Battery Swap Cost

Battery Swap Cost

The Tesla Station 'Battery Swap' video is only missing one thing. What is the cost of a charged battery swap? The 'free' charging at the station was made very clear. What does 'faster' cost? And is the swap available for both batteries?

daoops | December 27, 2013

Similar to a full tank of gas. Nothing more precise than that. So maybe some $80 per swap, if you pick up you old battery within a certain time.

But to be honest it might have been the ZEV credits that lured mostly for Tesla.

I was skeptical in the beginning to the swap idea but I have come to realize that swap-technology can be used by taxi companies or distribution companies where it does not matter to get the original battery back.

Rocky_H | December 27, 2013

And yet the really interesting part comes from other threads here, where actual owners who have had their batteries replaced at Tesla service centers have gotten an interesting reaction from the technicians there. The techs laughed out loud at the idea of either quick or automated battery swaps. It is a multi-hour job, and involves some draining and refilling of the battery coolant liquid, since that is connected to a radiator system that stays in the car and a few other things.

So maybe with some other modified version of the car, it could be made to happen, but why are they getting (and have been getting) ZEV credits for these current models that don't actually have that capability?

daoops | December 27, 2013

They don't, they get 3 credits or in that area (not sure if it is per car or other measurement?) but would get 9 or 10 if they found a way to fill up faster than you can fill up a car. But then the states that have this ZEV agreement (California and some more) were talking about changing the rules to not include battery swap.

And after that we did not hear much about the swap, so it might have been a low hanging fruit for Tesla, and some very good PR along with it.

So the ZEV's they are getting now is not for the battery swap, it is cause they have zero tailpipe emission.

This is how I have understood it at least, I do not mind being corrected if I'm wrong.

carlgo | December 27, 2013

I never believed the battery swap was really feasible until Musk hosted that demo. Regardless of arcane taxation issues, this technology could be a terrific incentive to Tesla ownership going forward.

The idea of having to meet up later with your original battery is silly. Who cares? You get my old battery all charged up and I get yours. Fine with me as long as it is a good battery that holds a charge.

carlgo | December 27, 2013

As for cost, $80 seems way too high. Most batteries would not be empty and would require only a few dollars of electricity. The overhead might be surprisingly reasonable, vastly less than building a gas station.

One swapper in a carwash sized kiosk could service far more cars per hour than a Supercharger station and would be very cost effective in urban areas where land is expensive and cash flow is essential.

Perhaps Tesla has a plan where some really fast next generation charging is going to be available everywhere and this would change things. There are rumors of fast-charging batteries and a for-profit charging system, maybe franchises, could make the swapper thing unnecessary.

Brian H | December 27, 2013

We'll see, if the demo station is built. It must be able to work with un-modified random MSes that show up, or it's meaningless. That's what intrigues me. Elon said the cars were designed from the beginning to be battery-swappable. There may be something the amused techs don't know. Wouldn't be the first time.

jordanrichard | December 28, 2013

The fix to the issue about the coolant lines is "QDs", quick disconnects. They can use disconnects along the lines of the ones on a standard air hose.

carlgo | December 30, 2013

Tell me there weren't any little Tesla mechanics hiding under the ramp at the swap demo.

Brian H | December 31, 2013

Very little. Very fast. Santa's elves? | December 31, 2013

@carlgo - as for the price, they are not cheap. Aside from the land, power connections, approvals, etc., Tesla has to make the device, which looks quite expensive, then stock it with batteries, also quite expensive. If it were cheap and easy to do, I suspect others could just jump in and do it. So far no takers.

I also think Tesla is shifting it's thinking to try and speed up Superchargers to a point that Battery swapping will make no sense at all. Not sure they can do it, but it would be great if they can. If Superchargers got down below 15 minutes for 150 miles of range, I doubt anyone would waste money on battery swapping.

jordanrichard | December 31, 2013

I like most people have seen the battery swap video and one can only imagine all the mechanicals that have to hidden under ground to make this happen. Just think about the size of the battery and multiply that by 2. The mechanism would need a place for the stored batteries at the same time room to retrieve and lower the battery in your car. Then there is the issue of inclement weather, especially snow and ice.
The only place I see something like this being put in place would be a service center. Sort of Jiffy Lube type set up. You drive in and then drive out.

dkelly | December 31, 2013

As for cost, $80 seems way too high. Most batteries would not be empty and would require only a few dollars of electricity. The overhead might be surprisingly reasonable, vastly less than building a gas station.

$80 sounds cheap to me, yet too rich for my blood.

Question is what does the battery really cost and how many miles does it really last? A number of $12,500 has been tossed around as a futures price today of a replacement 85 kWh at least 8 years in the future. If the battery lasts 125,000 miles then wear and tear was $0.10/mile. What I've read of Roadster batteries suggests 125k miles is a good usable life estimate. Some will get more, some less. So if $0.10/mile holds true one might swap battery at the start of an 800+ mile drive. But if it costs another $80 to get one's original battery back then one needs a 1600+ mile journey to justify based on battery wear.

If I rent a battery for 200 miles at $80 that is $0.40/mile or the equivalent of 10 MPG at $4.00/gallon. I should have kept my Prius rather than commit to something like that.

Brian H | January 1, 2014

Get real. The swapping is an unusual circumstance; perhaps 10% max if you're a very rushed frequent long-distance driver. "commit" is irrelevant. It's an option, once in a while.

carlgo | January 1, 2014

Well, you could say Supercharging is infrequent as well as it just for S models who happen to drive by one, mostly on relatively rare long drives.

I think that one could make the case that Superchargers are kind of a boutique benefit and that the great majority of Teslas in the future will be accessing other charging options far more often.

Right now those options appear to be Level 2 trickle chargers which require hours to charge or swappers which can do it in 90 seconds.

We can certainly hope there are better ideas that come out of the secret Tesla lair that render all of the above irrelevant.

NumberOne | January 1, 2014

The point of the Supercharger network is to make long distance travel possible. In most cases this would be occasional.

dlake | January 1, 2014

Wouldn't it be cool if gas stations slowly became battery swap stations? One might envision driving your MS, MX or ME into a battery swap bay while robotic arm(s) removed your battery and replaced it with a fully charged battery selected from a rotating rack of 100 batteries.

This could be a money maker for the gas station/batter swap station owner. As pointed out previously, it would likely cost less than $10 to recharge most batteries, but the customer would be charged ($50-$80?) for the convenience of a 5-10 min battery swap.

Rocky_H | January 2, 2014

@daoops, I think you are misinformed about the ZEV credits. The real qualification for the Model S should be a "Type III", which is 200+ miles but not including fast refueling since it currently doesn't do battery swap. That is 4 ZEV credits. As of January 2012, they got approved by CARB as a "Type V", which is 300+ miles with fast refuelling. They are counting the barely 300 ideal miles on max charge, and including battery swap as if it were available in current models. That is giving them 7 ZEV credits on every Model S since January 2012. There is a guy from Spain who has been ranting against Tesla for a few things. Some of it is pretty nitpicky and inflammatory, but on this issue, he is correct and has links to the actual CARB specifications and the CARB Model S certification documents. I really like almost everything Tesla is doing except this issue, where they got a false rating from CARB, and I think the blame is kind of split between the two.

I'll see if I can get this link to post. [EDIT: Apparently they block any post with a URL. You can find the article by Googling for the title I guess. "The Tesla Battery Swap is the Hoax of the Year"] Again, pardon the inflammatory title, but the specific information is accurate and has the citations.

DarrellH | January 2, 2014

I NEVER want to go to a gas station again--for anything! Including a battery swap.