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Discussion in 'Model S: Battery & Charging' started by smilepak, Jun 12, 2015.
Tesla Walking Away From Battery Swapping
Aghhh... I can't see!
Must have been a blinding flash of the obvious...
That article is speculation and does not properly represent the issue. A) invites have definitely not gone out to ALL CA customers. B) the majority of the invites were only sent out last week so saying 4-5% accepted the invite is meaningless if your sample size was limited to the private beta.
Elon & co have already (unwisely in my opinion) walked away from battery swap.
Here's what I wrote in the comment section of the Electrek article that revealed that Model 3 is not doing Battery Swap; first, the link of my comments in context of that article, which is unnecessary to read for my discussion (and my comments are copied herein below): Tesla Model 3: Exclusive first look at Tesla’s new battery pack architecture
Now, here is my response to the reveal of the no battery swap for Model 3, then someone's dumb answer to my response, and then my bigger response: First, what I wrote:
It is a mistake for Tesla to abandon battery swap. Model 3 owners will not care about "their" battery as if they have a special relationship with it, and will just want to swap when going long distance. Hopefully, they will have long range batteries and be able to get tired of driving before their battery runs out, so they want to stop at a SuperCharger.
Now, someone posted in response to that comment, and their response shows they truly don't understand what battery swap means (note their user icon showing that they really want to take that position normally, or are hired to do so) (I highlighted misspellings and phrase errors in red):
Batteries can be easily abused. Everytime you hit pedal on the metal, you are measurably reducin battery life. Do you really want to receive a racer's battery? Besides, why would you need to battery swap if range is 300 miles?
And finally, my longer response to their response:
You don't care; you just keep swapping.
You want to battery swap if you already commuted to work (100 miles range taken over typical mountain pass California commute, and that's without winter weather), did errands (another 50 miles range taken), and now are on your way to Los Angeles (about 300 miles drive including two mountain passes, so around 500 miles range at typical driving speeds); that is a one way trip of around 650 miles range, or two battery swaps, just in one day, on the long range model; four battery swaps on the Standard model, which most people will get. If your hotel doesn't have destination charging or their charging station is compromised (still something that happens, believe it or not), then you want to battery swap two more times to get back to work the next day, and another time to get home, just in the LONG range model (many more times in the Standard model). Forget it if this is a multi-day vacation; you'll battery swap every day except for the days you don't.
A 300 mile range greatly helps, but you don't go all 300 miles on a 300 mile range battery, if you are going uphill, against wind, going freeway driving speeds, driving in urban areas, driving in the cold, driving in extreme heat, pulling a trailer, or any combination of those things. The only thing on that list not likely to happen on a Model 3 is pulling a trailer. Everything else is normal. When you go long distance, the Tesla network helps, but with ten times as many customers, a great proportion of them will quickly tire of Love's in Santa Nella, the cow smell at Harris Ranch, or the many 76 stations at the place right before the uphill on the way to LA. They might want to -- gasp -- go some other way, or stop somewhere else. If to do that they have to stop their chosen somewhere else AND a Tesla SuperCharger, those people will be very dismayed indeed. I understand that's not 100% of future electric drivers, but it is a great proportion of them; they won't care who had their battery before -- they'll use it and swap it again.
The number of commutes over mountain passes in California is high, by the way, so I'm not making this stuff up; I'm taking it straight from what me and my coworkers do, and among them, I have one of the shorter commutes. And, we're not a group of oddballs as far as commuting: traffic is horrendously congested on those routes, including all the mountain passes. I also don't need to guess at the range of electric cars; I owned a Model S during all these commutes and uses, so I know.
Battery swap necessitates more rigid chassis and battery, and probably would require more copper wiring - all add weight and cost.
It is because battery swap is not a constrain Model 3 design is lightweight more serviceable and cheaper. All qualities that are a priority over longer than 300 mile range which is also plenty for 90% of use cases.
For similar reasons I don't even think that Tesla Semi will swap batteries.
I agree that taking away this requirement offers a great deal of flexibility in bringing Model 3 to market. It might have been one of the compromises early on with Model S, not because Tesla wanted to take away battery swap, but more because they thought perhaps it would help if they thought they could, so they tried to get away with not doing battery swap, for the reason you stated. It follows the usual trend of corporations trying to treat their customers as cattle; it doesn't matter how long it takes to do transportation or achieve any life goals if you don't care about the customer experience, but then you're forced to figure out a way to soften the edges as you realize that it does affect the bottom line if you treat them too much like cattle.
For instance, when I was at my SuperChargers, I often could not find a bathroom, yet that is a 100% expected function at SuperChargers. Furthermore, SuperCharging was something that would lend itself to taking a nice meal when appropriate, but the food options at most of them were really poor, or alternatively, would have taken too long. And worst of all, there was no variation; each time I went to the same SuperChargers, everything was the same old plain jane thing. I'm not saying they wouldn't also have a bathroom at swap stations, but that's all they'd need, and not as much, either. Most people could then quickly get back in their car and find a really nice place to pull over and walk at. Granted, not all routes have a lot of great options, but many do. Being stuck in Mountain View, Manteca, Dublin or Fresno SuperCharger was awful, despite being around a lot of civilization in three directions. There's only so many times you can eat Subway or Pizza, or walk the isles of Target. And worse than that, when driving up into the Sierra Nevadas, the only SuperChargers were in basically the only places I'd not want to be: civilization, i.e., just the thing I'm trying to get away from. I know those are growing pains and making use of available resources during buildout, but it is a flaw in the design.
As for what to do about it, I'd suggest Tesla now study the problem anew, as the ramp up of Model 3 happens. If they keep aware of this during that time, then they can consider doing battery swap as the second generation of Model 3 and Model Y come off the line. I wouldn't be at all surprised to learn that Model S and Model X buyers have more of a relationship with their battery as an aggregate average than Model 3 and Model Y buyers who just want a decent transportation mode and don't give a flipping flying fuzzy about the stupid battery. I admit it would be ironic if in the future Model 3 and Model Y have swap stations and Model S and Model X do not, but I think that would also be an error: it is even more pertinent to 10 year Model S and Model X owners to want to not stop at the same old SuperChargers again, and after being on their third or fourth Tesla, they might have gotten over their need for a battery relationship, and look at their batteries the same as their Model 3 and Model Y counterparts, basically as another battery to stick in their tool when the old one is depleted and needs recharging on the rack (just like electric hand tools).
One modest battery swap station with two stalls can turn over 24 cars an hour; one SuperCharger with 16 stalls can turn over about the same, about 24 cars an hour, with the same above-ground footprint. Double both, and the battery swap station above-ground customer footprint starts to drop in relation to the SuperCharger space. Battery swap stations are more expensive, and require pretty substantial underground warehouses in urban places or more likely large above ground barns in solar farm areas, and adjoining solar farms to charge their warehouses full of batteries, but swap stations don't have to be collocated with interesting stuff; they can literally be where the solar land is cheap; they don't even need drivable irrigable fields like farms, so solar can be on the side of a hill. No substantial fixed energy storage is needed; they are battery warehouses, already, so all of their charging will be direct from sun, no A/C involved. At night, the batteries won't charge. There doesn't even need to be utilities around.
Who cares about the P100DL racer buyers? That's a different market, and I'm not addressing that. Probably they'd have more severe depletion accounting relative to racing, turning into more severe depreciation. I think they expect that with their price tag and intended use.