Now that Better Place went belly-up, Tesla joined the battery-swapping lifestyle. As promised, Tesla unveiled a system to swap battery packs in its electric cars. According to Reuters, Tesla “will roll out the battery-swapping stations later this year, beginning along the heavily-traveled route between Los Angeles and San Francisco and then in the Washington-to-Boston corridor.”
“There are some people, they take a lot of convincing,” Musk told the wire. “Hopefully this is what convinces people finally that electric cars are the future.”
The swapping transaction itself needs a little polish. Says Reuters: “A battery pack swap will cost between $60 and $80, about the same as filling up a 15-gallon gas tank, Musk said. Drivers who choose to swap must reclaim their original battery on their return trip or pay the difference in cost for the new pack.”
The technology garnered attention from an unlikely corner: That of Nissan, maker of the Leaf. The swapporama was featured in today’s issue of “The Week in Autos,” featuring the always elegant Coco Masters and the dapper Ian Rowley, both of Nissan’s global newsroom, and both familiar faces on TTAC.
Interestingly, their series does what other makers rarely do: Talk about the competition. They even talk nice about the other guys. Tesla is partially owned by Nissan’s rival Toyota, which makes the matter even more interesting.