Some Swap Details from a Reuters Interview with Elon

Some Swap Details from a Reuters Interview with Elon

Here is a link for a reuters interview where Elon talks about many things including the swapping many times. He says that it will be surprisingly quick, have better tech than Better Place, be availible based on demand, so possibly at every supercharger eventually, it will have a compelling pricing, and finally that you won't have to get out of your car. The rest of the interview is worth watching too.

Here is the link:

Captain_Zap | June 18, 2013

Awesome interview.
It makes me want to go buy some more Tesla stock.

cnoshea6 | June 18, 2013

If you could buy stock in a person I would buy it in him.

Mike_ModelS_P457 | June 18, 2013

I think my favorite part was the horses comment. Seriously, I'm turning into a fan-boy. Does that happen late in life normally?

cnoshea6 | June 18, 2013

Im 17 and would consider myself a fanboy...Maybe early in life too?

uselesslogin | June 18, 2013

Yes may favorite bits are at the end.

1) You don't have to get out of the car
2) Is he hinting that it is "much quicker" than 30 seconds with the whole laptop battery speech?

kback | June 18, 2013

Elon is unbelievable. One of the true visionaries of our time.

@cnosshea6 - thanks for posting. I think most of us here are Elon fanboys, though we would never call ourselves that.

@uselesslogin - nice handle - I don't think he was saying that the Tesla battery swap would be quicker than 30 seconds, but was pointing out how quickly batteries can be swapped in general. Then again, you never know. After seeing this interview, I sort of envision a drive-in, car wash like tunnel, where you swipe an access card (or maybe all automated to sense your car,) drive into the tunnel, the battery swaps, and you drive out with a fresh battery. All sounds very cool. Wouldn't need it often, but for a long trip, would really be helpful. I saw the Better Place technology in person, and it was pretty fast and very cool. This will likely be better.

RedShift | June 18, 2013

Cool. Elon is very well spoken. I am holding TSLA.

tobi_ger | June 19, 2013

Strangely the video in the original Reuters page does not work for me, so here's the video on their YT page:
Very interesting watch.

Brian H | June 19, 2013

He was asked directly, "Less than 2 minutes?" and seemed to indicate "yes".

uselesslogin | June 19, 2013


I would have to agree I would be very surprised if it were less than 30 seconds but it was interesting the way he said it. I think Brian H said he indicated yes to less than 2 minutes and I think that one is more reliable because he would have downplayed expectations there if he had to. FWIW I timed myself at the gas station because I was curious. It took me 2 minutes 40 seconds from the time I got out of the car to the time I got back in and was ready to go. If it isn't faster than that I will be very disappointed.

TFMethane | June 19, 2013

I actually think Wall Street types will be disturbed by Elon's interview here. He made the statement that he hopes the competition does well and gets into the EV market soon. He said that he is running Tesla because he wants to move the transition to electric cars forward.

Financial types don't want to hear this kind of hippy crap. They want to hear that he has a sound business model, and he is going to do everything he can to make money for the shareholders. They don't want to hear about higher goals.

Elon even decried this aspect of running a publicly traded company in this interview. When they asked him about taking SpaceX public, he said that his experiences with Tesla and others has turned him off. He clearly is chomping at the bit that wall street has fitted Tesla with.

If I were a lemming Wall Street type, all this would make me very nervous.

Since I believe in Elon's vision, I'll hold on to the stock no matter what... But people like me don't set the price. | June 19, 2013

TFMethane "...Financial types don't want to hear this kind of hippy crap..."


kback | June 19, 2013

Most Wall street types have forecast doom and gloom for Tesla and TSLA since day one. I put my trust in Elon!

lolachampcar | June 19, 2013

When was the last time you had a conversation with a "financial type" that had any vision or any interest in truly adding value? It took the first startup for me to realize that venture funding was a waste of time. You end up trying to convince people with a short timeframe to think longer term. My time was much better spent actually accomplishing what I set out to do thus the second start up did not involve outside funding and did quite well.

I guess I agree with a lot of the Europeans when they look at the US and think why are these people so focused on chasing money for money's sake. I prefer Elon's approach-

Do the job well, add value and the money will come.
Get the majors on board to achieve critical mass thus improving life for everyone. There is more than enough room for Tesla to thrive as one or more of the majors will likely not be around in the future. Following the train of thought just a bit further, if none of the majors follow you, you will be relegated to a niche product with narrow acceptance and no real room to grow.

Lastly, when was the last time market cap was tied to reality? I take the NASDAQ daily volume and divide it by the whole population of the US and quickly realize each and every american is not trading that much stock every day. It is a market of machines and not people thus valuation is loosely tied to reality if at all.

lolachampcar | June 19, 2013

of course, Elon says it best towards the end of the interview when he talks about why he is not taking SpaceX public. He says something like it is hard to talk to financial types about a company that wants to go to mars and will pay off really big in twelve years when those people will have gone through two career changes by then......

Is it not the tail waging the dog when people that will go through two career changes in twelve years (I know, I'm being literal here) have this much impact on how and which companies are funded? Just think about how this is thinning our corporate DNA not to mention the depth of our vision.

lolachampcar | June 19, 2013


HenryT2 | June 19, 2013

The way the stock market works (with it's quarterly results mentality) is damaging capitalism's ability to benefit mankind in the long term. His reasoning for not taking Space-X public is sound, and the rare case where private funding beats public funding for long-term benefits that are not necessarily financially profitable (but usually is).

I'm also a big fan of Elon's method of not doing "market research". The vision of the masses is NOT the way to move innovation forward. Individuals (and sometimes groups) find solutions that the market needs and, slowly, the market adapts to the new found "solutions". You do not, as Elon rightly pointed out, ask what horse owners want, in order to invent a car.

GeirT | June 19, 2013

+50 minutes of an extremely open hearted and interesting exchange of ideas!
The hydrocarbon climate change part was a no-go for me, but OK, it is his values and I respect that. And likely lots of friends here share the same idea so I leave it.
His visions and his ideas are refreshing and reinforcing what he has indicated before, that the technology advances TM represents are significant and will remain so. He is in it for the long haul. No doubt about that.
The battery swap idea - kudos to those of you that got this one early on as I had no belief in this seemingly monstrosity of a logistics nightmare - so sweet and such a 2nd level game changer! You just have to love this guy's ability to "keep it simple stupid" and deliver time and time again.
I think that those of us that has - early adopters as we are - bought into TM are very lucky to have such a guy to head this very exciting development called MS. And those that has bought shares, hold on to them. This will go sky high. Elon Musk is Steve Jobs times 10!

bradslee | June 19, 2013

GeirT +1

kback | June 19, 2013

GeirT +1

jk2014 | June 19, 2013

the devils in the detail now with this battery swap option. Have to hear what the business plan will be on the 20th. How does this affect 8 year battery warranty and post warranty coverage, leasing, resale, etc... Think swap is a temporary solution to the range issue and hope Tesla doesn't go too deep into infrastructure on it. Only magic bullet for me here is if a swap station is part of a larger strategy to eventually turn each SC station into a service center. That would be a very Elon type surprise announcement thing to do...

evpro | June 19, 2013

Apparently the purpose designed, robotic Better Place swap takes 6.5 minutes. Can't see the current Model S beating that. Guess we find out tomorrow?

Agree with those saying that capitalism in America has gone astray. It needs to be reformed to focus on long term benefits and problem solving and away from quick-money trading Trying to short Tesla stock instead of investing for the long haul. That attitude is traitorous to this country's future.

NKYTA | June 19, 2013

One of the things I took away from the interview was Elon saying that he would basically be running 2 companies for the next 5 years, SpaceX and Tesla. I also got the impression that after that time period, SpaceX was gonna be his only baby. But heck, I'd do the same, if I was that smart. :-)

tobi_ger | June 19, 2013

Reuters: "What's the ideal number of companies to lead?"
Elon: "One! *laughs*"

jk2014 | June 19, 2013

I think in 5 years Elon will begin (or already have) put together his holding company which will include Tesla, SpaceX, Solarcity, Hyper loop company, and a few other start ups that will support his vision of creating a sustainable colony on Mars. Has to complete the approved version here on earth first before it would have any success over there. Means have to develop sustainable energy production/consumption independent of hydro carbons (solarcity, tesla), also transportation to and from Mars (SpaceX), sustainable transport system on mars (hyper loop) and other soon to be developed companies here on Earth first before any chance somewhere else.

Elon will not be the CEO of these companies, but he will continue his "product architect" roll in each of them. His grand vision will give the motivation, purpose, direction to each company CEO, which in return will result in the best business practices across the board. Since all companies know the overarching objective, vast synergies will occur only adding further value. Therefore, he may not be CEO, but he'll be deeply involved in Tesla, SpaceX, Solarcity, and all the others. Investors will have nothing to worry about. In fact, I suspect they get very excited when this happens. If you want an early snap shot, just look at the ascent of Solarcity stock. Elon's involvement, indirect or direct, imbues market confidence.

Elon's story is a masterclass in the importance of clear, deep vision to a successful business.

JZ13 | June 19, 2013

@jk - sorry to disagree but Elon will not be combining these companies under one roof. They each have different ownership characteristics making this impractical. And there is no advantage to do so. In fact, it would complicate each organization unneedlessly.

Tom A | June 19, 2013

Well, this is where regulations come in. For one thing, when CEOs had to wait about 5 years for their stock-based bonuses and incentives to mature, they had to make relatively long-term decisions so that their stocks would have value when those 5 years are up. Now, there's hardly any limit...CEOs can cash-out after what, a year? They face no consequences for their actions.

For another, this hedge-fund loophole that allows groups to day-trade, but are considered in aggregate as long-term gains, allows these gains to be taxed at the lower tax rate for long-term capital gains. If that hole was plugged up, there would be much less incentive for these destabilizing practices to continue.

In general, and I might get tarred and feathered for this, but I was taught that the stock market was designed to make it easier for companies to attract capital. I was taught, perhaps naively, that the purpose was NOT gambling, but investing. Over the approx. 2 years that I started my peanuts' worth of stock investing, I've seen huge swings in small caps that have no bearing on company news or its market segment, yet the swings really take their toll on those companies' ability to plan and grow. These pracatices should simply be illegal, or taxed so highly that it would be prohibitive to do so.

For example, shorting should be illegal. It is gambling, not investing. You are betting that a company will fail, or at least, that their stock will drop substantially within a certain period of time. Since when does this help any company? There is no value-add to this type of "trading". It is simply and undeniably an abuse and destabilizing force of a critical lynchpin of our economy - capital markets.

I'll get off my soapbox now and pass the hat.

satyrias | June 19, 2013

Shorting is the way to control the bubbles. Otherwise it can go to $1000 that doesn't make any sense.

jk2014 | June 19, 2013

JZ13 Straight off some random website (

"Holding Company Benefits and Advantages
The holding company generally produces no products or services and is simply a vehicle for owning shares of other companies. If the holding company owns 80 percent of the voting stock of another company (the subsidiary), the holding company can qualify for tax-free dividends. Another benefit is the reduced risk exposure. The only risk the holding company has is the capital invested. The holding company also benefits from the subsidiary's goodwill and reputation, while being sheltered from risks faced by the subsidiary in the case of legal issues, tax liabilities and lawsuits.
Other Benefits Associated With Holding Company
Structuring a holding company makes sense from a number of perspectives. When raising capital a larger holding company has more diversity of assets than an individual company, which makes raising capital easier. In addition, if the holding company loans the subsidiary money, the holding company can secure the loan with the assets of the subsidiary, thereby creating a collateralized loan that places the company in first position in the event of bankruptcy. Furthermore, the holding company can set corporate policies over all subsidiaries without interfering with individual management of the subsidiaries."

How would this complicate or not benefit Elon's vision success?

riceuguy | June 19, 2013

@jk...he has already said he will not do the hyperloop but will give the idea away as he does not have time to make it happen himself.

JZ13 | June 19, 2013

@jk - Sometimes holding companies make sense for small entities for the reasons you listed above. TSLA is a large-cap stock. SCTY is a mid-cap stock. SpaceX is privately held and has been cash-flow positive for at least 4 years. None of these companies need the reasons you site above. They are all self-sustaining. In fact both SCTY and TSLA had VERY successful capital raises on their own very recently. The way of the conglomerate is an entity of the past unless the companies are in similar industries. Most companies are better focused and managed when they specialize in 1 industry. All of these 3 entities are drastically different so there are very few opportunities for them to scale off of each other. Besides, SCTY and TSLA already work together just fine while being separate companies.

Jolinar | June 19, 2013

Tom A

DouglasR | June 19, 2013

I guess it doesn't matter that this discussion has gotten so far off topic, since the thread is pretty duplicative anyway. Still . . .

Brian H | June 19, 2013

Elon has previously speculated about combining TM and SpaceX in a holding company.

In the interview, I half expected him to say, "Build it and they will come," and "You have to show consumers what they want." :D

Which is exactly what he's done.

AmpedRealtor | June 20, 2013

Lady, next time you interview a billionaire can you please make an effort to, you know, wash your hair, shower, etc.?

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kback | June 20, 2013

She wasn't a very dynamic interviewer, was she? I felt like they gave him the intern, with the pros sitting around if she needed help.

AmpedRealtor | June 20, 2013

Her questions made no sense - she was using terms she didn't understand and her questions were so circular that I often lost the point of her question completely. At one point, Elon didn't understand one or more of her questions either and had to ask her to repeat. I wanted to watch the whole thing but could only get through the first 5-10 minutes. She was very painful to watch, and even more painful to listen to. She looks like a serial killer.

kback | June 20, 2013

LOL. I agree!

TI Sailor | June 20, 2013

@ AmpedRealtor and kbackman

The interviewer is Sarah Mcbride, a Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW) 2013 award winner in Technology for her piece, :Silicon Valley's Dirty Secret: Age Bias". She worked for the WSJ for 14 years before Reuters, where she covers venture capital and tech fields in San Francisco. I'd be inclined to believe she's not an intern. Contrary to your opinions, I actually thought she did a pretty decent job. She obviously did some research ahead of time, seemingly not to common among reporters lately, and asked open-ended relevant questions. In no way did I find her painful to watch or listen to. Of course, I was mostly paying attention to Elon and may have missed her pull out the machete. :)

TI Sailor | June 20, 2013

typo: make that "too common"...

skymaster | June 20, 2013

@TI Sailor +1

carlk | June 20, 2013

@Tom A "Trading" stock is like gambling in a casino. You depend on only luck and your odds are always less than 50%. Buying stock for the purpose of invest in good companies is like to be the casino owner. You will much more likely to make profit in the long run.

Two of the best stock investors ever lived, Peter Lynch and Warrant Buffet, followed pretty much the same philosophy. Buy only companies you know (and know well) and never trade on short term variation because no one knows what it will be.

Logical_Thinker | June 20, 2013

@TI Sailor +1

I would wonder if she is just chronically severely sleep deprived and/or undernourished. I've seen Elon looking like that and was happy to see him looking quite well in this video.

justineet | June 20, 2013 me she looks like the typical Realtor :)

Brian H | June 20, 2013

Perhaps she's ideologically opposed to the "attractive TV female reporter" stereotype, and is making a statement. But I also thought her questioning was both well-researched and sympathetic. She brought up a number of common misconceptions/questions simply because they are so common, but in the spirit of helping to dispel the misconceptions, rather that reinforce them.