Is there no way to make it such that car batteries can be swapped at charging stations?

People use fueled cars because they last longer on the roads, they can go farther and much quicker especially when you consider refueling instead of charging. Is there no way to make it such that batteries can be swapped at charging stations? For example, people can just drive in and change out batteries and be on their way, I think this will help take electric cars mainstream, make it as like fueled cars as possible? So that people don't have to sit and wait to charge the car.


  • edited December 2018
    Wow. What a great, novel idea! You should contact Elon. It's never been thought of before.
  • edited November -1
    Ummmm, Tesla already did this and next to no one took advantage of it. Just a few things you are not considering. Not all EVs, hell, not all Tesla’s have the same battery. So where at this station are you going to store all of the various batteries? Realize these battery packs are about 5 feet wide and 8-9 feet long. While the S and X share the same physical sized batteries, the Model 3 has it’s own, smaller battery.

    Also, the vast majority of “refueling” for an EV is done at home. When on a road trip, you are at some point need to eat or use the bathroom, so while you are doing that, you can be charging your car. If you are driving a gasoline car, when you pull over to eat and fuel up your car, that is a two step process. You park your car, walk into the rest area, get something to eat, walk back out to your car, start it to then head over to the gas pumps and most likely have to wait in line. Fuel up and then leave to continue your drive. Meanwhile a Tesla would already be 10 miles down the road. We often drive from CT and NC and in our Tesla, it only takes 15 mins longer in our Tesla than it would in a gasoline car. In other words, there is not time difference but there is one hell of a cost difference.

    Lastly, obviously you have never talked to a Tesla owner because none of us are concerned about charging on road trips.
  • bpbp
    edited December 2018
    There are a number of obstacles for battery swapping, even if the vehicles and battery packs are designed for quick exchanges.

    The biggest obstacle is that battery packs are part of the vehicle. When Tesla tried to support battery pack swaps, they had to track which packs belonged to each vehicle - and then work out how to get each battery pack back to the correct car. The cost of shipping battery packs would make the strategy too expensive.

    An interesting change would be for Tesla to retain ownership of the battery packs, and what you would buy when purchasing a Tesla was the right to use a battery pack with a specific capacity. Then when you swapped battery packs, you would get a pack at the same capacity as the original - and it would be easier to buy an upgrade by doing a swap for a larger capacity pack.

    But for this to work, there would need to be standardization of the battery packs. S/X and 3 use different pack designs, and it's possible Tesla has made design changes so that the 100 battery packs might not work on the earlier 40/60/85 Model S vehicles.

    Due to the hardware complexity and investment in supporting battery pack swaps, and unless a change was made in how battery packs are owned, it seems unlikely we'll see battery pack swaps return.

    The industry appears to be focusing more on reducing the charging times - getting closer to the amount of time spent for a typical ICE refueling stop. If most supercharging stops can get down to around 15 minutes or less, the charging time should no longer be an issue - and eliminate the need for battery swaps as a faster refueling alternative.
  • edited November -1
    Charging on road trips is a serious issue. There are many places without Superchargers, Superchargers get busy during holidays and stopping for up to 1 to 2 hours for a full charge can be annoying. It's easy to understand why this approach was considered for the convenience reasons the OP mentioned. In fact during the demo Tesla compared it to a gas car. However Tesla had some issue productizing battery swap. The original swap used a car without the battery shield that was later added to reduce the risk of fire. That addition complicated automation and cost. While possible this would require extensive upgrading of infrastructure including having batteries on hand in numbers necessary to support hundreds of thousands to millions of swaps. At $100-$200 per kWh, a huge 200kg of CO2 per kWh and potential liability/warranty issues about who owns the pack, this technique isn't very practical.

    Battery swapping was one of Tesla's brute force methods to address EV charging drawbacks. The other was to add many more charging stalls. In the future batteries will be able to charge at much faster rates so it is not likely that Tesla will do any further investment in battery swap.
  • edited December 2018
    “Is there no way to make it such that car batteries can be swapped at charging stations?“
    Yes. Tesla is years ahead of you, already had one, problem was no one used it.
    You can probably YouTube it to see it in action.
  • edited December 2018

    Tesla Model S - Battery Swap HD Official
  • edited December 2018
    Battery swap reminds me of the starship wait problem. You build a ship to go to a distant star and travel time is 1000 years. 500 years into the trip a new technology is developed that reduces travel time by half or more. It wouldn't make sense to keep funding the older technology. That's what happened to battery swap.
  • edited December 2018
    @darth, “Charging on road trips is a serious issue.”

    Complete and utter BS.

    “There are many places without Superchargers”

    So what? I don’t have a gas pump in my garage, but I do have electricity.

    “Superchargers get busy during holidays and stopping for up to 1 to 2 hours for a full charge can be annoying.”

    BS again. I’ve Supercharged in 47 of the 48 contiguous US States at over 380 SC sites. I’ve waited a grand total of 45 minutes for a stall. All waits were in CA.

    Battery swap was tried and not deemed worthwhile.

    Your troll employers need to ask for a refund. You really have no experience road tripping in a Tesla, and you really suck at trolling.
  • edited December 2018

    Flag the worm. His paycheck will be in jeopardy, he will seek greener pastures elsewhere.
  • edited December 2018
    "Is there no way to make it such that batteries can be swapped at charging stations?"

    Of course there's a way, but not a practical way. In addition to the issues other posters have pointed out, the size of a charging station site would have to be considerably larger than is required for a few dozen charging stalls. A building of sufficient size to store battery packs, battery pack handling equipment, and car lifts would be required. Along with the different zoning requirements that would be involved it would be much more difficult to site charging stations.
  • edited December 2018
    @NKYTA it's not utter BS. Try to drive to Anchorage from Los Angeles on superchargers. It's also a well know fact that there are waits at superchargers still. Deal in reality and still turning threads into your personal pissing match. Expanding and improving superchargers is a major Tesla initiative.
  • edited December 2018
    @Yodrak +1

    Once able to charge a car in single digit minutes, battery swap would be unnecessary for consumer markets. I think we are within 10 years of this.
  • edited December 2018
    “Try to drive to Anchorage from Los Angeles on superchargers.”

    That is a “serious issue”? To whom?

    “It's also a well know fact that there are waits at superchargers still.”

    Yes. And then I gave you a real world example about how that is hyperbole.

    You need to give your employer their money back. You really suck at this.
  • edited December 2018
    Since I get better mileage on my battery charge than I do on my bladder, my only concern is if there's a bathroom handy when I charge. That said, if it's remote enough, there's a bathroom next to the nearest tree. Battery swap sounded like a good idea when I was considering buying my first Tesla. Almost four years later, it is a non issue for me.
  • edited December 2018
    Unless battery packs were standardized to a very few configurations, the inventory management problem quickly becomes intractable. I can think of 5 unique packs in the Model S alone. If quick battery change is the top priority, pack configuration could be standardized at the expense of several other battery pack parameters.
  • edited December 2018
    DonS plus changing cell technology.
  • edited December 2018
    Too bad you can’t just swap out your bladder as needed.
  • edited December 2018
    I've been using Superchargers during the holidays in California for 5+ years now. Only had one long wait 5 years ago at Harris ranch when it only had one stall, and someone got to it 30 second before me. I'd say 98% of the time I've had zero wait, and a few times 5-10 minutes. Really not an issue. At the same holiday times, I often see long lines at the gas stations as the poor saps wait to fill up and breath those lovely carcinogenic fueling fumes. So much for 5 minute ICE refueling.

    Never driven from LA to Alaska, and have zero plans to do so in my lifetime in any vehicle. Looking it up, found someone who went from Mexico to Alaska in a Model S. So it can be done:
  • edited January 2019
    “Too bad you can’t just swap out your bladder as needed.“
    Problem solved, Just ask any long range military fighter pilot, it’s called a “Piddle Pak”.
    I asked our friend (Pilot on C5 transport), how those fighter pilots who are in one seaters for hours upon hours go pee.
  • edited January 2019
    We used Gatorade bottles and wag bags...

    The fact is supercharging still has a long way to go but it is better and will be a better investment than a battery swap.
  • edited January 2019
    Getting some good ideas for the cannonball run I’m planning with my son. Waiting for warmer weather to go for a coast to coast EV record. My bladder syncs with the SCs, his does not... but he can do the night driving that I can’t.
  • edited January 2019
    Darthamerica, so you pick one obscure road trip (LA to Alaska) that next to no one would make and cite that as a prime example of why the Tesla SC network is lacking. Over 3 years ago Tesla drove from CA to NYC in 72 hours, using the existing chargers. The number and density of superchargers has since doubled.
  • edited January 2019
    I had one charge that took only four minutes because that was all I needed to get home. I didn't need to wait for a longer charge because I didn't need to fill up the battery before getting home since I could charge there. Other sessions corresponded to snack or meal breaks and the car tend to be ready before we were done. I drove from Vegas to the SF Bay Area and didn't feel exhausted from all that driving thanks to AP and frequent breaks.
  • edited January 2019
    I want to go to Tierra Del Fuego and I can only make it to Tijuana. SC network sucks!
  • edited January 2019
    Yeah? Well, I heard two guys walked across Antarctica because there were no gas stations.
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