There is a way for the Tesla Model S to be recharged throughout the country faster than you could fill a gas tank.

There is a way for the Tesla Model S to be recharged throughout the country faster than you could fill a gas tank.

Elon just tweeted that, so he is saying the current model S can be recharged in to near full under 3min ?

jbunn | May 9, 2013

I didn't believe that until I read it myself. Fascinating.

KOL2000 | May 9, 2013

Battery swap OR perhaps they can up the amount of juice that the superchargers pump into the batteries?

Anyone electrically informed know if this is even possible?

scoops | May 9, 2013

Filling a tank probably takes around 10-12 mins when you factor every little thing in.

Or is he talking about Solar? That you could capture enough energy to recharge a Model S in only a few minutes. Maybe he doesn't actually mean putting that energy INTO a Model S, just capturing that amount of kWhs in a very short space of time.

Who know what Elon is thinking? That's why he's been so successful. Maybe he has found a way to super charge a Model S battery very quickly?

I'm certainly looking forward to the answer.

jeroens | May 9, 2013

Hmmm. Battery swap. Full-cell cartridge that charges model s on the go, inductive charging through cables in the road...

Captain_Zap | May 9, 2013

The problem with the battery swap concept is that I would prefer to hang on to my own battery because I know that I've been taking good care of it.

JohnFloyd | May 9, 2013

Battery Swap also requires staffing, inventory, and other logistics that make it much heavier weight (pun intended) than the Supercharging

cerjor | May 9, 2013

Captain_Zap: Re battery swapping. Maybe it should be thought of buying a car and having Tesla lend you the battery. When you need a new charge, you return the loan and borrow another. The second one will have been completely checked out and refurbished if necessary. You have never owned the battery but any you swap for will be "like new." All the power tools in my shop were bought as refurbished and I've bought a lot of homes that have been used by someone else. Not exact analogies but close.

lolachampcar | May 9, 2013

Increased SC current would be problematic. There is only so much copper in the wires between the plug and the battery (and there is only so much current the plug can handle).

DJay | May 9, 2013

Think of the possible business model with 100,000+ S's on the road. You can buy the car without the battery resulting in a much lower initial cost. You then rent the battery, either prepaid or month to month. If you decide to go on a trip, you would reserve a battery swap at the appropriate sites, possibly with a designated time window. Maybe they can even monitor your location thru GPS and the 3g network to adjust your ETA. Once you arrive, they do the 5 minute swap, and you are on your way with a fully charged battery.

The truth is, the Supercharge network works for me. I've never felt better after driving to So Cal from Nor Cal by driving 2+ hours and then taking a 30 break. I usually drive 4 hours and then take the break. This might add 1 hour to the trip, but the end result of feeling good when I arrive makes it well worth it.

Andre-nl | May 9, 2013

The cells in the battery weren't made for 20C charging (to enable a 3 min recharge). That's where the true bottleneck is.

jeroens | May 9, 2013

Elon hinted in follow-up tips it is all about the superchargers , as a real time to fill a gas tank (and pay for it) is likely to be more like 10+ minutes not 3 - how likely is it to triple the charge speed….?

kback | May 9, 2013

DJay - that's just the model a Better Place used in Israel and Northern California, but they've had trouble making it work financially. Huge infrastructure requirement in a large country like ours.

Supercharger network makes more sense here. Very curious about Elon's post - guess we'll all have to wait. The best car ever keeps getting better!

edcalis | May 9, 2013

It must be an enhaced SuperCharger what he meant in his tweet.
For a battery swap to successfully work in three minutes, the car needs to be redesigned. Don't you think?

Jolanda | May 9, 2013

Tesla has filed a patent regarding Metal - Air batery. When you ad one of those to the current one, you can fill up in 3 minutes with water and you can drive aonother 200 miles.

So that could be a way to solve that last problem and get that last point....

archibaldcrane | May 10, 2013

Metal-Air batteries could be the future...but they are far, far away from being commercially viable.

pebell | May 10, 2013

@Jolanda, @archibaldcrane: metal-air batteries are typically not rechargeable. They can take away range anxiety by increasing maximum range - but they'ld have to be "swapped" when empty. Adding water isn't the same as "charging" them - it just provides the (single-charge) battery with the "chemicals" it needs to release its energy.

If metal-air batteries ever make their way into EVs, it will be in combination with a Lithium-based rechargeable battery, that will be used for the bulk of the miles.

Brian H | May 10, 2013

Metal-air batteries "burn" the metal to produce energy. They are not really batteries at all. More like ovens.

larryh | May 10, 2013


No, Metal-air batteries are really batteries.–air_battery

The only heat generated is that due to series resistance, same as any other battery.

archibaldcrane | May 10, 2013

They're batteries, but they aren't conventionally rechargable.

"Aluminium–air batteries are primary cells; i.e., non-rechargeable. Once the aluminium anode is consumed by its reaction with atmospheric oxygen at a cathode immersed in a water-based electrolyte to form hydrated aluminium oxide, the battery will no longer produce electricity. However, it is possible to mechanically recharge the battery with new aluminium anodes made from recycling the hydrated aluminium oxide. Such recycling will be essential if aluminium–air batteries are to be widely adopted."

Vawlkus | May 10, 2013

Batteries loose out to Mr Fusion, so that's what I'm betting on :D

riceuguy | May 10, 2013

Hopefully you've seen the flux capacitor skin at

riceuguy | May 10, 2013

On a serious note, the second tweet implied that this had to do with the 5th announcement (under our noses). Ugh, so confused!

Brian H | May 10, 2013

Aluminum + oxygen => aluminum oxide + energy. That's a controlled "burning", IMO. It can be reversed by heating the oxide and re-using the aluminum powder, but that's an industrial process. Utterly impractical for a car. I doubt it will ever be used for that. In fact, I can't think of a single worthwhile application.

larryh | May 10, 2013

Wrong again, Brian.

Aluminum is made by electrolysis.

Sudre_ | May 10, 2013

Maybe we should use this battery so gas stations can stay in business. States like Texas and NC can pass laws to require the use of these batteries and the requirement that they be purchased at gas stations along with you paying an attendant to pump the water because drivers are too stupid to pump water on their own.

Brian H | May 10, 2013

Well, electrolysis is a fancy way of using electric current to break the chemical bonds, at high temperature, same diff. The energy required is (with losses) somewhat in excess of the recoverable power.

The point is, it's not something that can be done in the "battery", so it doesn't function as a rechargeable.