Will the Next Few Weeks/Months Be Huge, or a Huge Letdown?

Will the Next Few Weeks/Months Be Huge, or a Huge Letdown?

So with the rumors of battery swapping, LTE, tethering, dozens of new superchargers, faster superchargers, and more, I'm wondering if the next few months will just punctuate (with an exclamation point!) the recent raves from Consumer Reports and the soaring profits and stock, or if they will be a disappointment like many of the announcements have been. I'm certainly still in the honeymoon phase with my car (hopefully service will efficiently fix my minor issues on Wednesday!), but if the car I've had for just a few weeks (which already feels pretty magical and exceeds my insanely high expectations) can suddenly do all of the things I find myself wishing it could do (get from Austin to Houston or San Antonio--and back--with my 60kwh battery, stop buffering maps and music, etc.), well how cool would that be! Let's face it, after three years, my Infiniti did exactly the same things it did when I got it (in fact, the voice recognition and Bluetooth actually got worse, not better). The mere fact that this car might do many more cool things in the future is amazing; the fact that "the future" might be June/July is just damned exciting. I actually have a hard time conveying how amazing it is to have a car that keeps getting better.

So what do people think...will the next few months bring incredible awesomeness, or just a few cool additions?

Kleist | 11 mai 2013

riceguy - depends what are your expectations. If Supercharger announcement would be 15 to 20 more locations that would be huge. Faster supercharging would be nice but less exciting. Battery swapping... No thanks - waste of time. Pick your poison.

eAdopter | 11 mai 2013

I think people need to separate the items you listed into more practical categories and be realisitc.

Battery swapping is unlikely to happen soon as a substitute for charging. As the Model S is currently built, a swap would require significant work and is too complicated to complete in a timely manner. There are several things people are ignoring such as battery weight, cooling system connections, component durability, risk, and cost. In my opinion this ideas is not realistic for the current model.

Some of the other items make sense. Tethering and more SuperChargers are just a matter of time. Progress on things like this will continue, slow and steady. We could see TM join with new partners to speed progress.

Faster charging probably lies in the middle. Not easy, but possible with the addition of some new hardware, software, and the necessary charging site/station infrastructure. Again, there are limits to what the current battery and charging stations can do. Future improvements may require a different type of battery with a similar form factor. And new charging site/station development will take time.

So "awesome" or "just cool"? A mixture of both over a long period. The Model S is an amazing car, and people also need to be realistic regarding future developments. TM needs to choose priorities such as international growth before the most significant improvements can enter development. Be patient.

Mark Z | 12 mai 2013

@riceguy; No question that Tesla Motors, the stock holders and those who drive Model S were given a major ego boost last week that the right decisions were made. The let down occurred for everyone who didn't have stock or enough stock. I have more anxiety over the stock market than range anxiety driving Model S. On Thursday, anxiety occurred without having any shares! I better start dollar cost average buying since I have learned my lesson that Musk = Success.

When I can drive from LA to OKC with SuperCharging, that will be huge for me. Continuing to Chicago, Houston, NYC and Orlando would be incredible.

I have enjoyed Model S for 6 months. After a recent wheel alignment, the drive is more wonderful than ever. Buying Model S is the investment that offers the satisfaction dividend of driving the highest rated car in the world today. That will always be huge!

Brian H | 12 mai 2013

None of those technical considerations are real; the battery was designed for an <1 minute robotic swap from the beginning. It's the economics which don't make sense. As Elon said, there's no workable business model.

eAdopter | 12 mai 2013

@Brian H
No, I watched the first 45 minutes of a battery swap last week. There are a few cooling lines, wires, etc. to disconnect and it required significant tactile disassembly in the frunk area. I'd equate it to a radiator swap in an ICE vehicle. Sure, the easy part is unbolting and lowering the battery from the bottom but that's only the last step. The rest is not so easy and probably has too many variables for robotics to be practical or cost effective.

I think automated battery swaps, if ever practical, would need to be redesighed into future model generations.

Frankly, I think this discussion is a bit silly and people have set their expectations too high. For at least the next few years, the Model S is for people who don't need anything more than an amazing car with some good charging options.

Buy an ICE if more sequential range is needed. It's important that owners don't begin to sound like unhappy, whiny chidren who want everything now. The press will pick up on that and become a distraction for TM. I don't want the press and politicians involved in the design and decision process. Leave that paradigm in Detroit.

Let's not restart the range anxiety cycle with unrealistic expectations. There are many more important things TM needs to work on such as Super Charger networks, battery improvements, international expansion, and creating a parts inventory/distribution network. The list goes on and on. Threads like this are just a distraction and not productive in the short term.

At the same time, these threads bring attention to an idea. I get that. Just don't be so oversimplistic regarding how to accomplish something. The idea of battery swapping involves more than just a robot removing a few bolts and swapping a battery. Much more.

SamO | 12 mai 2013

@Brian H,

The economics of battery swap are very minimal if used under normal conditions.

Brian H | 12 mai 2013

Nonsense, both of you. Elon and other execs have said the battery is designed from the beginning for fast swap. It may require robotic facilities that don't yet exist. As far as the economics, the establishment of the stations, inventory and staff pool are prohibitive. Elon wasn't fooling when he said no workable business model has yet been suggested. Better Place has failed to make swapping work even in tiny countries like Israel and Denmark. It is failing in France to get a foothold even with the full backing of Renault. To handle the huge US is unthinkable.

eAdopter | 12 mai 2013

@Brian H
Um, I think we may agree but for different reasons. I don't understand the "nonsense" comment. You're comments make a lot of sense to me.

Long term, battery swaps may become a reality but I don't think the current Model S is the car that will lead that innovation. Improved battery technology may first be required.

Kleist | 12 mai 2013

Personally I think battery swapping is not a good idea - for technical and economical reasons.
Over at TMC there is a little noticed observation that TM is installing a massive battery at Tejon. That to me sounds more plausible and in line with the original super charger announcement. Let's say they install a stationary 10 MWh battery over there ( to put into perspective that is about one day of TM battery production currently ) and only using half they would have enough energy stored to charge 50 MS at any sucession speed the SC can transfer to the car. In other words the grid supply would be not the limiting factor anymore. On the other hand the stationary battery now can make money and supply high value power back into the grid.

Brian H | 13 mai 2013

The remaining problem is connections. 10X the charging speed means 10X the Volts and/or Amps or Volts x Amps. BIG cable, BIG stress on the battery.

riceuguy | 13 mai 2013

While I agree that batty swapping seems unlikely if not implausible, it does seem a wee bit odd that numerous service centers appear to be getting inventories of batteries. It doesn't make economic sense to out 3+ batteries at 30 service centers at a cost of a million bucks or so just to improve service turnaround times for a part that has only been used in a small handful of cases (at least based on the threads here and at TMC). Why send 100 batteries around the country when the failure rate is more likely 5 in 10,000? I just find that, well, odd!

RNB | 13 mai 2013

To me the next weeks and months are meaningless. The next years I expect to be huge.

SamO | 13 mai 2013


My thoughts exactly. Actually the entire pack failing has not occurred. Only the 12V has failed, as far as I've been able to track.

Kleist | 13 mai 2013

@riceguy - the obvious problem service has is the lack of spare parts. The batteries at the service centers might just be an over reaction. Wouldn't be the first time in history.

fluxemag | 13 mai 2013

The stock is a source of much happiness and much stress in my life. I thought selling half of it last week would help. Wrong!

The future announcements I expect to be less thrilling than advertised. Just a trend I've noticed. I still expect them to be very positive though.

riceuguy | 13 mai 2013

@SamoSam, though I haven't seen any reported failures, I have seen a number of reported replacements though always as a "we can't find a problem elsewhere" measure. | 13 mai 2013

It's possible every service center is getting a few battery packs for replacements, but I suspect it maybe two or three very high-volume service centers get a few packs, based on the number of MS in the area and past replacements. They may even be shipments for existing cars that have been identified as needing a replacement (or 'just in case' replacements as riceuguy pointed out). I've not heard of a forum post of a single battery replacement due to an actual known battery failure.

Having battery packs sitting around in crates is not ideal for battery longevity and cost. With two battery pack sizes, this doubles the inventory requirements.

From a practical standpoint - these are very heavy, space consuming parts that I doubt most service centers have the space to keep a bunch of these around for the possibility they may be needed. I'm sure they can ship one in 7 days to anywhere in the USA directly from the factory. Some cars in the shops have waited far longer for a key replacement part.

JZ13 | 13 mai 2013

I have had my battery pack replaced. A short in the AC inverter blew the fuse in the main battery pack. The tech felt they could have gotten away with just replacing the fuse in the battery pack but to be safe they replaced my battery pack, AC inverter and the motor because it is welded to the inverter.