading seems like it should be do-able. But business wise, it might not make sense, either from their side or from the customer's side (cost effective-ness of upgrading might not be there, since the previous battery would not be worth as much, etc...).

TM may simply want to "subtly" discourage purchase of the base model (lowest margin).

If you are looking for the next 5 to 10 years for upgrade, look for the technology called Lithium Air. There are several companies currently developing this technology including mine. Lithium air battery theoretically has 8X-10X over lithium ion. The future technology for cars is bright and if the development is successful, this might be the time we can upgrade our 40KW or 60KW battery assuming TSLA can put it in Model S form factor.

"While technically possible to upgrade from a 40 kWh battery to a larger battery at a later time, Tesla recommends configuring your Model S with the battery that meets both present and future needs."

I think the issue here is the charging hardware. When they build a 40 kWh car they're not going to install the BIG expensive cabling and contactors required for DC Fast Charging. If you simply swapped in a big pack without upgrading the car's wiring, then you'll still be limited to HPC charging levels.

I would also think they are potentially only wiring the car with the size cabling they need to accommodate the battery, wire is expensive. You may be able to swap to a larger battery but you will not get the performance or the faster charging time because the battery to PEM and motor wire might be too small. That is just a possibility I have no facts.

From Tesla's statement you will be able to replace the battery. If not I'm not purchasing the car. If I drive excessively more than I anticipate or decide in 3 years I want to swap out for the same battery to get more range back I had better be able to do that. If I can swap for the same size battery there is no reason I can't swap for a larger battery and keep the existing performance and charge scheme. Wire size is based on amperage draw not potential amperage at the source.

Saying all that I think if people just pick the battery range that appears to suit their needs most people will not upgrade later even if it's an option. They may rent a larger battery if that becomes an option.

Did Douglas3 and I type that at the same time or did I just miss his post..lol

I'm also purchasing the 60kWh because I think it's the best value for the money right now, though I agree, the performance package is very tempting.

I also agree with the previous posts about after-market battery availability. I read somewhere that lithium ion batteries are improving in storage capacity by 8% annually. While this probably won't continue indefinately, other energy storage technology will be coming, and most likely will fit in the Model S form factor.

So, it is more than likely that in 5-8 years, one will be able to purchase a battery pack offering significantly greater range (than 300 miles, let alone 230). Perhaps using a different technology, but nevertheless, still available. Once an affordable range option greater than 400 - 500 miles is available, then ICEs days will be counting down. I'm just wondering, if this scenario plays out, what the resell value on a Model S will be?

I think the resale value of the Model S will be fairly nice for a couple of reasons.

1. The storage and luxury factors of the car, along with the increased range, will remain highly desirable.

2. The big boys are going to be concentrating on reducing the cost of the cars. So they're going to be using the new technologies to reduce the price of the 100 mile car so that it matches the cost of a similar ICE. So a used Model S will be highly desirable for those who want the higher range.

IMO, when the price of a Leaf matches the price of a comparable ICE, the ICE's days are definitely numbered!

The value of the Model S has three major components:

  1. The battery. This is a quickly depreciating item; I expect it will have at most 10% of its value after 8 years. The good news here is that the degradation is gradual, so if you want to hold on to the battery for some time longer, you'll be able to do so.
  2. The chassis. This is a longer-lived asset; with proper care, the Model S chassis should retain a significant portion of its value for 20 years or longer.
  3. Service and support. This is a wild card; if Tesla is successful as a company and maintains the high standards it has begun with Roadster owners, then this component adds significant value.

From what we've heard, elements (1) and (2) are largely uncorrelated. Consequently, I wouldn't be too worried about buying the "wrong battery" and therefore getting a weak car -- which is more closely linked to (2) and (3).

@Sudre_
From Tesla's statement you will be able to replace the battery. If not I'm not purchasing the car. If I drive excessively more than I anticipate or decide in 3 years I want to swap out for the same battery to get more range back I had better be able to do that. If I can swap for the same size battery there is no reason I can't swap for a larger battery and keep the existing performance and charge scheme.

You can be confident that replacement batteries will be available from day-one because the batteries are under warranty and Tesla obviously is required to provide replacements under warranty. Whether Tesla offers a larger battery replacement is a business decision that they have yet to offer, but I expect it will eventually be offerred.

Larry

@Robert.Boston:
The battery. This is a quickly depreciating item; I expect it will have at most 10% of its value after 8 years.

Why so low? It should still have 80%-90% of the original capacity. You could easily drive it another 5 years or more. When it goes out of service at the end of its vehicle life, it should still be useful in household or grid backup energy storage.

kafah;
That was offered as a long-term average. The last two years have been 17%, and there's tech in the pipeline for much higher than that.

Teo;
Comparative value. Lots of 10-yr old computers still function fine, and do what they did originally (mine, e.g.), but have basically $0 market value, or maybe 10-20% at most. If, say, Chu is right, a much better battery will be available at 1/8 the current cost. Who's going to pay actual $$ for the current one?

About that business decision: lots of interesting variables there. Will they want to avoid a glut of "old, inefficient" Model Ses on the used car market? Or will they be pushing the Upgrade Now path? Etc.

Want to buy wall connector using my old battery pack as the 'buffer'. Also want to set the wall connector to charge its 'buffer' during the afternoon when my solar cells are fully active.

Optimization options abound there... maybe I'd want to schedule different charging times for the wall connector buffer. Food for thought.

@Jason S: I don't think you'll want to do that. You'll do better selling the electricity back during the day and buying it back at night. No losses in energy transfer. And it's better for the grid, too, as others get to use the power when the sun is out, nearer peak usage.

About the only thing that would be a good use of an old pack would be as a UPS and power conditioner for the home. With good circuitry, during a blackout you could last quite a while on the power an old pack could provide. Keeping the solar on your side of the break would make it possible to charge the pack while disconnected from the grid, too, possibly extending your power during the blackout.

It's up to you whether the extensive circuit changes are worth the peace of mind knowing you'd have power for that much longer.

As an alternative, you could simply charge the pack when there's power, and run your refrigerator (and phone/computer/internet equipment?) off the pack to keep away from power losses.

@Robert.Boston, @Brian H:

I get it now. I guess I won't be too upset if the original pack is basically worthless if the new, higher capacity pack is that much cheaper.

@Jason, @Ed;
Yeah, the UPS idea ain't too shabby. A pack still holding say 40kwh could keep your house running for a week if you were careful and conservative in use of big-draw appliances!

As for the timeswitching, the utilities in effect would be using the pack-owners as a load-leveling pool, moving supply from surplus to peak periods. That you would be selling their own power back to them at a profit (to you) is only fair compensation for acting as their buffer.

I am a little dubious... on one hand - yes you're likely to be able to upgrade at some point - Otherwise the car is a throw away after the battery is no longer warranted or sustains an adequate charge (after 7-8 years). Second issue if you upgrade in 8 years - my guess is teh body style will be ancient and your missing all the new features - like 3D viewing etc... So it comes down to this - it's a car you buy for 8 years - and if you can get a price for it after that - cool - but outside of 1rst edition or some collection value - it is likely to be close to worthless.

varty;
Lots of cars (& computers) are still in use after 8 yrs. I think you are overestimating the changes that will happen.

One of the selling points of the Model S is that the software (and so the look and feel) of the car will be upgraded at regular intervals. This will keep the car current looking for far longer than an old fashioned car.

I agree with Brian H and jerry3, put a black frame around any high resolution LCD TV, can you tell if it was purchased yesterday or 5 years ago? The Model S is nothing but screen. It's all software and "if" the hardware runs a bit obsolete, I know I would be happy to pay the cost to upgrade the hardware which I wouldn't imagine would be much more then a high end tablet PC or even as cheap as an Android Galaxy Tab perhaps?

Screen, short of too many dead pixels, should be OK for a while with care that nothing goes through that screen. Think "Home Depot" runs for example.

BYT,

Right, I would like "screen armour", a substantial aluminium plate that goes over the screen when not in use. It would protect against the odd 2x4, and would deter theft as well.

+1 Jerry3

Paging SouthFloridaAuthor. :-)


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