Model S battery swapping at public facilities in the near future

Model S battery swapping at public facilities in the near future

Tesla Motors' own 10-Q filed with the SEC on Friday May 10, 2013 mentions this battery swapping feature coming soon.

Trying to figure out how it would work. Fully doable with just robotics? Or would these facilities need to be staffed? And if I have spent $90,000 on a Model S, a huge portion of whose price is the 85kwh battery, don't I own the battery? If it is swapped, does it get put in someone else's car? What if they treat it poorly? Do I get it back only if I drive back to the original facility?

mrspaghetti | 11 May, 2013

It strikes me as strange that Elon would use the term "recharged" in his tweet if he was alluding to swapping rather than recharging.

Thumper | 11 May, 2013

I'll be very surprised if Tesla ever offers battery swapping. The patent probably was a hedge against part of the California EV law. Remember that a Tesla not only needs electrical and mechanical manipulation but cooling system connections which are messy and probably need bleeding to work right.

Brian H | 11 May, 2013

The capex for inventoried robot swapstations "throughout the country" would be astronomical.

bb0tin | 11 May, 2013

I posted on another forum the possibility of an add-on battery pack rather than a swap. This would be easier and quicker than a swap if Tesla was designed for the possiblity. The add-on pack would essentially be the same as the existing pack and would fit together like a sandwich.

lph | 11 May, 2013

Could the service centers act as battery swap centers? This would reduce the cost since there are plans to have these within 100 miles of 90% of the people (Can't remember the exact numbers)?

Robert22 | 11 May, 2013

It's not clean, it's not elegant, it's not practical and it's not Tesla. I'll be shocked if this announcement requires the car to be put on a lift or jack.

Brian H | 12 May, 2013

at significant weight and structural cost. Not happening.

Mark Z | 12 May, 2013

Installing the SuperChargers is the practical solution. They can be built anywhere electricity exists and function 24/7 without any assistance. I have no interest in battery swapping.

Having 120 Kw at the SuperCharger stations to function at a 400 mph flow 100% of the time would be great for Model S. That would allow a 150 mile charge to occur just under 23 minutes.

Koz | 12 May, 2013

I am getting a 40/60, swapping is of interest if they have a foolproof inventory system to ensure my pack gets returned to me. I would prefer a battery trailer rental for those rare long trips. Otherwise, we'll drive our Volt for that last 5-10% of our annual driving needs.

Vawlkus | 13 May, 2013

Model S already HAS the battery swap capability: it was one of the design precepts. It's just NOT economically feasable to make use of it.

herkimer | 13 May, 2013

The battery swap would not entail the 85 or 60 kwh main battery, but a lighter, replaceable metal air cartridge which will ad significant range and be quickly replaceable without lifts and/or special equipment. This does not effect the need or use of superchargers, which charge the main Li-on battery pack.
Patent applications clearly show Tesla has been working on this kind of hybrid battery arrangement, and depending on the final form of the extra battery, swapping seems feasible since metal air will be much lighter and carry significant charge, but just is not rechargeable by the consumer. You will get to keep your own 60 or 85 kwh main battery, and use cartridges for long trips. From what I can tell these metal air batteries will hold a lot of charge and release it steadily on demand to the Li-on main battery pack. Elon's comments suggest at least 500 miles of range, but some of the papers available on metal air tech suggest it could even go much farther than that. Only problem is that recharging is not really possible for end users, so swapping makes sense, especially if the "hybrid" battery is light weight and can be exchange without special equipment. It is also not unreasonable to assume that the connections for such a battery may already be in place in the Model S, and will be software enabled.
And yes, I also believe it will go into that hole at the back of the "frunk," which puts it "right under your nose."

mdemetri | 13 May, 2013

imherkimer +1

I had the same theory, but for a swapable supercapicitor for the hole in the frunk (which I described in another thread). However, I like your idea of a swapable air-metal battery even better, especially if it is lighter than a graphene supercapicitor. Air-metal makes more sense given the patents Tesla has.

james babb | 13 May, 2013

imherkimer +1

I think you may be on to something, based on the patents that Tesla has filed. This would make the occasional long road trip, even away from superchargers, very feasible. The main hurdle would be the cost of these 'range extending' batteries.