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Discussion in 'News' started by dpeilow, Dec 15, 2008.
Charging Ahead | Popular Science
This is the first time that I have seen the mechanics of the battery swap detailed. Plus with the lower-capacity of the entry Model S it is one of the first times that the smaller battery comes out on top with the shorter charge time. I do question the plug into "any wall socket" to get a charge in 45 mins, but it seems feasible with a higher amp circuit - at least for a quick 80% charge.
It would still have to deliver ~200A at 415V three phase - something a bit less trivial than "any socket".
I was told about this battery swap station idea at the London event, but I got the impression they didn't want me going into details. The design was in progress back then.
Tesla sort of discounted the battery swap idea a while back so I am a tad surprised that they are embracing it now. I wonder if they are in 'cahoots' with "Better Place" on that?
Model S comes out mid-2011.
Battery swap stations up and running in time for Christmas 2011? Really?
And if a decent recharge can be achieved in 45 minutes, why bother swapping? Will stations get enough regular custom if delays to their opening allow early owners to get used to recharging? Particularly if there are additional municipal recharge points in office and supermarket parking lots. This could relegate battery swapping to a servicing schedule rather than a regular weekly activity.
Multiple solutions for the one problem. Someone's going to end up wasting a lot of money.
Ominous thought: Unless Tesla adjust the design of Models S so that owners will "prefer" battery swapping e.g. For the 45 minute recharge the key must be in the ignition, so you'd have to stay with your vehicle.
Maybe the whole battery swap thing is the "difference in strategy" that led to Daryll's resignation.
I'd be surprised if DS resigned over an engineering strategy issue - but I could be wrong.
Maybe Tesla are covering the bases with the 45 minute / battery swap twin strategy. It's clear there is a demand for instant "charging" (see Pistonheads discussion or even Top Gear), but it will take a while to get that in place. Certainly the average driver will be more comfortable knowing that they can pull into a swap station every 20 miles and get on their way again 5 minutes later. Maybe they are working with PBP but are not quite there yet, or are hedging their bets in case PBP fails.
I sure hope they have or will have a deal with Project Better Place.
Two incompatible systems of battery swapping would suck.
The biggest downside to battery-swap idea is "one battery size fits all".
I doub't though Renault will use same batteries (pack dimension) as Tesla.
That's an awful lot of swap stations.
True, but there are an awful lot of fuel stations in the world. That must have seemed like a tall order 100 years ago too. Neither PBP or anyone else will build their network overnight, hence why I think having the 45 minute charge capability too is a good idea.
I see the battery swap stations more like a "Jiffy Lube" style oil-changing station. Not every car has the same style of air filter, or wiper blade - but they have a few on hand of each popular style and swap as needed. Since (unlike the air filter) the empty battery you give them in exchange can still be used on the next car once it is charged, it may be feasible.
IMO the infrastructure is a LONG way off and won't fly in places like, let's take Dayton, Ohio. Why the hell would Tesla take away the convenience of 110V charging? That's the beauty of electricity, that it is fungible and created by many sources. Having to hot-swap a battery will turn me off completely. I do not like the idea of having to be tied to another "gas station."
I know it sounds like Tesla may offer both; both obviously, the how-swap idea would be the preference if the vehicle is designed to be compatable with such a system.
I assume that (especially for the short term) they plan to bill it as charge at home for daily commutes, and battery swap for long drives. That seems to make the most sense.
Maybe they're thinking along those "battery lease" paths that Think! is taking onto?
Quite similar argument could be made about swappable batteries against unswappable "built-in" batteries. Battery swaping is similar to hybrids in a way that it is a compromise. A specially designed battery for specific car model will always have better performance/price than standardized swappable units that must fit many different cars.
One argument against battery swaps is that owners may not like getting a used battery at the swap station. What if you go with your brand new car to the swap station and they give you a really tired old pack that dies when you get half way to your next destination. Then you go to a different swap station and they refuse to take is as trade in because it is old & messed up. There would need to be some assurances that any station would accept a dead pack in trade for a ready one. This goes back to the idea (that I think Better Place embraces) that you don't actually own your batteries. You own the car, but lease the pack. That way the battery lease/rent contract can say that the swap stations reserve the rights to give you packs of varying quality/condition. As Better Place puts it the pack is like a tank of gas. The batteries themselves are consumables.
But then we are back to the "Who Killed The Electric Car" lease dilemma... What if they "pull the plug" on battery leasing. You are stuck with a car with no pack. EV1 owners who got burned by lease recalls want to own an EV (the entire thing) so they can't have their vehicle shut down if some external entity gives up.
Yes, that's why I still belive whole battery swapping idea is just another distraction resulting in a car with lower range and performance.
Tesla should just go and build as good an electric car as possible with current tech using unswappable batteries. Every new model-year should come with upgraded batteries offering better range and/or performance.
There will always be people trashing electric cars, just as how there are people trashing diesels and others who swear by them now.
Tesla needs to focus.
Yes it is curious that Elon sees hybrids as a red herring, but nothing wrong with battery swapping.
Is energy density not going to increase quickly enough for American road trips?
It all depends on how important the battery swaps are for the design. If they are an added feature that they will use to convince someone with range anxiety, it might not be such a big compromise. If on the other hand battery swaps are an integral part and you only lease the battery things might change....
Things are not looking too good for BEVs atm, it seems even Think is close to folding as well
Well, Elon sees hybrids as "half the time you are carting around dead weight". Battery swapping is not the same in that regard. But you are correct in both are bridge solutions to a day when battery capacity is large enough for long trips.
What is a long trip anyway?
My single longest drive was around 400 miles. It took me around 10 hours. I wouldn't want to drive any longer in a single day anyway.
250 miles is a good start. It would not suit everybody and it doesn't need to. If batteries only manage 5% increase of capacity each year that means means after 5 years we will have 300 miles of range with new battery packs. After additional 5 years of development the range should be around 390 miles. That is a lot.
A very good litmus test would be offering two BEV versions, lower range at lower cost and higher range at higher cost. People would get a chance to vote with their wallets. I bet the lower range version would see more customers.
^ They are going to do that with the Model S.
I've driven 750 miles at fairly high speed in one day before, but that was hard work and a real one-off. If they can get above 500 miles then that would be acceptable, but it must be real world 500 miles, not EPA 500 miles.
At least with a battery-swap car, when the new tech comes you just put it in and leave it in there. It is not likely you could do similar to a hybrid.