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Invitation to the Battery Swap Pilot Program

Discussion in 'Model S: Battery & Charging' started by gg_got_a_tesla, Jun 11, 2015.

  1. gg_got_a_tesla

    gg_got_a_tesla Model S: VIN P65513, Model 3 Res Holder

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    Got this email earlier today (apologies if someone else has posted something like this already - a search for "battery swap" didn't yield anything new).

    I'm sharing this as there was nothing in the invite about confidentiality but, I did remove the contact phone number along with my name...

    battery-swap-invite.jpg

    I'm not going to make use of it in all likelihood (unless a 110 kWh pack comes along) :)
     
  2. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    Have you driven up/down highway 5 in your Model S before? I wonder if they send these invites only to those who they think will be likely to use it.
     
  3. gg_got_a_tesla

    gg_got_a_tesla Model S: VIN P65513, Model 3 Res Holder

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    Yes, definitely did. With the previous S60.
     
  4. Zextraterrestrial

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    i got one today too.
    only passed harris ranch last year twice on a vegas trip. this year we went down 5 to 99 through Fresno instead
    someone said they were sending the invite to all CA owners the Battery swap thread
     
  5. Blu Zap

    Blu Zap Grinning member

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    Also got the invitation a few days ago. Having done the NorCal - SoCal run a few times, the Supercharger at Harris Ranch works great. I still enjoy their lunch menu and actually pick up some Porterhouses on my way home to San Rafael. The 30 minute stop is easily used up. All other stops are 15 - 20 minutes. No need to swap batteries.
     
  6. dauger

    dauger Member

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    Got one too, but the shareholder meeting revealed TM is rolling it out to almost all S owners in CA and only 2% of those invited swapped.

    My use of it is similarly unlikely. First, I have to want to drive transCA. Maybe Thanksgiving. Then, do I want to skip lunch and restroom at Harris Ranch? Not really. I'd do it because it's cool, but probably spend an hour there anyways.

    The Supercharger solution just works so darn well. I drove transCA in May 2013 and it worked great! (See my link below.)
     
  7. LarryC

    LarryC Member

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    I got the invitation last week. I presumed everyone got one, but maybe not. I've never driven my S up there, but I drove to Solvang two months ago, SD three monhts ago and Vegas 2 weeks ago, so maybe they figured it would be just a matter of time.

    Like dauger, it's unlikely I would swap unless the carers were full.
     
  8. apacheguy

    apacheguy Sig 255, VIN 320

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    Actually, the lions share of the invites only went out last week so I don't see why TM would be making that statement. Before it was a very limited private beta.
     
  9. rlang59

    rlang59 Member

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    I suspect that they may have already decided to not expand the program and are just putting the justification out there now. Truthfully I don't even think they wanted to build the one they did but put themselves into a position that obligated building it.
     
  10. cantdecide

    cantdecide Member

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    Elon claimed that everyone already had been invited but it didn't get much usage. I suspect that triggered some realization that in fact someone had forgotten to hit send on the email, and that was the main reason no one was using it. Hence everyone gets emailed this week, and maybe it will get some more usage.

    Still, why would I bother saving 10 minutes of rest time at the supercharger at the cost of spending 10 minutes making an appointment (I hate phone calls)? The appointment process costs more hassle than the battery swap saves.
     
  11. apacheguy

    apacheguy Sig 255, VIN 320

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    They ought to work it so you just call an hour or two ahead while you are in the car sailing down the 5. My understanding tho is you have to book weeks in advance so I agree that it kinda defeats the convenience.
     
  12. Todd Burch

    Todd Burch Electron Pilot

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    So it appears Tesla will not be pursuing this further. Honestly, I think that's the right decision for Tesla at this point (even though it bums me out a bit).

    My only concern is that the test for demand is among existing customers. Unfortunately, that's not a good sample of the general population as a whole--which is who Tesla really wants behind the wheel. A large portion of existing Model S owners are either early adopters, risk takers, have strong environmental values, and/or are well-educated. Plus, an appointment needs to be made! This inherently biases the "study":

    -Early adopters and risk takers are more willing to endure inconvenience to experience something new.
    -Those with strong environmental values are more willing to endure inconvenience for environmental benefit.
    -Well-educated people (in general--and yes I know this is a generalization) tend to better understand the benefits of EVs, and the fact that "longer" refueling times are only experienced on longer trips. Therefore they are more willing to accept some long-distance charging inconvenience for the other benefits (such as never having to be inconvenienced to refuel in day-to-day local driving).

    Unfortunately, this means that Tesla's study only shows the interest level of existing customers--at best. (The need to make an appointment surely turns some away that would have tried it out). The goal of course is to get everyone driving EVs. I would guess that if we were to take a poll, the general public would be a lot less willing to stop 40 minutes to charge than the Model S owner population.

    So while I don't think it's wise at this point to pursue swap stations due to the cost of building out such an infrastructure, I do believe that in the future they would help accelerate the acceptance of EVs among the general population. I doubt we'll see 1-2 minute recharging times for a very, very, very long time if ever--which means EVs will always take longer to refuel than ICE vehicles.

    The real question is: by the time the "stubborn" ICE people need to be convinced, will the cost, range, charging speeds, and other benefits of EVs have improved so much that swap stations will be unnecessary? My guess is the answer will be yes.

    Although I'd still love to try it out.

    - - - Updated - - -

    For science!
     
  13. JER

    JER Member

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    #13 JER, Jun 12, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2015
    As currently implemented, Tesla’s pack swap pilot isn't the simple “fast or free” trade-off that was first announced.

    Battery swapping is only going to be popular if it provides time and/or convenience advantages over fast charging. It’s not delivering that while you have to book the pack loan and worry about pack return.

    Between this and Better Place’s terminal mismanagement, I don’t think the battery swap concept has yet had a fair trial.

    Of course, indefinite swapping of packs opens a whole world of (perhaps intractable) problems with ownership, wear, depreciation and damage. However, I can’t help but think it’s not beyond the wit of Tesla to find a way in which nobody gets fleeced.

    Pack condition is tracked in the BMCs. A like-for-like swap would be possible, given a suitable inventory of packs. There’s already precedent for pack swaps under warranty repair. Is this really impossible, or just not an outcome Tesla wants?
     
  14. roblab

    roblab Active Member

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    And if you are waiting for the 110 kWh battery, you'll most likely get your exchange done at a service center. Same is true if you want to upgrade for a vacation. Short term battery rentals or out and out sales.
     
  15. David99

    David99 Active Member

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    I got the invite as well. I might use it on a planned trip, but it depends on the cost. It would save about 25 min vs Supercharging. Not sure how much that would be worth to me.

    I'm not sure if it's something that will work for the end user market. Only on very long trips (1000 miles or more) you are about 20% slower in a Model S vs an ICE car due to charging. On medium trips, under 300-400 miles, the difference is less as you run the battery empty to your destination. I think battery swap is of limited use to normal people. In the commercial sector, like taxi, Uber, delivery vehicles and long distance transportation, a quick battery swap would make a big difference.

    On a technical side, it's going to be interesting. I scratched and slightly deformed the rails under my battery a bit when I bottomed my car out on a nasty curb. I wonder how much those damages or bent bottom shields will affect the battery swap.
     
  16. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    I've used Harris Ranch at least 4 times in the last two years. No invite. I'd definitely use the swap in July if I was offered an invite.
     
  17. Ben W

    Ben W P85 #61, Roadster #108

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    I've also used Harris Ranch several times in the past couple years. I even emailed Tesla a few months ago volunteering to test the Battery Swap. They basically said they would get back to me, but they never did. No invite as of yet. Perhaps it's because I have a very early VIN (#00061) with an A-type battery?

    Agreed with other posters that the current setup is not at all a fair demand indicator of the battery swap. A truly fair test would be a swap station in LA or Tejon with no reservation required. (A swap station in LA would also allow round trips like driving up the 5 and back down the 101. It would also allow me to return at my own pace and swap the battery the next day, rather than timing my return drive to sync with a particular appointment hour.)

    The other significant motivation for battery swap is to reduce wear and tear on my own pack. It might be worth the $80 just to save 1000 miles' worth of cycling on my own battery. (Assuming Tesla doesn't charge extra per mile for the swap packs.) And of course, when 110kWh batteries become available, there will be even more incentive. So I don't think the concept should be counted out quite yet.
     

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