One thing I feel current battery swap policy wont work in the future.

One thing I feel current battery swap policy wont work in the future.

Right now TESLA require people return the battery at the same station and change back their own battery to avoid additional charge. so these batteries belonging to car owner can't be used for anyone else. where they could storage so many batteries?
lets say TESLA could make 200K car each year some day later, car life time is about 10 years, then there are about 2 million cars on the road. if 5% of these cars need battery swap in the same day, they need prepare total 10K batteries in all SC stations. if they had total 500 Super charge stations in the country, each station needs prepare 200 batteries. That's two billion USD just for battery inventory. if people return battery in 3 days by average, then that's 6 billion and each station need store 600 batteries. I can't image how they can store those batteries. Battery inventory will be huge cost.

EvaP | 11 July, 2013

By the time there will be 2 million cars on the roads, the batteries might be much smaller.
Remember the old floppy disks? You could fit a few documents on them.
On today's USB storage devices you can store up to 30+ full movies.
Let's hope that electric car batteries will improve in a similar manner.

Brian H | 12 July, 2013

Electons get restless and pushy when they're forced to bunk too close together.

Brian H | 12 July, 2013

Doh. Electrons.

Brian H | 12 July, 2013

Right; routine swapping only works with a huge 'anonymous' battery pool. I think Elon demonstrated that Tesla is capable of swapping, but has wisely decided to follow rather than lead demand in this case. The "business model" is very iffy.

jerryyang | 12 July, 2013

Brian, so what I would say is they need change their current policy and business model. They need sell car without battery. battery just for rent/lease only. people just need pay battery rental fee. this will fix the problem I indicated. car price will drop dramatically.

EvaP | 12 July, 2013

That is not a bad idea, but it could lead to customer complaints about the quality of the battery they have received. They could argue that their neighbor paid the same amount for a new battery and they got an old, depleted one.....

But the idea is good. I have thought of it myself.

carlgo | 12 July, 2013

I have been advocating that Tesla should own the batteries and charge to fill or swap them. Maybe charge a deposit or special insurance coverage in case you ruin it by running over a rock or driving into a river.

If Tesla could make a profit from the electricity, we would see endless numbers of charging/swapping facilities. The more of these, the more Teslas get sold, and so on.

Then all these stations and millions of batteries would be assets, not liabilities.

Musk could own Mars.

carlgo | 12 July, 2013

EvaP: It is a worry, but they could be tested as they are charged or swapped. Tesla would guarantee a certain level of performance and swap them out under warranty.

Swapping stations would make this easier as if a battery was going down too fast you could take care of it in 90 seconds. Giant Tesla electric semis would be plying the highways, crews yanking out bad batteries from the swappers and inserting nice new ones.

Some people might be willing to pay $20-40K extra up front for their very own battery to love and cherish, but it wouldn't be me!

GeekEV | 12 July, 2013

If you treat it like a tank of gas, what happens when you get bad gas? You pump it out and replace it with fresh gas. Same could go for the battery. Only in this case you don't risk engine damage from bad gas. Remedying the situation should be as easy as swapping again.

Brian H | 12 July, 2013

That was the plan of Better Place and Renault. Kaput. The logistics and capex are daunting. How to make a small fortune: "Start with a large fortune, ..."

carlgo | 13 July, 2013

Better Place depended on auto manufacturers to conform to their technology, which did not happen. They did not have enough customers, and there were no customers to get!

Tesla is in the unique position of being able to supply their own customers, more all the time as it becomes easier to charge up. Very synergetic.

Of course if it turns out that relatively cheap Superchargers can eventually charge up some secret new battery in a few minutes, then obviously that would be the way to go. If there is no super new battery coming any time soon, then swappers look more attractive.

In an article about Better Place, it was said that drivers in Israel (an Israeli installation) care less about environmental issues and only value convenience and speed. That might really prove to be true here, so having many fast and convenient ways to charge up is extremely important if electric cars are to be dominant.

Brian H | 13 July, 2013

The payoff curve for shortening charging times is probably reverse logarithmic -- declining payoff. Has it reached the point already with SCs that improvements are low-return? We'll see; Elon is making wider deployment of swapping dependent on market response.

carlgo | 13 July, 2013

You are right about diminishing returns when you are talking about today's buyers. They have garage chargers and the SC stations are fine for them when traveling. A ten minute charge would be welcomed, but isn't necessary.

But, tomorrow's buyers of lower cost cars in the BMW 3 Series range will need local charging options because they do not always have a place for home chargers. Because they commute, they need fast charging as well.

It would be a shame if they pass on buying the new models because charging is a pain for them.

jerryyang | 16 July, 2013

Tesla should give customer an option to buy car without battery.
car price will easily drop $20K, GIII car will cost less than $20k. people just need pay additional $250/per month to lease the battery. That price includes battery insurance cost and based on a 8-Year life time of the battery. I think it is not a bad deal for many people who need drive 50 mile every day, they usually need pay over $200 for the gas@ $4/G each month.

Panoz | 10 August, 2013

I see the battery swap NOT as a refueling competitor (for the reasons mentioned here) but as a way to extend the life of the car. Battery swaps as an alternative to charging is not a viable business model due to the cost of the battery. It would be far better to put more Superchargers in and offer greater-capacity batteries.

Skotty | 10 August, 2013

I think the battery swaps will always be a small thing used by a small number of drivers. It may also see some use at overcrowded stations (think: oh crud, a line; I guess I'll try out that battery swap thing today). But I think most people will be happy with fast charging.

There will surely be a limit to how many customer batteries can be stored at a station. How many can be stored will probably be adjusted/increased based on usage. Much the same as the number of supercharger bays is adjusted/increased based on usage. If the storage is tapped out at any particular station, well then you have to use the superchargers at that station.

Even without regular use for travel, it is nice that the car has fast swap capability. This makes it much easier to get a new battery should such a thing ever be necessary.

erici | 10 August, 2013

" Battery swaps as an alternative to charging is not a viable business model due to the cost of the battery. It would be far better to put more Superchargers in and offer greater-capacity batteries."

That's like saying a car rental business is not viable because of the cost of the fleet of cars.

The battery swap costs $$$. They will use debt to finance the batteries and the debt will be profitably serviced by the swapping.