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Batteries not upgradeable in the future?!

Discussion in 'Model S: Battery & Charging' started by zdre, Dec 10, 2012.

  1. zdre

    zdre 40kWh Model S P6415

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    I asked my product specialist about upgrading to a bigger battery capacity in the future (i.e. 8 years) and got this response:

    "Batteries will not be upgradable in the future.* As technology improves, their range may increase, but it will still be the same size battery pack.* You will be required to replace battery packs like for like."

    I am shocked by this, as I don't see any technical or logical reason for this limitation. I am also confused how the same capacity batteries could provide increased range.
     
  2. widodh

    widodh Model S R231 EU

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    Maybe due to regulations? I don't know.

    The range might increase do to more Wh/kg, you get the same capacity with less weight thus increasing the range.
     
  3. jed-99aggie

    jed-99aggie Member

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    One thought is that the battery capacity is part of each vehicles VIN#. Perhaps as a manufacturer, Tesla has to stay within a set of regulations regarding what modifications they "support" to the core vehicle.
     
  4. rcc

    rcc Model S 85KW, VIN #2236

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    I confess that would disappoint me. I've been hoping that 8 years from now, they'd do an upgrade and honestly, given the software upgradeability of the car, I can't see a technical reason why they couldn't put a battery pack in with the same weight, weigh distribution, cooling system requirements and have more range.

    I understand they can't promise that now. But I'm hard pressed to see why 5 years from now, they wouldn't engineer a better battery pack. 8 years from now, I'm not even sure that Panasonic will be making the current cells so I think there's a decent chance they'll have to do that anyway. And if you're going to have to rework the pack to take different cells, why not do it right?
     
  5. zdre

    zdre 40kWh Model S P6415

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    I understand they can't promise much at this point, but requiring the same packs is a bit drastic. I think Tesla needs to keep their options open. I still remember promises of being able to swap for a bigger pack at the service center for longer trips.
     
  6. NotTarts

    NotTarts Member

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    Maybe by "size" he meant physical size/weight and not capacity?
     
  7. Johan

    Johan Took a TSLA bear test. Came back negative.

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    Size could imply physical size or you could have meant capacity (kWh). The physical size must remain the same if you switch - the battery pack is an integral part of the car. Clearly, the same physical size can be stacked with different cells thereby giving different capacities, the example being the 85kWh and 60kWh battery in the Model S.

    It's wrong to think that it would just be easy to make the samme battery pack with just an updated generation of cells, there are many aspects if you change the cell, voltages, temperature managment, etc. etc.

    It believe it might no be possible to put in a say 200kWh pack in 8 years, even if they are routinely available for new cars. At least I would be careful to assume it.
     
  8. CanuckS#69

    CanuckS#69 Member

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    Isn't the proper person to ask for clarification the specialist that you were talking to at the time? There are plenty of factors, both technological and economic, but it isn't as if anyone here can more than speculate (or make something up).
     
  9. sublimaze1

    sublimaze1 8Dec2012 / Leeroy Jenkins

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    Well, one thing for sure: If you have 100K+ miles on an ICE, and you had a major problem with, say, the engine - it is not uncommon to have non OEM parts to replace - say - a rod or a cylinder or something, and BMW/MB/etc. doesn't really care as they are out of warranty - so one may opt to go to a Euro-auto-haus and fix their car in their own chosen fashion.

    As EVs become more mainstream, and 7-10 years down the road, someone will have a company that - say - offers to replace your 85kWh battery with a non-OEM 170kWh battery pack, taking the old one, placing it vertically in your garage, hook it up to your breaker, installing a computer interface, and giving you a backup "generator" for power failures.

    All this, for less than the price of what Tesla would offer.

    Certainly not outside the realm of possibility. I agree with Johan ... don't assume that 200kWh would work, and also that batteries follow Moore's Law.

    Point: my crystal ball is in the shop, and my psychic beanie baby has been sick lately, and nobody really knows where the future of batteries, Lithium, A123, etc. are headed. I, for one, am interested to see.

    - - - Updated - - -

    I also refer to our Summer experience with PS, DS, and OE personnel and their verbiage (I would guess he meant, "since we assume you will buy from us, you will get what we make, and we won't support a different size"). Again, all speculation
     
  10. SteveH

    SteveH Member

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    In the recently updated Model S Facts page Tesla states,
    (http://www.teslamotors.com/models/facts

    Since they just updated the page, if they wanted to to come out and say, "We will never upgrade your pack" then they could have. My guess is that just like the statement on the Facts page Tesla want their staff to discourage people from counting on upgrades, but it doesn't make sense to completely rule out something now. If there are regulatory barriers then regulations may change in the future. If they just don't think it will be a profitable business model then the economics might change.

    So I'm doing exactly what Tesla states: I'm not counting on ever being able to upgrade my pack, but I'm also not ruling out the possibility. If I do get a chance to upgrade someday, I'll be thrilled. If not, well, they were clear in warning me that was a possibility.
     
  11. AnOutsider

    AnOutsider S532 # XS27

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    That's what I was thinking. Oh well, if tesla doesn't, the aftermarket will.
     
  12. JakeP

    JakeP S P4996 / X P6028

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    I would also wonder if this question was asked or was being answered in the context of the battery replacement insurance program.
     
  13. Al Sherman

    Al Sherman It's about THIS car.

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    I'm a leapfrogger. 5 years ago I thought my Prius was the coolest car on the planet. Now i have a res for a Model S and a Model X. In 5-10 years I'm guessing I'll leapfrog again. Hopefully with Tesla. The only thing the upgrade ability will affect is the value of my Model S. Either way a new car isn't a wise investment. Do I hope Tesla gives us the ability to upgrade? Yes. Will the inability cause me NOT to leapfrog? No. I have accepted the risks of the first adopter thing.
     
  14. Zythryn

    Zythryn MS 70D, MX 90D

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    +1!

    In addition, this is a delivery specialist, not someone that is necessarily 'in' on the long term plans and capabilities of the company.
     
  15. Zextraterrestrial

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    That is only logical.
    If batteries capacities change there are no problems swapping batteries. It only gets better! Even Elon hinted (If i remember correctly) at how awesome it would be able to upgrade your car with simply putting in a better cap battery
     
  16. Ceilidh

    Ceilidh Member

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    I cannot imagine that Tesla would hogtie themselves by saying that in 8 years a battery will have to be identical to the original. In 8 years the same cells used now may not even be in production.

    Personally, I am hoping that in 8 years I will purchase the largest battery Tesla is offering at the time rather than buying a whole new car. That makes the initial purchase decision a much more long term cost effective financial investment.

    Having said that, by 8 years from now there probably will be someone ready to sell superbatteries that are compatible as an aftermarket add on if Tesla isn't doing it. Usually with cars, if there is a demand, then someone is ready to make a buck manufacturing something to meet that demand.

    Guys (and some gals) tend to love their cars, love upgrading their cars, and love modding their cars to make them a personal vehicle that fits their personality. It would be a poor business decision to limit upgrades like that, IMHO.

    Cheers.
     
  17. gg_got_a_tesla

    gg_got_a_tesla Model S: VIN P65513, Model 3 Res Holder

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    I think the Tesla rep may have been merely speculating there. This is rather illogical.

    Having said that, my point of view is that, if I ever need to replace the pack (given degradation and such), why would I need a bigger capacity pack than what I'm going with today?!

    Unless I relocate to some other (remote) part of the country, my driving habits and distances are not likely to change that much - so, if a new 60 kWh pack is more than enough for me today, I'll take a cheap, new 60 kWh pack 8 years from now.

    I'm still not convinced that I should pay $10k today for a new 60 kWh pack at the 8 year mark as part of the battery replacement program but, that's another matter.
     
  18. Chas F

    Chas F Model S 60kWh #P6396

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    I agree that the reps are more than likely discouraging the anticipation of battery replacement for the reason that it is not fiscally advantageous (at this point in time) for the company. One thing to keep clear here is that when we are talking about a "bigger" battery, we are only talking about a available capacity, i.e. same performance but more range. To throw performance increase into the equation implies a bigger current draw and has implications beyond the battery alone. Wiring infrastructure, inverter specs, control system (hardware and software) have to be re-evaluated. Not that it couldn't be done, but may be much more difficult. Perhaps the specialist assumed this is the scenario that was being discussed, leading to the best answer he/she could give today.
    I believe the aftermarket will provide a few more choices around the time the warranties begin to expire. So goes this free-market system. We just may have to be prepared to accept that we will only see range improvements from the new technologies. I don't think performance enhancements to the older cars will make financial sense vs buying the car that is available at that time.
     
  19. VolkerP

    VolkerP EU Model S P-37

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    OK, gg, try to get a 1GB 3.5" harddrive, please. Or a 128MB DRAM bar.

    It is hard to judge. Might be a bargain in hindsight, but a lot of cash upfront today.
     
  20. Johan

    Johan Took a TSLA bear test. Came back negative.

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    I'll take my chances on this one. If Tesla isn't offering packs I'm sure there will be after market options. If nothing else, hand in your pack to a battery shop and they can switch out the cells keeping the rest of the pack. The 18650 form factor is here to stay. Now, in 8 years the question is will the 3400mAh cells still be manufactured?
     

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