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Discussion in 'Supercharging & Charging Infrastructure' started by Lump, Jun 3, 2014.
ASAP = Assuming Someone Actually Pays
They'll only bring it back if they can get extra ZEV credits from CARB. Otherwise forget it.
If I could rent a 100 kWh battery and have the outbound and inbound swap performed at my local service center when it fit my schedule, I'd certainly be willing to pay for that. It was even worth it to me to deal with the battery swap scheduling limitations to borrow a newer battery for trips to southern New Mexico since even a little less degradation meant less time at a level 2 chargers once I was beyond the last supercharger. Hopefully Tesla will revisit battery swapping in some form in the future.
1) No business model with grossly expensive batteries sitting and waiting for a customer to rent for pennies on the dollar at EVERY possible swap site.
2) Tesla never wanted it, nor promoted it; there is nothing to suggest that might change for passenger vehicles. They offered swapping for EXACTLY one reason, and that was to inspire CARB to not amend the rules for "fast refueling".
3) The CARB-ZEV credit premium for battery swapping is difficult (as amended in 2014), and will expire in 2018, when all cars get either 1-4 ZEV credits, based on range only. Refueling speed is not considered.
4) This has been attempted in the past several times as a business; Better Place failed spectacularly.
Disagree with 1). At least for Harris Ranch, Tesla had already procured the packs for swap purposes so there was no ongoing cost to them just the initial investment. Also, since they were already used for swaps they cannot be used in customer cars. I'd love to know what Tesla did with their battery swap inventory. My guess... Sitting at Harris Ranch.
But that's the problem, Tesla would need to produce huge volumes of packs that they would not get paid for and have them sitting around all over the country. Every pack produced for a swap station means a pack that can't be produced for a vehicle, which is a more profitable use of pack production.
Right. I never saw them expanding the swap operation but I did believe they would at least maintain the HR location since it was already live.
I do kind of wish, though, that people would lay off this analogy. Better Place could have been selling toothpaste or anything else, and it still would have failed spectacularly. If you read up on what actually happened with that company, you will see that it was horrible, over-the-top wasteful management that killed it. They were building extravagant offices and taking hugely expensive corporate vacation retreats and basically wiping their asses with the investor's money before they had an actual revenue-generating business. So I don't like seeing how the bad example of Better Place being a terribly run business is being used to tarnish the entire idea of battery swapping. It probably still isn't very practical for other reasons, but Better Place is not an example of those reasons. Here is a great article telling the Better Place story in detail.
A Broken Place: The Spectacular Failure Of The Startup That Was Going To Change The World
The basic business model was flawed. The mismanagement of BP just made it worse.
The two loaner batteries I got when I did the battery swaps both appeared to be refurbished based on the serial numbers. So they weren't using batteries that they could have installed in new vehicles. Tesla could also buy salvaged cars with intact batteries if they needed a supply of batteries to use for future battery swap efforts.
I think there was another reason they offered it, which was to prove it can be done. It was a way of removing one more barrier to EV adoption. If you show that it can be "refueled" in the same amount of time (or less) than a gasoline car, then it's one less argument in favor of gas.
It's also something Elon had committed to, like the Roadster battery upgrade. Even if it's not something that's economically viable or something that will have a lot of takers, he had to see it through and deliver it, even if minimally.
Not if the swap concept actually caught on. Refurbished packs should be almost nonexistent in the near future. Those packs were a result of defective packs needing to be fixed, probably because of contactor failures. Similarly, salvaged cars would never exist in enough volume to make extensive swap stations viable, even more so in the near future when autopilot drastically reduces the frequency of accidents.