Tesla’s X-Mas Gift: Battery-Swap Stations
More than a year ago, Tesla CEO Elon Musk made a promise about the rapid recharging parlor trick. It will finally be available to Model S owners before the end of this year.
Tesla’s first battery-swap station will open up somewhere between San Francisco and Los Angeles within the next few months, allowing owners to quickly charge their Model S while on the road. The technology is based on a robotic system that removes the underbody battery pack on the Model S and replaces it with a fully-charged one in less than 90 seconds. Each station is expected to have a capacity of 50 battery packs.
It seems Tesla may have decided to re-double its battery station efforts for economic reasons since California stripped Tesla of some of its zero-emission vehicle credits earlier this year after revising its rapid refueling rule. The new standard requires that cars be fueled to a 285 miles range in 15 minutes, meaning the Model S, which can receive a 160-mile supercharge in about 30 minutes, no longer qualified.
Once the EV maker opens the battery stations it will re-qualify for the credits, but there’s one caveat: Tesla must prove the system is sufficiently used, which begs the question: how popular will the stations be since the company also said it would charge a fee for the battery swap itself?
Tesla has neither announced the exact location for the first battery-swap station or any other subsequent ones, nor has it revealed exact pricing details for this service. The company is expected to build its second set of stations on the east coast, likely between Washington D.C. and Boston.
Without the potential for profit from selling credits to other carmakers, battery swapping is much less compelling from a business perspective. Share your comments with us.