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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 freedom4556 on 6/18/2013 2:46:30 PM , Rating: 2
Hi, Middle-class from Minneapolis, Rural Arkansan here. Can you guess what I don't have in my town of 10,000? A garage. Do you know why? Because we're relatively poor. I live in an apartment (townhouse, really), along with a dozen other recent college grads and families. We have a parking lot. With no external power outlets, and can you imagine the criss-crossing extension cords? Or the arguments about whose bill which outlet is on? Or the neighbor's urchins unplugging cars for laughs? When are people going to realize that regardless of range or batteries, plug-ins are never going to make sense for a large part of America.

RE: Big deal
By grooves21 on 6/18/2013 3:48:03 PM , Rating: 2
And you are not in Tesla's target market... the supercharger stations will be built upon the early adopters $100K purchases, and someday 10-15 years from now when people like you CAN afford an EV, the network will hopefully be built out to support you.

RE: Big deal
By freedom4556 on 6/19/2013 6:30:19 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not talking about the Tesla, though. Some of the issues are intrinsically related to plug-ins. In 10-15 years time, when these things (like the Volt/Leaf) start to hit the used market affordably, we will be the target audience, and the technology still won't make sense, even after we fork out thousands to replace worn out batteries.

"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson

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