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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 Motoman on 6/18/2013 1:33:45 PM , Rating: 2
You're failing at a few things.

First of all, as I noted in the OP, it appears that Tesla is selling extra batteries at a significant loss - probably to avoid having PR any worse than it is. Every article there is about Tesla says that the battery packs cost "tens of thousands of dollars." And if you try to ask Musk what they *Actually* cost, he hangs up on you. Even if you're Barron's.

So no...$25,000 is not a bad guess as to what Tesla's cost is per battery. And in fact, it might be considerably low.

Secondly, you're ignoring the rush-hour swap demand. As I noted, you don't have an even flow of cars over the whole day - you have a rush in the morning as people go to work, and a rush as people come home from work. There's no time to charge battery packs. You have to just simply swap them all. Maybe you get a few charged that showed up at 4:30PM and you can use them for the people showing up at 6:00PM...but you're going to have to have full stock of fully-charged batteries to support your rush hours without waiting for anything to charge.

RE: Big deal
By lelias2k on 6/18/2013 5:39:01 PM , Rating: 2
I think you're failing to account for the amount of time it takes to swap the battery itself, per bay.

Let's say the first person arrived and swapped. The battery that came out immediately starts to charge. Let's say it takes 15 minutes to fully swap a battery, if you have 6 batteries per bay it will be 75 minutes before that original pack goes back into a car. I'm sure they'll have it connected to a super charger, so although not completely full, it will be pretty close to.

So, if we get your original 7-bay estimate, we have now only 42 battery packs, instead of 100. That's almost 60% less cost on the battery front alone.

I say let's wait for the guy that has achieved more than all of us in this forum together to speak up and gives us his version of this tech. He has shut up the critics in the past, so I don't doubt he will again.

RE: Big deal
By nafhan on 6/19/2013 3:20:34 PM , Rating: 2
If your typical usage requires you to stop in the middle for charging, you shouldn't be buying an electric car. End of story.

I think the point of these battery swap things is as an enabler for the occasional atypical usage scenario - such as the yearly family vacation or a business trip. There's no way this is aimed at assisting in one's daily drive.

“And I don't know why [Apple is] acting like it’s superior. I don't even get it. What are they trying to say?” -- Bill Gates on the Mac ads

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