Battery Swap Program

Battery Swap Program

After reading about the Supercharging wait times, figured I'd restart a thread asking Tesla to reconsider the Battery Swap program again!!

From what I understand, they sent out invitations to about 1% of Tesla owners in the L.A. and San Francisco areas to gauge interest. They wanted people to plan ahead and commit specifically to doing a swap at Harris Ranch. Based on just that 1%, they decided to scrap the program.

Being that many existing Superchargers are already getting overloaded, as Tesla continues to build more cars, the issue is only going to get worse. I think they're planning on at least 75,000 more vehicles next year between the Model S and X. What about when the Model 3 gets released and they plan on selling 500,000 of those per year!!

Tesla owners couldn't have been happy this weekend at Tejon Ranch with reported wait times of over an hour just to charge. Add that to the fact that the chargers were only charging at 90 +/- Miles per hour due to all of them being full and charge times took over 90 minutes. A far cry from the 30 minutes or less & 300+ MPH charge rates that are advertised.

Tesla markets the Supercharger network as being able to charge enough in 30 minutes or less to reach your destination or the next Supercharger. Owners reported being at Tejon Ranch for 3 hours.

I would think that, even if the 1% of Tesla owners they asked weren't interested in planning ahead, if Tesla actually had battery swap stations in place at the busiest Supercharging locations, they'd be very successful. Even if they only opened them on Fridays, Sundays & Holidays to keep their overhead down.

Even though few of the JUST ONE PERCENT of owners they asked were unwilling to commit ahead of time to a single time and location to swap their batteries, if the swap stations were already in place, I'm betting that many Tesla owners would take advantage of the service for the $40 to $50 "price of a tank of gas" as Musk stated, if it were sitting there and available to use.

Even if the Supercharger stalls were open, I still think most drivers would gladly pay the $40 to $50 for the convenience of not having to wait 30-60 minutes to charge their car. Especially after a long weekend and during a long drive home. I WOULD!!

Most Tesla owners accept the inconvenience of having to spend 30-60 minutes to "fill up" for the benefit of not having to pay for gas. But I think that will eventually wear off and become tiresome. Furthermore, there are many people out there who would love to buy a Tesla, but are NOT willing to be inconvenienced. The battery swap program would alleviate that concern and open up the brand to that many more potential owners.

Hopefully they'll reconsider. Possibly if they see that owners outside of the ONE PERCENT that they asked, are actually interested in it, they'll reconsider. Adding more Superchargers is likely not a good long term resolution. They take up a lot of real estate and require a lot of power. One Battery Swap station could do what 45 Supercharger stalls could do in an hour.

Haggy | December 1, 2015

The problem I have is that if I plan ahead, there's only so much I'm willing to commit to. If I get delayed on the way back and get to HR at 11 pm, then what? Do I drive to the Bay Area and then figure out what Tesla wants me to do about it, or do I book a hotel room? The reality is that if I eat at HR, by the time I am finished, I will be at 100%.

For the cost of putting in a swap station at Tejon Ranch, I think Tesla could add enough superchargers that there would never be a line. Putting in chargers in Burbank and Buttonwillow should address that problem. "Solving" the problem of supercharger wait time by telling people who expected free supercharging while they ate that they now need to pay for battery swap isn't an option. They need to address the supercharger wait problem anyway. I still need to eat, and I'm not going to pay for a battery swap only to park my fully charged car in the parking lot next door for an hour while I dine.

tes-s | December 1, 2015

Being that many existing Superchargers are already getting overloaded, as Tesla continues to build more cars, the issue is only going to get worse.

I disagree with the premise, but couldn't they just build more superchargers? If they add superchargers linearly with cars sold, wouldn't there be less likely to be a queue as numbers grow (queue theory)?

Supercharging still won't be as fast as swap. But when batteries are 120kW stops will be less frequent and charging will be faster.

As far as cost, I figure 25 8-stall supercharger stations and a battery swap station cost about the same - $10M.

Tropopause | December 1, 2015

Great idea but how do you get your battery back if you only utilized the swap station on the busy Sunday drive home?

2015P90DI | December 1, 2015

@tropoause - They had a program where you wouldn't have to swap the battery back. They would stock a range of batteries and install a battery that was comparable to the one in your car. - You mention just add more superchargers. As I noted, Superchargers require real estate. Real Estate is expensive. How many superchargers is it going to take to support 2,000,000 Teslas in 5 years? There are only about 125,000 of them on the road now and it's already becoming an issue. Too much space would be required to satisfy the demand as the number of cars continues to increase.

Probably equally as important though is the convenience. I've spoken with TONS of people who love the car, but say there's no way they would deal with having to stop and charge for 30-60 minutes when they can fill up a gas tank in less than 5 minutes. Battery swap stations would open up the brand to countless potential buyers as they would alleviate their desire to not be inconvenienced with lengthy charging times if they could swap out a battery in 90 seconds.

As much as I love my car and am willing to accept the inconvenience, I will say, on my trips to Vegas it does get a little annoying. I can drive straight through in an ICE at 80 MPH and make it in less than 4 hours. In my Tesla, and I've tried multiple times, the best I can do is just under 6 hours. For those that regularly make long trips, that 2 hours each way times however many trips they take can get old very quickly. I'd gladly pay the battery swap fee to get home two hours sooner.

@Haggy - The luxury of only opening during peak hours is it will save Tesla money in overhead. The luxury for drivers is that as the demand increases, they'll easily be able to adjust the number of days and hours they remain open to meet demand. If you come through after hours, then you'll still have the ability to charge at the Supercharger which likely won't be full at that time. If you make it while they're still open, you can be in and out in 90 seconds. At least you'll have the option if it's there. Right now, there is no choice and if you're unlucky enough to arrive while others are awaiting, it's not like you can go across the street to a different gas station.

If Tesla were to do this, you can bet they'd adjust their days and hours accordingly to capitalize on the times when people would most want to take advantage of the option. I'd bet that well over 50% would choose swapping over charging if they had the choice.

Rocky_H | December 1, 2015

@twoisbetterthanone, Well, to address one of your questions:
Quote: "As I noted, Superchargers require real estate. Real Estate is expensive."

You have this completely backward, actually. Tesla does not buy any real estate for the Superchargers. They get an agreement to use some spaces of the parking lot in someone else's real estate. Battery swap stations, however, do require Tesla to possess (buy or rent) the property, because they do have to have exclusive use of it to install the equipment in the underground bay.

2015P90DI | December 1, 2015


You are correct, in most cases they have an agreement with land owners to build the Superchargers. But I can assure you that agreement is not free to Tesla. To start installing 28 chargers at one location and take up that much space is not likely going to appeal to landowners. 6-8 spots is reasonable. To multiply that by 10 as the number of Tesla's on the road increases by a factor of 10 is just not reasonable.

Also, Tesla currently needs "exclusive" use of the Supercharger locations as well. They have to install the infrastructure and power to these locations as well as the Superchargers themselves. They are all permanent fixtures attached to the land with wiring run underground.

Tesla could either rent land space or buy it to construct battery swap locations. Someone mentioned in another post that the cost of a Supercharger station or a Battery swap station were about the same based on today's supercharger sizes. The cost will be significantly less for a battery swap station than it would be to install 28 (or more) superchargers. Again, looking at the future, not just today. Eventually there will be millions, not thousands, of Tesla's on the road. They need a way to get those cars filled up and on their way in less than 10 minutes to be able to appeal to the mass market. | December 1, 2015

@twoisbetterthanone "From what I understand, they sent out invitations to about 1% of Tesla owners in the L.A. and San Francisco areas..."

Not sure about only 1%, I thought it was more like 50%, but I never heard an official number. That said, I never got invited :(

"...They decided to scrap the program."

Is it scrapped? Never heard an official cancellation of the project. It makes sense, as in about 8 times at Harris Ranch, I only saw it being used once. Making it a reservation system really made it hard for most users to take advantage of it.

2015P90DI | December 1, 2015

One other advantage to a Battery Swap station is that it would require less above ground space. If they are leasing the land, most of the storage space for in stock batteries, hardware, equipment could be built underground with just a small space needed above ground for the actual swap to happen. This would leave the land space above still available for regular parking (or whatever). Each Supercharger, naturally requires valuable, above ground land space.

2015P90DI | December 1, 2015

@Teslatap, Musk did state that at this time, they are no longer pursing the battery swap program. Not sure if there was an "official" announcement to that fact, but he effectively stated it wasn't going to happen at this time. Stating that the interest was not there.

Completely agree that the "reservation" offering only was not appealing to most Tesla owners and I can easily see why so few were interested in it based on the way it was presented.

Many Tesla owners, if asked while they're in the comfort of their home or office, may say no, they don't need it. But attitudes change real quick when you out on the road and tired from driving and still have several hours and multiple stops to get home. The sight of seeing other drivers pull in and out of a battery swap station in 90 seconds while you're sitting there for an hour to charge will start to affect the mind when you realize that you could be gone in 90 seconds and home 2-3 hours sooner with the option staring you in the face.

tes-s | December 1, 2015

Also, Tesla currently needs "exclusive" use of the Supercharger locations as well.

At the Greenwich, CT superchargers the signs read "45 Parking While Charging. 15 Minute General Parking."

Someone mentioned in another post that the cost of a Supercharger station or a Battery swap station were about the same based on today's supercharger sizes.

I think they are wrong. Superchargers require minimal construction. Battery swap requires a building, a "pit", and all sorts of robotics to swap the battery and move it around for charging and storage. My guess is at least $2.5M to construct a 2-bay battery swap. $.4M for an 8-bay supercharger location.

Besides construction, under the current model the battery swap station needs batteries! So if the swap station is to serve 500 cars over Thanksgiving, they would need 500 "loaner" batteries. $15,000 cost each? So the operational battery swap station is $9.5M.

That would be about the same as 25 8-bay superchargers which can serve 200 cars per hour!

tes-s | December 1, 2015

Completely agree that the "reservation" offering only was not appealing to most Tesla owners and I can easily see why so few were interested in it based on the way it was presented.

I think they put it on hold because of economics, not lack of interest in the pilot. Pure speculation, but I don't think they could make the numbers work.

I also think they would have to go to a different battery ownership model for swap to scale - the idea of storing customer batteries until they swap back is challenging because they need to have "rental" batteries and store the customer battery. If Tesla owned all the batteries (or simply warrantied the batteries for the life of the vehicle), they could do single swaps - not the current dual swap. That was the model for the swap company that tried it - right model for swap, but not executed well. | December 1, 2015

As others have pointed out, when Superchargers are located in some parking lots, local zoning required X number of spots in the total lot for the use of anyone. If the site was built with exactly X spots, the local regulation may prohibit making the Supercharger slots exclusive to EVs. Far from ideal, but it is likely outside Tesla's control.

The Greenwich, CT sounds like one of those situations. Luckily most Superchargers do not seem to be shared locations (i.e. anyone can park in them).

RichieTheC | December 1, 2015

You would also be introducing more "maintenance" to the Model S (the battery swap process itself) and, I suspect, failed swaps, failing batteries that have been swapped many times. More breakdowns, possibly? How much handling can they handle? Etc.

2015P90DI | December 1, 2015

They wouldn't have to store 500 batteries. If they turned this into a regular offering, it would be more sensible for them to simply swap out batteries with batteries that are comparable to the one in your car. As such, they would only need a range of batteries multiplied by the number they would be capable of completing in an hour.

The batteries removed from the car would be placed on a charger. After about an hour, would be ready to swap back into another car.

Just would require classifying the quality of each battery and putting them into groups.
A - Groups = Near new batteries with less than 5,000 miles
B - Groups = 6-12 month batteries with between 5,000 and 10,000 miles
C - Groups = 6-12 month batteries with between 10,000 and 15,000 miles.

Something along those lines. From what I understand from Tesla, age of the battery contributes more to the degradation than actual miles, so I'm sure they'd come up with a reasonably narrow grouping of batteries so each owner gets a battery that's within 2% of their starting battery.

In time, I could see where they would simplify the process and just off you a guarantee that you battery is good for X number of years and miles on a sliding scale. So if at any point you plan to sell the car, you're assured of having a battery that meets the degradation rate acceptable for the age/miles of your battery. With such a guarantee, what gets swapped in and out becomes less important as you'll be swapping them fairly regularly anyway. Of course you don't want to go from a 265 mile range battery to a 200 mile range battery, but something within reason would work and allow them to narrow up the number of battery quality groups they'd need to stock.

Say four groups of batteries. Realistically, probably going to be at least 3 minutes per car when considering drive in time, safety checks and driveout. So that would mean roughly 20 cars per hour. Four groups of batteries per hour would need to be on hand for a total of just 80 available batteries per stall.

I thinks would be even better for the owners as many have complained that their batteries are degrading faster than they should. This would allow Tesla to stay on top of battery maintenance and assure owners they'll always have a healthy battery. Like no more need for warranty replacements. Bad batteries would simply be pulled out of the queue.

2015P90DI | December 1, 2015

Actually, I think Tesla could do very well, if they offered the battery swap option, to just lease the batteries.

Offer an option to Sell the car for a price that effectively does not include a battery. Then for those buyers that know they're going to travel quite a bit and want to take advantage of battery swapping, then just lease them a battery program for X number of dollars.

All such programs would be for 90 kWh batteries guaranteed to have a range of X number of miles. Then they'd only need to stock as many batteries to meet the number of cars they're capable of swapping out in an hour. If that's 20 cars per hour, then they would only need 20 batteries in stock. Charge them up in an hour and they're ready to swap into another car.

When you're ready to either sell the vehicle or no longer need the swap program, then they'll just simply sell you a battery for the car that you bought at a discounted rate without the price of the battery included.

Almost something similar to how they charged $2,000 for Supercharging capability to 60 kWh battery cars, just on a much grander scale. Would be another source of income for the company as well and effectively end any excuses buyers worried about range anxiety would have.

tes-s | December 1, 2015

That would work better than the program they piloted. It would be interesting to see what people think of that - owners are pretty careful with their batteries; not sure they want to swap it for one of similar age/miles they feel may have been abused.

Next challenge is charging. Take a swap station with two bays that will swap 40 batteries an hour. That would take 20 120kW superchargers (same as a 40-bay supercharger location). That is 2.4mW just for charging - sounds like a pretty big load to me. Is that kind of juice generally available at a "normal" commercial site?

With your "4 groups of batteries" that would be 160 batteries - stored. Still not cheap, and shuffling 160 batteries around is not trivial and requires space. Do you always charge them to 100% - will that degrade the batteries? What about wear and tear from repeated swaps as mentioned in another post?

By contrast, 4 10-stall superchargers would have the same "capacity" at a fraction of the cost and complexity - just not the speed.

I think that is why Tesla is going with the supercharger approach for now.

tes-s | December 1, 2015

Yes, leasing the battery as part of the swap program makes sense and cuts down on the "inventory" batteries - both cost and management. Still 40 batteries... Actually more like 60, since they take about 90 minutes to get to 100% charge.

2015P90DI | December 1, 2015

The more thought I give it, I think the "leasing batteries" program makes the most sense. Also gives owners peace of mind in not having to "worry" about how much they charge their batteries and what the degradation will be. Tesla will offer them a guarantee as to what the battery range will be. When/if they decide to sell the car or get out of the lease program, Tesla can offer varying degrees of batteries at various prices for owners to purchase.

Would keep costs down, require minimal inventory and space and truly make range anxiety a thing of the past. And again, no need to constantly worry about making sure you doing the best you can to ensure that your battery doesn't degrade faster than it should.

Add that to the savings in sales tax as the cars' purchase price would be cheaper and they'd only have to pay a partial tax for the battery that would be included in the lease program.

With the gigafactory coming online soon and battery costs declining, Tesla would make a fortune on this program at the same time, likely making Tesla ownership cheaper than it is now.

Existing owners would/should have the option to sell their battery back to Tesla and join the lease program as well.

SOLD, now come on Tesla, get to work! :-)

Haggy | December 1, 2015

Probably equally as important though is the convenience. I've spoken with TONS of people who love the car, but say there's no way they would deal with having to stop and charge for 30-60 minutes when they can fill up a gas tank in less than 5 minutes. Battery swap stations would open up the brand to countless potential buyers as they would alleviate their desire to not be inconvenienced with lengthy charging times if they could swap out a battery in 90 seconds

That's because most people aren't familiar with EV ownership, and once they own one they find that even if more swap stations existed, they wouldn't be likely to need them. I'm not saying nobody needs them. One exists and people use it. It just gets little use. So my counter argument to those people is that Tesla does have a way to do exactly what they are saying, but owners find that in real life it's not needed, so Tesla isn't building more swap stations, but if the demand were there they would certainly do so.

People are still used to thinking of charging in the same terms as buying gasoline. Having a tank that gives a range of 200 miles would be inconvenient because it would mean buying gas more often, not because they typically drive more than that each day. When they realize that starting each morning with a complete charge means more range, not running out of gas, and a tremendous overall savings in time, then they concentrate on more relevant issues such as why there are no coat hooks.

I know what it's like to run out of gas. I also know what it's like to be stranded with a dead battery, but that's because I'm far more likely to have a 12v battery die in another car than run out of range in my Model S. I also know what it's like to see a sign that says "next gas 35 miles" and realize that gas stations close at night in many places. Superchargers don't. The car gives you an indication of how much range you have left, while a needle on a gas gauge can leave you guessing whether you'll make it to the gas station.

I understand you are concerned with this and I respect that. If it were an issue for most people, this forum would have regular threads about people needing more range or faster charging solutions or more swap stations. That doesn't make you wrong in any way, but it shows that it's not what the typical driver needs. So when it comes to the people you mention, the reality is that if they look at their driving habits, they will likely save a tremendous amount of time with an EV with the range of a Model S.

That even includes trips, assuming Tesla fixes the problem with Tejon Ranch. In real life, if I'm going to take a 450 mile trip, I will stop for a meal and charge while I eat. The amount of time I spent waiting for charging, on good days, was far less than it took to buy gas. It was frustrating when I got stuck at Tejon Ranch behind another car when all spots were taken. I also had a few times when charging was slow. Those are the issues that Tesla needs to fix for most users to have what they need.

2015P90DI | December 1, 2015


I don't disagree with the majority of your post.

The fact however remains that there are 99% of car owners out there that don't want an EV due to its constraints.

Those that have committed to owning a Tesla have accepted that it takes longer to "fill up" when you take longer trips.

Sure, the daily benefits of owning an EV when you're not travelling are immeasurable. You simply can't beat it. But there are those that do travel on a regular basis. Myself being one of those.

The downside for me, as often as I travel beyond 200 miles, is that I have to plan more time to make each and every trip. As I noted, it's nearly a 2 hour difference driving a Tesla versus ICE to Vegas, each way.

It does get old for me at times. Time is valuable to me as I'm sure it is to most people. Time is money as they say. There are times when I simply don't have an extra two hours to kill and am forced to take my ICE vehicle on certain trips. Just went to Arizona this past weekend. Did the calculations, it would have required two stops to charge, careful driving at my destination with no charging ability so that I had enough range to make it back to the nearest Supercharger. Would have had to drive slower as well to ensure I had enough range. All in all, it would have made my 4 1/2 hour trip in an ICE, a 7 hour trip instead, each way.

There are FAR MORE people not willing to spend an additional hour or two hours or three hours simply to drive a Tesla (or any EV). MOST drivers simply want to get in and go and get to their destination as quickly as possible. As such, that's why 99% of the driving population still drive ICE vehicles.

If Electric Vehicles are to become an equal alternative for ICE vehicles, there needs to be a way for that 99% to be able to do what they do now or even better (the better being that they don't burn any gas, save the planet and when they stay local, never have to deal with stopping for gas or a charge since you can do it at home each night).

Another thing is, on these long road trips, very few drivers want to travel at 65 MPH (or less) to get the range needed out of their car. From Vegas to L.A., average speed is 85 MPH. At 75 MPH I'm getting run over. On the way to Arizona, average speed was around 80 MPH. Run those speeds in the Tesla and your range drops drastically and requires additional stops and longer stops to charge.

I've tested it both ways. It is quicker to get to Vegas at 85 MPH and charge longer than it is to go 20 MPH slower and shorten my charging time. At 20 MPH slower for a 2 hour drive, I save 40 minutes by going faster. To add the lost range by going faster to the car at a Supercharger is closer to 20 minutes in additional charging time. So it's a net gain of 20 minutes to drive faster and charge longer than it is to drive slower and charge less.

The point however is that drivers on the open, desolate roads don't want to be forced to go slower than they normally would. It's just another factor that is unappealing to 99% of car owners out there. Therefore, it's not just about the additional time it takes to "fill up" (charge) versus filling a tank up with gas, it's about having to completely change your driving habits. To become truly mainstream, EV's need to function in a manner where drivers don't have to change what they're doing now.

Adding battery swap stations would alleviate this concern. Being that most Superchargers are located within 120-150 miles of each other, you can drive as fast as your heart desires and still have enough range to travel these these distances. The difference being, having to stop and charge for 90 minutes to get to 100% or swap out the battery in 90 seconds. The 99% that I'm referring to, don't want to wait 90 minutes every 120-150 miles. They don't want to wait 60 minutes or even 30 minutes. They just want to get in and go and get to where they're going as quickly as possible. They don't want to have to carefully plan out their long distance trips every single time. They don't want to have to be concerned if they'll have enough range to reach their destination and get back. Battery swap stations would make it possible to not have to do any of these things and allow you to simply, just get in and go.

In return, an EV then would likely appeal to 50% of the driving population (or more) rather than the just 1% it does today.

As Tesla owners and lovers, we're skewed in our thinking and gladly accept the sacrifices we have to make (sometimes). 99% of the driving population are not willing to make that sacrifice. Until they no longer have to make that sacrifice, they'll not be willing to change to an EV. If we remove the sacrifices, then the benefits of owning an EV over an ICE will send sales of EV's skyrocketing in a very short period of time.

The long term effects of this would certainly be far greater as well when you consider political issues with not needing oil, environmental benefits, etc, etc, etc.....

As amazing as the Tesla is, until it's as easy to travel in one as it is an ICE vehicle, it's only going to appeal to a very small portion of the population. As much as the thinking of the 99% may be wrong, the fact remains that that is just how they think and their ignorance is likely never going to change, no matter how many times you try to explain it to them. The technology is currently available to remove any sacrifices that currently exist with EV driving. Combine that with the benefits of EV driving and it would no longer make any logical sense to own an ICE vehicle, even for the ignorant 99%

Big Picture Thinking.

mjwellman | December 1, 2015

With the exceptions of parts of CA most SC stations are not that busy. I would like to see the battery swap be revivied but in a different way. I would like to see it being used for the long distance traveler. So you can pull in and pull out with a max charge quicker than ICE can fill up. Since you know the route you will be taking you make a reservation for a general day/time. This should not be a "free" system. You would have to pay a fee to use this battery exchange. You could go into a service center have them take out your battery and put the rental in. Take your trip and exchange and charge up. When you return home you return to the service center and have your original battery put back in. I'd gladly pay for this arrangement.

tes-s | December 1, 2015

The fact however remains that there are 99% of car owners out there that don't want an EV due to its constraints.

And for the 1% that gets it, there are EVs available. That is about 6 million vehicles annually worldwide.

When EV sales reach 6 million annually, we can start working on educating the next 1%.

EVs are definitely not for everyone, yet. That will change over the next 20 years, and I don't think it will have anything to do with swap stations.

Auto manufacturers can't even get together on a charging standard - a battery standard?? Separate swap station for every manufacturer?? I do think we will see better charging interoperability in the future - but battery interoperability is not very likely. Are the batteries on the current MS even interoperable across all other MS? MX?

Pungoteague_Dave | December 1, 2015

This has been hashed to death, but it may surprise some to hear that I actually think swap could work, but only if they designed a car that is truly intended to handle the swap, with a battery that isn't structural. If it was a true, side-in and go, it would be one thing. However, despite any protests to the contrary, this battery was not truly designed for swap. For that reason, the attachment bolts have to be changed every time (they can't be re-torqued), and there are 37 attachments, fluid to be burped, and in current configuration, it takes three human beings, some with wrenches, to do the swap (mostly due to the added battery protection system for which Tesla found no easy way to automate the removal and reinstallation). It can be done in a few minutes, but only because they operate like an Indy 500 pit crew. If Tesla truly stared from scratch with the idea of swapability, and a leased battery plan, it might have legs. The problem is that Supercharging is almost as fast, and I cannot see most of us giving up control of our battery's history.

tes-s | December 1, 2015

Instead of renting a battery, how about just renting the whole car with a large battery and swap capability?

That way most people could buy a 70 that meets almost all their driving needs, and rent a 120 for big trips - battery swapping at major locations, and faster supercharging/supercharger skipping at others.

Could drive 300 miles, supercharge for 30 minutes, drive another 150 miles, battery swap, drive 300 miles, supercharge 30 minutes and drive another 150 miles. 900 miles with 1 hour of supercharging and 1 5-minute swap - assuming your bladder can keep pace.

tes-s | December 1, 2015

@PD - I agree 100% with that.

2015P90DI | December 1, 2015


Love the post. So many on this site want to either bash other's ideas, thoughts or opinions without offering anything constructive (McLary being famous for it). Or people want bury their heads in the sand and say, "everything's great as it is". At least with your post and several others here, you're offering a genuine idea at how to progress forward.

Certainly none of this stuff can happen overnight. Any forward thinking ideas will take time to implement. A slide in, slide out battery is a great idea. Eventually could likely get Manufacturers like Mercedes, BMW, etc. to share in the costs by utilizing the same battery types and sizes.

I agree, as an owner, you don't want to give up your control over your battery, however imagine saving $25,000 on your Tesla at the start and just leasing the battery. Then it's not yours to worry about. Your comment supports my earlier statement that people worry too much about protecting their battery health. With a leased battery, it's up to Tesla to ensure that you have a healthy battery at all times, regardless of how many times you charge to 100% or supercharge it!

Anyway, great post, along with several others posting genuine forward thinking ideas. Even if the ideas go nowhere, at least they're out there to be considered.

2015P90DI | December 1, 2015

While renting a complete car every time you need to travel is likely not cost effective, your post does have some good legs to it.

Could, as you say, buy a 70D and when you need to travel, lease the larger battery for your trip. The only thing with that is you'd likely be required to return and swap back out the battery.

Leasing a battery full time means you don't have to pay for one when you buy the car. Also means you don't have to worry about returning it after a swap since all batteries would be managed by Tesla and considered equal.

But for those that truly want to own their own battery and are willing to follow the same path home to return swapped batteries on the way home, I'm sure a separate lease program could be arranged to lease the larger batteries on a temporary basis. This would help curb initial costs in allowing people to purchase a 70 instead of an 85 or 90 when a 70 is likely more than enough for 90% of all Tesla driver's daily needs when not travelling.

bb0tin | December 1, 2015

Tesla now have grid storage battery packs which power companies are purchasing. These have both high capacity and high discharge. There are already multi-storey automated parking buildings in operation. Tesla is working on their ‘snake’ to automatically plug in the charging cable. Tesla has autopilot which can park/unpark a car. These can all be combined into a dual storage/charging facility.
Tesla and the power company both provide the multi-storey building.
The power company provides the battery storage.
Tesla provides the automated system to park/unpark and charge the car, plus manual driver parking for those without autopilot.
There are enough parking spots to cater for peak demand, and each spot has it’s own inverter so it always charges at it’s maximum. Tesla only draws a lot of power at peak times. The rest of the time the load that Tesla draws is low.
I expect that this will provide both the power company and Tesla with a cheaper option than either has on it’s own.

bb0tin | December 2, 2015

I should have been more clear about the connection between autopilot and the storage/charging facility. Autopilot is not necessary at all for the automated charging building to work. What autopilot does allow is for the facility to be a distance from the customer drop-off of their car, as long as the car can use autopilot to get there and back.

Rajkrishnan9 | December 2, 2015

Swap the batteries for free since tesla gurantees free charging then swapping shud b just another way of charging
Paying 40-50$ every 150-250 miles is very expensive option and it will kill the nascent ev market instantly
There are enough anti ev enthusiasts who will gladly jump on the cost factor to drive home their agenda

Rajkrishnan9 | December 2, 2015

More and faster superchargers that will automatically push the car out after charging

Rajkrishnan9 | December 2, 2015

Electrify the roads like ut demonstrated no or minimal need for batt | December 2, 2015

Battery swap = lots of capital $ plus battery exchange complications.

More Superchargers is the easy answer. Not necessarily in the same spot. They put in a second location in little old Turckee, CA instead of more chargers at the first location.

Raise the power to 150 kW. Uncouple the paired chargers. These are all easy to do with limited capital investment.

jordanrichard | December 2, 2015

In order to unpair stalls, Tesla would have to literally double the amount of actual chargers. A 8 stall SC site really has only 4 chargers. So they would have to go back and go through the whole permit process again/expense, to literally expand the area where all the SC equipment is stored.

I don't see that happening.

Also, how is waiting extra time to wait on line to charge due to holiday traffic, any different than waiting much longer at an airport, to fly during a holiday weekend?

tes-s | December 2, 2015

Pairing is an efficient use of resource. Better to have 8 stalls with 4 chargers than 4 stalls with 4 chargers.

I'd like to see them come out with a 240kW charger that handles 4 stalls with a max of 120kW per stall. All get a minimum of 40kW, with the remainder allocated in order of arrival.

I think that would have higher throughput than two of the current 120kW chargers, and make choosing the "right" stall less critical.

Rocky_H | December 2, 2015

@twoisbetterthanone I'm amazed so many comments have gone by without anyone yet correcting this skewed view of reality that you have.

Quote: "There are FAR MORE people not willing to spend an additional hour or two hours or three hours simply to drive a Tesla (or any EV). MOST drivers simply want to get in and go and get to their destination as quickly as possible. As such, that's why 99% of the driving population still drive ICE vehicles."

Your interpretation of why 99% of the population drive ICE vehicles is odd. Here's the EV situation now: You've already covered that for in town driving, the EV use is fine. It's the long distance trips that are the difficulty. There is currently only one EV in the world that has the long range to do distance traveling, and that's the Tesla. Teslas start at a $70,000 price. I still can't even recommend buying a Tesla to people I know, because the people I know can't afford $70,000+ cars, and statistically, that is true of most of the U.S. So there's the obvious reason why 99% of people are still driving gas cars.

Rocky_H | December 2, 2015

@Twoisbetterthanone, And a couple of other things to keep the discussion a bit closer to relevant. You can stop quoting battery swap as 90 seconds. The first time, it takes about 17 minutes, because they have to change some hardware to make it swappable in the future, and then they take about 4 to 5 minutes. See this thread where people have told of their experiences with it.

And it doesn't help when you're talking about efficiency on the highway, and you use the false dichotomy, where if you don't go 85 mph, it means that you must be going 65 mph, and there is no possibly speed you can go in between. I have driven on the 80 mph speed limit highways, and there are some people that go over 80, but there are plenty of people who drive in the right lane, and it's about 74 mph. You know why they do that? Because wind resistance is not an electric issue. Gas mileage freaking sucks at 85 mph, so a lot of people are sensible to not want to waste gas so fast either.

Quote: " At 75 MPH I'm getting run over."

Oh my gosh!! What were your injuries from that accident and how long was your recovery in the hospital? Oh. You don't mean you got run over. You just meant that you aren't comfortable with letting people pass you.

bb0tin | December 2, 2015

If Tesla is able to co-locate supercharges with power company powerpacks then each charging station will be relatively cheap. The power company provides the AC-DC inverters for the grid. Tesla uses DC regulation from the powerpacks for charging. It is therefore relatively cheap to provide many 'unshared' charging stations at a single location. I cannot see why a single location cannot have a hundred charging stations using an automated parking system. This solution relies on the location being acceptable to both the power company and Tesla, but apart from that I do not see a problem with it.

Tiebreaker | December 2, 2015

Real estate needed for supercharger is still minimal, compared to gas stations, and swap stations.

bb0tin | December 2, 2015

By around 2020 you will need 10X the number of superchargers that are needed now. This means 10X the number of locations or 10X the stations per location. Either way that is a lot of extra real estate. And this is just the beginning. Once Tesla is producing millions of cars per year, and perhaps sharing the superchargers with other car companies, where are all the stations going to go? It makes sense to go vertical and to share the cost with another entity. I can forsee a situation where you have pleasant supercharger locations specifically built to have restaurants, toilets, entertainment etc. There will be massive power company powerpacks available to 100s of supercharging spots. In this way you do not need to have 100X more locations, but <10X the locations with >10X the charging spots. This is already done with some highway fuel locations. It can be better and bigger with supercharger locations.

Pungoteague_Dave | December 2, 2015

Yeah bb0tin, and a crane to move the car around, and a ferris wheel to keep occupants entertained, and free internet, and a monkey too.

Tesla does not sell storage batteries to utilities anywhere. The Powerwall, which isn't a real thing yet, is intended for home users, and maybe some light commercial.

tes-s | December 2, 2015

100x the number of current superchargers would be no problem. That would be about 25,000 - 20% of the number of gas stations.

And superchargers can be put anywhere there is a parking lot and a decent grid connection.

Got a busy supercharger location in a densely-populated area?? Build a 1000 car garage. In a rural area? Build a 1000 car lot.

bb0tin | December 2, 2015

As I said, there are already automated parking buildings. It only required a web search for 'automatic parking building' and you would have found plenty of them. It seems you have no interest in being correct in your postings; you just want to give us your opinions.

You are incorrect about Tesla selling batteries to utilities . They are selling more of the powerpack than the powerwall. Watch the video from Elon today and you will hear him say that they are right now building large scale battery storage for utilities. You really should do some rsearch before posting your 'facts'.

bb0tin | December 2, 2015
The issue with just building a 1000 car garage is that the supercharges will often (usually?) be in remote locations. There is normally no need for 1000 parking spaces except for charging, and they will usually be mostly unused. There will also be a hugely variable load on the grid. 1000 cars at 130kW is 130MW. That is a lot of peak power to provide. Getting a utility to provide the battery capacity for that, and subsidise the cost of the building, is cheaper for Tesla. Tesla is already going this way by fitting battery capacity in some of their supercharger locations. I am saying that they could transfer that cost to a utility.

microspan | December 3, 2015

The battery swap program will have the unintended side effect of stopping people caring about their battery health, since they no longer have to deal with the consequences.
Plus I think it is an afterthought on Tesla's part, and they didn't really design the car with frequent swap-outs in mind.

A better solution would be to ramp up the voltage at the Superchargers - new hardware may be required in the car - redesign of the pack maybe, but unless I'm mistaken 800v would mean half the charging time, you could still draw 400v for running the motor - (I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong).

Also a 'drive-through' system would be better at busy locations, so there are no arguments about who's next or double-sided superchargers with 2 wands each, only 1 of which is live at any 1 time, so you could drive up to the back of an occupied SC, plug in the 2nd wand, as soon as the other car stops charging (the owner doesn't need to return) yours starts charging, this reduces the 'wait' time where you need to hover around the SC and defend your place in the Q.

2015P90DI | December 3, 2015

Really, build a 1,000 (ONE THOUSAND) car garage?? and then run enough power to power 1,000 stalls!!!!!! Really? Does that really make sense over building 2-4 battery swap stalls that can have guys in and out in 90 seconds (per ELON MUSK) or even 5 minutes per dis-believers on here (still the same time as it takes to fill a tank of gas)??

And yes, the battery swap program would lead to people caring less about how much they charge their batteries, so what! That's the beauty of a lease program. On a lease program, who cares!! It will be up to Tesla to provide batteries that provide a minimum range. Making driving a Tesla even more pleasant as drivers will no longer be concerned with range anxiety, wait times or having to fret over how many times they supercharge their batteries or how many times they charge to 100%. The lease program will guarantee a strong battery at all times!!!

And swap outs aren't going to happen every day for every one. Remember, the car still goes 200+ miles on a charge. That satisfies 99% of most driver's needs. Swaps will only be necessary for those taking a long trip. In their every day use, owners will still charge at home as always.

tes-s | December 3, 2015

double-sided superchargers with 2 wands each, only 1 of which is live at any 1 time,

If they have the space for that, why not simply power all of them and get more throughput?

A better solution would be to ramp up the voltage at the Superchargers

I think they are looking at leaving the voltage the same, and ramping up the current to get more power. To keep from having unwieldy cables, they have a liquid-cooled cable being field tested now.

bb0tin | December 3, 2015

You said "Really, build a 1,000 (ONE THOUSAND) car garage?? and then run enough power to power 1,000 stalls!!!!!! Really?"

Yes really. Except that you are not running power to them from the grid. You are taking DC power for them from a battery system owned and managed by a power utility. The incremental cost per charging slot is less than the incremental cost for the current system. An automated multi-story car garage does not have much of a footprint compared to the ground parking. Look at some of the systems out there including from this link

tes-s | December 3, 2015

Exactly. A 1000-stall supercharger garage could be sized to charge 10,000 cars per day at 50kWh per car. 500mWh of power daily.

Max load of 120mW (1000 cars at 120kW) but likely much less. Something like a 30mW natural gas generator (or utility feed) and 200mWh of battery capacity should do the trick.

Would work fine for 100 cars too. 3mW utility feed and 20mWh of battery capacity.

Rocky_H | December 3, 2015

@twoisbetterthanone, Quote: " in and out in 90 seconds (per ELON MUSK) or even 5 minutes per dis-believers on here"

Apparently you do not have any desire to be educated on that by reading the link I gave you. That is not from "dis-believers". That is from real actual Model S owners who have actually had the battery swap done in real life. That is far more authoritative than Elon Musk. The 90 second thing was what they showed at the demo of it a couple of years ago. That potential quick time was screwed by their having to add the titanium shield and debris-deflecting bars under the bottom of the battery. It's not so convenient now.