Tesla Demonstrates 90 Second Battery Swap

Tesla Demonstrates 90 Second Battery Swap

Posted 06.21.2013 in News by Christopher

Tesla CEO Elon Musk demonstrated a battery swap for the Model S in Hawthorne CA. The automated system removed and replaced the 600 lb battery in 90 seconds while the driver waited in the car. To underscore the efficiency of the operation, a second swap was performed on another Model S while a video screen showed the driver of an Audi waiting to finish refueling his car at a gas station. 

Coming less than a month after the high-profile bankruptcy of battery-swap startup Better Place, the demonstration drew praise and criticism on electric car and investment forums around the Internet. The logistics of battery swap are notoriously difficult, and the likely deployment of high energy density Generation 2 batteries beginnning in 2015 make the utility of such an expensive infrastructure debatable.  

The move appeared to be primarily aimed at silencing critics of electric cars, who repeatedly raise the canard of EV charge time even though the Tesla Model S' 265 mile range and one hour charge time on the company's SuperCharger network will satisfy all but a vanishingly small percentage of prospective drivers' needs. The vast majority of EV drivers charge overnight when charge time is largely irrelevant.  Drivers putting more than 250 miles on the odometer in a single day are almost certain to want to take a break by the time it's necessary to stop at one of the strategically located SuperChargers situated about halfway between major metro areas.  

Tesla has recently doubled the rate of deployment of its fast-charger stations. Within a year, Tesla aims to deploye a network that will enable a driver to travel to every major metro area in North America. A planned upgrade to its charging technology will cut charging time in half. The new technology, which is in beta test mode now and is expected to be available to customers by September, will allow Model S to be charged at 120 kW, enabling 106 miles of freeway driving with a 20 minute charge.

For more information about the Model S, see the Tesla Model S entry in our directory.  


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