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Ability to upgrade battery capacity later?

Discussion in 'Model S: Battery & Charging' started by NewCow, Jan 5, 2016.

  1. NewCow

    NewCow Member

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    Sorry if this has been discussed before but I'm new to the community, but has there been any talk about the possibility of upgrading battery capacity later on? With the batteries being able to be swapped easily, it just seems like a natural service to offer. For instance, I just ordered a CPO 60, but let's say in 5-6 years I might be interested in upgrading the capacity to 85 or whatever higher capacity is available at the time, particularly as costs continue to come down after Gigafactory. Obviously the biggest consideration would be cost, which we won't know how will play out, but conceptually isn't this possible? Has Tesla or Elon mentioned this at all?
     
  2. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    There is a 90 kWh battery upgrade now possible (at least for the 85). I don't know whether it's available for the 60. Elon has recommended that 85 owners wait for a more substantial upgrade.
     
  3. DFibRL8R

    DFibRL8R Member

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    #3 DFibRL8R, Jan 5, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2016
    There has been some discussion on this with I believe only one owner ever upgrading a 60 to an 85 a few years back for quite a premium. More recently there has been word that Tesla is no longer supporting this (for now). Elon at one point commented that it wouldn't make sense for an upgrade to happen before 3 years likely due to small incremental improvements in battery tech prior to that.

    Personally, I would like to upgrade at some point for a reasonable price. I have 67k miles on my almost 3 year old 60kWh. The car is great, no need to replace in my opinion (don't really want autopilot, folding mirrors, crappy newer version of cupholders etc). Also I would be very happy upgrading the range of the car without "upgrading" my annual Virginia property tax by buying a new(er) Model S. Right now, it seems Tesla wants us to think of our Model S like an iPhone, just upgrade every 2 years to the newest model and get rid of the old one. I think that runs somewhat contrary to their mission of sustainability.
     
  4. Ivo-G

    Ivo-G Member

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    I wouldn't call the 90kWh battery an Upgrade in the sense that NewCow is referring to. It's just an option you have when buying to get a bigger battery, it's not like they add an extra pack in the frunk or something.

    Theoretically speaking, you should be able to buy a new battery once the one in your Model S no longer fulfills you needs, be it because more capacity and range is needed, or that it just won't hold as much charge as needed. That will give you a fresh new car to drive so to speak.

    Whereas in ICE cars the engine is the holy grail and not the fuel tank, in the Model S the engines are just parts, but your battery is the holy grail.
     
  5. wraithnot

    wraithnot Model S VIN #5785

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    Based on a discussion with Mark Brooks (he runs the Tesla battery swap station in Harris Ranch), it is technically possible to swap a 60 kWh battery to an 85 kWh or 90 kWh battery, but it currently requires a complete software reinstall. So you won't be able to buy a salvaged battery from an 85 kWh car and get a local mechanic to swap it for you unless Tesla agrees and takes care of the software changes. I imagine once production at the Gigafactory is in full swing and Tesla is no longer constrained by battery production they'll be more interested in upgrading battery packs in existing cars. Especially since they now offer an upgraded battery pack for Tesla roadster owners.

    And as long as the battery swap station remains operational, you can also borrow a less degraded version of the same size battery- that's exactly what I did on a recent road trip: Harris Ranch is getting first battery swap station - Page 54 . I think it would make all kinds of sense to allow people to purchase a car with a lower capacity battery for daily use and then visit a swap station (perhaps at their local service center) to borrow a higher capacity battery when they need it for a road trip. But I imagine this won't happen anytime soon since right now Tesla seems quite busy ramping up production of the Model X and working on the design for the Model 3.
     
  6. apacheguy

    apacheguy Sig 255, VIN 320

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    Well, sort of. It costs 22 K to add 5 kWh. Hardly a reasonable "upgrade", IMO.
     
  7. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    There have been multiple extensive discussions of this issue in the past few years. At this point Tesla will not sell an owner a battery to replace an existing battery, regardless of the existing battery's size or the battery size you want to buy (batteries are only replaced if Tesla determines that the battery has a problem such that it needs replacement, and then the replacement battery is the same size as the existing battery) .
    No one outside of Tesla management knows if buying a larger replacement battery will be possible in the future. Everything you read about this issue is pure speculation.
    If I were you, I would not assume that at some point in the future Tesla will sell you a replacement battery for your 60 that has a higher capacity. Personally I think there is a chance that in several years it will be possible. But it may not be.
     
  8. TexasEV

    TexasEV Active Member

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    It's not an upgrade for people owning 85s, which I think is what the OP meant, it's only an upgrade in the sense of when you order a new car you can pay more to upgrade from a 85 to a 90. It's just an option, like "upgrading" the stereo or going from coil to air suspension. It's not what you and I would consider a battery upgrade as in swapping our smaller battery for a larger one.
     
  9. glhs272

    glhs272 Unnamed plug faced villian

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    A few months ago I asked Tesla about this, they seemed happy to do it. They were offering to upgrade my car to the 90kwh battery (from a 60kwh car) for 22.5K + added expenses to make the car compatible to the 90 battery. Meaning there might be some added parts and/or labor to make it work. I declined to pursue it further.
     
  10. David99

    David99 Active Member

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    That's good to hear. Certeinly it's not as easy as swapping the battery. The weight difference between the 60 and 90 battery is significant enough to adjust the suspension and maybe even replace parts. But overall, the price to upgrade is kind of ridiculous.

    I think the theory of being 'battery constrained' is not true any more. Maybe in the beginning, when Tesla started to deliver the Model S back in 2012, but not any more. The fact that they are selling Power walls and Power Packs shows it as well. They would not come out with a product that is basically a stack of batteries if they couldn't get enough for their cars.

    I think Tesla will always have outrageous prices on their new batteries. There are no alternatives and the Model S is a premium car and clients are willing to pay premium prices. If Tesla makes battery upgrades hard expensive people might decide to rather sell their old car and buy a new one with a larger battery and new features. Tesla makes much more money on selling a new car than just selling a battery.
     
  11. wraithnot

    wraithnot Model S VIN #5785

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    The original stationary batteries used in the predecessor to the powerwall ( Elon Musk on Twitter: ) did not use the same cells as the Model S: Elon Musk on Twitter:


    And the 7 kWh powerwall also uses different cells than the car. All I can find for the 10 kWh powerwall is that its chemistry "is quite similar to the car" which I take to mean that it isn't identical: Tesla Motors (TSLA) Earnings Report: Q1 2015 Conference Call Transcript - Pg.4 - TheStreet
     
  12. David99

    David99 Active Member

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    They might be different cells, but they take up the same production capacity. What chemistry goes in it makes little difference The main materials are all the same. They probably just used a different mix because these products get used quite differently than in a car.
     
  13. wraithnot

    wraithnot Model S VIN #5785

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    The second tweet I linked seemed to indicate that the cells for stationary storage didn't use the same production capacity as the cells for the car: "Should mention that the battery cells used for this are 200 Wh/kg vs 250 for Model S. No short term supply constraint." Elon Musk on Twitter:

    You'll have to ask the author of the tweet if you want clarification about what he meant.
     
  14. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    Correct. That's why it's recommended to wait for a significant upgrade. However, the point was that yes, it's upgradable.
     
  15. Saghost

    Saghost Active Member

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    Lots and lots of talk, several long threads. Nothing is certain right now, but I suspect that in 5-10 years it'll be possible and not vastly expensive.

    Folks are already talking about $100/kWh cells, (which would make the biggest battery pack a little over $9k in materials, plus labor to assemble and install and profit margin,) so I think that barring major changes in the world and assuming no massive breakthroughs it'll likely be possible to upgrade to a new bigger battery for about what a new ICE engine costs today in 10 years.
     
  16. Mike K

    Mike K Member

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    There's no realistic reason this couldn't happen as the cars support it as they sit. The determining factors will be in getting capacity up high enough and the price per kWh low enough that it's worth doing and then simply implementing a set of standards on the tech side of things so that the service centers have a procedure in place to follow.

    But when you think about, there's nothing really stopping anyone with a 60kwh car from upgrading that car to an 85 down the road when battery prices come down. And there theoretically isn't anything stopping an 85kwh car from being upgraded to a P85 with a simple inverter change.

    Ideally, someone cracks the secret sauce and ends up being able to code the cars. That's the beauty of BMWs is that everyone codes them. You can add a bunch of options the car never came with and just hop in the computer and tell the car they're there. I'd love to one day be able to throw a P85 inverter on my 85 and have someone change the 1's to 0's to tell the car it's there.
     
  17. msnow

    msnow Active Member

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    But isn't the upgrade proposition swapping out an old used, degraded 60 for a brand spanking new 90 for $22k? That doesn't sound so bad to me.
     
  18. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    I was referring to upgrading an 85.
     
  19. StaceyS

    StaceyS Member

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    True, although you'd probably be swapping the whole drive unit. Inverters are matched to their motors, and the P85 has both a different inverter and a larger motor than the 85. Considering how fast Tesla's swapping DUs, it would be simplest to do that, rather than to try to separate the siamese twins that make up the inverter and motor.

    We bought a CPO P85 for the bigger motor, and I have (distant, hazy) fantasies of one day retrofitting it into a P120D (or whatever size pack is available down the road!). If you think that sounds crazy, the task on my list before that is to take the drive train, battery and system guts from a Nissan Leaf and convert my 1980 BMW 320i to electric...
     
  20. Saghost

    Saghost Active Member

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    Are you sure? Everything I've read has said it was the same drive motor with a more powerful inverter for the P RWD cars. The 70D and 85D have a smaller rear drive motor, but I believe all the RWD cars have the same motor.
    Walter
     

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