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Swapping will take 90secs....Return the pack on your journey back or keep it & we'll bill you the difference

Live streamin on Tesla twitters acount

Is there any official word about if 60 kWh cars can use it (not just speculation)? I would have thought that would have been one of the first questions answered. If so, the obvious second question is what size will the swapped pack be?

It sounds as though your original pack is held onto until you return. I think this is a good thing, but it also limits the number of "initial" swaps a station can handle. Each "initial" swap requires storage of the owners battery until the owner returns. Tesla would also probably need to reserve one or more inventory slots for swappable batteries only to ensure a station can continue to do "non-initial" swaps even after the "initial" swaps are maxed out.

On top of that, do they intend to do swapping for the Gen III platform? They probably had to also reserve space for that, or plan on some sort of future expansion path. It is highly likely that the Gen III battery back will be a different package, because otherwise you probably couldn't make the Gen III car smaller.

At first I was against pack swapping, but I am now leaning in favor so long as it doesn't hinder supercharger rollout or bankrupt the company (and at the moment it doesn't appear either of these will be issues).

@jk2014 +1

Massive win for cops, taxis and local delivery companies. I would love to see UPS, FedEx, etc make use of this technology for the last few miles.

What we saw last night was a technology demonstration which will resonate throughout the industry. The purpose of this demo is to put everyone on notice that there really should be no objection to buying an electric car because it so overwhelmingly trounces anything available on the ICE side.

The PR is going to go a long way, hence all the pomp and circumstance last night. The rest is just an experiment. If Tesla does take this national, it will benefit from large economies of scale. As far as the cost of swapping, even if it's as low as $50, I would rather spend 40 minutes at a supercharger. I might pay $50 if it doubled my range, but not to just get a fully recharged battery in 90 seconds. I suppose if you are a busy executive and time is money, sure the cost is trivial if you are racing to an important board meeting.

I look at this much more simply. In the ICE world, last night's demo would be akin to replacing your empty fuel tank with a full tank in 90 seconds. Maybe if that's how the oil industry did things a hundred years ago, we would be used to it by now. But the process of decanting a liquid into a big container is far, far faster than putting a charge into a battery.

The limiting factor here is still going to be the supercharger location, as these swapping stations will only be installed at existing supercharger locations. Given that limitation, and that we are only at the very beginning stages of supercharger expansion, I think we've got a long way to go before this catches on. And even then, it's a Tesla-only technology that is not open to Nissan, Mitsubishi, Toyota, Ford or other EVs.

I think battery swapping is primarily a psychological and marketing advantage. Prospective owners will like the idea but few may actually use it. The value is in knowing that the car won't ever be bricked due to a battery issue and that newer higher range batteries can easily be retrofitted at any time. It eases both range anxiety and end of warrantied life anxiety.

Please remember...it would take $50-$100 million in marketing spend just to educate the world on why battery swapping isn't needed. Why not just take that money, build swapping stations, and save yourself an argument if you're Tesla.

The biggest difference between Tesla and Better Place is (a) a lot more people drive/will drive Teslas than electric Renaults, (b) Tesla spent next to nothing to develop the tech since it is basically the same machine the factory uses modified to permit storing and selecting of batteries, plus Tesla already has the locations; Better Place spent hundreds of millions in R&D and more still on real estate.

jk2014--I agree--they have to be thinking about taxis and private car services.

Docrob is right on. That's the way is see this panning out and I think it's great. As a 60 kwh owner I can rent an 85kwh for the few times a year I need longer range, take a road trip, and return it (just like any other rental arrangement such as skis, cars, or whatever) when I return home. The nominal fee is quite reasonable. I don't see people doing multiple swaps on a road trip because that defeats the purpose of free supercharging and is prohibitively expensive. Might as well drive your ICE car in that instance. Bravo Tesla!

@gary.greene@csu

We do not know whether 60's will be able to rent an 85kwh pack without software limits to 60kwh.

I think this illustrates a critical point: are the swaps for range extension or fast charging????

Range extension gets the 60's excited (and would get me excited if I could get a 120kwh battery for my P85). However, Tesla calls this fast charging, not range extension. Given what they did with the 40's, 60's will likley be range limited to 60 (unles they releae a 120kwh pack).

As I originally said early in this post and many agree, this is a marketing gimmick that will drive sales by allaying the fears of current ICE owners (mostly 60's if not range limited battery swap).

No one should get too excited about this being built out nation wide. The liklihood is very low. Tesla is not committed to it. Indeed, as JamesM pointed out on another thread, Elon thinks that it is unlikley a long-term strategy: "However, Musk also made the admission that the battery swapping service probably wouldn’t be much of a long-term venture as when speaking of the company’s third-generation car, he suggested that the focus would be more on faster battery charging."

http://www.highlightpress.com/elon-musk-charges-forward-with-90-second-t...

Tesla will put a few swap stations along I-5 in CA, they will not be used enough to justify cost of a nation wide build out and that will be the end of it.

In the meantime, Tesla will market swapping and sell lots of cars, develop and role out a 500 mile pack and more efficient SC. SC is the future, not battery swapping (better place went under for a reason). Once new owners get the car, they will realize home and supercharging is all that is required for >99.9% of driving. The concept of swapping will have got them to buy the car, but they will quickly realize they dont need it.

Frankly, another brilliant plan by Tesla and Elon. Love it!!!!!

If you all haven't read SamoSam's post about his conversation with JB Straubel, I highly recommend it. I think it's way more interesting than this pack swap demo. Especially the parts that mdemetri mentions, that a 500 mile pack is "not that far away" and that they will be able to keep increasing the speed of the superchargers.

The pack swap is pretty cool though.

Cheers!

Am I correct that 85 KW comes with a more powerful motor? Mercedes charges $10k plus to go from a six cylinder to an 8. Many times when Mercedes has changed the body style they have made a lesser powered car (a la the 40 kilowatt Tesla) for a year to ease the sticker shock. If you paid for an 85 KW you got a more powerful motor and this option will not be available to those who "rent" an 85kw battery. I believe that battery technology will progress quickly and that in the near future Tesla will have a 100 - 120 kw option that will make the 85kw guys want to upgrade.

The Performance model of the 85 comes with a higher capacity inverter. The regular 85 has the same motor as the 60. The 85 is quicker though because the battery can provide more electrons and hence more power than the the 60.

Cheers!

Sorry, the Performance comes with a higher capacity inverter AND, supposedly, a hand wound motor, which allows more current to flow through it thus more power.

Mr. Electric (et al);
You're not sceptical, you're straining at gnats. Ignore the SOC calcs and costs. The net cost of electricity is trivial in the large picture. The "optionality" to change and manage your battery is extremely valuable to many (and hence to the marketplace); that's what this is all about.

Sheesh! Gone for a few hours, and all of a sudden there are a dozen new threads on swapping. I can't read 'em all, so here is my take, after a night sleeping on it.

Technologically, the swapping process is awesome. As a concept, it has the potential to change our thinking about EVs and certainly to attract new purchasers.

I have a lot of questions about its implementation, however. The devil is in the details, and a lot of the details are missing or don't make sense. And I don't think raising these questions or suggesting changes is somehow being selfish or short sighted. I assume that changes (or additional options) that would be attractive to me may be attractive to others as well, including new buyers.

So here are a few questions:

1. Why tie the price to the price of gasoline? Who cares about gasoline? Why not just a simple fixed price?

2. How will they determine the fee when you keep a pack? Will it be based on the age or condition of the old battery? What about the age and condition of the new battery? Will we be told before we swap what these potential costs will be?

3. How long can you keep the pack before they conclude you've bought it? Do you need to affirmatively let them know you intend to keep it?

4. Do you get a credit if the pack you turn in is better than the one you get?

5. How long does it take to swap your old pack back in? I assume they need to identify it from storage and then move it into position before doing the swap. Is this all automated? If the battery has been sitting several weeks in storage, can they still do this in 90 seconds?

6. Will they be using your old battery while they store it? Any credit for that?

7. If you make several swaps serially on a long trip, do you count the time of possession from the first battery you get or the last? Do you need to return each battery to the station of origin?

8. Can you swap a 60 kWh battery for an 85 kWh battery? At what cost?

9. Can you swap a 60 kWh battery for another 60 kWh battery? Again, are there storage and identification issues? (I picture a giant carousel, like the old jukeboxes, where the batteries are selected and moved into position for swapping; a huge underground facility that wasn't necessary for the demonstration).

10. Can you request older/newer, bigger/smaller, cheaper/more expensive batteries?

11. How will this affect the battery replacement option? I assume they will just drop it.

(Hmm . . . my list goes to 11!)

The biggest problem I see in the implementation revolves around the question getting your old battery back. This may work for some people, but for me it's a ball and chain, a major drag on the feeling of freedom and flexibility that should go with owning a car. If I don't get back to pick up that battery, it could be very costly. Pricing it, storing it, shipping it back, re-installing it -- all introduce complications. So if we are all in favor of "optionality," I would like to see TM introduce another option in addition to the two offered by TM (returning the battery or buying the new one).

When I drive my car into the swap station, a determination is made as to the storage capacity of my existing battery. This can be easily done from charging logs, and probably needs to be done to value the battery under TM's proposed system anyway. So let's say my battery is capable of charging to 75 kW. I propose that we should have the option to have the new battery software-limited to 75 kW, and then never have to go back and pick up my old battery again. This may feel like wasted capacity, but it shouldn't cost TM any more, since the batteries are being continually swapped in and out of service anyway. Whether they sit in a facility to be used as grid storage, or get installed in my car and used at less than their full capacity should make very little difference to TM's costs. But it would make a big difference to me to be able to swap the battery out without having to return to the station and swap it back in, a process that adds time and cost to me for no benefit.

Just as TM's proposed system allows me to pay to keep the new battery, I would like the option to pay the same amount to remove the software limits. And I think a lot of people would ultimately do this as a way of refreshing and updating the battery in their car. And as TM gradually improves and upgrades it's batteries, people would have an ever greater incentive to purchase an upgrade in this way.

Anyway, that's my idea. It doesn't have to substitute for what TM has proposed, but just made an additional way to answer the question of what to do about your old battery.

+1 douglasr

I am bemused and dismayed by the "they shouldn't do this because I think it's a bad idea" attitude so many seem to have. Guess what? Don't like it? DON'T USE IT. It's a free country, if tesla want to build a few and see if people use them then go for it. For a land that is supposed to be the land of liberty and free market capitalism there seems to be a lot of opposition to giving people options and the liberty to decide what works for them. As Elon said the intent is to give people two choices, fast or free, take your pick then back off and let others decide for themselves too.

Tesla is keeping it interesting. I'm curious if it will be possible to excavate in all those supercharger parking lot locations as the land is leased. Also the excavation cost plus the robotics? and machinery to swap the batteries will get costly, not to mention the 50 packs x 7000 Li - Ion cells just sitting there unused. Basically most Tesla owners are going to get forced into these $60-80 battery swaps at the locations as there are only like 5 or so stalls for superchargers at the locations, and the drivers will still have to get back to that location to swap for their original battery pack. I would think the inconveniences are short term though. If Tesla sticks it out for another ten years I would think the batteries would become totally fungible and the owner just pays some up front price for the vehicle. Then there could be all kinds of cool applications like the cars are all 'talking' to the super charger location to let the station know how many batteries need to be ready to go full charge for a swap out. It may be possible to use all those batteries packs to store solar energy and sell to the grid, etc. Plus if Tesla has pack diagnostics at a location, it is in essence a service center or preventive maintenance if you will. 'Sick' packs will be detected and deterred from entering the pack swap cycle.

"Sick" packs from an EV point of view are still fine for stationary storage, not on,y can these packs be removed from the EV pool but can be segmented and sold as home solar storage packs and the proceeds split between Tesla and the pack owner. This system unlocks,any many novel business opportunities and I am excited t see how and if it develops.

I just realized that if Tesla stores 50 batteries at each location (as implied by several articles), the cost of the batteries alone would be more than the $500K per location. Is Musk talking about the installation cost w/o batteries? Or is the cost of batteries FAR cheaper than we ever imagined?

Also a business opportunity in elon starting a battery lease/sales/rental company. Majority of battery stores will be collocated at each supercharger/swap station. Offer various battery lease/sale/rental options including upgrading to most current tech that becomes available to MS/MX/GENIII.

Said this few times before, also a secondary market for used batteries in PV storage systems so developing a company that specializes in automotive/utility energy storage might make sense from a long term perspective.

Also, more batteries produced now the cheaper the cars get for customers in the future and higher probability geniii will achieve 30k price target

HenryT2;
You have no idea how much those batteries cost TM.


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