As a Tesla S owner, I was surprised by the battery-swap demo, because for me it addresses a non-issue. I can see where swaps may make sense in high density/use situations, such as car rentals or taxi companies. The biggest misconception about this car is that there is rampant "range anxiety" amongst owners. Once you have the car in normal use, it is the opposite; the car is fully charged every morning, and you just drive past gas stations all day long.

gasnomo | June 24, 2013

unless you plan on using the car for long trips...

derek | June 24, 2013

I agree with you entirely, Jon. As we know the car is already perfect for 99% of daily driving. It is soooo much more convenient than an ICE car. Now, I resent every time I have to go to the gas station in my ICEs. However, when there is ANY sign of range anxiety, I just take my ICE car, and poof, my anxiety is a non-issue. I have no desire to plan trips around supercharger locations, wait times, RV parks, or battery swap deployment rates. I defy Elon Musk to come up with a better solution for my Model S range anxiety (which is almost nil) than my Acura MDX.

But, the battery swapperies aren't for existing Model S aficionados. They are for those people who first said: an electric car won't work, then "it won't be fast enough", then "it won't be big enough", then "it won't have adequate range for normal daily use", then "it won't have range for road trip use", then "superchargers take too long". Musk is hell-bent on removing any reservation luddites may have which scare them off this car.

It doesn't matter if it is useful to Model S owners. It matters if it removes mental barriers for future Tesla owners.

choots.humphries | June 24, 2013

derek +1

AmpedRealtor | June 24, 2013

If I were buying a Nissan Leaf, Ford Focus EV, Mitsubishi i-Miev or whatever other flavor of pure electric is out there, I probably would have extreme range anxiety because I believe that above vehicles will have a difficult or impossible time delivery 70 miles of range with AC on. However, with a Model S 85 and 265 mile range, I anticipate being able to manage my expectations a little bit better. :)

bradslee | June 24, 2013

MS battery swapping, like SC or HPWC or 60 kWh/85 kWh battery, is just one of several options that MS owners can enjoy in dealing with the EV range matter. It is just a part of the TM game changing plan.

carlk | June 24, 2013

I think the demo's intended audiences are people who are sitting on the fence because of concern of the battery and range. Battery swap completed the entire package that makes battery a total non-issue when compare merits with ICE cars.

HoHo | June 24, 2013

I drive to Los Angeles from Berkeley every month. Sometimes I have to go straight to work when I get there. So the battery swap can shorten my work/travel day considerably. There aren't many of us with a long commute but I think we all appreciate this move.

Docrob | June 24, 2013

It really does not matter whether this deficiency is real or perceived or that once you own the car it becomes obvious it is a non issue. It is well recognised that the range anxiety, valid or not, is a major factor keeping people from buying. Tesla has two options, try to convince people it's a non issue, or making it a non issue by addressing the perceived problem. I venture that even at 100 million dollars for a full nationwide rollout of swap stations that is cheaper and more likely to be successful then the advertising campaign that would be required to address peoples concerns.

Docrob | June 24, 2013

Think of it like range anxiety insurance, you might not need it often, in fact you might never need to "make a claim" but even if you don't, knowing its there if you needed it is the important thing. If Tesla do get to their intended profit margins each car will bring in ~$20,000, so even at the most pessimistic $100,000,000 for a nationwide rollout it would only need to produce 5,000 additional sales to pay for itself in full, I think the anxiety relief factor is easily that powerful, others may disagree.

Vulpine | June 24, 2013

I don't believe anyone specifically claimed an "issue", though one automotive writer did make some such claim because he short-charged a Tesla in a Washington, DC to New York driving test and worried that he wouldn't reach the New Jersey Supercharger station before running out of battery. Said writer essentially blew off the idea that his "range anxiety" was his own fault.

That said, the writer was in such a 'hurry' to complete his test that he only charged the battery for about 30 minutes in Delaware--giving him just over 120 miles of range from that point. Had the battery swap function been available, he could have made the trip on just a single battery swap to a fully charged unit and had no reason to worry that he had short-charged the battery.

I might note that he also ignored multiple conventional charging points that could have charged him at a rate of about 50-miles per hour of charge which would have insured his reaching the next Supercharger--but then, he obviously didn't plan that far ahead.

Sudre_ | June 24, 2013

Said writer would have then complained about the cost of the battery swap even tho the total cost of the trip probably would have been less than in any other comparable vehicle. Said writer was out to make a problem no matter what.

Velo1 | June 24, 2013

I am confident that when we all go to buy our next Tesla in 5-8 years we will chuckle at the early version that only got 265 miles on a battery.

As I see it, as longer range batteries come to fruition, it will make battery swapping less likely, even unnecessary.

AmpedRealtor | June 24, 2013

More than anything else, the demo showed me how much foresight Musk and team designed into this vehicle. To have built-into the vehicle design something like this, and then to keep the intended design quiet all this time is nothing short of brilliant.

I probably wouldn't use the swapping option, but I like Musk's idea of having two options at the Tesla Station - free or fast. It's like 1st class or coach, except that 1st class is accessible to everyone if the situation calls for it. I love options!

DouglasR | June 24, 2013

How many of you think the swapping facilities will actually be rolled out to all the supercharger stations in the country?

July10Models | June 24, 2013

The original spec of the S included a quick battery swap. People just could not phantom the implementation after production. Gen III with a smaller battery pack may require the Tesla station swaps. Purchase a reasonably price vehicle for commuting and daily driving and swap for a road trip pack when traveling distances. Besides the spare batteries will be at the Superchargers anyway since the supercharger batteries will be used for grid storage in a dual role. The batteries will only feed the grid for seconds at a time to correct disturbances but will normally be on standby mode. With five hundred or so Tesla stations to cover the entire country at an average 80 miles between station, the grid might become immune to blackouts. How is that for energy independence... Go Tesla!

David Trushin | June 24, 2013

Imho, battery swapping is a key make or break feature for people who want to drive an ev but don't have access to overnight charging facilities. Who are these drivers? Renters, high rise dwellers, people who live in cities and park on the street. Charging technology will speed up with time and technology, as will range. But there will always be drivers without access to fast charge.

So I would propose that battery swap stations should be in major urban areas and that Tesla offer a car for sale with a battery lease option , or in other words, a subscription to a swapping service.

lbjack | June 24, 2013

Why is battery swapping connected to range anxiety? Battery swapping has nothing to do with range anxiety. Range anxiety is about battery range and distance between Supercharger stations, with or without battery swapping.

David T, yes, if Tesla are aiming for urban dwellers, then they will have to come up with something more than Supercharger locations. They must locate or co-locate battery swapping at convenient city locations.

Brian H | June 24, 2013

Not range anxiety, but "inconvenience anxiety", having to wait 20-30 minutes before setting off again. Rarely a real problem, but .... Level 2 charging requiring a few hours is another matter, of course. Worth it for those in love with T-driving, but not comprehensible to "outsiders".

ian | June 25, 2013


Douglas R - I highly doubt it.

Velo1 - +1 and combined with the increase in Supercharging speed (even beyond the 120 kwh) even more so.