The battery swap demonstration on June 20th certainly led to great anticipation, speculation, excitement, etc. Kudos to Tesla! Many comments since, however, still seem speculative and/or wishful thinking:
Speculation; Swapping will attract legions of new buyers who live in urban apartments or condos where they can't charge at home.
Reality; Swapping will take place only at selected SC stations, all of which are now and will be located only between major urban areas, not in them. It will not be time nor cost effective for an urban owner to travel to a swapping facility.
Speculation; Owners with less than the largest battery currently available will be able to borrow the largest size battery for a road trip, then replace it with their original battery on their return trip.
Reality; Has Tesla yet confirmed that swapping for a larger battery is even technically possible? How might this affect weight? Charging settings? etc. If and when owners may someday want to permanently swap for a battery with greater capacity and/or the newest technology, would they not prefer to do this at a Tesla Service Center rather than at a remote SC site where the nearest Tesla experts are likely hours away?
Speculation; As SC stations are opened across the US it will be possible to drive almost anywhere stopping only for two or three minutes to swap your battery.
Reality; The demonstration confirmed only that one swapping facility would be built in California, with a second possible on the East Coast. Tesla will be closely monitoring how many drivers choose "Fast" vs "Free." If this is perhaps 20%, 10%, or even less, at perhaps the busiest SC stations, it would seem economically unsound to add the capability at every SC station. Adding more charging stations if SC sites frequently reach capacity will always be a small fraction of the cost of building a swap station.
Speculation; Choosing "Fast" vs "Free" is always a simple, logical decision.
Reality; It is far more complex than just choosing money for time. Many (perhaps most) owners may be reluctant to swap their carefully pampered battery for one with an unknown (at least to them) history. And unless/until Tesla can tell owners before the swap begins exactly what their account will be charged for a simple replacement and/or should they want to keep the replacement battery, this unknown could further discourage swaps.
Speculation; Using robotic swapping capability in the factory could double the rate at which batteries are currently being installed.
Reality; Likely true. But highly unlikely that this installation could increase the hourly or daily production rate unless and until every other step in the assembly line could operate at this increased rate.
And it could well be less expensive to just set up a second, parallel installation station to double the installation rate, while also insuring against any slowdown or malfunction in the current station.
While swapping appears to offer limited benefits for most current and prospective owners, it certainly has tremendous potential for others. Taxicab and limousine fleets could swap batteries just as quickly as they now swap drivers during shift changes. UPS and FedEx vans could be ready for their next route just minutes after finishing their first. Police departments and security patrol firms could reduce the size of their fleets if every vehicle is always available without having some down for oil changes, tuneups, etc. (And the perps might not even hear them coming!) Aid cars and other emergency vehicles could always be ready to respond without waiting for engines to warm up.
It will indeed be fascinating to watch whatever practical applications of battery swapping will develop!
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