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Please don't do (better place method) battery swap stations, it's a stupid idea

Discussion in 'Tesla Motors' started by InsanityWolf, Jun 18, 2013.

  1. InsanityWolf

    InsanityWolf Member

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    It's capital intensive to build the stations, money better used on more super-chargers, development of gen 3, development of better chargers or batteries, marketing, anything!
    • Range is not THAT big of an issue. We already know what we're getting into when we buy an EV. The supercharges already deal with most of these range issues and I have a second car. I can also go rent an ICE for long distance trips if need be.
    • The battery is not a commodity to me. I do not want someone else's batteries if I am taking good care of mine. The whole process of exchanging a third of my car for each 250 mile trip seems backwards, a hassle, unnecessary, and risky. I would really just wait the extra 30 minutes.
    • Seriously, very few people are going to use this and it sounds very expensive to implement. Whats worse is, introducing a better place method of battery swap makes me think Tesla is really out-of-touch with its customers.
    • I was really hoping for a lithium air battery add on pack that can be put into the frunk or trunk, and had a range of 200 to 300 miles. At least, that's workable.
     
  2. deonb

    deonb Active Member

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    Rest assured, it's not just Better Place:

    Elon: "Shai actually got the idea from a visit to Tesla. The idea is obvious (many things allow battery swap), but the technology is not".

    If it's just the Better Place model, the technology would be obvious.
     
  3. DaveT

    DaveT Searcher of green pastures

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    Elon Musk ‏tweeted earlier today:
    @zatulsky Shai actually got the idea from a visit to Tesla. The idea is obvious (many things allow battery swap), but the technology is not.
    (in response to "@elonmusk Shai Agassi was right in his vision of switchable battery!!! Drive-Switch-Go")

    I take this as Tesla will not be using the same battery swap technology as Better Place (which was pricey). If they release battery swap it will be much better technology and something that makes economic sense.
     
  4. Palpatine

    Palpatine Banned

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    Thank you, well said. This idea is brain dead. We can only hope that this is a "gee whiz" demo so that stupid people who don't know any better think that this solves some sort of problem. Anyone who actually has an EV knows that there is just about zero demand for this type of solution.

    Why on earth would anyone spend money for battery swaps if they own a Model S?

    4.3% of car trips are over 100 miles
    0.1% of car trips are over 200 miles
     
  5. aaron0k

    aaron0k Member

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    I have two EV's. I want swap ability.

    The people who have no place to plugin at home. A whole new market/demographic.
     
  6. Todd Burch

    Todd Burch Electron Pilot

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    Please don't start ANOTHER battery swap thread criticizing an idea you haven't even heard yet.

    Remember all those people that said Tesla was dead on arrival, that EVs would never sell, that what Tesla was doing was impossible? You remind me of them.
     
  7. Elshout

    Elshout Member

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    100% agree with all you have said. I too would not trade my well cared for battery for one of unknown provenance.
     
  8. Chris1howell

    Chris1howell Member

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    I don't think Teslas model will be the same...

    I think swap could provide a benefit especially for those with a 60kw car, if Tesla would rent a larger pack when you need it... Swap 60kw for 85kw at a service center and then supercharge or swap on the road. Maybe one day 85kw cars could rent a 125kw pack.

    Here is how I think it will work... Tesla seems to like to us common parts for several applications. For example the supercharger uses 12 or the same charging modules found in the Model S charger. We already know from the last Shareholder meeting that at least 2 Supercharger sites have a Energy Storage system. What if tesla used 6 - 12 85kw batteries for the Energy Storage System giving the supercharger .5 to 1 Mw of capacity. Those same batteries could be used to swap... Always keep the top battery charged for the next swap.

    I think Tesla would charge monthly rental fees if you upgrade size and a per use fee, lets say half of what a tank of gas would cost...The cost would be enough to encourage most to use Superchargers.

    During the week the solar panels will feed the ESS... During peak usage times on the grid Tesla would back feed power to the Utility earning Tesla $$$$. During night Tesla would slowly recharge the batteries to a certain level at very low cost. On the weekend the ESS will supplement Supercharging to significantly reduce demand charges saving Tesla a lot of $$$$. I think ESS/Solar/swap will not be at every supercharge station but on core routes...
     
  9. ChadS

    ChadS Petroleum is for sissies

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    #9 ChadS, Jun 18, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2013
    I'm happy with Superchargers; they are fast enough for me for occasional road trips. And I'm fully prepared for Tesla's demo to be just that - "see, we can swap packs if we want." I don't feel a burning desire to have swapping available, and I'd also rather not see Tesla spend a lot of capital building out a network if it doesn't work out financially for them.

    But I can definitely think of ways for swapping to be useful; and there have been numbers showing it might not be a money-loser (though it sure doesn't seem like a profit center! We really don't know enough to say for sure how the finances will go) if combined with grid storage et al. Some swapping scenarios have been pointed out in other threads. Off the top of my head:

    1. If the pack you get is much bigger than the pack you already own, I see a lot of value to swapping in a big pack before (or during, depending on the nearest swap location) a trip, and getting yours back at the end. Enough for the owner to pay for it, even though Superchargers are free. With a 500-mile pack you could skip Superchargers and cumulative saved time could be significant. More important, you could go more places where there aren't Superchargers. For example, in WA and OR there are many trips I will never be able to take with a 300-mile pack and the planned Supercharger stations (at least, not without charging for many hours at 30A) - but I could with a 500-mile pack. Having the ability to take this type of trip is really important to current and prospective owners. In my state and a few others, Tesla could provide it with a CHAdeMO adapter. But the ability to swap in a 500-mile pack could be even better (assuming the swap locations are convenient). I'd be willing to pay a fair bit for a CHAdeMO adapter, so if this plan is flexible enough I'd be willing to pay for it instead.

    2. If 85kWh packs are swapped, several people have focused on trading in "their" pack and possibly getting a worse one back. Of course they could always save yours. But even if they don't, why not focus on getting a better one back? As long as the packs in circulation meet a minimum criteria, what you get is not a big deal. And in fact it turns in to a big plus if it's, say, an 8-year subscription program and you can swap as many times as you like during the subscription - and get a brand-new one at the end (even if you only get that by swapping repeatedly until you get a "good" one). And perhaps the one you get at the end is also bigger than what you have now - whatever size they are selling with cars then - all included in the subscription price. Of course price matters, but if swapping for for road trips any time I like plus getting a new, larger pack in 8 years is part of the deal, I would probably pay a $12k fee. If Tesla can cover swapping prices now with grid fees (which seems really tough, but not impossible), and spends less than $12k building me a pack 8 years from now and has had my money all along, they could come out ahead.

    3. As aaron0k just pointed out, this could enable a lot of people without a good charging garage to go EV.

    4. Fleets. (Not that I think they're going to do that...just pointing out an area where swapping can make sense).

    5. Part of whether adding a swap network to the Supercharger network is "worth it" or not depends on Tesla's mission. If they are just trying to make money selling their own cars, it does seem like right now they are selling all they can build and that swapping is not necessary - at least not yet. But what if Tesla is serious about their mission being to speed the transition to electric propulsion? As Citizen-T pointed out in another thread, while Model S owners may be happy with Supercharging, there are millions of ICE drivers that are thrilled with the idea of pack swapping. The fact that charging is slower than getting gas is the only real downside to EVs - what if the only real objection was removed? It could get them to finally consider EVs and demand them from other automakers. In fact, those automakers, in a hurry to come out with something, could license Tesla's drivetrain as well as the Supercharging and swapping systems. Tesla can probably scale up faster providing those than they can just by selling their own cars.

    It all depends on details, and we're missing enough information that we can't guess the details. It's entirely possible that none of the above will work out. But they are possible, so I'm happy to see what Tesla announces before I insist that it makes no sense.
     
  10. Palpatine

    Palpatine Banned

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    Tesla Motors is our best chance to have a company really do successful EVs.
    If you want EVs to be successful and common, then we need to have a financially stable and strong company doing this.
    Battery swaps are certainly not a profit center and they are likely a huge money loser. Elon needs to be a better manager of money and avoid white elephant projects like this lame idea.

    - - - Updated - - -

    What are you willing to pay for it?
     
  11. deonb

    deonb Active Member

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  12. PhilBa

    PhilBa Active Member

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    I doubt battery swapping will be the common mode. However, I love the idea of being able replace the battery quickly and easily. This will allow us to upgrade to the next battery capacity point when it becomes available rather than having to sell the car and buy a new one. Make the decision to by an MS all the more acceptable. Hopefully, we will get a goodly amount of credit for the old battery. That's far more significant to me than avoiding a 30 minute supercharge.
     
  13. NigelM

    NigelM Recovering Member

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    Everyone knows I'm a fan of Tesla but I gotta say this......I think Tesla has come a long way in the last 9 months, but they really still need to get much better at logistics management before they even consider attempting nationwide battery swapping.
     
  14. aaron0k

    aaron0k Member

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    Agreed.

    Some risk is required to do anything great. In order for EV's to be successful and "common" they need to reach mass market appeal and attract "common" people. Enthusiasts (us) who most likely own homes and garages and install NEMA 14-50 outlets to charge at >30mph... are not mass market or common.

    $30 per swap; or the cost equivalent to a 'full tank' of gas.
     
  15. Banahogg

    Banahogg Member

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    Good point - they'll probably ship all of them to AnOutsider ;-)
     
  16. spatterso911

    spatterso911 MSP#7577 **--** MX#1891

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    @aaron0k the BIG problem with presuming that this will satisfy the masses is that the location of the battery swappers will not even come close to comparing to the convenience of a local gas station. Imagine this...Perhaps I live about 45 miles from a swap station, but my work is about 20 miles in the opposite direction. I have no charging capabilities at work or at home because I live in an apartment complex (not really, but lets presume I am a "common" person as you put it). Now, when my battery gets low, do I drive 90-110 miles round trip to do the swap? Who has time for that? How is that normal or even convenient for the owner? at $10/swap it's a dumb idea IMHO. At $30/swap it's a dumb idea IMHO. In order for this to become convenient, I need to have access to a swap station about every 5-10 miles where I can get to it when my battery starts going low. It has to be comparable in distance to where we would expect a gas station to be located. I don't need to be required to drive some significant distance away from my usual or planned route to get to it either. That's already a major issue with the superchargers, but at least they can be added quickly and cheaply and at a greater density to fix that problem.
     
  17. Palpatine

    Palpatine Banned

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    So more than $30 per swap and you would stick with a free Supercharger?
    At what price per swap would you say, "this isn't worth it, I will wait the 10-20 minutes and just use a Supercharger at the same location."

    If Tesla said, "Pay $100 per month, commit to a contract for 8 years, now and you get 100 battery swaps over the next 8 years" would you pay it?
    So you would be paying about $100 per month and have the ability to swap about once per month.
    Or would you just use the free Supercharger at the same location?

    Most people have discussed how someone would pay for the use of a battery on a temporary basis. It is not just about the energy refill cost. Using a battery pack has an expense. And let's face it, on a borrowed battery pack in the swap, people are going to abuse them more. Charging in range mode will be more common, etc. All of that has to be captured in the battery swap subscription fees.

    Batteries in the swap network are going to be the most abused around. Recharged to max 100% will be common, deep discharge cycles, etc.
     
  18. stopcrazypp

    stopcrazypp Well-Known Member

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    Elon's plan for this (so far) is not the "cityswapper" idea which would solve the problem for people living in apartments. At this point, swapping is intended for long range travel, not daily driving. It's going to be enough to convince enough people to make the Gen III viable (without it, I'm not sure if supercharging is enough). There would be no excuses left not to consider an EV as the last weak point is gone. The stations don't have to be fully there yet (just like the supercharging network isn't quite there yet).
     
  19. deonb

    deonb Active Member

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    I would think that on Thursday they're going to announce a few SuperSwappers (less than 10) - most likely at the CA locations that today have SuperChargers.

    Then they'll evaluate it for a year or two at different price points and see if/when people prefer swapping over charging.

    They will also have to commit to these swappers for a decade or so in order to evaluate how the availability of them impacts sales.
     
  20. InsanityWolf

    InsanityWolf Member

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    #20 InsanityWolf, Jun 18, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2013
    I've been supporting Tesla since $24. I'm a fan of Tesla but I'm not blind. They do make mistakes like how they marketed their lease program.

    http://i.imgur.com/1W50ULh.jpg

    I just don't think the battery swap is a good idea. Our superchargers are becoming faster with each technological improvement. What will be the use of creating a capital-intensive network of swap stations when supercharger (faster charging times) or battery tech (more miles per charge) becomes good enough that we won't need to swap batteries. Or is Tesla throwing in the towel and saying that this tech has reached it limit, now we need to rely on the swap-the-battery method?

    The only benefit is possibly if you live in an apartment that doesnt have charging stations. Then you have to treat these batteries like commodities every time you swap. If they ID each persons battery to return to their original owner each time, I don't get how the logistics is going to work and you have to return to the same station each week? Would you have to buy two batteries to swap back and forth each time? Many owners that baby their batteries are not going to want someone else batteries if they've been using it on the track.

    Even if the tech can swap the battery in a second, the entire model is just seems so backwards, expensive, and risky. Why not put the millions towards more super chargers?
     

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