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Tesla will demo its battery swap technology for the Model S

Tesla will be demonstrating its battery swap technology this week in hopes of successfully launching an alternative to electric vehicle (EV) charging. 

Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced via Twitter that the automaker will show off swappable batteries at its design studio in Hawthorne, California this Thursday evening at 8 p.m. PST.

The idea behind battery swapping is to easily open the car chassis to pull the battry out and replace it with a fully-charged one. This saves the driver from having to wait for their battery to charge before traveling -- especially on a road trip that's longer than the available electric range of their battery.

This technology hasn't really taken off yet (although it was attempted before by Better Place and automaker Renault). The main issue is infrastructure, mainly because it's so expensive to deploy. But with Tesla's ever-increasing number of Super Charger stations, adding a battery swap service to these areas could be an ideal solution.

Tesla's Model S is capable of battery swap, but it hasn't really been implemented yet. Tesla is looking to change that this Thursday. 

Tesla has proved to be the superhero of the American electric car startup world. It was approved to receive a $465 million loan from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in June 2009, which was part of the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing program. The loan was to be repaid by 2022, but in March of this year, Tesla received permission to pay the loan back five years early by mid-2017. 

However,  Tesla managed to repay the whole sum last month -- nine years earlier than expected from the original 2022 due date. This was mainly due to its decision to issue more stock the week before. Tesla said it wanted to sell about $830 million in shares, and use $450 million in convertible senior notes (which are due in 2018) along with sales of 2.7 million shares (valued at about $229 million at the time) to pay back its federal loan.

This is an especially crucial detail in Tesla's history, considering other plug-in hybrid electric automaker Fisker Automotive (which also received a DOE loan) has failed miserably

Before that, Tesla started shipping 500 Model S sedans per week starting in March of this year, exceeding the sales outlook of 4,500 posted in the February shareholder letter. In fact, Tesla managed to sell 4,900 Model S sedans in the first quarter. The automaker plans to deliver 21,000 total for the year, which slightly exceeds previous forecasts of about 20,000. 

For Q1 2013, Tesla reported a net income of $11.2 million (a huge increase from an $89.9 million loss in the year-ago quarter). Excluding certain items, Tesla's profit came in at 12 cents a share, which was a boost from a loss of 76 cents a share in Q1 2012. Analysts expected a profit of about 4 cents a share. Revenue also saw a huge year-over-year boost, totaling $562 million (up from $30.2 million in the year-ago quarter). 

For those who can't make it to Tesla's California studio this week, don't fret -- Tesla will post a video of the demo on Twitter that night. 

Source: Giga Om

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RE: Big deal
By Scotttech2 on 6/18/2013 12:20:52 PM , Rating: 2
Your math is all wrong.

While each charging station may service 100 or greater cars per day, 100 batteries are not needed. Every car already has its own battery. The station need only hold enough batteries to service the number of vehicles that need a swap during the amount of time it takes to charge that same set of batteries.

With current v2 charging tech, that's 30 mins. So, if 10 cars come to swap their batts every 30 mins, you need an "inventory" of 10 batts on hand. This way, you'll constantly be taking in empty or nearly empty batts and turning out charged batteries.

Secondly in terms of removing and installing the batt, this is not going to be some kind of put a car up on a lift experience. It'll most likely be automated with either a side removal by a machine or a sunken pit removal. We shall see today.

This is very exciting because a simple batt swap will absolutely close the gap between tesla and gas powered vehicles. I own an 85kwh performance S and I can tell you that every other vehicle I've owned or driven sucks terribly by comparison (including an M3). If you drive one you will want one. It's that simple.

RE: Big deal
By Scotttech2 on 6/18/2013 12:25:55 PM , Rating: 2
Also as another poster pointed out, your home is your gas station. The only time you need to charge a model s is when you are driving more than 125 or so miles from home and if you have no place to charge before your return drive home where you will plug in your car when you arrive home and it'll be ready to go in a few hours on a 240v outlet. Most people do not drive these distances daily. Thus you will see very few cars at tesla swap or charging stations compared to gas stations, since everyone leaves home with a "full tank" every morning and returns home to "full up" again without ever needing a charge out in the world in most cases.

RE: Big deal
By M'n'M on 6/18/2013 1:07:03 PM , Rating: 2
With current v2 charging tech, that's 30 mins. So, if 10 cars come to swap their batts every 30 mins, you need an "inventory" of 10 batts on hand. This way, you'll constantly be taking in empty or nearly empty batts and turning out charged batteries.

Quick charging degrades battery life. If I'm a careful Tesla owner, always babying my big $$ battery via slow overnight charging, I'm not going to be too happy about trading it in for one that's been degraded who knows how much.

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