Tesla Motors shows off Model S 90-second battery-swap

By on June 21, 2013, 1:30 PM
battery, tesla, model s, tesla motors, battery-swap

Tesla Motors' Model S features a new design that allows the driver to swap out a depleted battery for a fully charged replacement in less time than it takes to fill a traditional gas tank. Elon Musk recently demonstrated the process on stage, and says that the only choice the driver of a Model S will have to make is if they prefer faster, or free.

Recharge stations, which Musk refers to as 'Tesla Stations,' will offer two options to drivers needing to recharge their battery. Option one is to use the rapid charging station to plug in the car and wait while the battery recharges. The recharge is free, and Musk promises that it always will be.

Option two, the driver pulls up to the charging station, and, guided by some low-profile rails on the ground, enters a battery swap lane. The mechanism automatically unfastens and removes the battery currently in the car, and then proceeds to install a new one.

What makes this whole thing really impressive, is that the entire process of swapping batteries takes only 90 seconds to complete, and the driver never even has to get out of the car. In the video below, Tesla sent a guy to a regular gas station to fill up his Audi, and during that time, they were able to swap batteries in two Model S’s on stage.

While Tesla owners may indeed have a choice between free and fast, there is yet no word on how much ‘fast’ is going to cost. The battery swapping stations, which cost $500,000, work with all Tesla Model S cars, including older models, and will be coming to the busiest transit areas first, reports Mashable.




User Comments: 29

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cmbjive said:

"Tesla sent a guy to a regular gas station to fill up his Audi, and during that time, they were able to swap batteries in two Model S?s on stage."

Yeah, but how much do the batteries cost? Or are they going to allow people to switch out batteries with for free? Is there a credit for the core towards the new battery?

And there is always the fact that you don't have to worry about where the next gas station is, and the Audi takes all three types of gas.

Ranger12 Ranger12 said:

Nice, does that mean someone can steal my battery in 90 seconds?

Guest said:

I hope that Tesla will share there battery switching stations with other companys.

I would also want to know how much will it cost to change the battery?

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

The charging stations don't actually charge the batteries on the fly, they are designed to switch batteries and then charge them for reuse in another car?

VitalyT VitalyT said:

... and then charge them for reuse in another car?
At the station, not in another car

Littleczr Littleczr said:

Im still waiting for an affordable sedan or coupe. Maybe in the 25k range. All I would need then is solar panel roofs.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

At the station, not in another car

That is what I was meaning. If charging was done within the station, there wouldn't be a need in switching batteries.

BlueDrake said:

At the station, not in another car

That is what I was meaning. If charging was done within the station, there wouldn't be a need in switching batteries.

It's just basically they have charged batteries, for those who don't like waiting. Instead of those who have some time, to actually wait for it to charge. Those batteries taken out, are likely moved off to the side for charging. So they don't end up replacing a near dead battery with another?

It's all a time saving option for drivers and that's about it. Either way it's nice, but the cost of battery swaps is mostly the concern. Most likely have it auto-charge to a bill or something, that they send you or whatever is planned.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

It's just basically they have charged batteries, for those who don't like waiting.
Ahh, so they do have charging terminals, for those who I'm guessing don't want to pay for switching batteries.

lipe123 said:

Uhm am I the only one going "Why doesn't the video clearly show how the battery is swapped?!"

Thats the only thing I really wanted to see, and its impossible to see the tiny video inside the video

knoppix knoppix said:

Yea what about the person that pulls to far forward, then too far back, and on and on until car is properly aligned. Also, how long does it take to load the device with a new battery? As always, the devil is in the details and of course Tesla wants to make it look easy.

Guest said:

The battery swap was done from under the car, not on the side.

mailpup mailpup said:

Nice, does that mean someone can steal my battery in 90 seconds?
Even faster than 90 seconds because a thief won't have to replace it, just take it out.

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

Now why does this Elon Musk wear a cheapo t-shirt (at least that what it looks like to me) under an expensive 'velour' jacket?

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

an expensive 'velour' jacket?
That thing was expensive? I wouldn't give $5 for it.

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

an expensive 'velour' jacket?
That thing was expensive? I wouldn't give $5 for it.

Yeah you're probably right. Come to think of it, the t-shirt is probably more expensive.

EEatGDL said:

FAKE

Guest trolling here, no argument, no explanation, just a "throw the rock, hide the hand" phrase.

GeforcerFX GeforcerFX said:

You know I still like this concept 20-30 min to fully charge the battery with if I remember correctly 100 miles capable after 10 min of charge (so if you just need to get some quick charge and back home you can). Now with the battery swap concept its even better, I mean as long as they keep the swap between you know $25-50, around the cost some people pay to fill up I could see this being very popular, and help allow them to do the free charges for the people who have time.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

and help allow them to do the free charges for the people who have time.
Thats something I still don't understand. Who pays for the electricity used in charging the batteries?

GeforcerFX GeforcerFX said:

Thats something I still don't understand. Who pays for the electricity used in charging the batteries?

Well electricity is pretty cheap in bulk so maybe tesla has a deal cut with the electric companies in those areas, also this concept picture has solar panels all over the top of the station. [link] . At night time electricity is even cheaper because of the lower demand then daytime. The rest of it would come from the quick swappers fees I would assume, I mean if they charged $25(that's a pretty respectable amount) and they were swapping 60kw batteries at 10 cents a kilo watt they can recharge those things for $6 leaving I would say $10-15 for the "free charges" and the rest for maintaining the station. The stations could even have like small coffee shops and restaurants in them so people had something to do while there cars charge, they can make more money off that then as well and help pay for the free charges.

mojorisin23 mojorisin23 said:

Yea what about the person that pulls to far forward, then too far back, and on and on until car is properly aligned. Also, how long does it take to load the device with a new battery? As always, the devil is in the details and of course Tesla wants to make it look easy.

Really? the whole article is about how it takes less than 90 seconds to replace the battery... its in the title!! And there is no issues with alignment. as the article clearly states, the car will be brought forward on rails, like at a car wash.

also, to those asking how much it costs, learn to read. it said Musk says it is free and always will be.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

also, to those asking how much it costs, learn to read. it said Musk says it is free and always will be.
What??

  • Since the phrase was "Fast or Free" and battery switching was that fast option, I will ponder a guess that battery switching is not free.
  • Since the gas pumps are not "Free" and not as fast as switching batteries, I will ponder a guess that fueling by gas was not the comparison between "Fast or Free".
  • This leaves us with practically one option to consider as "Free", and that would be spending our time charging our own battery.

And no where does it explain, who pays for the electricity from a free service. My only guess would be a markup in the initial sale of the car. But that really doesn't make any sense.

1 person liked this | cmbjive said:

Really? the whole article is about how it takes less than 90 seconds to replace the battery... its in the title!! And there is no issues with alignment. as the article clearly states, the car will be brought forward on rails, like at a car wash.

also, to those asking how much it costs, learn to read. it said Musk says it is free and always will be.

1) It takes 90 seconds for Tesla to replace the battery and that was on-stage during an event. Real-world application of this will be vastly different.

2) There is no such thing as "free". And besides, it's you who should learn how to read: The article explicitly states that "free" is for those who want to waste their time sitting at a recharge station charging their batteries. However, those who want "fast" (the battery swap) have yet to know how much it would cost. There's no way that Tesla is going to build a $500,000 swapping station and then allow Tesla owners to swap their used batteries for fresh ones for free.

If you can't be bothered to reread the article, here is the last paragraph:

"While Tesla owners may indeed have a choice between free and fast, there is yet no word on how much 'fast' is going to cost. The battery swapping stations, which cost $500,000, work with all Tesla Model S cars, including older models, and will be coming to the busiest transit areas first, reports Mashable."

JC713 JC713 said:

I am actually thinking of buying a Tesla now.

SnipeD SnipeD said:

They allow free charging at all their super charge stations they have. Thats free for the customer, swap is a fee for saving time.

SnipeD SnipeD said:

Fast or Free

SnipeD SnipeD said:

Fast or Free

You can swap for a fee or charge for free at all their super stations.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Tesla Motors' Model S features a new design that allows the driver to swap out a depleted battery for a fully charged replacement in less time than it takes to fill a traditional gas tank. Elon Musk recently demonstrated the...
OK, I simply wouldn't trust the word of anyone named "Elon Musk", if he(?) had his hand on a stack of bibles.

Dudes face it, (pun intended), "elon musk" sounds like something that comes out the back end of the legendary "Swamp Elon". And don't get it in your hair, you'll wind up having to shave your head....

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