By on October 17, 2014

Tesla Supercharger

While Tesla owners — and owners of all EVs, for that matter — may be waiting a couple of years before titanium oxide anodes bring battery charging levels down to the 3- to 5-minute fueling times found at a given gas station, CEO Elon Musk has another option for them to consider: Battery-pack swapping.

SlashGear reports the first swapping station will come online within the next few months, offering S and X owners the option of allowing robots to swap a drained pack for a fully charged unit from underneath the car within 90 seconds. Not only is this method faster than refueling at the local ARCO, but it blows away the Supercharger’s 30-minute charging time, as well.

The pack swap would also enable owners to retrieve their original packs later on, or, should retrieval become inconvenient, pay the difference for the new pack. Critics note this could lead to supply problems, where some stations have batteries waiting for their owners to return, while others run short of new packs.

The first station will open somewhere between Los Angeles and San Francisco, though further details were scant.

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64 Comments on “Tesla’s First Battery Swap Station Opening Soon...”


  • avatar
    ClutchCarGo

    Battery swapping only really makes sense if the operator leases, not owns, the battery pack. This was the Better Place model, and I think it makes a lot of sense, shifting the risk of battery pack failure from the owner to Tesla (who can spread that risk out over all packs). However, that still leaves the issue of keeping packs evenly distributed thru the service area so that packs are available and charged when and where customers need them.

    • 0 avatar
      Astigmatism

      I’m honestly surprised this wasn’t the original model. The hot-swap idea only makes sense as a viable alternative to gas if the battery packs are completely fungible. Imagine driving from New York to LA, and knowing that at some point you’d need to head back east to change out your batter in the Catskills.

      As for the supply problem, as there’s always a discharged battery being dropped off whenever a charged battery is put on, the only possible hold-up is the turnover rate. They just need to ensure they have a couple of hours of downtime for each individual battery before the next guy comes in wanting a charged pack.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        It poses a challenge for financing, since the lender doesn’t hold a key component of the car as part of its collateral.

        Imagine repossessing an EV without a battery pack, with a buyer who failed to make payments on either the car or the battery. Not a great position for the guy who is left holding the money bag.

        In any case, Better Place was a loser because it was necessary to create a lot of inefficient, costly infrastructure in exchange for no benefit to the car company or battery provider. Building “gas” stations that produce virtually no revenue is not a great business model.

        • 0 avatar

          “Building “gas” stations that produce virtually no revenue is not a great business model.”

          Maybe Tesla can take a queue from the petroleum industry and run convenience stores at their charging stations to make some extra revenue. Grab some jerky and Mountain Dew while they swap your battery.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The average gas station can accommodate most of the driving public.

            A dedicated EV charging station can serve virtually none of the driving public. A battery swap station oriented toward one brand of a low-volume car serves even fewer than that.

            There simply aren’t enough EVs or EV drivers to support convenience stores oriented toward EV drivers. There is no business model there. An onsite vending machine would suffice, and it wouldn’t be particularly lucrative.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @Pch101: For today, you are right. But tomorrow? Maybe not. And the battery swap only takes 90 seconds–not even enough time to get in the door of the place.

      • 0 avatar

        The owner isn’t forced to return to collect his original battery. He/she can elect to keep the ‘loaner’ battery indefinitely, but the fee will be substantially more to do so.

        My guess is that if you are somewhere where you will probably not return anytime soon, supercharging is the best approach.

  • avatar
    turf3

    I am so glad to see that someone is finally going to do this. I have always felt fast battery swaps were the solution to the slow charging problem. Certainly there will be logistics issues with ensuring an adequate supply of batteries charged and ready to swap, and there will be legal issues associated with ownership and responsibility for the batteris. However, neither of those issues requires the invention of major new technologies and the subsequent productionizing of said technologies. They just require some smart MBAs to sharpen their pencils and figure out how to manage it. That is certainly a better use of them than having them tell me how to do my job…

    In other words, solving the issues associated with rapid battery swaps is a short-term problem that maybe takes 3-5 years. Inventing new technologies that permit reliable 3-minute charges is a long-term problem that could take decades, with a high risk of impossibility, and a constant pushing against the boundaries of the laws of physics.

    • 0 avatar

      Battery charging time is not really a concern for the vast majority of the drivers. Plug-in before you go to bed and wake up to a fully charged car. Battery swaps will not be easy to manage. Tesla wants to do it because of the 3 extra California ZEV credits it allows them to collect. If an owner with a 5 yr old car wants to pay for and keep an one month old battery from another car, what will Tesla do if the first owner demands his battery back? Will they reimburse him for the difference? What if he declines? What is the guarantee that a fully charged battery is available for swap when you pull in? How many extra battery packs need to be kept in inventory to ensure everyone gets a fully charged one as soon as they arrive? Why would Tesla want to keep extra battery packs in inventory when they are production constrained due to battery supply shortage? Is battery swap really that quick?

      According to Edmunds : “After the power unit was replaced, the Model S needed a four-wheel alignment. That’s because the rear subframe must be removed to extract the power unit.”

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        I think that’s grossly over-complicating the battery-swap technology. As I stated elsewhere, the logistics of trying to track who has what pack and why is ridiculously inefficient. Yes, pack data itself must be tracked and monitored, but that can be a very simple and elegant automated system. Trying to consistently return the original pack to the original vehicle is needlessly complex and expensive.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        >> Battery charging time is not really a concern for the vast majority of the drivers. Plug-in before you go to bed and wake up to a fully charged car.

        That’s pretty much what I do. Although Supercharging has it’s benefits. I stopped up for a top-up charge at a CHAdeMO L3 charger in the Boston area and ended up having a great conversation over free coffee while waiting for the charge. I actually ended up charging longer than I really needed because I was too busy socializing!

    • 0 avatar

      I’m not sure why keeping an adequate supply of charged batteries is a concern. The swap stations will be close to the supercharger stations, recharging them can be done slowly or quickly as demand dictates. If supply of charged batteries gets low, then a depleted pack can be supercharged in about 30 minutes.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        So is this going to be pro-rated then? If I go get a new pack and leave my 3-year old one there, and they recharge it and give it to Customer B, and he decides to keep it – does he pay the new fee since he “switched?” Or is it rated because he actually got an old battery.

        • 0 avatar

          Tesla haven’t released details of how pro-ration would be calculated, only that if an owner elects to release his old battery and keep the loaned battery he’ll pay a betterment fee. They may have changed their mins since the scheme was announced last year.

          When you start swapping old for old I imagine it could get confusing and contentious. I wouldn’t be surprised that any battery left with Tesla would get reconditioned and brought to a minimum standard before being lent out.

        • 0 avatar
          PandaBear

          To reduce liability they would be wise not to lend out customers’ pack to each other and just hold on to it until you sign the paperwork to trade in.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Well, it’ll be interesting to see how this works.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    Five minute charging represents approximately a 12C rate. There are already cells that can charge at 12C, although the energy density of such high rate cells is only about half of that of the cells used by Tesla.

    The other big problem is getting the current from the charging connector to all the cells at such a high rate without excessive voltage drop. You’re talking about roughly 2000 Amps at 480 Volts at the charging connector.

    The rate of energy transfer at a traditional gas pump is pretty amazing when you convert it to electrical terms.

    • 0 avatar

      No one is suggesting 5 minute recharges. Just 90 second swaps.

      Tesla are smart to make their packs swap-able as it provides more options to their customers. As this technology is introduced Tesla owners have 3 basic options. Recharge slowly, supercharge quickly or swap rapidly.

      Devices with non removable batteries are rendered inoperative if the battery depletes. The Model S is superior to other BEV’s in the respect that other BEV’s have non removable batteries.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Logically, Tesla would be better off if the swap station became a renew/recharge station as well and not worry about who has what battery pack. Such worry would be a logistical nightmare while simply recharging and re-stacking for use in the next battery swap is much more efficient and economical.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      As far as I understand the scheme, you get your original battery pack back when you get home.

      I think one of the options was that you could rent a larger packs than your car came with when doing a battery swap road trip, too – and then get your small battery back when you get home.

      The logistics don’t sound too bad – at least as far as the IT required to track the batteries across geography. The catch is that you need to have some IT people who know what they’re doing design the electronic bureaucracy. They might have to put a few packs on a truck to rebalance now and then, but it won’t be a lot if people make round trips on average.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      It is not like there are that many of the vehicles out there and very few people would have the need to swap batteries so it is not a logistical nightmare. They scan the bar code on car as well as the battery and put it in a particular slot in the rack and plug it in. They are not going to be changing hundreds or even dozens of batteries a day so spending a extra couple of minutes of the time the employee would be standing around is not uneconomical. When the car comes back you scan the bar code on the car and the computer directs them to the slot in the storage rack where the owner’s battery is.

      If someone is taking a really long trip when it comes in with a loaner battery they put that in the pool at the next station.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Tesla’s live demonstration from last year is very compelling.

    “http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0-sHtlCZ7M”

    I suppose you’d want to place these stations in the center of high-use areas, rather than have them all over the country.

  • avatar
    djoelt1

    I don’t think the cars are designed to have the batteries removed and replaced. They are an integral part of the structure of the car – the battery pack is a stressed member that acts like a beam. Doesn’t seem plausible.

    • 0 avatar
      LeMansteve

      If it’s truly not plausible, don’t you think Tesla would have figured that out well before setting out to design and launch entire battery swapping stations?

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      >> I don’t think the cars are designed to have the batteries removed and replaced.

      Actually, they were designed to be swappable.

      • 0 avatar
        djoelt1

        I didn’t design the car. I don’t work for Tesla and never have. I have recently been on a tour of the entire assembly line including the battery line and from this mechanical engineer’s perspective it doesn’t look plausible. Maybe a future model, but not the Model S cars I saw being assembled.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          The Model S was designed to have swappable batteries. California provides additional credits for EVs with that feature, and it was publicly demonstrated (with much hoopla) last year.

          I’m sure that it’s not a high priority for the company. Tesla did it largely for the PR benefit and the additional state credits, the latter of which can be sold off.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          Here’s a link to a 2011 article about the designed-in battery swap capability:

          https://gigaom.com/2011/03/18/teslas-model-s-battery-is-swappable-just-in-case/

          As an new EV owner and level 3/supercharger user, I’m not sure I’d ever need or want a battery swap. I don’t allow the battery to go anywhere near zero nor do I charge past 80%, so my charges are maybe 10 to 15 minutes. I usually need a break from driving if I’ve been on the road long enough to want a charge, so a bathroom visit followed by coffee and an email check while charging. Typically the email time alone takes me as long as or longer than the charge.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          You say it doesn’t look plausible, Joel, yet Elon Musk demonstrated the technology on stage, in front of hundreds of people including reporters, well over a year ago–twice in succession. The car drove up onto the platform, had its battery pack replaced by a robotic mechanism, and drove off again–twice. How can it not be plausible when it was done in front of witnesses? While I agree it doesn’t LOOK like it could be possible, none of us knows every detail of how the Model S is built or how the battery pack itself is attached to that frame. A walking tour through the plant isn’t likely to show you that process either if the batteries are already installed within that frame before the body is attached.

  • avatar
    turf3

    Maybe Tesla should retain ownership of the battery packs, and you pay an annual maintenance fee of some sort. I think there are some other products (industrial use) like this, but for the moment it escapes me what they are.

    Maybe this generation of Tesla cars are not designed for a fast swap, but doing so is a relatively straightforward mechanical engineering job.

    The thing with the fast battery swap is that it eliminates one of the current major barriers to acceptance. A lot of people imagine themselves running out of charge (maybe on a long driving trip?) and hvaing to wait a long time to restart the car. Even if 98% of the user’s trips are short enough that the overnight charge in the garage will work, there’s still a big psychological barrier. There are very few places in the U.S. where it’s a challenge to get from point A to point B in a gas car without having multiple opportunities to refuel. (And the refueling is fast.)

    People are getting more and more comfortable with paying monthly licensing/maintenance fees (see smart phones) so I could see Tesla owning the batteries; charging you per swap when you do make a swap; maybe some kind of an annual maintenance fee that gets you an annual “battery checkup and replacement” at the dealer or authorized service center? I haven’t thought this out thoroughly, but it seems to offer promise.

    • 0 avatar
      PandaBear

      There is also a psychological barrier for buying if you have to “lease” a battery for an indefinite period of time.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        That’s not what Tesla is doing. You rent a battery (or batteries) fr the dudurationmof your road trip.

        When you come back to that station the next time, you get your originals battery pack back. When you’re back home, you and go back to charging your old battery at home to cover your routine driving.

        Yeah, it might only work on luxury cars that cost as much as a house in my part of the country – but it seems well thought out nonetheless.

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    There are plenty of hybrids that have over 10 years of use on similar batteries. Many are used as taxis and rack up huge mileage. Those posing concerns about “old” batteries, pro-rating etc. should have evidence from the history of hybrids about whether this is an issue to begin with. This reminds me of the myth that hybrid owners would have to replace an $8000 battery every few years.

    I would imagine Tesla is smart enough to monitor batteries and pull any from circulation that are below specs, for repair. This might even translate into free and permanent battery maintenance for owners. Probably the batteries will outlast the cars, and be superceded by new technology before they’re “worn out”.

    • 0 avatar

      About a quarter of the Tesla batteries have to be replaced after 3-4 years.

      Life is easier for hybrid batteries.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Where did you get THAT piece of FUD? Tesla guarantees their batteries for a minimum of 8 years.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        The figure is about 19%, not 25%.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Show me the verifiable data.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Learn how to use Google.

            (Here’s a hint: the study was performed by a pro-EV organization.)

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Give me the link to the specific study. I’m betting that like every other ‘proof’ you have offered, it refuted your argument.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            For example: “new study from Plug In America predicts great things for Tesla Roadster battery life—at 100,000 miles, the pack should retain 80 to 85 percent of its original capacity.” — http://www.plugincars.com/tesla-roadster-battery-life-study-85-percent-after-100000-miles-127733.html

            http://www.greencarcongress.com/2013/07/pia-20130714.html

            This article was found through–guess…

            Google.

            I might note that while it states that roughly 18% of participants in the study had some or all of the batteries replaced in the Roadster, that was a total of 23 people out of 120 in the study–out of only 2500 roadsters on the road. 23 out of 2500 is less than 2%. What we don’t know and what the study CAN’T show is how many total Roadsters had battery replacements or WHY said batteries were replaced. The study also notes that the Model S was NOT included in the study and that it should at least match if not exceed the expected lifetime of the batteries measured in the study–meaning in excess of 80% capacity remaining even after 100,000 miles.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Your Google skills are so poor that you couldn’t find the actual study. (Not that it matters; you wouldn’t understand it, anyway.)

            As for your “analysis,” you’ve simply proven that you’ve never taken a statistics class. With your consistent math failures on this website, I have to question whether you’ve completed high school, and I see no reason to take you seriously.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            So again I say, Pch101, “Show me the Car Facts”. The study I linked had the exact numbers you described BUT proved that the study included less than 5% of the total number of Tesla Roadsters on the road which means that the number of swaps KNOWN to that study added up to only 1% of all Roadsters. In other words, it invalidates your FUD without additional data.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Right. You never took a statistics class.

            In statistics, one uses samples to make general statements about the entire population. This is basic math that you obviously never learned — you just weren’t smart enough to get that far in your studies.

            What kind of buffoon assumes that all of the cars that weren’t included in the sample had no problems? Answer: A buffoon like you.

            Did you complete high school? I’m pretty sure that you haven’t. I hope that for your sake that you’re a teenager, otherwise you’re in serious trouble.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            (wrong place)

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            What kind of statistician believes that a less than 1% sample is “statistically significant?” I never stated nor assumed that none of the other 2400 Roadsters ran problem free, but without additional evidence, I will also not assume that 18% or more had battery problems, either. Even the author of the article indicated that the failures were relatively insignificant due to pointing out that their numbers came from only 23 out of a total of 2500 no longer in production cars and emphasized that those results could well be different with the Model S. You might also note that over 20x as many Model S Teslas are on the road as there are Roadsters. If the issue were as predominant as you wish us to believe, do you not think we would have heard FAR more complaints about it than we have?

            However, it is statistically proven that people who HAVE problems with their things tend to be much more vocal and thus make it APPEAR that the problems are more wide-spread than they actually are. There is a good chance that those 23 drivers specifically chose to participate in the study BECAUSE they had experienced problems.

        • 0 avatar

          Is this the survey? I will admit that it was very easy to find – my first Google found it as the first result.

          http://www.pluginamerica.org/surveys/batteries/tesla-roadster/PIA-Roadster-Battery-Study.pdf

          I don’t see this correlating with any percentage of batteries having to be replaced after 3-4 years, however. What it says is that after 100,000 miles (regardless of how many years it takes to get there), the battery capacity is down 15-20%. Whether that means you have to replace the battery then is left up to you. I can see someone who uses their Roadster very little being perfectly happy with the lower capacity.

          I know one person who could get to 100,000 miles in about two years, and another who would take an entire lifetime of driving to get to 100,000 miles, so I can’t see any requirement that a particular number of miles takes any specific number of years.

          I’m not sure if I understand why the people citing the survey are so unwilling to provide a link to it. If it’s this one, it did, after all, take less than one minute on Google. Simply asserting someone is dumb and ignorant doesn’t make him so. I suppose it makes the asserter feel better, but I can’t say it makes a good impression on people like me, who are just curious to learn the truth regardless of where chips may fall.

          Finally, I will note that the Tesla Model S was enormously improved in every respect over the Roadster. I’m not sure if I would feel confident in using Roadster results to report on Model S battery longevity. To be perfectly blunt, in reality Model S has simply not been on the road long enough for us to get worthwhile data on battery longevity at all. So however ignorant you may feel Vulpine is, I think he is right to question this survey when applied to Model S.

          D

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “I don’t see this correlating with any percentage of batteries having to be replaced after 3-4 years”

            You didn’t read the study, you just skimmed the beginning.

            They saved the battery pack failures for the latter part of their report. That was not information that they wanted to highlight, given their pro-EV bias, but they did report it.

            “I will note that the Tesla Model S was enormously improved in every respect over the Roadster.”

            I have no idea what “enormously improved” means. The battery technology is essentially the same, and that is the issue at hand.

            It is also easy to surmise why the Roadsters had problems. Tesla gets more range out of its batteries by topping them up and deep-discharging, both of which are bad for battery reliability.

            Tesla didn’t invent the lithium ion battery, and it has to cope with the same battery technology limitations that every other automaker has. Those issues did not vanish with the Model S.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Ah. So while you say I found the wrong study, you acknowledge that this one is the correct one to somebody else. I think we all now see where your loyalties lie–and it’s NOT with the truth.

          • 0 avatar

            I did read the survey, but missed the almost offhand reference to 18.9% of packs needed replacement. Still, that was covered under warranty so is not such a bad result for the consumer.

            The study reported both modes, range and standard, so it seems like Tesla users who stayed in standard mode should not have had problems. Of course we don’t see to have data on why the battery packs were replaced, and they do say that Tesla was very proactive in replacing the packs even when minor issues were the cause of the problem.

            I believe the Tesla software for charging was redone for the Model S and so I stand by my statement that even though battery chemistry is the same, the battery’s overall durability may be different. Let’s certainly hope so.

            David

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “So while you say I found the wrong study”

            As I have noted in the past, you are lacking in literacy skills, too. (That isn’t quite what I said, but expecting you to understand is too much to ask.)

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “Still, that was covered under warranty so is not such a bad result for the consumer.”

            Whether or not it was covered by a warranty is irrelevant.

            The point that was being made is that the technology is not particularly reliable. That rate of failure would be unacceptable for a company such as Toyota, which could not possibly get away with a 19% failure rate on a core component.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            “Your Google skills are so poor that you couldn’t find the actual study. (Not that it matters; you wouldn’t understand it, anyway.)”

            That pretty much states that I did NOT find the correct study, yet the study I found is simply a re-reporting of the exact same article you claim is the correct one–so obviously I found the correct study. My literacy skills are quite acute, thank you. Your debating skills however…

            “The point that was being made is that the technology is not particularly reliable.”
            On the other hand, the point being made by the study is that the technology is more than reasonably reliable and quite points out that even of those mere 23 units with “battery replacements”, that didn’t mean the entire pack was replaced in every case. To be blunt, none of us knows if any of those 23 were from the earliest Roadsters or ones built later in the production run–after production bugs were ironed out. And again I emphasize that the Roadster is no longer in production, which effectively eliminates this study from any possible analysis of battery reliability since the battery pack on the Model S is a later and apparently a more reliable design. As I said before, if the batteries were as much an issue as you want them to appear, then why don’t we read more reports of failed batteries on automotive blogs–especially Tesla’s own commentary pages?

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Not so. Older hybrids used NiMH batteries, which are tough as nails and are not deep cycled like today’s EV lithium ion batteries.

      Those older hybrids – and today’s hybrids – can get along for many years because the gas engine gradually takes over more of the propulsion duty as the battery ages. When all you’ve got is a constantly degrading lithium ion battery to power your car, it’s a bigger deal.

      My 2-year old Leaf has already lost 9% of its capacity, but this is right on the prediction curve by Nissan. They sort of expect the battery to have only 80% after 5 years’ time.

  • avatar

    >>>While Tesla owners — and owners of all EVs, for that matter — may be waiting a couple of years before titanium oxide anodes bring battery charging levels down to the 3- to 5-minute fueling times found at a given gas station

    The 3-5 minute charging times and 20 year batteries claimed would constitute a major revolution that would immediately make electric cars practical for all. And if there was a story here, it would be all over the major news media, since the geopolitical implications would be huge.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      I just took a look at my L3 CHAdeMO Supercharging times. Many of them are in the 12.2 to 14.4 minute time range. Most of the time I’m fine with home charging and don’t need to charge away from home. If I’m on a longer trip, I’ll hit a charger just enough to top the battery up to 80% so that I finish the next waypoint/charger of the trip with as large of a margin for error as possible. On long trips I’ve been keeping the battery charge level between 35% to 40% and 80%. The longest trip has been about 130 miles one way. Keeping the battery in that range keeps the charging times fairly low.

      This morning I actually ended up staying much longer than usual at a charger. I got caught up in a good conversation while enjoying free coffee and time flew by. These charging stops aren’t so bad. It’s not like at a gas pump that demands your full attention. You don’t have to stand next to the car squeezing a lever to pump in electrons. I usually have no problem filling the time catching up with email and taking bathroom breaks. The stop may take longer than a gas station, but if you manage the time right, it probably has less time impact than a 5 minute gas station fill.

      • 0 avatar

        when you use the supercharger, you’re shortening your batteries’ life as compared to regular length charges.

        As for the time you spend, you obviously have an emotional stake in your car, and that strongly affects how you view the time you spend at the charging station. That’s fine; as Adam Smith is reputed in certain circles to have said, “Each cat has to maximize his own utility.”

        But I fill my gas tank when my range has shrunk to the level yours is just after charging.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          “when you use the supercharger, you’re shortening your batteries’ life as compared to regular length charges.”

          I assume you have verifiable data to support that supposition?

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            @David C. Holzman

            For the project that’s requiring travel far enough to require the supercharge, I’m making more than enough in fees to recover the $5500 cost of what Nissan charges for a replacement battery.

            One of my ICE cars had a transmission failure at 60k miles at $5,000 and another car had a dual mass flywheel and clutch failure that cost $3500. So a planned $5,500 charge isn’t a huge issue for me. Also, the money that I saved over a Tesla could buy a crapload of Leaf batteries.

            Most of the time, my commute is 20 miles round trip to a commuter rail stop and I may set up shop 6 miles from home soon. So charging or range won’t be an issue most of the time.

            The supercharging deterioration might be a bit overstated. Here’s the result of an experiment with supercharging:

            http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1090954_does-quick-charging-hurt-battery-life-total-miles-are-more-important

            And if anyone wants the data direct:

            http://avt.inl.gov/

            http://avt.inl.gov/fsev.shtml

            Edit:
            Also, I probably should have mentioned that I will probably be using EV battery packs in some of my robots, so I have a business purpose in testing level 3 charging. For me, it’s easier to sell a particular technology when I have personal experience with it.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          >> As for the time you spend, you obviously have an emotional stake in your car, and that strongly affects how you view the time you spend at the charging station.

          It’s really more of a case of business practicality. I don’t want to spend time at the client’s facility catching up on email that’s accumulated during the 128/95 rush hour commute – especially when I’m charging per hour. It’s their time. So, I deal with the emails at the charging station – out of sight of the client and using free WiFi. Same sort of thing with my clients in downtown Boston – except the correspondence etc. is done on the commuter rail.

  • avatar
    PandaBear

    It is a great idea in small volume. Let’s say you have a Tesla and an emergency that you need to drive non stop for 48 hours (with 2 drivers in the car for example). You can swap battery along the way instead of waiting for recharge and Tesla keeps all the batteries until you come home (or not). In the end, Tesla move the batteries inventories around and you either go home on the same route to pick up your original battery fully charged, or have UPS haul it back to you for a fee (it gotta be cheaper than a new pack) if you wait for a few days on ground shipping. Range anxiety completely solved.

    Seriously, if they are willing to pay money to build super charger along highways, having a few extra packs (used, refurb, surplus, inventory rotation, whatever it is) sitting around is no big deal.

    • 0 avatar

      Nice idea, but my guess is too simplistic. existence of battery swapping will fuel demand for same (depending on how many Teslas are in the area). The exigencies of storing enough batteries in swapping stations probably will dictate that you’re not going to get your own batteries back–and you may not want them back anyway, if they’re worn. (About 1/4 of the batters are having to be replaced every 3-4 years.) Of course, Tesla may ultimately have to charge for battery packs, according to the wear of yours, if there’s anyway to quickly ascertain the amount of wear. If not, there’s another wrinkle in the scheme. Which might be resolved simply by charging for batteries in the manner of cell phones.

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