Per Elon at All Things D...after tomorrow's, around June 20 is next (presumably the "fifth" in the trilogy)
up north is probably on the right track. They will demonstrate the swappable battery technique and reward early adopters by either giving/replacing or significantly discounting a new longer range/life battery when available. They could probably find a way to refurbish original range batteries so as to minimize losses from the gift to early adopters. All speculation of course. Just happy to live in an age when EV discussions aren't pure fantasy.
Already I'm finding myself parsing every word, but Musk's use of the term "battery pack" is interesting. Tesla Motors' web site, everywhere that I could find, calls it a "battery" (no pack). Use of the word "pack" implies small size and portability. I'm going with a swappable range pack in the frunk or other location.
WiFi electricity. No need for a battery, electricity transmitted like wireless data. Small battery when in parking structures or out of range. No need to ever charge or refuel. If we are going to dream let's go big. Funny Nicola Tesla demostrated it in 1920, but his funding was pulled when he said the electricty would be free.
This whole thread is killing me. I guess you are all investors and would now prefer that Tesla have no capex.
As a potential Gen III customer here is where I think main pack swap is great. 200 mile range I could stop every 130 miles or so and just get it swapped fast. That is no big deal. Stopping every 130 miles for a 20 minute supercharge is a little annoying. And that assumes they have improved the tech. Right now 20 minutes only gets you 200 miles on a depleted 300 mile pack.
Second, Elon specifically mentioned half-megawatt batteries installed at the supercharger stations that would sell peak power to the power companies. How can these not be swap stock? They would spend like $200k on those batteries and not use them for swapping? When he first said that I was thinking that sounds expensive and not worth it but now it makes sense why it is there. The swap stock can actually do useful work and make back some of the cost.
Also, everyone should realize that battery swapping can be made cheaper by being at the superchargers because the stock can be lower. If they put them anywhere else they would have to install superchargers as part of the system anyway. You can supercharge the pack that just got turned in you can keep a lower stock of batteries. Based on the half-megawatt comment I would say about 4 of each size. 8 batteries can service a customer every 5 minutes or so assuming they are getting supercharged in parallel.
In my case I would prefer to swap out "my" pack. Because buying used or owning for 10+ years I know that I will never have to worry about capacity degradation.
As far as staffing goes someone will have to occasionally pick up a dead pack or one below the capacity spec. There is no way a company like Tesla is not going to have a fully automatic system. The "staffing" costs will be low.
Finally, I will close by saying that everyone around the office here becomes more open to the idea of buying a Gen III once I mention battery swapping. So, I guess things are different when you own an electric car but the idea is to get more people to buy them, right?
Mark K +1
I just tweeted Elon and asked him directly if the swap is the main Li ion pack. I am not expecting an answer, but you never know.
Pins and needles!
I don't see a lot of potential in using Supercharger grid-storage stock as part of the battery swap stock. It's possible, but would be limited. The problem is, a swappable battery needs to be kept fully charged, meaning it can't be used as part of the load-balancing grid storage. They could keep one or more always fully charged, but each one they keep fully charged is another one that isn't helping in grid storage.
The more I think about battery swap possibilities, the more I think one particular use of the capability would be the most profound. If the cars are designed to accept different sized batteries -- which is not certain, but lets speculate for a minute that they are -- it could be a big success to announce that batteries will now be upgradable. This could open up the field of potential customers considerably.
People didn't buy the 40 kWh cars because they thought they would be permanently stuck with 40 kWh cars (short of selling the car and buying another later). But what if people knew from the start that a 40 kWh battery could be upgraded to 85 kWh (or other higher capacity) later with supercharger capability? I bet Tesla would have seen a ton more 40 kWh car orders, many from folks who wouldn't have placed orders otherwise (anyone who thought the 60/85 kWh cars were too expensive but the 40 kWh too limited; that could be a large demographic).
As part of the "no-swap" contingent I guess I'll be eating my words. Obviously I'm just as interested as everyone else in seeing the details of what they actually plan to do with this technology.
Upon further consideration of using grid-storage stock as battery swap stock, it would be more viable if the grid-storage batteries are charged unevenly in an attempt to keep at least 1 battery fully charged, until such time that the last battery needs to be tapped as well. Then anytime it doesn't have a fully charged battery, it just lets you know that battery swap is not currently available and you have to charge normally. This would provide a reasonable compromise between using all batteries in grid storage while still providing battery swap capability as often as possible. A less frequently used supercharger station would usually have batteries available, while a heavily used station would usually not have batteries available (but could be made better depending on how much power Tesla is willing to pull from the power utilities).
OK, pack swapping it is. Not going to be a frunk pack though.
Not with an AWD version coming.
Yes, I'm stirring the pot. Ha!
Guys/gals - I don't get the excitement. He's likely talking about swapping the whole pack and it isn't something they'll have a huge plan for. I think they just want to show they can do it. As an owner, it doesn't make a difference to me. What am I missing? Should I care? Perhaps only if I intend to take long trips...
The alpha Model X has the same hole in the frunk for pack swapping; but not sure whether it is AWD.
Also, that link did not confirm/deny an altered frunk in Model S with AWD.
Although I want to confirm this when I get home with my car, I think the floor of the frunk is the same height as the floor of the trunk. As the trunk has a motor underneath, this would mean that a second motor for AWD does not need to occupt the hole in the frunk.
You know, I was just thinking that maybe we should examine something else he said that nobody has keyed into yet. On two occasions that I know of, he has mentioned 'zombie apocalypse' in conjunction with the superchargers. Do you think there was any meaning there?
You don't suppose he's figured out how to tap into The Force, do you?
I just watched an hour video interview that Reuters did today with Elon and he talks about the battery swaping 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.
Heres the link:http://insider.thomsonreuters.com/link.html?cn=share&cid=1090140&shareTo...
Another thing that has to be managed with battery swap is age and dirt. Anyone that has worked on the underside of an old car knows what I'm talking about. You end up removing half of the bolts with an angle grinder. Even if new, you could have a layer of muck on the underside of the car. Has Tesla been careful enough in design to account for such concerns? Even if so, it would still be a challenge.
This sounds like one of those ideas that seem really good... in theory.
If they want to bake the price of the battery swap into the car, I would like to opt out. This is not something that I think I would ever use. If that can make the car $5,000 cheaper then I want the cheaper option.
Putting battery swap stations all over the country is not a free process.
If I have a 250 mile range on my car, I just don't see myself swapping batteries at all. Just my opinion. Don't force me to pay for this.
Like others have pointed out it would benefit city dwellers where there is mostly street parking. I live in a small Condo complex and pretty sure i wouldn't be able to get the board to agree to install an adequate charger outside my complex. For current owners who live in houses i can see why they are not warm on swapping. However I know for a fact most big city dwellers wouldn't think the Model S could meet their weekly needs if they had to park on the street and find a public charge station for daily or every other day charging.
If the price of battery swaps are baked into the sticker price of the car, just to subsidize battery swaps for a narrow part of the market, then I cannot support that.
This needs to clearly be an option that is set aside in the pricing structure, similar to the $2,000 fee for 60 kwh cars to use the Superchargers.
Where are you getting that its baked into the price of the car? speculation?....I'm pretty sure Tesla will announce a plan that current owners will like or can benefit from. Also pretty sure swaps would be rentals if main-pack(then you get your original back on return trip) or small frunk packs that others have suggested. To think you'd give up your main battery and get a refurbished one doesn't make any sense
Cities full of apartments and condo complexes i wouldn't consider a narrow market..big market of opportunity for Tesla if they address practicality.
Thank you so much for that video. Awesome. I can't wait until Thursday night.
A few points I saw
1) $50-100 million nationwide rollout - so not expensive.
2) Better Place did not implement it well. Tesla told Shai Agassi they were planning on battery swaps during a tour and that is most likely where Shair got the idea.
3) At the end he confirmed you won't have to get out of you car. (Number one reason why I would use love it and use it especially with the limited range of a Gen III)
4) He asked "how long does it take to swap the battery pack on your computer, 30 seconds?" followed by "how long would a machine take, really fast." A less than 30 second swap? Maybe... Stay tuned.
You can't watch that video and still think there will be a frunk pack or anything other than swapping of the main battery.
Condos and apartment complexes are not good reasons for battery swap. It would likely be very inconvenient to regularly drive to swap station. What condos and apartment complexes need is ... well ... time I guess. Eventually, there will be enough electric cars that condo and apartment complexes will have to start addressing customer demand for charging, and they will start installing charging solutions (probably with electricity linked to specific dwellings such that it comes out of your own electric bill, and you would have to rent an apartment that has that option).
Tesla could take steps to help facilitate this, but not by providing battery swap; that just gives real estate owners another excuse to ignore the need.
Some places prohibit condo mgmt and HOAs from blocking charger/outlet installation. Depends on the state, I think.
James, the SC stations are effectively free. They are advertising expenditures that aren't just money down the TV rathole. Think of them as long-term promotional expense. Rather low expense, in fact.
I finally watched the whole thing.
1. Main battery swap.
2. Located at all the supercharger stations.
3. Drive through, don't get out of your car, VERY fast
4. Compelling price
So it looks like this will be aimed at road trips after all. It's hard to see how the pricing can be compelling -- would I spend $100 to save 20 minutes on a trip, when I probably need 20 minutes to get a cup of coffee and go to the bathroom anyway? -- unless they had some sort of up front or subscription price (e.g., for a few hundred dollars a year, you get unlimited swaps). But then how would you justify paying $12,000 for a single swap at year eight when you can get unlimited swaps for less? I'm assuming that any battery they swap in must pass a test of minimum capacity, e.g., it must hold a max charge of 260 miles.
Seems unlikely for frunk pack cuz crash testing and everything would need to be redone
@Skotty battery swap solely for condos and apartments wouldn't make sense but your eventually there will be enough EVs theories to make housing complexes address it doesn't sound like a viable solution for that market, they'll wait 5+ years minimum... Guess swap will rollout as an alternative to super chargers(Optionality)
The price will be somewhere in the neighborhood of $4.00 per swap. I arrived at that number by dividing the battery price ($12,000.00) by 3000 cycles.
Perhaps, they'll offer several different plans based on usage level similar to something like this:
Pay as you go: $6.00/swap
4 swaps/month: $20.00
8 swaps/month: $36.00
12 swaps/month: $51.00
20 swaps/months: $80.00
Or maybe they'll just have one catch-all plan that charges $4.00/swap to everyone all the time.
How about two plans? :
1. Own your own pack outright (no additional charge).
2. Agree to contribute your pack to the swap pool (small additional charge, unlimited battery warranty)
I do see a business case for battery swaps combined with grid storage and grid stabilisation. The power companies already spend millions on battery grid stabilisation which is only used for that purpose. If the battery storage was sized larger than the swap requirements then you would always have both requirements met. Each battery pack will be 100% utilised either in the car or in the storage system. Better Place only used the batteries for swapping, and the power companies only use batteries for grid storage/stabilisation. Tesla could kill 3 birds with one stone - grid storage/stabilisation, battery swap, supercharger backup/boost, 100% of the time.
Pricing is the most interesting thing at this point. If everyone can swap batteries whenever they want Tesla basically has to keep paying for new batteries in very old used cars. I would think it could be a battery leasing option but I don't think Tesla really wants to front the cost of the battery at this point since they need to be profitable.
First I think there will be a per swap fee. Otherwise some people would never supercharge and use the local business that may be donating the space in some cases. On top of the per-swap fee maybe what everyone really has is an 8-year subscription for the battery. If you want it to be "your" battery that is fine. In year 8 you can try to swap it out for a newer one before your subscription expires. At first I thought this would be a problem but if a lot of people started doing this most the swap stock would end up being 8 years old anyway. So they wouldn't derive much benefit from it and if someone babied their battery charging it only to 60% almost all the time and installing AC in their garage they won't want to turn that in for something unpredictable.
Now in year 9 you have the choice between continuing a yearly battery subscription and therefore not having much worry about battery degradation or just letting it lapse and riding on with whatever you have. Of course if you have low range in year 12 and want a battery from the swap system to replace it you would have to pay 4 years worth of a subscription before you can actually swap the battery. This would compensate Tesla for the cost of replacing the battery with a new one.
I think that makes things real simple for now. Current owners can start pulling up to swap stations on Friday. Resale value is better if they can assure potential used buyers that a subscription will be available after 8 years. Tesla has minimal capital costs at this point and swap fees and subscriptions will recover costs down the road when they will start to accumulate.
1) Ok, so for all of the people that say they wouldn't be interested, think about us 60kwh (or less) owners. I love this idea. I have serious range issues for going from Austin to Houston or Dallas, even with Superchargers. Why? The presumed location for the Supercharger is 112 miles from my house and 71 miles from Houston. Let's say I charge for 20 minutes (since my battery wouldn't be near empty, it will slow in about 20 minutes, so I could charge from say 80 miles of remaining range to 130 or 140) en route to Houston (which is 183 miles from my house). If I leave the Supercharger with even 140 miles of range, drive the remaining 70 miles to Houston, a day trip is now out of the question because I'll need to stop somewhere to charge for at least 4 hours to cover the miles I need for driving around Houston plus getting back to the Supercharger. If I want to completely charge at the Supercharger, I'll lose nearly an hour, PLUS I'll still need to recharge if I'm in Houston for a day or two (charge to 190 at Supercharger, drive 70 miles to Houston, use 50+ miles in a day or two...can't make it back to Supercharger now).
So would I want to "rent" and 85kwh pack at a service center or even do a fast swap for a 60kwh pack at a supercharger location for that drive? Heck yes. Would I really love to be able to swap again at the Houston service center and not worry about charging? Yes! There is a business case for this people. Even if it's just to solve the destination charging issue.
2) I believe this will be a small scale offering primarily at the service centers. In Austin and several other locations, there are confirmed extra batteries at the service center, supposedly as spare parts (they look super guilty when they say this, incidentally). Austin also has an oddly unused service bay. And if the primary purpose is to further enable road trips by supplementing largely rural Superchargers with urban swap options at the soon-to-be 75 service centers, well that's just awesome.
3) Now it's also important to address the absurdity of wanting to get your own battery back. I get the fear here, I do. But Tesla can simply keep feeding new batteries into the program so that all program batteries are at 95% of capacity or better, then use them for Superchargers/grid storage/loaner cars/etc. when they fall below the threshold. I suspect if you sign up for swapping, they'll have a way to make sure you're no worse off than if you don't swap. The tricky part will be what to do at the end of the battery warranty, but perhaps they'll offer a post-year 8 permanent swapping option for a monthly fee (you can keep swapping for warrantied batteries for say $60/month or something like that). I think this has incredible potential to improve resale value, eliminate fear of high replacement costs, etc.
People...how many times did everyone say Tesla couldn't build an electric car with decent range? That sat 5 people? That sat 7 people? That could compete on performance? That could be profitable? I realize Elon's ideas/remarks seem off-the-cuff at times, but as a non-shareholder MS owner, I suspect this is not as capital-intensive as anyone thinks, will be more exciting to owners than expected (admit it...you'll rent a 120kwh pack when it's available), and will happen much sooner than anyone thinks. I've always been very measured in my comments on this board, and have tried not to criticize the handful of people who are completely sure of their crazy ideas, but I'm pretty confident that this is how it will work for now: pack swapping/renting for longer road trips and destination driving, and getting your own battery back for now, until the program expands; later I envision what I described above with Tesla slowly adding hundreds of batteries into the mix.
It's rational, it's not capital intensive, it drives sales of 60kwh (and eventually Gen III), and it eliminates yet another hurdle. And to those who say range anxiety is solved by SCs in 2015, look at my scenario above. My wife desperately wants us to get a second Tesla for her next car, but we can't be comfortable with 2 electrics...yet. This would go a long way towards alleviating that! Incidentally, I haven't figured out how they can do a 24 hr/day operation with what I've described as the near-term approach!
Rational indeed. I do hope you are right about battery swaps at service centers. We need that in the areas of the country which won't be covered by superchargers until next year or later.
(and sorry for super-long post...I've been reading responses quietly for days and had to hop on a soapbox for a little bit!)
+1 riceguy, well put, great points!
Elon indicated, that - if demand was there - all SuperChargers would get swapping capabilties, not (only) Service Centers. See Reuters interview. Tomorrow he intents to also talk about pricing ("compelling").
In Reuters interview yesterday, Elon said the swapping would be at supercharger stations. No mention of service centers.
Though Service Centers should - by definition - have the capability, but just for (rare) servicing. ;)
Sorry...was writing that as the interview came out! A bit less compelling for me if they are just doing Supercharger locations...hope that's not the whole story!
Regarding pricing, what if you look at it like swapping a barbecue gas canister at your local Home Depot? You essentially pay for only the electricity, not the labor. At the average cost of electricity around the country (11 cents/kWh), it would cost you under $10 to fill an 85 kWh battery, assuming you went from completely empty to completely full. They could make that assumption, even though it would rarely be accurate, just to cover overhead, etc. I think $10 for a fully recharged battery would be a sweet spot: not free, like the superchargers, but cheap enough to make the service attractive to use, especially in light of the time savings and convenience.
I would also assume that the batteries used in this program would have some minimum level of capacity so that people would not be hesitant to give up their "good" battery for an unknown used battery. So, let's say that, at a minimum, the batteries must be able to hold a charge of 260 rated miles. Now the problem is what do you do a few years down the road, when an owner's battery might have degraded to, say, 80% of its original level. Do you charge that owner only $10 and let him exchange his battery for one that is essentially new? For this reason, there probably will have to be an up front cost to be part of the program. I keep coming back to the $12,000 TM wants to charge for the battery replacement option. I somehow think that very few people would sign up at that cost, particularly if they don't take frequent road trips. It will be interesting to see how Elon solves this problem.
OK, I've admitted I was wrong with being a swap-denier and now I'm starting to see how this could work and be beneficial. Thank you to those who've put some thought into this. Now I'm really quite excited to see how Elon and Tesla implement it.
Taking one step back to address mdemetri on the frunk pack of the AWD Model X - Check out these photos...
You'll see no such "cubby" behind the main frunk compartment. I admit it's a prototype but that space is most assuredly right where a front motor would go, between the front axels. Also where the pictures of the AWD "skateboard" show the front motor.
Only about 32 more hours until we find out for sure!
I don't want to sound too rude but, riceuguy, if you have a 60kW battery and you are going to be traveling the distances you claim.... you bought the wrong battery. Elon and TM made it very clear to purchase the battery size you need and don't plan on it being upgradable.
From what I can tell Service centers are an appointment type service. Elon mentioned swaps would be at supercharger stations. A battery sitting around a service center goes to waste. A battery feeding power to the grid for profit is useful.
I am hoping to be very surprised after the official showoff and details but I have a feeling you are not going to be swapping a 60kw for an 85kw. I just don't see the car getting reprogrammed at the swap station each time you make the switch. When I get my updates they take longer than 2 minutes. I also like being surprised tho :-)
40kW battery owners will never take advantage of any of this. They already choose to not pay the extra for the 60 much less supercharging. They will never foot the bill for swapping... well at least not the majority of them.
Sudre, my plan was always to use the wife's ICE for these types of trips, but now that I have the car I hate driving the ICE and moreover I'm getting pressure to eventually replace her car with a Tesla, too (and now DEFINITELY can't afford the 85!). However, with the potential to essentially "rent" an 85kwh battery say 4 times a year (worst case maybe 6 or 8 times a year...definitely not worth an extra $8k!), I'd be very interested in that, even for a fee of some kind. Based on the experience of the reviewers at Road & Track (who got a car that was capped at 80 mph), they had their update for removing the cap pushed and installed in just a couple of minutes, so I think there is the possibility that certain types of changes can be made "on the fly" without a major install. I doubt this will be happening anytime soon, but I'll bet it's possible...
Is it safe to assume that TM will video tape this event and post it in the Enthusiasts/Events section?
This is from the "Tesla Bulletin Board" section of TM web site:
WHEN IT COMES TIME TO REPLACE MY BATTERY, CAN I EXCHANGE IT FOR A DIFFERENT SIZE BATTERY PACK?nkinkaid@teslam... | JANUARY 17, 2013
No, you will not be able to replace your current battery with a different size battery. We recommend configuring your Model S today with the battery that will meet your current, as well as future range needs.
HOWEVER, this is from the "Facts" section under the Model S:
"While technically possible to upgrade to a larger battery, we recommend configuring your Model S with the battery that meets both your present and future needs."
I guess TM still has some 'splainin' to do... :)
And given this info:
Can people really expect to swap 85 and 60kwh battery packs??
Forgive me. I'm a greenhorn here and just getting my feet wet with the research process.
Sorry riceuguy. You must have been reading my mind because I was composing my question while you were already answering it.
@Warkovision - Yes. I can't find the direct quote but the event will not be streamed live but a video will be up on the Tesla website at 9:30 pm PST.
Note that an 85kWh battery degraded to 71% makes a good-as-new 60kWh battery.