Automotive

Tesla shows off 90-second battery swap system

Tesla shows off 90-second batt...
Tesla ran two Model S's through the swap system in under 3.09
Tesla ran two Model S's through the swap system in under 3.09
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Automated swapping technology is identical to the system used in Tesla's factory
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Automated swapping technology is identical to the system used in Tesla's factory
Model S owners simply align their cars over the swap pit ... the system then removes and replaces the 1,300 lb (544 kg) battery automatically
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Model S owners simply align their cars over the swap pit ... the system then removes and replaces the 1,300 lb (544 kg) battery automatically
A nominal swapping fee will be charged for the initial swap but owners have the option of keeping the new battery (for another fee) or swapping back for their recharged battery
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A nominal swapping fee will be charged for the initial swap but owners have the option of keeping the new battery (for another fee) or swapping back for their recharged battery
Drivers stay in the car while the system automatically removes and replaces the old battery
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Drivers stay in the car while the system automatically removes and replaces the old battery
Tesla ran two Model S's through the swap system in under 3.09
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Tesla ran two Model S's through the swap system in under 3.09
Tesla's first swap station will be installed in California sometime this year
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Tesla's first swap station will be installed in California sometime this year
Swap systems will be installed as part of Tesla's expanding Supercharger network
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Swap systems will be installed as part of Tesla's expanding Supercharger network
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As part of Tesla's ongoing efforts to keep on Model S drivers on the road and away from the plug socket, the company has demonstrated a battery swapping service that takes a mere tick over 90 seconds – and is hands-free to boot.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk pointed out the Model S’ battery swap-ability was designed into the car back in 2009. The technology is the same as the one used during the manufacture process. Similar to Better Place’s now defunct system, drivers position their Model S over the replacement hole where sensors then detect and align. The automated system then removes the bolts holding the old 1,200 lb (544 kg) battery, sliding it down and out of the way and installing a new freshly charged battery. The whole thing took exactly 1 minute 33 seconds, which was less time than an Audi A4 took to fill its tank, at least according to Tesla's simultaneous demo.

Musk makes clear that owners “can have fast or you can have free,” meaning Model S owners can hit up the free Supercharger networks for some free juice or go with the battery swap for a fee. According to Forbes Model S owners will have the option to switch out the battery pack for roughly the price of 15 gallons (57 liters) of gas. For an anticipated fee of US$60–80, drivers can pick up their original (now recharged) battery on their return leg. Owners are billed via their credit card for the service without ever having to leave their cars.

Battery-swap stations will be installed next to existing Supercharger stations.

Source: Tesla Motors

Official Tesla battery swap demo - HD

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22 comments
Equilibrium
Since this is a first try, it's acceptable. Do it in twelve second, I dare you. That should be all the time J.A.R.V.I.S. should need.
Daishi
Another market disrupted by a silicon valley company.
The Skud
A worthy effort, but there is still a very wide gap between the supply of charging stations and petrol stations! Maybe, just maybe hydrogen will end up on top of the heap, but for the addition of one (large) tank at each or at a few petrol station(s) and a little space taken out of the trunk for car storage, and liquefied gas can fill all your driving needs. The car starts on petrol, switches over automatically within seconds and you always have the tank of petrol to fall back on. At present most oil fields seem to just burn it off (the gas) to lower pressure at the wellhead.
Nairda
I think this is an acceptable compromise.
As batteries get smaller and lighter it will become a man portable unit that is exchanged at the counter like a barbecue LPG bottle.
In the mean time this system will do. Convenience will breed duplication. If this system proves itself more will appear.
Slowburn
A few battery swapping stations does not solve the problem of short range and that high speed charging damages the battery and normal charging takes absurd lengths of time for someone trying to get out of a hurricanes way or to Grandma's house 500 miles away.
Re; The Skud
The gas that they burn off at the wellhead is not hydrogen. Some of the gasses in crude oil are extremely corrosive and burning them off as soon as possible is the best way to deal with them.
DaveDave
This is not really like a quick fuel-fill, note "drivers can pick up their original (now recharged) battery on their return leg." is more specifically HAVE TO pick up their own battery.
The point is you end up with your own battery afterwards, imagine what happens if you get a replacement some distance from home then can't / forget to collect your own battery?
This system would only work if batteries are rented and you just keep swapping for a different one without having to worry about ownership.
Ken Heslip
To correct a few things from above:
This swaps your battery. You can choose to keep the battery and pay a max $80 (gas prices). Of course, if not in a hurry, just charge your battery in 30 mins for FREE.
Hydrogen. It's a volatile gas with ZERO infrastructure. Electricity on the other hand is already everywhere. And Yes, you can charge your car at home overnight when you're asleep.
Musk shows two cars "powered up" in the same time that one takes to be "gassed up" and people scream for it to be done in 12 seconds? Cut the man some slack. :) Just half as much slack as you've been giving gas cars all these years will do. ;)
Who would need to travel more than 350 miles if there is a hurricane. Do you think you're going to stop off and fill your gas tank while there's a hurricane bearing down? Talk about FUD. If it ever occurred, I'd fancy my chances with the acceleration of an electric.
Niko
It has been said before: "the electric vehicle is not for everybody. It can only meet the needs of 90 percent of the population." A reasonably organized person should not need the quick charge system only as an exception. The first automobilists bought their fuel at drug stores - that didn't make them say: "this is far to inconvenient - it'll never get hold, let's stick with horses!" Evac from hurricanes? That is by far the feeblest excuse I've ever read. You should have at least picked tornadoes, and absolutely everybody has a poor old granny living at least 800 miles away ... Slowburn I know, You're not stupid but You're trying very hard to give that impression. The era of sucking toxic fumes from exhaust pipes is slowly, but surely coming to an end. The best part of it being that we might both live to see it - me saying: I told you so!
DaveBG
Awesome! I bet after some more development the time will be cut in half. Gas cars are going down!
Jon Smith
Wow, I am shocked at how negative the comments here are. Electric cars do have technical limitations yes but so do gasoline vehicles. I think this is a great step forward.