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Tesla battery swap: Post announcement discussion

Discussion in 'Charging Standards and Infrastructure' started by dsm363, Jun 20, 2013.

  1. scaesare

    scaesare Well-Known Member

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    Another company I'm fond of with an uber-accessible and customer focused CEO (RED Digital cinema, with Jim Jannard at the helm) tended to operate similarly: opt to share with their customers the exciting technology they currently had under development or were in the midst of planning roll-outs for.They often did this hoping to gain customer feedback along the way.
    He got similar reactions from a vocal minority: Wanting details that weren't available yet, criticizing the lack of complete picture, not having all the pieces spelled out to each customer's satisfaction yet, etc...

    What those folks missed was this: ​The development time frame will occur anyway. You were getting the rather unique opportunity to peer behind the curtain and see the progression of the project. And perhaps influence it with constructive comments.

    In other words, what would you prefer: Sneak peeks of cool stuff Tesla is working on and Elon is excited about every few months over the course of a year and a half... or remaining ignorant of the project as a whole until it's unveiled at the end of 18 months?

    the engineering/deployment effort is going to take the same amount time either way... so why not take the opportunity to participate and enjoy along the way?

    But... in part because people couldn't appreciate it and instead spent their energy criticizing, RED started scaling back the effort to share their stuff. Why the headache of they have to deal with that stuff?

    If everything was fully baked and ready to go, don't you think Elon wouldn't indicate that? Yes... he may let some details drop in different venues... but by the time this thing is ready for prime time and you can pull in to one... you'll have the data you need...
     
  2. deonb

    deonb Supporting Member

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    20.
     
  3. TI Sailor

    TI Sailor Supporting Member

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    Unless I'm missing something, at $99 each swap, you'd get 20 swaps, e.g., 10 trips, for the cost of SC upgrade. Still might be fine if your trips are indeed rare.

    Oops... Seems we both did the same math...
     
  4. malcolm

    malcolm Active Member

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    Wait, you bought a very expensive car and you're worried about the phone bill? So I guess now is not a good time to mention tire replacement?

    Seriously though please phone or e-mail customer services. Tesla employees are busy people but many on this site have found them very hard-working and helpful.
     
  5. NigelM

    NigelM Recovering Member

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    Nicholas Zart filmed all the press Q&A with Elon last night and you can see all the different questions on his Youtube account here: http://www.youtube.com/user/33nickynickster?feature=watch

    There's a lot of interesting stuff and Elon answers many questions. Maybe someone has the inclination to transcribe some of it for TMC?
     
  6. deonb

    deonb Supporting Member

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    I'll transcribe it. Thanks!
     
  7. Merrill

    Merrill Active Member

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    Ok, so I understand why Tesla would do this. For me if I have to go to a supercharging station I will just charge up, 20 or 30 minutes is not a problem. This does give people another option, but how does it know if you have a 60 or an 85. I would prefer more Superchargers, which they seem to be doing.
     
  8. deonb

    deonb Supporting Member

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    #88 deonb, Jun 21, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2013
    Transcribing the Q/A:

    Q: Can you talk a little bit more about what's gonna happen when they change the battery? You said they can either come back and pick up their old battery or the battery - you'll know how much is left on it. How is this going to impact warranty? Are you going to keep track of the battery warranty?

    Elon:
    At the SuperCharger locations, or the 'Pack Swap Stations', you'll have the opportunity of returning the pack that you borrowed, just sort'a like a rental car, or rental skis or something. If you don't return the pack, then what we'll do is: We know the pack that you gave us, and we know the pack that we gave you. We'll simply give you the option of billing you for the difference, or, if you don't want to do that, we'll just transport your pack to wherever your car is, and we'll switch out the pack at whatever location your car is. And you'll just pay for the transport cost of that.

    But the overarching goal is - what we're trying to achieve, and what we're essentially commiting to achieve is that the cost of pack swap will be equivalent to the cost of gasoline. That's what we're going to make sure happens at the end of the day. Except that it will obviously be more convenient, because it will take 90 seconds and not 4 or 5 minutes.

    The warranty will obviously... if you get your original pack back the warranty will stay the same. If you get a new pack, it will be dependend upon the length of time than that pack. A pack warranty is 8 years long, so if the pack you got is a 1 year old pack, then you'll have 7 years left on that pack. Whatever the age of that pack is.

    Q: Will the switch out packs be new?
    Elon: The switch out packs / replacement packs will at first be new, and over time they will be used. Of course when we first start off with the pack swap stations, they're all going to be fairly new.

    Q: [Something like: the new pack you get may not be much newer than the one you have]
    Elon: That's right, yes exactly. If you got a pack which is essentially the same as the one you dropped off, you don't need to drop it off again.

    Q: The price of the Model S is based on the Mercedes Benz S class. How are you basing the cost of a tank of fuel? What constitutes the price of fuel?
    Elon:
    Actually I should clarify - we do not base the Model S on the Mercedes S class as a price. So we didn't really reference it. We reference it generally against premier cars but not specifically against the Mercedes S class. The reference point for the cost of fuel is whatever is locally true. So the price will actually vary depending on where you are in the country.

    Q: Based on how many gallons?
    Elon: Based on about 15 gallons. So figure it's going to be somewhere between 60 to 80 dollars.


    Q: How much does it affect the cost per station to build them? How many battery packs are you going to have at each station? How are you going to build these stations? Are there going to be batteries stored in kits or are they going to be parts of ...?
    Elon:
    The pack swap hardware - the cost of establishing a pack swap location is about half a million dollars. As I mentioned in the presentation, we'll start off with the really fast high-traffic coridors. Because the assumption here is that if you want to pack swap, time is of the essence. We'll start off on the I5 corridor in California, and the Boston - DC route on the east coast. And they'll be co-located with the SuperChargers. You'll have the choice of either faster, at the same price you'll pay for gasoline, or free, and wait a bit longer.

    As to the size of the storage for packs, it's going to vary depending on the specific location. And we'll certainly grow the storage facility as the use of that location increases. The same way we do the SuperChargers - according to the usage of the SuperChargers, we size the location - and they grow over time.

    Q: [... cut off...]
    It's very thin, I don't know if you - it's very thin.

    Q: Yes, but you're going to have to store it somewhere.
    Elon:
    The actual change-out area is a pit. The machine and so forth is stored in a pit. So we dig down for that. And some of the pack storage is underground, and some of it is above ground. Initial storage, actually I don't know the exact number, but I think it's somewhere in the order of around 50 packs.

    Q: Are you going to be recharging packs while inside?
    Elon:
    Yes, which we already have with the SuperCharger locations.

    Q: [... cut off...]
    We expect to have the first pack swap stations active later this year - probably in the 4th quarter.

    Q: Tesla is fundamentally an auto maker. But these last couple of things you've done with SuperChargers and now with the packs. Isn't this possibly a distraction for you? Doesn't this take away from your prime mission of getting an automaker launched?
    Elon: No, I think it's important for us to address the concerns that people have. We need to address the reasons that people are not buying electric cars. In order to have mainstream adoption, people need to feel that they have the same level of freedom that they have with gasoline cars.

    And I think that's really at the heart of it. If you buy a gasoline car you have this feeling: you can drive anywhere you want, any time you want, and we want to give people that same sense of freedom with an electric car. So that they can feel that if they need to get somewhere in a hurry that they can do that. In fact they can get their faster with an electric car than they can with a gasoline car. It's just really important for us to address those objections, since they fundamentally affects people's willingness to buy electric cars.

    Q: In the video, how many gallons was that tank? Seems like that was larger than the 15 gallon reference that you're using.
    Elon:
    Yeah, in that case it was a 20 gallon tank. So we could have done (I think it was around 20 gallons, not sure the exact number but somewhere in that order). But for the pricing, we were going to do the pricing at 20 gallons, but I thought let's knock it down a bit and be conservative in that regard, and we knocked it down 25% and we'll set the pricing at 15.


    Q: ARB is looking into maybe removing the battery swap to qualify for the additional credits you get for fast fueling. How do you feel about that? There's no final decision yet, but that might mean that the Model S generates fewer ZEV credits.
    Elon: Yes, there are some incremental number of credits generated for pack swap. Essentially you get more credits for the longer the range is and if you're able to match the convenience level of gasoline. As to what the Air Resources Board will do - I don't really know. I would hope this demonstration would illustrate that we're able to do it, and we'll be rolling it out for customers to actually use later this year. I hope thus far people have noticed that there is a track record of if we say that we're going to do something, we actually do do it.

    But I should mention that, perhaps there is an implicit in there that, are we simply doing this for ARB credits? That is not the case. In fact, as we start producing more and more cars, and we sell for example so many cars to Europe, so many cars to Asia, the cars sold to the U.S. will only constitude about a third of our production. And of that third only about half actually get credits. So it's really only about one sixth of our production that gets the credits. And in order for us to actually get money for the credits, we actually have to sell them to other car companies.

    Q: When you return the battery pack, do you have to pay again for the swap? And next question - how is this technology better than Better Place's?
    Elon: Yes, by the time you get pack you get your own pack back fully charged, and you pay again for the pack swap.

    We talked about battery pack swap for a long time. It's not some new revelation. Nor do I regard battery pack swap as a particularly novel concept - since your average toy is capable of doing this. The notion of battery pack swap is not the problem. What is difficult is the actual technology of having a replacable battery pack. Something that can be done in automated fashion, quickly and safely, reliably, and economically. That's sort'a quite a difficult engineering challenge. And it's not clear to me that Better Place was really that... hmm... they were better at marketing than they were at engineering.

    Q: Do you have to reserve the battery pack in advance - will they have to notify the SuperCharging stations that they're going to come in for a swap, or is it pull-up and go?
    Elon: It's going to be pull-up and go. So we're going to overstock on the battery front.

    Q: Will this work on both the Model S and Model X and Gen III?
    Elon:
    The battery pack will indeed by common between the Model S and Model X.

    ... [ very muted part]...

    it's also possible by that time that maybe charging technology gets better and better. And we'll have to see several years down the road whether battery pack swap is still even relevant.

    Q: And as a follow up - just as an enthusiast - what is the benchmark of the forthcoming entry level model?
    Elon: From a cost standby. So we're aiming for half the cost of the Model S. So a starting price of $35'000 and that doesn't include any tax credits or anything. So the Model S right now before tax credits is $70'000, so it would be $35'000... by that point there won't be any tax credits available to us, so it's gotta be 35 on the button. And it's gotta have true range, including under difficult circumstances - bad weather and all that - of at least 200 miles.

    Q: [not included]
    Elon:
    For battery pack swap it's quite a difficult technical challenge. Unless somebody really understands the car, it's not that easy to do. Designing the machine to do the automated pack-swap was a non-trivial exercise. And I have a hard time thinking about who would solve that except Tesla, honestly.

    But, that said, once we have this working, I'd be very open to selling the battery pack swap system to people who want to operate it independently. The only constraint would be that they gotta make it as convenient as we do. It's gotta automatically bill credit card, and just be a real easy smooth operation, they'll have some commitments to quality and all that. But the first order of business is that we gotta make it work. And it's gotta really work and it's gotta be something that, if you're a customer you don't even need to think about it - you just go there and it's smooth, you're happy and you do your trip and you come back, and everything is just great. So we just gotta make sure that that's happening. That's going to take a bit of care and effort and then after we're done with that I'm very open to selling the system to people who want to operate such things around the country.
     
  9. Monto

    Monto Member

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    You are right, but the idea is the same. I have only taken 1 road trip a year, if that, for the past 10 years. If it is more that a 2 or 3 hour drive, I fly. I can easily make the 3 hour drive with my 60 and charge at the destination.
     
  10. joefee

    joefee $ave on Tesla http://ts.la/joe9926 3M+TMCpageviews

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    @highfalutintodd

    You make very valid points…but consider that Tesla is doing what most thought was impossible and have been doing that for many years now. They have chosen to release @ 96% instead of delaying for +4% details….I’m glad I got my Sig early with a punch list instead of 8 months later at 100%. As long as they make safety 100% (recall before injuries happen) than that is a trade off early adopters are willing to make. Your points become more valid as time goes by and Tesla goes mass market….. it will be much more important for "complete" communication.
     
  11. mulder1231

    mulder1231 Active Member

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    #91 mulder1231, Jun 21, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2013
    And they may only accept credit cards with a credit limit upwards of $20,000. :scared: Elon said if you don't return the pack we will bill you the difference.
     
  12. malcolm

    malcolm Active Member

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    The system must be able to identify your car (since it needs to return your battery to you). If it knows your car then it will know if it's a 60 or an 85. What is interesting is if the system would give you the option to upgrade.

    Is the 60 set by the car or the pack? in other words does the car see all packs as 60 irrespective of whether they are 85 or 60? Can tesla override this if you choose to upgrade? can this be done at a swap station or is it service centre only?
     
  13. scaesare

    scaesare Well-Known Member

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    Now that's interesting. It implies that mobile in-the-field pack swaps will be possible.

    That also has implications for rescue scenarios if you broder your car. Rather than a flatbed tow, you might be able to pay for a side of the road pack swap to get you home in an emergency.
     
  14. Tempus

    Tempus Member

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    One thing i havent seen discussed at all is what this might do to the supercharger rollout. It seems pretty obvious that apart from cost, theres more land/permits/etc required to build a swapping station in addition to a supercharger as opposed to just a suppercharger. So if they are planning on colocating them, does that make it tougher to find supercharger locations?

    Ive been to the delaware station a few times, and id think it would be extremely difficult to fit a swapping station in there as well, just from a physical standpoint, not to mention the permitting or other issues. And theres no way you could do a swap station at the normal IL location, in the middle of a parking garage structure.
     
  15. RDoc

    RDoc S85D

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    That might be the implication, but it also might mean the battery will be returned to a station of your choice. I hope you're correct though because that gets to my dream of pop-up swapping stations to cover seasonal travel demands like National Parks, skiing, beaches etc. where the demand for swapping/charging is only for a few months of the year so having a permanent Tesla station doesn't make sense.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Another consideration in their business planning for this may be getting a massive jump on other future EV manufacturers. If Tesla has a reasonably widespread buildout of charging stations, I think it'd be a very compelling negotiating point for why GM or whomever should license Tesla technology and/or buy Tesla components such as batteries.

    I'm also wondering if the same battery will be used in the Gen III cars as well, so they can use the swapping stations.
     
  16. K5ING

    K5ING MegaMiler

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    I'm curious to find out if the swapping hardware is able to adjust itself to different battery packs. The MX will probably use the same battery as the MS, but I don't think the GenIII will. Will the swap "table" be able to adjust for this? Also, does this "lock in" the present battery and chassis designs for future cars and improvements? How about future cars from MB and Toyota since Tesla is providing them with some of their EV tech? If this tech involves the battery, will they be able to use the same swapping station?
     
  17. mitch672

    mitch672 Active Member

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    K5ING, if you buy the farm, you get the cows :)

    In other words, if other manufacturers license Teslas technology, and use their pack form factor, no reason they couldn't also use the swap stations as well.
     
  18. Ampster

    Ampster Member

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    #98 Ampster, Jun 21, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2013
    Regarding the earlier post about the ability of Tesla partner car, I am a RAV4EV owner and haven't experienced that from a service standpoint.
    Also the RAV doesn't have a larger pack option nor a supercharger port. I also don't know if it is the same form factor as the S, but other than those details the rest of the drivetrain components are the same.
     
  19. Stoneymonster

    Stoneymonster Active Member

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    Can anyone with a mechanical background comment on the risks of removing and reinserting the bolts many times? How likely is it that the robot won't accidentally cross-thread, etc.? I'm sure these are solved problems, just curious.
     
  20. IceWendigo

    IceWendigo Member

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    I am happy that the car is designed to make it easy to swap the battery. If only for later on in the next decade when people will want to buy a used Tesla but might want a new battery, specially if the battery tech in 5 or 7 years allows batteries to be cheaper or better.

    (BTW, I hope supercharging will become a standard option on all Tesla's.)

    But this being said, given that most commutes (afaik) dont even require supercharging, and that the range of Model S is good, and that supercharging is going to be available for those times you go far without taking a plane instead and also need to stop for a bite to eat on your way anyway, I dont understand how the need for battery swapping is that big as to justify all this? And, maybe I am overly optimistic, but in 10 years, the range of cars, the charging speed, may be even greater, making a battery swapping infrastructure even less needed for the purpose of driving around (as opposed to service or replacement for new battery with more range/new tech/faster recharge capacity). Is it just me?
     

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