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Is battery swapping even possible on current Model S vehicles?

Discussion in 'Model S: Battery & Charging' started by tom66, Aug 31, 2014.

  1. tom66

    tom66 Member

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    #1 tom66, Aug 31, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2014
    Several threads have popped up recently showing the Tesla battery pack and connection configuration:
    http://www.teslamotorsclub.com/showthread.php/34934-Pics-Info-Inside-the-battery-pack
    http://www.teslamotorsclub.com/showthread.php/31831-Battery-interior-and-Repair-of-Model-S

    In particular this image (battery connector going to vehicle junction box - for motor inverter, supercharger, on-board charger, DC-DC, HVAC):
    http://www.teslamotorsclub.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=50608&d=1401571618

    And the CAN bus / vehicle bus connectors:
    http://vpn.wizkid057.com/nas/teslapack/2014-08-19%2019.36.40.jpg

    The connectors have no obvious way they could unlatch via automated mechanisms. It looks like a hand-insert connector. How does Tesla plan to implement this? The connectors don't look particularly durable. Maybe rated for 100 cycles. You can already see corrosion on the terminals of the CAN bus interface from being disconnected so long. (Normally, they'd be mated together so there would be limited chance for corrosion. But if Tesla plan to store 50+ packs, in the very least, they'll have to keep them in a controlled environment. i.e. low humidity, managed temperature, no condensation.)

    It should be noted that I want to see battery swapping as much as anyone else, but I don't see it happening. It seems like it would be too expensive to practically implement, compared to the supercharger / fast-DC charge network.
     
  2. ToddRLockwood

    ToddRLockwood Active Member

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    I believe the pack is already swap-capable. It was in Tesla's plan from the outset. That dangling connector may have been manually unplugged to prepare for drive unit removal. I don't see any problem with the bus connectors.
     
  3. tom66

    tom66 Member

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    #3 tom66, Aug 31, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2014
    The connector is definitely for the battery. The OP in that thread removed the pack (collision damage.) Plus, it matches precisely with the pack connector.

    My concern is mainly with how Tesla intend to fast-swap the pack with that type of connector. The data connector looks like it would be a prime candidate for getting pins bent and broken, especially if the alignment isn't perfect. It's an automotive type connector, designed to lock rigidly, and withstand vibration and movement. It's not designed to be removed hundreds of times. Compare connector designs: SATA (for a computer) - designed to only withstand maybe 50 cycles, so contacts are fairly weak, mating connector is usually very basic, and USB, designed to last 10,000 cycles which is built with a rigid outer shell with pins embedded into a plastic base.

    Maybe we'll see a change with Model X or Gen III, or a later version of Model S. Perhaps some kind of retrofit.
     
  4. AmpedRealtor

    AmpedRealtor Active Member

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    Not sure why it even matters. Battery swap will never become a reality, and Tesla will never build a single battery swap station. It's been a year since they announced swapping and nothing has happened. Absolutely nothing. Writing is on the wall.
     
  5. yobigd20

    yobigd20 Well-Known Member

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    it doesn't make sense to do it (from a business perspective) after California's changes for credits, right? (if I recall, battery swapping isn't eligible for additional credits anymore, right?)
     
  6. stopcrazypp

    stopcrazypp Well-Known Member

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    Nope. Still eligible. But you only get as much as the number of swaps done per year (multiplied by the bonus credit amount per car and up to the amount of cars sold that year, so if number of swaps = number of cars sold you get the full bonus amount). Previously Tesla got additional credits just by demonstrating it was possible.
     
  7. Zythryn

    Zythryn MS 70D, MX 90D

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    I thought I read that they were building the first swap station and it was due to be in action by the end of the year?

    In my opinion, so few would actually use it that it isn't worthwhile. However, I don't know that for sure.
     
  8. apacheguy

    apacheguy Sig 255, VIN 320

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    Yes, Tesla has confirmed as recently as a month or so ago that they are building a pilot program in CA. The first will be at Harris Ranch. Additionally, every Model S built had better be swap-capable as it has been continually mentioned as a feature of the car since day 1.
     
  9. tom66

    tom66 Member

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    Is there an official source for this from a Tesla representative?
     
  10. FredTMC

    FredTMC Model S VIN #4925

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    Fingers crossed this actually happens.
     
  11. ToddRLockwood

    ToddRLockwood Active Member

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    Often, with that variety of data connector, the mating connector is mounted so it has some lateral play, and it self-aligns when the two connectors come together. This was the case on large-scale studio recording consoles that I maintained in my previous life.

    My guess on the battery cable is that they reached in and manually unplugged it, not realizing that all they had to do was lower the battery. Or, they just did it for added safety. It looks as though that plug has some mounting clips that held it to the chassis. There is nothing for them to attach to on the battery itself.
     
  12. rlang59

    rlang59 Member

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    Agreed can you point to an official source for this? All I have seen is rumors from someone who talked to someone at Harris Ranch.
     
  13. apacheguy

    apacheguy Sig 255, VIN 320

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  14. scaesare

    scaesare Active Member

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    The HV connector is definitely swap-capable... it's a friction-fit blade connector with center alignment pin. As another poster mentioned, the mating connector on the car dangling in that picture has been manually removed from it's normal secured mount point on the car.

    Those data connectors have no locking tabs as typical automotive connectors you describe. I'm relatively confident that the Tesla folks have considered the appropriate number of insertion cycles.

    Also more evidence the pack was designed for swap is the coolant quick-connects. Also spring loaded to keep coolant contained within the loop, and simply press-connect.
     
  15. GreenT

    GreenT Member

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    Spewing more misinformation?
     
  16. AmpedRealtor

    AmpedRealtor Active Member

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    Can you point me to a single operational swap station? Can you point to one under construction? Can you at least point me to a permit that was filed? So if you are going to accuse me of spewing misinformation when I proffer no more than what is clearly an opinion, try and come up with something to actually support your position.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Here's a good article about why battery swapping will never happen - WRITTEN YESTERDAY. A big part of it is the elimination of the ZEV credits. Tesla's "re-prioritization", according to this article, came at a suspicious time after CARB killed the swap credit. Tesla no longer has the same financial incentive it did a year ago to make this a reality. Given the costs of $500k for a swap station compared to $150k for a supercharger, it makes absolutely no sense to sink the cost of 3 superchargers into a single swap station, with no ZEV credits. Swapping comes at the expense of more superchargers. We need more superchargers more urgently than we need swap stations.

    What Happened to Tesla Motors, Inc.s Battery Swapping? - NASDAQ.com

    According to the above article, swapping is dead. I concur.
     
  17. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    I have always been skeptical of the need for battery swapping. Personally I have no interest in them. In a year or two the Supercharger network in the US and Europe (and probably China) will be so extensive that battery swapping seems totally unnecessary. The network will continue to be expanded as long as their is demand for it, which I believe will continue to grow even faster than it is now.
     
  18. apacheguy

    apacheguy Sig 255, VIN 320

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    Some of us would love to make use of the super swapper. Based on the statements made by Tesla brass I'm confident that we'll see one by year's end. Although I agree with their decision to only do a pilot program in CA and then reevaluate.
     
  19. stopcrazypp

    stopcrazypp Well-Known Member

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    That's not actually what the article said, if you read it to the bottom. It did say Jalopnik claims the re-prioritization came at a "suspicious" time, but it also said:
    Also, the most critical error is that the ZEV credits for swaps is NOT dead (even though plenty of media says it is). If anyone bothered to do some investigative journalism, they would know that although there were proposals to kill it, the final May 30, 2014 version of the regulation (recently approved on July 10, 2014) has battery swapping as explicitly qualifying for the "fast refueling" credit:
    http://www.arb.ca.gov/regact/2013/zev2013/zevtp1oal.pdf
    http://www.arb.ca.gov/regact/2013/zev2013/zev2013.htm

    And it was clear that Tesla did put in some lobbying effort to get this to happen. If Tesla was planning to completely abandon battery swapping, they would have no reason to lobby to keep it in the ZEV rules:
    http://www.arb.ca.gov/lists/com-attach/32-zev2013-UmAHMQMzUzRRZ1Vh.pdf
    http://www.arb.ca.gov/lists/com-attach/33-zev2013-VmRUYlBgUjVVYwg9.pdf
     
  20. PhilBa

    PhilBa Active Member

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    Yes, and we'll see the chademo adapter in Spring of 2014.
     

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