Elon Musk:"Copy us, or join us". This message just might prove to be very important for the global revolution of EV's in general

Elon Musk:"Copy us, or join us". This message just might prove to be very important for the global revolution of EV's in general

I was listening to the Conference Call of the Supercharger announcement, and when Elon Musk said:"Copy us, or join us", I immediately felt that this particular message just might prove to be very important for the global revolution of EV's in general.

But why? Because it just is the best charging technique that is available.

So, how will this be put in practise?
How will other car manufacturers react to this message?

I think that the Tesla Motors Supercharger technique will become the standard charging technique (worldwide) for most of the EV's produced by most of the car manufacturers. And the adoption of the Tesla Motors Supercharger technique by other car manufacturers will start a few years fromm now (before 2020).

That's my guess. And I would like to know other people's opinions on this subject. Feel free to post your thoughts in this thread. But please stick to the subject. Thanks and cheers.

Jolinar | 01. Juni 2013

yes, I also liked that comment and that some of Superchargers already have 500kWh stationary grid battery, that was quite surprising to me. I didn't expected it so soon.

jk2014 | 01. Juni 2013

I was surprised by the 500kwh battery too. It just reaffirmed the belief that battery storage is going to be big and tesla is already doing its beta testing in a big way through the supercharger network. He mentioned in a few of his interviews that he sees solar being the largest source of power by 2028 (or so). I think he even made bet with a sceptic friend to further express his confidence it will happen. To me, I think the battery storage is the secret ingredient to this bold prediction. The first step is to create the market. Solarcity is the number one solar engery provider in the us. Currently 47k energy contacts and growing at an astonishing rate. Now imagine Tesla introduces a battery pack with solarcity to offer complete off grid power solutions that are cheaper and more reliable to these already loyal 20 year contracts? I think elon can have all the confidence in the world. Build the inventory has big as you can to meet this future demand. Right now while costs are high, repurpose used automotive battery packs as three year trades ins start coming in. Develop a swap viable swap system to increase volume, thus reducing supplier costs, as well as deepening supply chain relationships.

All efforts in this area will not only help meet future solarcity demand for batteries, but will also accelerate affordability of tesla vehicles to achieve mass market consumers.

johngratcliff | 01. Juni 2013


Picking up on a point of yours, for a while I have thought quick battery swap makes the most economic sense at battery replacement time, not for long distance travel. Upgrade to new, possibly improved battery in less than an hour, possibly robotic. Yum.

Timo | 01. Juni 2013

Battery at chargers doesn't have to be cutting edge techs because there is no mass or size restrictions. They can use whatever tech is cheapest to do that, so to me that is no surprise, more like opposite; I would be surprised if there were not any batteries in chargers.

jk2014 | 01. Juni 2013

I think what tesla can refine with these storage sites is conversion with minimal "leakage" or energy loss, which I think is holding back mass market potential right now.

mammal | 01. Juni 2013

I think you're right that they'll set the standard that others will join on to, especially since Toyota and Daimler already have alliances with Tesla. There may be an alternative though in the Phinergy solution of a metal-air range extender:

At 1000 miles this largely bypasses the need for a charging network like Teslas, depending on the specifics of price point, ease of use, etc. Renault is claimed to be the company Phinergy has partnered with, with a car ready in 2017, so think a Leaf without the range anxiety.

As others have hypothesized, I actually think this may also be Teslas upcoming announcement in a few weeks - that they've developed their own swappable meal-air range extender to go in the frunk. If that's the case, they would likely present it as not simply undercutting their own charging network but instead complimenting it - those on the major routes and a bit more time on their hands can get free juice, those in more remote areas and/or in a hurry will pay for this battery that they can pick up at Tesla dealerships and service centers.

Aside from this range-extender workaround that Renault and others may produce, I don't see another credible charging infrastructure challenger, not in the US anyway. I've heard the japanese manufacturers are discussing developing standards and a network.

jk2014 | 01. Juni 2013

Don't think metal air is in the cards. The proposed frunkful slot positioning would degrade safety, change the weight distribution, as well as take away the storage capacity, not to mention complicate the entire MS system (maintenance, service included in that). MS was signed around the current battery config. Not frunk metal air range assists.

Brian H | 01. Juni 2013

That rectangular slot in the frunk is awfully suggestive. And 150 lbs just back of the front axle is not a significant weight or balance change. It may even be helpful.

Safety is a matter of frame design. TM may have preplanned this.

jk2014 | 01. Juni 2013

Brian, good point about the slot. Was thinking it might obstruct the crumple zone, but if it fits in that spot, don't think it's an issue now.

rscheirer | 01. Juni 2013

"Copy us or join us"--Elon or for everyone else "Lead follow or get out of the way!"

jk2014 | 01. Juni 2013

More like he's saying "resistance is futile."

jackhub | 01. Juni 2013

Elon also said on the call that other EVs were not capable of using the superchargers. They don't have what it takes within the car to receive the charge. Each manufacturer would need to install (at a cost) the equivalent of the Model S's internal supercharging 'receiver.' Of course that could happen, but . . .

Brian H | 01. Juni 2013

It has to be designed in; all the wiring has to be heavy duty enough to start with. Imagine tearing a car down to install that!

Vawlkus | 03. Juni 2013

I always thought that spot at the back of the frunk was the expansion slot for the front motor and PEM for the AWD system.

SamO | 03. Juni 2013


That was the chatter since the first deliveries. However, some of the patents issued to Tesla seem to indicate that there will be a Metal-air battery that produces Oxygen that will need to be "vented" outside due to the reaction.

A swap to a battery in current position would not require venting.

Only a battery that went inside the frunk would require oxygen levels to be monitored and reactions slowed due to accumulation. | 03. Juni 2013


Thanks for your last post.

Can you speculate on:

--- Probability Of Swappable Battery Model S
--- Probability Of Frunk Batter

jk2014 | 03. Juni 2013

Brian H, SamoSam -- Interesting stuff you bring up about frunk slot. Never would've thought. It's starting to make sense as a possible MS2.0 feature. MS1.0 upgrade option. Might give above 300 actual mi/charge (maybe even 500 mi/charge) that cracks this short term range issue.

Only problem is increased complexity. How much would this complicate the entire MS system? Will there be a greater potential for recalls or continuous warrantee repair that otherwise would not be there because of more things going on under the hood? Might be a high bar on this implementation, since could impact overall progress of EV adoption to go this route as opposed to keeping focus on improving single battery pack capacity.

SamO | 03. Juni 2013

Points in favor of swappable frunk battery:
1. Tesla's patents
2. Elon's coyness re: swap
3. Big announcement on the 20th of June
4. Nice space where a 10kg aluminum block might fit in the frunk

Points against swappable frunk battery:
1. This is an incredibly HUGE victory for EVs
2. The space inside the frunk doesn't "appear" to have any connectors that enable a swap
3. Looking at the pictures of the dual motor Model X "skateboard" body the front motor that enables all wheel drive takes up the empty cubby in the frunk
4. Looking at the picture of the frunk, the empty space is filled and the front motor projects into the frunk a bit

All that being said, the front motor in the Model X is oriented in a vertical shaft structure compared to the rear motor which has a wide, but low profile. That design could easily be tweaked to fit both the front motor and the frunk Aluminum air cartridge.

As for SWAP, I think this is already designed into the car, but hasn't been enabled because there is NO GOOD BUSINESS case where you have the above frunk cartridge battery.

My guess has been that all this will be an option when your car is built, moving forward, and you'll be able to spend $50-$100 to buy a recyclable Al-Air cartridge battery for 150-250 miles of quick charge. From the measurements I've made, you'll be able to fit in the rear wheel well in the event you are going on a long road trip far from Supercharging.

SamO | 03. Juni 2013

Oh yea . . . and you always save the best for last.

The Supercharging announcement was phenomenal, but a quick swap single use battery cartridge that let's you NEVER worry about finding charging?


SamO | 03. Juni 2013


Read the patents and you'll see that the "frunk battery" has several features:

1. It connects directly to the car's onboard chargers and then recharges the Li-Ion batteries.

2. It uses an oxygen sensor to regulate the speed of discharge.

What this means is that the Tesla will use the "frunk battery" just like it would use a wall plug, HPWC any other source of electricity.

All that needs to be done to retrofit Model S currently on the road is to provide wiring from the "frunk battery" to the onboard charger. If this is the plan, then I'm sure providing an extra slot to the charger isn't too difficult.

jk2014 | 03. Juni 2013

Samosam -- sounds very compelling. If it is to come out next year, I hope/assume Tesla has tested the frunk battery in extreme cold/hot conditions, safety redundancies, etc...

Does make sense since Elon has alluded to being a big fan of optionality as well as updates.

Maybe this will be a later announcement, but for sure excited about the impact this will have on consumer confidence when/if it happens.

I'm feeling 20jun announcement will be about "updates." And the updates I'm thinking of will be software related. He hasn't been able to make a big splash in the news about showing how the car improves the longer you own it yet. This announcement will be his chance.

Brian H | 03. Juni 2013

I'm afraid the "no connections" observation is nearly fatal.

SamO | 03. Juni 2013

@Brian H

I agree that it is "nearly" fatal. But if there is a port, but nothing connected. Or if there is port, but it is covered. or . . .

I had an idea that the swap cartridge could have a plug on the outside, and you could run your charger cable from the cartridge to the car's charging port.

So there is ONE connection for sure that would work. Maybe the battery won't go in the frunk, but in the wheel well by the trunk and it will only be used for stationary charging?

At this point, it's just informed speculation.

jk2014 | 03. Juni 2013

Might be interesting to see if any newly ordered frunk liners (from suppliers) have any modifications in the slot area...

SamO | 03. Juni 2013


You wouldn't need that. In fact to add the battery would be a process of subtraction from the existing liner. Remove the panel lining the trunk between the driver and frunk. Install connector cable to car's charger.

Make a hole in panel liner and reinstall in frunk.

Insert connector cable into frunk battery and install locking cover.

Update v 4.6 allows for the trigger of a "frunk battery" when you want to recharge the Li-ion battery from the touch-screen.

Total time to install: 1-2 hours.
Hardware needed: 1 charging cable, frunk battery and locking cover.

Benz | 04. Juni 2013

OK guys, let's leave this "frunk battery" for a while, as it isn't there (yet). Note, that I am not saying that it will never become true. But this thread this thread has actually been started for something else. Please keep that in mind. Thanks

This thread had been started about another -much more strategic- topic: "the global revolution of EV's in general".

And Tesla Motors has been founded to accelerate (the pace towards) the world's transition to electric mobility.

Can this goal be achieved by just one car manufacturer (Tesla Motors)? Theoretically yes, but that would be at a much slower pace. Therefore, if a (large) number of car manufacturers would follow Tesla Motors, then the goal could be achieved at a much faster pace, for sure.

At the moment the Tesla Model S is the only EV that can be charged at the Supercharger network. All the other current/existing EV's cannot be charged at the Supercharger network.

If we would just consider Elon Musk's statement ("Copy us, or join us") as a strategic step towards the world's transition to electric mobility, then we might be able to think about how the future of EV's is going to look like.

I have a few questions:
1. How are other manufacturers going to react to the inevitable success of Tesla Motors?
2. What options will they have?
3. Which option whill they choose?

The answers to these three questions will give us a glimpse into the future of EV's, I think. | 04. Juni 2013

Established auto brands are:
-- cash cows
-- HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS of dollars committed and spent on existing / outdated ICE tech

Established auto brands:
-- will not be able to keep up with fresh ideas AND capital

Over the next 20 years, Tesla can:
-- change the world and rule it to the point of monopoly threat, or
-- sell it's tech, infrastructure, to establish brands, or
-- screw up the best chance at making a real change

Essentially, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Tesla has positioned itself as the gold standard --- Elon's choice what to do next.

Benz | 04. Juni 2013

I think that we should always keep in mind that Elon Musk is showing us (consumers) the right path. And a great many (business) people on this planet do not want Elon Musk to show us the right path, in fact they are boiling inside from anger because this path just happens to be bad for the future prospects of their (personal) businesses.

A number of these business people will stubborn. They will neglect Tesla Motors and EV's in general, and they will not react to the success of Tesla Motors. Their businesses are going to end, eventually.

Some car manufacturers are going to react to the sucess of Tesla Motors. They will understand that they were wrong (in the past) not to have believed in the future of EV's. These car manufacturers are going to survive and evolve themselves into EV manufacturers. But the main question remains: will they choose to copy Tesla Motors, or will they choose to join Tesla Motors?

I think that both situations are going to occur (maybe not at the same time). Some will choose to copy Tesla Motors, and some will choose to join Tesla Motors.

Any thoughts on that? | 04. Juni 2013

Benz: "a great many (business) people on this planet do not want Elon Musk to show us the right path, in fact they are boiling inside from anger because this path just happens to be bad for the future prospects of their (personal) businesses."


Could not agree more.

Benz | 04. Juni 2013

Could it be that Elon Musk has explicitly challenged other car manufacturers by saying: "Copy us, or join us"?

Because he knows that they cannot copy the technology of Tesla Motors. So, that these other car manufacturers actually only have one option, which is to join Tesla Motors. | 04. Juni 2013

Benz --- "...join Tesla Motors"

Can you be specific? How?

Benz | 04. Juni 2013

Only Elon Musk knows what he meant exactly, but I could give you my own thoughts.

I think that if a car manufacturer in the future might decide that the best option for them is to join Tesla Motors, so that their future EV's could be equiped with all the Tesla technology (battery pack, drivetrain, wiring, charger, inverter, etc.) and that they therefore can also make use of the Tesla Supercharger Network.

But this would come at a price. And that is good for Tesla Motors.

Brian H | 04. Juni 2013

The "copy" option is, btw, what patents are intended to facilitate. They must contain enough information for those generally "skilled in the art" to replicate the invention. They must license the right to do so for a decade or two, but the fundamental intention is to avoid having information lost through trade secrets, etc. Perhaps if Nikola Tesla had filed a few more patents ...

mammal | 04. Juni 2013


As to whether companies join or compete with their charging infrastructure, Toyota and Daimler have already as much as promised their support. Since they would want to promote their own brand they could possibly construct their own chargers that would be compatible with Tesla's and the three operate as a consortium, much like bank ATM networks or frequent-flier miles, but it would be based upon Tesla's standards (not to mention their whole powertrain may be Tesla's as is happening now). Others would likely join. It could be possible that a competing consortium develops - say BMW, Nissan, Honda, with the "big three" and others tagging along, but it would likely be no better and quite possibly a rather inferior charging standard.

Btw, I may have been the responsible party for veering the conversation off into frunk battery territory way up the thread, but the point I was trying to make is that while Tesla has built a huge lead in planning a complete ecosystem between long-range batteries and fast-charging stations, there are inevitably future unknowns largely revolving around the next generation of batteries that could disrupt the system, and in turn the large lead that Tesla quite clearly has. I used the hypothesis of a range extender by another manufacturer to think how a future technology might leapfrog the need for even Tesla's (relatively) widely-spaced network.

Another example would be charging speed. I'm not knowledgeable enough about the technical issues but I suspect Tesla feels confident they've pushed the charging speed to the limit at 20 minutes with Li-on batteries, which is probably the basis for Musk's comment regarding join or copy. If, however with a new generation of battery chemistry say in 5 or 10 years you could feasibly recharge 5 minutes, this may change the technical requirements - certainly of the car, but perhaps also of the charger as well. With all the investment Tesla is making in their supercharger network, hopefully it would be possible in such a scenario to easily adapt or upgrade the chargers to allow for such an increase. If on the other hand such an upgrade required a large capital investment it could leave the door open for a consortium of other automakers to develop an alternative network and catch up.

Anyway, it's interesting to game out the system and imagine possible future scenarios. Whatever the future it's clear that, even if it has a long tail the days of ICE vehicles are now numbered, and that's due largely to Tesla showing the way, not through making better electric cars, but simply better cars.

Vawlkus | 05. Juni 2013

Way I read Elon's words is like this: "get on our levels beetches" }B)