Cheap tricks in the battery swap presentation

Cheap tricks in the battery swap presentation

I have great respect for Elon for his pioneering work.
Obviously one can't sell cars without turning into a car salesman.
Battery swap is a good idea but the show he put together is full of cheap tricks and cheating.

1. Tesla goes 300 mi. on a charge. At 20 mpg this is equivalent to 15 gallons for a comparable sedan. They should time 15 gallons conventional fueling.

2. The guy who was doing the conventional fueling walked out, arranged for payment, took receipt, walked back in, etc. None of this was involved at the Tesla demonstration. It will take shorter time if a crew is waiting for you at the gas station to do the fueling while you stay in the car.

3. I noticed that the pump pumped 13 gallons while the timer was at 56 sec. including the time to walk out, open the lid, activate the pump. They moved the camera away and never returned it back to the pump readings.

Who cares if the battery swap takes a minute or two longer than pumping fuel. What bothers me is the attitude at Tesla. If they are cheating for such stupid and simple things what else they are cheating about.

DTsea | 21 juni 2013

RIsquare, where do you live? Oregon? Everywhere else, you have to pump your own gas and do the credit card. Even in Oregon, where attendants do it, they have to take your card and run it.

I can't recall EVER getting in and out of a gas station in 90 seconds from pull up to drive away. 5 minutes is fast.

kback | 21 juni 2013

@DTSea - I agree. I don't think I ever filled my tank in less than 3 minutes. 2 Tesla battery swaps in the time it takes to fill the tank. Even if you add some kind of card swipe before the battery swap, it's still quicker than filling a tank. I loved the demonstration and I didn't think it was too gimmicky. I didn't like the financing gimmick where they counted the dollar value of my time spent pumping gas, but I thought this one was very reasonable.

DTsea | 21 juni 2013

The Audi did have a big tank- 27 gallons. But at 10 gal/minute, the legal limit (probably a static electricity dissipation safety rule), a NORMAL tank- 15 gallons- takes 90 seconds, plus the time to get out, do the credit card, put in the zip code, wait for authorization, etc, etc. 3 minutes easy.

jk2014 | 21 juni 2013

+1 Dtsea

It takes longer then 4 minutes for most(like 90%) to fill up from empty, including getting out, putting pump in, and paying. Swap, you drive up, stop&swap, then drive off. Very much through and through a better customer experience.

Now, the cost... That's a different story given the 265 or less pack range...

negarholger | 21 juni 2013

2. Telsa bills you. Why should a credit card transaction be included in the demo. Gas stations take your money first before you can fill up.

PapaSmurf | 21 juni 2013

I think the video was a fair comparison. The final total was about 23 gallons I think and $99 was visible. That might have been necessary for them to get 2 cars battery swapped, which was his goal.

But for a 1 vs 1 demo, the first car was battery swapped in 90 seconds, so it was clearly a win for Tesla 1 vs 1. The flow rate of a fast gas station is about 10 gallons per minute. My Prius has a small tank and would have been about 60-90 seconds also just for pure pumping time.

The Tesla concept is that if you pull into a swap station, your credit card and all vehicle info is already in the Tesla database. Their system can handle all of the details automatically. You never get out of your car. Swap and go. 90 seconds. It works.

It is another debate about the issue of food, drinks, bathroom, stretch your legs. My issue with the swap concept is that I actually WANT to get out of my car for a break after driving 3 hours.

justineet | 21 juni 2013

Totally Ridiculous POST!, this a ridiculous post....first, rarely these days gas attendants would fill your gas for u...u have to fill it yourself almost everywhere.....even if it was done by a gas attendants, the procedure would been about the same; so it would have taken about the same time.....about 4 minutes is what usually takes to fill a gas as shown in the demonstration....the only thing tricky is ur totally illogical post which one would probably expect from a business man in the oil or ICE car industry..........

DC@Tesla | 21 juni 2013

The whole point is that now if I am in a hurry (say going from Los Angeles to San Francisco or San Diego) I have the option of a fast battery swap that takes less than the time to fill gas (it has to be a fully automatic drive through process though, which I can see possible from the demonstration yesterday). Most people will rarely need this option).

(Although Elon did not mention this specifically, I am assuming I get MY OWN battery pack on the way back but that would take some juggling of battery packs that may add extra time).

TeslaLABlue | 21 juni 2013

@RIsquare All I can do is laugh.

RIsquare | 21 juni 2013

Forget about getting your own battery pack back. This would be a logistic nightmare. Which raises another legitimate question. Do folks who own the car (not lease) want to get random batteries. As far as I understand it all batteries are not the same. The ones that you charge slowly last longer. People who lease can't care less but those who own is a different story.

ian | 21 juni 2013

Another point from the gas fill up side, who ever actually runs their car to empty? Most people that I know fill up at 1/4 or so.

That being said, I thought it was a pretty fair comparison. It's true that you have to stop and get out and run your card.

Just wanted to add that point.

AmpedRealtor | 21 juni 2013

@ RIsquare, I'm surprised at your post. I would be shocked if you had to swipe a credit card or get out of your car at a Tesla station. Everything will happen electronically and you will have a CC on file with Tesla for auto billing. I believe the comparison is fair. Buy a Tesla and you don't even have to get out of your car to swap... anything else is a compromise.

The car at the gas station has a similar range and performance to the Model S, how is that not a fair comparison? Why should the comparison be only at 20 mpg, as you say? That is not a good variable. With Model S you are buying a specific range and performance, so you compare to other similarly classed vehicles.

I know of nowhere except in Oregon where the government forces you to use a gas station attendant. What gas station has a full crew waiting for you? LOL

Your last point, I completely don't understand. The camera clearly showed the final figures after the fill-up. Yes, the ICE vehicle had a 20 or so gallon tank to fill, but again, we are comparing apples to apples vehicles with similar performance and range. We are not comparing the Model S to a Prius with a 10 gallon tank.

sia | 21 juni 2013


Before this demo, the ICE proponents were saying it takes too long to charge an electric car.

After the demo, they are complaining about the insignificant details of the side-by-side comparison.

I think they are missing the main point. The point is the time to charge an EV (Tesla in this case) will no longer be an issue!

justineet | 21 juni 2013

@RIsquare....dude your are proving to be a giant TROLL from the good old highly subsidized carbon industry....if robots can paint your car with precision, doing a very simple shelving and unshelving procedure of battery packs is piece of might add few seconds to the whole operation but it would still be quicker that filling ur carbon mobile.................

AmpedRealtor | 21 juni 2013

Tesla fans see a Jetsons future, people like RLsquare look ahead and see the Flintstones.

kback | 21 juni 2013

@AmpedRealtor - NJ also requires you to use an attendant to pump your gas. This actually makes the whole process take a lot longer, because they're often busy helping other customers, and you have to wait for them to come pump your gas, then when it's done, wait for them to come back, finish the card swipe, sign, then go. It's a much slower process than most states. In no state would filling a gas tank be under 90 seconds.

The biggest thing to me is, whatever car you're talking about, if it's not a Tesla, it's inferior. The ability to recharge the best car ever (just ask Consumer Reports) in the time it takes to fill any competitor just took away the last remaining reason anyone should consider any other car(if they can afford a Tesla.) I'm already sold on Tesla, but the idea was to convince the others who have hesitated. This should help.

cnkurzke | 21 juni 2013

I actually noticed another inaccuracy to keep in mind:

The Gas station at the end showed $99 for the fill up.

Nearly all gas stations in the Bay Area stop at $75. You have to re-run your credit card.

When I fill up my 40 gal Ford Excursion Diesel, it takes me 3 card swipes (two different cards, they only allow two swipes per) and almost 10 minutes.

OTOH, this then gives me almost 700 miles of range.

Still - I've started to rely on the MS for roadtrips more and more.

Reilly McHugh | 21 juni 2013

@Cnkurze This wasn't in the Bay Area, it was LA...

cloroxbb | 21 juni 2013

My wifes Yaris only has a 12 gallon tank, at 10 gallons per minute or whatever, it would take 1 minute and 12 seconds just to pump... if you add like 10 seconds for credit swipe/authentication, 5 seconds to unscrew gas cap, its about on par with a small tanked car...

Its incredibly comparable, and eliminates the stigma associated with "filling up" an electric car. That is all that matters, and it accomplishes the goal of Battery Swapping.

I don't really see it being an incredibly in demand process though.

Chuck Lusin | 21 juni 2013

Also, if you don't have to get out of your car, look how much safer it will be. Who likes filling up at 3AM?

jchangyy | 21 juni 2013 keep your own battery. just return the swapped one back and get your OWN after the trip. Please do some research before posting. Even trolls do some research. stop wasting people's time. typed in 90 seconds.

wolfpet | 21 juni 2013

"typed in 90 seconds." :-)

JaneW | 21 juni 2013

Quibble, quibble, quibble. Do you have no idea what is important?

You can swap the battery in 90 seconds!

You can swap the battery in 90 seconds!

You can swap the battery in 90 seconds!

Everything else is minor details that only silly people would even bother mentioning.

JaneW | 21 juni 2013

Oh, yes, and I forgot to say, "Nitpicks are for nitwits."

jamestily | 21 juni 2013

Are you from New Jersey? That is the only state I know of where they believe the general public is not capable of pumping gas. They would probably have somebody plug in your tesla for you too.

satyrias | 21 juni 2013

The original poster maybe a conventional car sales man or it is from a dealership.

Their time is numbered.

And those mechanics and dealerships who have been cheating the general public for the services will end soon. Overcharging and unnecessary parts changing were their cash cows.

Those mechanics would scare the hell out of innocent people who have no knowledge about car mechanics to replace parts unnecessarily. Now the time has come.

ian | 21 juni 2013

@jamestily - Not just NJ, Oregon too.

satyrias | 21 juni 2013

Especially those conventional dealerships exploit women drivers. Tactics like, what if you break down on the high way? Or you are driving at night and break down, what would you do? So, it is better to replace the parts so on...

EVs doesn't have many parts to fool people.

I compare a Car mechanic and Dealership to a Doctor and a Hospital. Both of them scare people for their own monetary benefits.

ChasF | 21 juni 2013

Unless I've missed it in another post, I haven't seen anyone comment on the fact that, while the battery swap takes only 90 sec (a good argument could be made that this is just barely twice as fast as a comparable tank fill), given the range of the typical ICE vs the model S, you would have to stop to swap twice as many times as you would have to stop at a gas station. i don't see the time saving on a long road trip.
I'm all in as far as my Model S goes, but I'm just saying....

jaq1 | 21 juni 2013

+1@ jchangy
@satyrias - poor analogy at best regarding doctors and hospitals.

Captain_Zap | 21 juni 2013

I had a 22 gallon tank on my BMW. It took far more than 5 minutes to fill it up and that was just pump time. If I pumped gas at full speed it would spit up on me or trip the nozzle. I couldn't even latch the nozzle and I had to hold it the whole time.

I think that the demo was more than fair.

Keith72 | 21 juni 2013

I've had to travel through New Jersey and fill up my rental car many times. The attendant is never there waiting for you to pull up. They are either inside the shop or working on filling up someone else. There is always a wait for an attendant, sometimes a long wait. Any way you look at it, a fully automated battery change that direct bills your card is faster, and you could stop twice during a long trip for battery swaps and still be faster than a single ICE gas station fill up. The Tesla announcement clearly states that you stop and get your own battery on the return, or they arrange to ship it to the SC closest to you, or they figure a way to charge you for the swap based on usage. Clearly some logistics to work out, but the demo is valid.

elguapo | 21 juni 2013

I agree this is a ridiculous post, but I do think there's a point to be made about paying. You might not have to get out at the Tesla station, but I doubt you can just drive up, swap and leave in 90 seconds as they did in the demo. You've got to pay somehow (even if they bill you directly), they must validate your car or something. Regardless, even if that takes one minute, it is still incredibly fast.

Absurd post.

S4WRXTTCS | 21 juni 2013

They should have done the gas fillup at a Safeway Gas Station

You get there, wait in line for the all the people desperate for cheap gas.

Then you have to swipe your Safeway card. You'll likely have to swipe it a couple more times because it won't recognize.

Then it will finally let you swipe your credit card, and of course it wants you to enter in your zip code. There is a 1/10 chance that it will just tell you transaction canceled for no apparent reason.

Oh, and don't forget about the few min to wash your hands because they smell like gas.

If they would have compared it to a Safeway gas station they would have had 10 min to show a detailed video of all the mechanical beauty of the battery swapping robot.

HenryT2 | 21 juni 2013

The only thing I agree with is the quantity comparison. I'd guess the car in the video would get around 20mpg (mixed city/highway). To get the equivalent of a 240 mile range that the full battery would get, the person would only need to fill about 12 gallons. At that level, it would be much closer. Also, you couldn't bill the equivalent of 15 gallons. It's still awesome, but Musk did have to tweak the numbers a bit to get the result he wanted (much like the net cost of ownership debacle).

TFMethane | 21 juni 2013

At 90 seconds or 5 minutes, the majority of the delay in your road trip comes from either:

The wait for an open pump/slot, or
Driving off the highway to the gas station/Tesla station

Recently I used the Barstow supercharger for the first time.
ven with the nav, it took me several minutes driving around to find it.

If the goal is a truly fast experience, tackle location and signage in addition to the swap capability.

For marketing, this demo was fine.

satyrias | 21 juni 2013


"@satyrias - poor analogy at best regarding doctors and hospitals."

It is not an analogy. It is a fact that I have experienced from two doctors. It is a personal experience but not an assumption, or hearsay.

trydesky | 21 juni 2013

Regarding getting your battery back...if Redbox can reliably get you the right DVD, out of the hundred or so in that machine, then Tesla will have no problem getting your battery back, it's a simple software program.

jchangyy | 21 juni 2013

@satyrias...most doctors are not there to scare you. They are usually there to help you understand what is best for your health. I should know, I'm a doctor. Most doctors have no incentive for you to get extra tests. In fact, most of the times, we are encouraged to "streamline" to be more efficient and less "costly". You need to find a new doctor, but to accuse "all" doctors...well, that's bit extreme.

Brian H | 22 juni 2013

Wow. You're leading with your chin. Caveat patient? How can the patient distinguish needed treatment from gouging?

People who have been bitten once by the grifter motto "Once you can fake sincerity, everything else is easy" are forever shy.

TFMethane | 22 juni 2013


Your viewpoint about doctors is justified in some cases. There are some shady operations out there, and they give the rest of us a bad name. There was a pretty bad case on 60 minutes a couple weeks ago.

In car dealerships, I think the proportions are reversed: shadiness is the rule and honest good people are the exceptions. It's a financial transaction, and a zero sum game. They win if you lose.

Doctors, on the other hand, win if you live, and if your disease is cured. The truth is that almost all of us get no extra pay for ordering unnecessary tests, etc. and we are constantly being thumped on by the hospital and by the Center for Medicare Services to cut costs and cut services.

I'm an ICU doctor, and I see the final outcomes of people ignoring, undertreating, or disbelieving their doctors on a daily basis.
In those and other cases, Death is the most common diagnosis I make.

In my humble opinion, most doctors don't scare their patients enough.

cgiGuy | 22 juni 2013

Errrr... back to the OP. I think it's a great demo of how fast the swap is. I was impressed. But I understand where the OP is coming from. Look at the end when Elon is saying "almost done.." and you'll see that nothing is actually happening other than the camera guy failing to maintain focus on anything and failing to follow the driver back to the car. The driver already grabbed his receipt and got into the car. Then we look at the dashboard of the car for about 10 seconds?

Point is.. it would be still be impressive that it beat (x2) a car that took 3:30, so why exaggerate? Only gives ammo to the haters.

jukevargo | 22 juni 2013

I like the quote:

"Obviously one can't sell cars without turning into a car salesman."

None of the tesla employees are "salesmen" IMO. All I had to do was drive the car and it sold itself.

Mark Z | 22 juni 2013

How many times does the receipt not appear, so add the wait in line for the receipt. Then the occasional gas overflow and worse. On one visit, someone left the gas nozzle latch in the open position. I didn't notice it and when flipping the lever on the pump before putting the nozzle in the car, fuel shot out on top of my head! I was a mile from work where I could shower, but when I think of the permanent damage that could have occurred if a fire happened, it shakes me up to this day.

satyrias | 22 juni 2013


“I'm an ICU doctor, and I see the final outcomes of people ignoring, undertreating, or disbelieving their doctors on a daily basis.
In those and other cases, Death is the most common diagnosis I make.”

I have a question for you.

Since you are working in an ICU, I wonder when do you realize that the victim is an organ donor or not. Before one dies or after one dies?

Have you ever heard of anyone discussing in the ICU after the death of a victim regarding his/her organ donor status?

Please don’t extrapolate and interpret that, you have any ulterior motive in your ICU work is my implication.

If the victim has signed up as an organ donor, don’t you think someone is smiling somewhere? That is starting from the hospital management to the transplanting surgeons to the recipient. The recipient would say, “Thank you God”. Don’t they?

The hospital makes money, and the doctors make money from harvesting the body parts of victims and transplanting it.

Always, there is a conflict of interest in organ transplantation. No one will accept it publically but vigorously defend it with ethical constraints.

However, in the end someone is profiting, but someone is crying.

I brought this subject since you said you are an ICU doctor. That is the place where to get healthy organs because of the victims of road accidents.

tobi_ger | 22 juni 2013

@satyrias: I find your argumentation quite offensive to ICU doctors, you sound like they'd go to work with ill intent and let people willingly suffer and/or die to make money for the hospital.

tobi_ger | 22 juni 2013

Are the doctors the issue or the hospital management/stakeholders?
I'd just like to differ on throwing all doctors under general suspicion; where's money, there are black sheeps (in any country) and those need to be stopped, obviously.

TikiMan | 22 juni 2013

I find it hysterical that SO much emphasis is being placed on long 'road-trips' and the MS. If you are making that many long road-trips, yes, maybe the MS shouldn't be your first choice right now (go buy a Prius).

On the flip side, anyone who can afford an MS at this point, isn't likely making LONG family road-trips around the nation in their MS, (and, YES, I am aware there are a small minority of you that have and do family road-trips in your MS on occasion).Regardless, the MAJORITY of driving most of all of us do in our daily lives is primarily under 200 miles a day, and for that the MS does it with flying colors (and then some!!!).

Either way, the battery swap thing is a nice way for Tesla to say... YES IT CAN BE DONE BETTER, CLEANER, and FASTER!!!! Maybe not today, but it isn't sci-fi either, and CAN BE A SOLUTION for a BETTER WORLD! Thus solidifying the FACT that TESLA is not just some exotic car maker for a niche group of EV fanatics, but rather a BREAKTHROUGH COMPANY willing to change the way we look at automobiles completely! Just give them a little time, and you might be surprised what they are capable of (unlike the other pathetic auto-makers building the same 'mouse-trap' decade after decade).

If you don't believe in TESLA, we that do, are laughing at your sad pathetic lack of vision.

Brian H | 22 juni 2013

In a recent survey, Doctor was in the least attractive 10 professions for psychopathic personalities. Surgeon was in the top 10.

David M. | 23 juni 2013

I was going to post to this thread, but I see that it has morphed into a discussion about ICU doctors.