Print 63 comment(s) - last by Shadowmaster62.. on Jun 20 at 8:56 AM

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 grooves21 on 6/18/2013 12:24:12 PM , Rating: 3
You are completely missing the point that EVs are still in their infancy and you are expecting them to build infrastructure to completely replace and moreso REPLICATE the current infrastructure that we use for gasoline vehicles.

Reality is, it isn't necessary to replicate the US gas station network in order to be usable and successful. EV buyers know that their behavior needs to be different and Tesla's success with almost no quick-charge infrastructure proves it doesn't need it.

People won't be gassing up on the way to work in a metro area, they should be completely charged via their home charger. They won't be gassing up on the way home from work either. Teslas have a 200-300 mile range and the average American only drives 40-50 miles per day.

This is for fixing one of the biggest negatives for EVs. Long trips. They will retrofit their supercharger stations to allow for quick battery swaps and make a road trip nearly as convenient as in a gas car.

Large battery inventory is unnecessary as well. The superchargers can charge a battery to 80% in 30 minutes. Considering the relative low amount of Teslas on the road, they would only need 4-5 batteries on hand per station to meet demand. As the demand grows they will build more stations. No need to instantly be able to support everyone buying a Tesla overnight.

RE: Big deal
By Nutzo on 6/18/2013 1:38:51 PM , Rating: 2
Teslas have a 200-300 mile range and the average American only drives 40-50 miles per day

My commute is only around 15 miles/day, which is easily in the range of most electric cars.

However, I sometimes like to go places on the weekend (like visit friends or relatives), which can easily mean a 150-200 mile round trip. Tesla is the only electric car that has the range to make even a basic weekend trip for me, but anything longer than 2 hours away is a problem even for Tesla.

I think I'll stick with my Camry Hybrid with it's 650 mile range, that takes less than 5 minutes to fill up. That's a good for 8-10 hours of driving before needing to worry about refueling. Alot cheaper for buy, and no range worries.

RE: Big deal
By BRB29 on 6/18/2013 1:42:38 PM , Rating: 2
but you could die in it because it's that boring.

RE: Big deal
By grooves21 on 6/18/2013 3:45:14 PM , Rating: 2
I understand that...

I was arguing against the original posters thought that there would be huge lines of electric cars in metro areas waiting to "fill up" like they do at gas stations.

Your argument is the PERFECT case for battery swapping stations, which likely won't be in major cities, but on the edges and in-between, to make cross country (or state) trips just as easy as they would be with an internal combustion engine. Commuters would still charge up at home... travelers would use the supercharger/battery swap stations.

RE: Big deal
By Nutzo on 6/18/2013 5:09:44 PM , Rating: 2
Except I live in Southern California and can easily drive 200 miles one way and not leave a city.
From south orange county to northern LA, or riverside is like one big city, so they would need these battery swaps in the city.

I doubt battery swapping will every be pratical from money standpoint. It's just a way to get around the limitations of current electric cars. Until battery technology improves another 5-10 fold (like a Nissan Leaf that cost the same yet has a range of 500 miles?), the market for electric cars will remain limited.

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