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Game changing idea to greatly reduce the cost of a new Tesla

Discussion in 'Tesla Motors' started by Scrith, Jun 19, 2015.

  1. Scrith

    Scrith Member

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    What if Tesla's base model didn't come with a charging port? In other words, they aren't selling you a battery than can be recharged, you can only swap it out (so it essentially remains Tesla's property). It seems like this might allow them to sell the car for $15K-$20K less (since they aren't selling you a usable battery, unless you pay extra for it, in which case you can charge it at home) because you are essentially "renting" the battery (and you pay the "rental" cost every time you swap it for one with a full charge). This also has the considerable benefit of reducing sales tax paid on the vehicle (since it will cost less), along with reduced registration fees.

    Of course, this requires battery swap stations everywhere, so it isn't going to happen anytime soon. But, if all the existing superchargers were converted to battery swap stations (and significantly more were added in heavily populated areas), a Tesla Model S could potentially cost significantly less, albeit with a cost for getting battery swaps (but still cheaper than a tank of gas, and faster to do). In other words, they'd actually compete, price-wise, with cars like a BMW 5-series and offer the amazing benefit of not requiring gasoline.

    It seems interesting to me because the idea potentially brings the Model S closer to the price point of a Model 3, and doesn't require the owner to think about or deal with the need for regular charging at home (especially ideal for people who don't own their home, or have a place to set up a charger). The other benefit is that the owner never has to think about the problem of the battery degrading over time (an elephant in the room for many owners, it seems).
     
  2. evme

    evme Member

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    What you are describing is pretty much what Better Place did, and that idea failed. It really doesn't work that well as it sounds.
     
  3. deonb

    deonb Active Member

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  4. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    #4 ItsNotAboutTheMoney, Jun 19, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2015
    Sales tax would be charged on the swap. If not immediately, later.

    And if you swap every 250 miles, being generous, and it's $40 per swap, that'd be 16c/mi for fuel, and that's without adding the cost of the battery now paid for by the owner to swapping. And it requires Tesla to have more space for batteries.

    Tesla would have to get costs down on the swap. I think it could be lower at volume because it obviates the need for more Superchargers.

    But, I really think Tesla would only want fast swap for 2 reasons:
    - Handle extreme Supercharger contention.
    - Make swapping a battery as cheal and easy as an oil change.
     
  5. Scrith

    Scrith Member

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    I hadn't heard of Better Place, but it seems like they failed due to poor implementation and management of their business plan, something that Tesla could do better, I think. Perhaps this was one of the things that was driving Tesla's battery swapping plan (the idea that eventually they could just own the batteries and make the customer pay for them by paying for swaps, over time). Sales tax being charged on the swap would be considerably less painful to purchasers than paying it on the battery up front when they purchase the vehicle.
     
  6. Evbwcaer

    Evbwcaer Member

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    Why not just sell/rent/lease the battery independent of the car and still charge the same way? It seems like you get the advantages, like charging at home and reducing the price of the car, and alleviate the disadvantages, such has needing swaps everywhere.

    If you assume Tesla has some margin on the battery, they could rent or lease the battery for a decade or so, and then sell if for stationary storage, and make out pretty well. In this scenario, instead of buying the battery, you only need essentially pay for the degradation and a reasonable rate of return on the battery, and everybody wins.
     
  7. stopcrazypp

    stopcrazypp Well-Known Member

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    The reason why Better Place failed and will be the same reason why even if Tesla takes up the idea it will fail is the chicken and egg problem: you have to invest massive amounts of money in an infrastructure before it is practical (well before you have enough cars). The reason why EVs are able to grow in sales (even though slowly), is because there is no chicken and egg problem: the home charging infrastructure is largely there already and paid for.

    And the thing is, compared to charging, battery swapping is just not very cost effective, and requires the company to keep a large inventory (and thus needs a lot of cash). If growth can't keep up, then the company will go under.

    Hydrogen faces a similar problem, but instead, most of the infrastructure is being paid for by the government.
     
  8. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    I like waking up to a full battery every morning & not worrying about if I need to stop somewhere for a battery swap.
     
  9. Kickin

    Kickin Member

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    ^This^ = Priceless
     
  10. Scrith

    Scrith Member

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    That is why there would be a $25K HomeCharger option!
     
  11. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    Why would you purposely make an electric car that you couldn't charge on the road? Would there be a swap station on Highway 50 in Nevada where very very few people live? There are RV parks with 40 A charging though.
     
  12. LakeForest

    LakeForest Member

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  13. walla2

    walla2 Member

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    I agree not having a charger is a bad idea but Tesla could sell the cars and lease batteries separately. This would make the initial cost lower. Bank financing would be lower but you'd have a payment to Tesla. That would help Tesla directly without having the funds go to the banks.
     
  14. evme

    evme Member

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    Scrith, I think you are missing the infrastructure problem. So let me make it easier to grasp.

    There are around 121,000 gas stations in the US with multiple terminals. Superchargers can accomplish same coverage as gas stations with about 1,500 stations. This would cover pretty much every 50 square miles about with each supercharger costing maybe 1/10th a gas station.

    What makes this possible is home charging. Since most charging is done at home, superchargers are mostly range extenders. By your proposal Tesla has to increase the amount of stations they need by 100 times fold at 10 times the price. Or at a capital cost of 10,000 times. Most of these stations would need to be built in about 1 year.

    And if it only ended there. If Tesla would be leasing the battery to you, it means they have to pay full price for the battery upfront and collect on leasing payments later. So if Tesla is at $200 per kwh that would be $17,000 for an 85kwh. An order of 100,000 cars would put Tesla in debt of 1.7 billion off the bat. (This is all while funding the infrastructure)

    As far as the idea of charging $25,000 for in-home charging, that is not going to work for multiple reasons. First of all it will piss of customers on how other brands charge only $1,000 for charging. And second, people are going to use 3rd parties to go around Tesla's charging system and charge the battery themselves. Same way people have been unlocking phones prior to carriers being forced to do so. There was a huge market for phone unlockers.



    ---

    Walla2 - The opposite. The banks give Tesla all the money upfront which helps with cashflow. This would put full cost burden on Tesla.
     
  15. Tedkidd

    Tedkidd Member

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    #15 Tedkidd, Jun 20, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2015
    Part of the presumption behind Better Place (and to some extent Mercedes hairbrained scheme) was to shift battery risk from the individual to the group. Battery risk was a HUGE barrier to adoption, for both real and perceived reasons, that needed to be addressed.

    Batteries were VERY expensive as these business models were developed, and placing risk of failure on the consumer was non-starter. Tesla went one way, Better Place went another.

    8 year unlimited warranty removed risk/uncertainty from the individual, and it turns out the batteries are more durable than expected - and cost is sinking like a stone so risk cost to the group is much less than expected. Tesla was right. Better place was wrong, partly as described by evme above.

    Pretty certain you could charge your better place car. The ability to charge at home is one of the great benefits of having an EV, the OP must not have any EV experience to propose such a silly idea of not having charging options.

    Show us how that math works?
     
  16. Zzzz...

    Zzzz... Member

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    Yeah, lease or even rent out the battery. Good idea.

    Some fear that battery would degrade and it is generally new and unfamiliar tech. Removing that fear could lead to some extra sales.

    Sure plug should be there and no extra battery swap stations needed - if battery renter need a new one, he could visit service center. But overall I could see how leasing/renting out battery could produce some extra demand. And batteries could be remotely disabled if there are problems with payments.
     
  17. James Anders

    James Anders Member

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    Instead of this - how about Tesla worked on drastically lowering the cost of the batteries? Oh wait, that's what they're doing.
     
  18. tonybelding

    tonybelding Active Member

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    This.

    If you couldn't charge the car and had to rely on battery swap, it would be almost like turning the car into a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. And I really struggle to figure out who is going to want HFCVs.
     
  19. Todd Burch

    Todd Burch Electron Pilot

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    I like waking up to a full tank every day. Why make someone drive somewhere to refuel? How inefficient and a huge pain in the butt!
     
  20. deonb

    deonb Active Member

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    The model is fundamentally flawed - it inherently creates a situation where success is its own biggest enemy.


    Let's say some hypothetical company (let's call them Fiska) rolls out a national renting & swapping network.

    The target market is people who live in condo's or apartments. That is really the only possible target market, as the vehicle will be more expensive to own (has to be), and home owners will still just charge at home because it's way more convenient.

    Let's forward 15 years. Imagine Fiska was hugely successful and gets say a 20% overall vehicle market share, and all other EV manufacturers together is another 10%. Fiska would still have had to allow home charging - the ship has sailed on that one, otherwise nobody will buy their EV's in the first place and they'd stay obscure.

    Now suddenly however EV's has a 30% market share. Apartment & condo complexes all over see it as a competitive advantage (or just plain necessity) to offer E.V. charging, and they ALL install access. This creates a massive overnight infrastructure boom. Think how fast broadband internet sprung up... and that needed new backend infrastructure. This doesn't.

    Because of the overnight boom, Fiska's main competitive advantage is gone. Very few people care about swapping, since there is no need for that. However, Fiska still has their multi-billion/trillion dollar white elephant infrastructure to run, meaning they need to price their vehicles higher than their competitors, but can offer nothing extra for the high price.
     

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