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Proof of Tesla's plan for battery swapping

Discussion in 'Model S: Battery & Charging' started by Right_Said_Fred, May 11, 2013.

  1. Right_Said_Fred

    Right_Said_Fred Model S - Sig. 283 EU

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    #1 Right_Said_Fred, May 11, 2013
    Last edited: May 11, 2013
    Going through the SEC-filing for Q2 I found this very interesting piece of information:

    "our capability to rapidly swap out the Model S battery pack and the development of specialized public facilities to perform such swapping, which do not currently exist but which we plan to introduce in the near future."

    It's the first proof I've seen that Tesla is considering battery swapping as an alternative or addition to supercharging.

    It's on page 38 of the SEC-filing, which was posted earlier by DonPedro in this thread.
     
  2. Enadler

    Enadler Member

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    #2 Enadler, May 11, 2013
    Last edited: May 11, 2013
    Good catch! I read the doc but completely missed this bullet. Your highlighted portion is fairly straightforward and leaves no room for interpretation. Tesla is going to introduce battery swapping soon. The big question is how quickly this can be ramped up.

    Second question is - Is this the 5th announcement that is right under your nose?
     
  3. highfalutintodd

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    I'll be shocked out of my mind if battery swapping turns out to be something that Tesla actually intends to roll out. It just seems like a bizarre solution - expensive, unwieldy, technically complex, and inelegant (at least IMHO). Besides, if they were actually going to go down this path, why would they bother with the Superchargers at all?

    But what do I know? Elon's the genius billionaire playboy philanthropist here, not me. ;-)
     
  4. Hank42

    Hank42 Member

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    Battery swaps absolutely make sense - particularly from a standpoint of shifting control of energy distribution. Battery swap, supercharges, your local outlet - they all combine to make the most use for what is convenient for the consumer.

    What was the big problem with EV's a few years ago(and today still)?? "There are not enough chargers like there are gas stations", and "It took decades to build out our gas stations, nobody's ever gonna do the same with charging stations"...
    Well - look - a company is actually doing it - with superchargers. Before you know it, superchargers will be everywhere. Follow that up with the possibility of a battery swap station, and voila - just like dandelions - they're everywhere, and impossible to get rid of. Slowly replacing the delivery of energy to our vehicles. With enough capital, a single company could "own" all the batteries and charge by the mile of energy used (or KWh etc), and cycle out old, or weak batteries.


    Nice!

    (I don't think this will actually happen either - not with the S at least, but It would be nice!)
     
  5. stopcrazypp

    stopcrazypp Well-Known Member

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    I can see two reasons why Tesla might want to build at least one battery swap station.
    1) It gives Tesla access to 7 ZEV credits per car rather than 4 credits per car because battery swap would satisfy the fast refueling requirements necessary to get full credits.
    2) It'll shut up the last naysayers who say supercharging still isn't fast enough and it's useful PR. The fact that it's very hard to make it work in the practical world has little to do with how convincing the idea is to the public (see hydrogen and Better Place).
     
  6. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    playboy?

    - - - Updated - - -

    Interesting. A single "compliance swapping station" in the center of the U.S. could be worth a lot of $ to build apparently. Even if it was never used?
     
  7. AudubonB

    AudubonB Mild-mannered Moderator Lord Vetinari*

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    Darn! You beat me to creating this thread!

    As I've written in other posts, battery swapping has been my long-cherished dream about how to make EVs truly practical. Thus, for me, a practical and economical means of doing same is what will make Tesla the powerhouse those of us who are long TSLA are dreaming. IF I still worked the options market - and from high in the Alaska Range, that is an unjustifiable condition - I would start writing $500 calls...... :)
     
  8. mitch672

    mitch672 Active Member

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    If they are only going to build a limited number of them, they will ALL be in California, that's where half the Model S's have been sold, and also closer to the engineers to maintain such a complex system, even if a nationwide rollout is planned, the first of them will certainly be in CA
     
  9. SteveG3

    SteveG3 Active Member

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    makes a lot of sense Mitch.
     
  10. stopcrazypp

    stopcrazypp Well-Known Member

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    Yep. You only need to demonstrate your car can do battery swapping and that's enough to get it the full credit. It's not the automaker's responsibility to ensure a practical number of battery swap stations pop up or that they get used (or analogously quick charging stations or hydrogen stations).

    That is unless CARB decides to write in some extra terms, but currently the ZEV requirement only requires the capability of doing so (which Tesla obviously has to demonstrate in at least in one location).
     
  11. ViperDoc

    ViperDoc Roadster 1305

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    Tesla noted the goal of battery swapping way before the Model S was released (and way before I even signed up for our Signature). They talked about it years ago, and when the car came out and there was no talk of it, I asked, and Tesla employees implied it had gone by the wayside. It is looking like maybe they will be able to make good on their initial thoughts from back in the beginning.
     
  12. yobigd20

    yobigd20 Well-Known Member

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    two plugs, couple bolts, battery drops out, new battery in, couple bolts, couple plugs and done. doesn't seem all that complex to me.

    the battery packs were engineered to enable a swap as quickly as one minute. this was a requirement of the design. this is not new 'news' either. Elon's been saying for years that his goal was to be able to have battery hot swapping for the Model S....that the battery pack design must allows en-route swapping at a highway roadside station (thus now known as 'supercharger stations'). Also, you do realize that Better Place is headquartered directly across the street from Tesla's headquarters in Palo Alto....coincidence? :)

    At last June's annual shareholder meeting, Musk did say the Model S was "intentionally architected to support fast battery swapping, in under one minute". He also said "I think we will show you something interesting in that regard," - hence the "upcoming demonstration" in a few weeks. :)
     
  13. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    At various times it's been "minutes", "under a minute", "under 2 minutes, and "under 5 minutes". I get the feeling Tesla thinks in units of 30 minutes. Kind of like they think in units of $10k for some categories of options.
     
  14. Shakespear

    Shakespear Member

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    More like 16 bolts :scared:
     
  15. mitch672

    mitch672 Active Member

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    #15 mitch672, May 11, 2013
    Last edited: May 11, 2013
    Yup, but a "jig" with 16 heads matched to the pack could unbolt them all at the same time, it's going to have to be specialized equipment anyway.

    Edit: to all of those doubting Tesla will do this, read the post above about going from 4 ZEV credits to 7 ZEV credits, that alone is worth millions of dollars to Teslas bottom line. Regardless of if they ever deploy this widely, you can bet they are going to at least demo this capability to prove it can be done and capture 3 extra ZEV credits per vehicle.
     
  16. ToddRLockwood

    ToddRLockwood Active Member

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    I remember reading this as well. It's hard to imagine that the economics of a battery swap station can compete with a free supercharger. And you have the additional problem of giving up YOUR battery. I can't fathom why Tesla would be going down this road again, other than to satisfy an arbitrary regulation.

    It's true that the Model S battery pack can be removed and reinstalled quite easily. Quick disconnects are provided for the cooling system and electrical connections. This will certainly make servicing the battery less difficult. But I don't understand the renewed interest in swap stations.
     
  17. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    If they do decide to go the route of introducing some "compliance swappers" and they do so in California, it might be fun to try it out @ TesLive. Driving around with a borrowed pack (or packs) for the weekend could be fun. Unless they make me sign an "I won't use my Perf to its full potential" waiver.
     
  18. holstein13

    holstein13 Member

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    When my battery is about 8 years old, I'll be happy to bring it in for a swap.
     
  19. ZestyChicken

    ZestyChicken Member

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    I agree with the folks doubting the practicality of this. It's nearly a 1,000 lb battery. You can swap it in under 5 minutes using specialty equipment and a lift, but it's hardly an easy thing to do. If you were driving cross country, I couldn't imagine pulling in and out the battery multiple times per day. Seems like it would be awfully hard on the screwholes...
     
  20. aronth5

    aronth5 Long Time Follower

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    Agree, sounds like Midas Muffler for batteries but with robots doing the work. A supercharger station is small, no real weather issues to deal with and simple. Battery swaps feel anything but that. I cannot see Tesla investing in the infrastructure needed and people, but I suppose they could contract with a third party that already has the buildings and infrastructure needed.
     

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