• 30
Tesla is hoping to win over potential electric vehicle drivers who suffer from range anxiety with its upcoming Model S. First, buyers will be able to choose from three different editions with varying ranges: 160 miles (which already exceeds the usual 100-mile range of most EVs), 230 miles, and a whopping 300 miles on one full charge (that top end Model S comes with an equally whopping $77,000 price tag). Then, for even longer trips, Model S owners will be able to swap out their battery at Tesla stores. Full details on exactly how the swap will work are slim, but we recently learned a little more from Tesla CEO Elon Musk. At a panel discussion following the premier of Revenge of the Electric Car, Musk said:

When people take an occasional two-way long distance trip, they'll get a replacement pack and then pick up their original one on the way back. The issue of giving up your one-year old pack for a three-year old one goes away.

So, it seems that Tesla's "swap" service is quite different from the way Better Place does it, which is to give the driver a fully-charged pack in a hurry whenever needed. While Tesla's method does eliminate one of the negatives of battery swapping with a pack that you purchased (again, unlike Better Place), it does raise a few questions. How long will swap stations hold the pack for owners, if say, they were going on a long road trip? How many packs will each store have on hand? What type of costs are we talking about for a swap and storage of the pack? With every bit of new information come many more questions.

[Source: Plugin Cars]


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 30 Comments
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 3 Years Ago
      Don't do it! It's a ponzi!
      JakeY
      • 3 Years Ago
      For all the people talking about how impractical it is because of lack of stations, note that the same thing applies to Better Place. I know for a fact there are plenty of Tesla owners within close range to a Tesla dealer or service center (lots in the Bay Area). This is there to provide an extra option to those who only buy the 160 mile pack. In no way is it trying to be comprehensive. And the Roadster has proven you can still go on long trips with only RV charging as long as you have 200+ mile range. If you get the 300 mile pack in the Model S you have even more options than with the Roadster.
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 3 Years Ago
      this was basically known already. maybe use a more updated picture of the car. it doesn't look like that anymore
      • 3 Years Ago
      They dont need to reinvent nothing , just cooperate with Better Place . all existing technology is available . Battery swap takes 2-3 minutes , and final cost of car will be significantly lower if you remove battery from vehicle cost .
        Naturenut99
        • 3 Years Ago
        The "Better Place" idea is great for taxis. Not so for the avg. American situation. The two ideas are different, not comparable. Tesla: Buy the smaller battery pack, rent the big one for trips. B.P.: City use only, just for getting a fully charged battery quick, not for adding a larger pack for trips.
        Marcopolo
        • 3 Years Ago
        Sem, either you don't understand the Better Place scheme, or you are a spokesperson for Better Place, or you wouldn't post such inaccurate information.
      Ben Crockett
      • 3 Years Ago
      I like Tesla's 'out of the box' thinking. Rather than focus on the problem you are best to focus on the solution.
        Marcopolo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Ben Crockett
        Ben, the idea might just be feasible from GM or Fords with thousands of dealers nationwide. But for Tesla, it's an impractical concept. but most of these range issues will disappear in the few years, and energy storage technology improves.
          Ben Crockett
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Marcopolo
          True, the idea won't work in 100% of occasions for example your journey will need to pass by a Tesla dealer (if in fact there is a dealership on the way) on your long distance trip and as such your journey would need to be modified in some way. But they are putting forward a solution that will suit some, rather than doing nothing and I applaud that.
      Ryan
      • 3 Years Ago
      I like the idea that I own 1 battery pack, yet can get rental packs that are fully charged swapped in. It would be even better if I could add additional packs in for long trips, and then return them. (I'm thinking about in the bed of a pick-up truck.) Now, 300 miles would be enough range for me for 99.8% of my trips. And if there were a few public chargers along the way, it would work out well, even if I had to wait an hour or two to eat or watch a movie to get just a few more electrons. However, I think it is a mistake for Tesla to get rid of the Roadster. I would rather pay $120k for the roadster than $60k for that car.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Ryan
        Tesla is NOT "getting rid of" the Roadster. The current model with the Lotus-manufactured glider is going away, but they're planning to start a new "in house" Roadster 3.0 production line after they get the Model S production line up and running. Probably with the underfloor battery like the Model S. They have enough manufacturing equipment; it just means a new body and frame design, which is work, but not a huge R&D expense. In the meantime, they're manufacturing Roadsters using the remaining 2400 gliders they have from Lotus -- go ahead and buy one. :-)
        Chris M
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Ryan
        I suspect that by the time the current Lotus derived Roadster is discontinued, Tesla will have a replacement in the works, and it's own production facilities will be in operation. Too soon to know all the details of their next sportscar, but I suspect it will use a battery and motor similar if not identical to the Model S version.
        skierpage
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Ryan
        The Roadster pack weighs 450 kg. There's no way Tesla is going to let anyone take a Model S battery pack home so she and some drunken buddies can attempt to jack up a Model S and swap packs over a six-pack! All automotive battery systems are composed of sheets or slabs or packs of smaller elements wired together. So in theory you could add or swap several fresh 50lb packs for a long trip. But mechanical, thermal, and safety issues and lack of standardization mean it's highly unlikely to happen. Lotus builds the Roadster chassis, and they are discontinuing the current Elise on which it is based. There's not much Tesla can do about it. They amended their contract with Lotus as follows: "TESLA shall order not less than 2,400 units of Product [from Lotus] within the Term [ending on December 31, 2011]." I suspect production is likely to continue into 2012 due to the relatively slow Roadster sales, so you have plenty of time to "would rather pay" for your Roadster [rolls eyes].
        briang19
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Ryan
        I think the important thing to remember about the battery range on all electric cars is that the "real" range is almost always going to be significantly less than the "stated" range. The A/C sucks 14% right there, and the radio, headlights, etc. suck more too. Then there's the issue that these batteries lost about 5% of their capacity per year, so after just 2 years that 300 mile theoretical range will be cut down to around 270 miles. After 5 years its 225. Realistically you should expect to get around 50-70% of the stated range in real-world driving conditions when the battery is brand new, but less as it ages.
          • 3 Years Ago
          @briang19
          Actually, "Your range may vary". Tesla's published some numbers which are fairly hardcore. One of the results is that if you're on roads with low speed limits, your range will vastly EXCEED the advertised range, which is based on approximately 60 mph driving. Almost all my driving is on urban or rural roads with stop signs, not Interstates, so... Radio and headlights are insignificant. Heating and cooling is significant, but varies a *lot* by climate -- how much do you use the heating and cooling in your region? If you're in a very temperate region where you only use the A/C in high summer and only use the heat in midwinter, you'll find they don't make a big difference. If you're in Florida or the Yukon, they're a huge deal.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Sounds riduculous. The other point is that better Place battery swap stations a million dollars each, not 15 million. The numbers are as follows: Baran Engineering was awardsd a 190 million NIS (about 40 million dollars) contract for producing 44 swap-stations. BP can install a station in 10 hours once the pit is ready. third, how long will it take to charge a 70KWH battary from a typical socket? Your typical three phase airconditioner is 5-7KWh, your regular socket 1-2 Kwh, so do your own math. And why carry a 500 KG battery if 95% of the time your trips are 30-40 miles? and how safe is it to quick-charge a 70KWh battery inside your car with no major cooling running through it? at BP stations they ice them to get a quick charge for the next customer. Finally, what's the use of buying a 77K car which 95% of the time will do what a 25K car can do? think of the financing the battery buyer-by-buyer by person versus BP financing 10K batteries batches. As for standardization, all Elon has to do is drive his tesla roadster one mile to BP HQ and sit down with the engineers for a one time pwo-wow with Shai.
        skierpage
        • 3 Years Ago
        Welcome, Better Place shill! Putting up a building around a trench and adding some nifty robots is not the same as operating a station full of expensive batteries sitting on the shelf. Talk to Yao Jianguo, director of the China State Grid smart grid research center, he mentioned the $15M costs. The Model S pack is an enormous shallow rectangular box that mounts to the bottom of the car (this apparently does wonders for the handling and crash resistance of the car). Oops, it's a completely different form factor and capacity than the Renault QuickDrop. So BP would have to stock two different kinds of batteries (thereby further hurting their dubious economic model). Multiply by 20 companies making different pack layouts and you see why standardization hasn't happened and is unlikely to happen for years. I don't see it happening until a 25 kWh pack is a small lump that fits within the frame of a car, or maybe the individual 20 kg slabs within the pack can be standardized. Claiming that you'll get your battery cheaper from BP is ludicrous. Leasing shifts costs in time, it doesn't reduce them. If you don't need the biggest Model S battery most of the time and you live near a dealer, you can the smaller battery and swap for longer trips. I love the *idea* of Better Place. If BP has swap stations on your route and you like the car models (one so far) that work with them, the financial hit may be worth it for the ability to drive long distances all -electric. Enjoy your Renault Fluence Z.E.
        • 3 Years Ago
        "Finally, what's the use of buying a 77K car which 95% of the time will do what a 25K car can do?" I live in a semi-rural area where I routinely have to make trips of 60-120 miles each way (but rarely longer) -- in the winter, so I need some extra charge. Because it's semi-rural, charging points are very slow to be introduced. For the same reason, Better Place is unlikely to set up in my area soon. If I were a city driver, I'd get a smaller-battery car, but I'm not, so they don't work for me I want off of gas so I'm not considering gas cars. So Tesla is it for me. The battery-swap option just offered by Tesla allows city drivers in, for instance, San Francisco, to rent a big battery for their occasional trips to the Sierra Nevada or wine country, while buying a 160 mile battery for their more typical trips. It seems like a nice feature. Better Place would be great, but it's not yet possible to standardize batteries enough for their business model to work, due to sheer battery size. BTW, Tesla batteries are temperature controlled at all times.
      letstakeawalk
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'd like to know what Musk and other Tesla people said when they hosted the Mercedes F-Cell during their world tour.
        Chris M
        • 3 Years Ago
        @letstakeawalk
        Probably asked them "what took them so long?" Tesla did their "round the world tour" last year, and they didn't need a fleet of refueling trucks following along, unlike the F-Cell.
        letstakeawalk
        • 3 Years Ago
        @letstakeawalk
        It's a serious question, one for which I've seen absolutely no press. Mercedes is an investor in Tesla, so we know there's going to be some tech sharing.
      Rotation
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is impractical. Unless they put stores all along I-80, I-5, I-75, etc. this is a fairly hollow gesture.
      • 3 Years Ago
      No Range Extender no deal for me. Don't count on me for battery swaps.
      electronx16
      • 3 Years Ago
      Unless Tesla shops become as numerous as McDonald's and at the same highway exit locations this plan makes no sense at all. I wonder if the pressure is getting to poor Elon....
        commentssyssucks
        • 3 Years Ago
        @electronx16
        there will be way more charge stations than McDonald soon. It's not like you can't recharge the rental pack. After driving for anything over 200 miles you usually take a quick stop anyways, perfect time to top up the pack a bit. Any trip over 300 miles i fly anyways and get a rental car at my destination. This is great since you only have to have the smallest pack for daily driving (160 miles is plenty for that). It also opens the door for after market packs.
      briang19
      • 3 Years Ago
      Totally impractical. Tesla has hardly any dealerships, and "road trips" generally mean going somewhere out-of-town where there will not be any Tesla dealerships. The Tesla is only good for city / local driving, but anyone owning one of these must have a 2nd car for any real trips. That's why I've ordered a Karma instead... no range anxiety, and certainly no impractical battery swapping option.
        skierpage
        • 3 Years Ago
        @briang19
        If this nice extra feature that no other BEV offers in the USA is "totally impractical", then presumably all the BEVs without it must be in the category "extra-more beyond totally impractical". Stop exaggerating. More than any other BEV announced so far, the Model S has all the checkboxes: high-power 14 kW level 2 charging, DC Fast charge, choice of big-bigger-humongous battery packs, and a means to temporarily swap in a battery pack from a dealer if your trip takes you near one. A network of thousands of swap stations along highways would be even better. But with zero compatible cars for the US market and swap station costs of $15M (according to Yao Jianguo, director of the State Grid Corporation of China), the Better Place model in the US is many years away. Enjoy your Karma [rolls eyes]
          • 3 Years Ago
          @skierpage
          Rotation, that is already my driving style: stop for an hour every two hours. With one driver, you HAVE to stop every 2 hours or you're not safe to drive on the road. With two drivers, you can swap repeatedly, but it remains unpleasant. Yes, the battery swapping doesn't mean much unless you happen to live (your battery pack size) miles south of Chicago and are heading to 250 miles north of Chicago. (Or substitute other major city for Chicago.) It does double effective range for people in that particular situation, so it seems Tesla might as well offer the facility (it's cheap for them to offer it). If Tesla ends up with a network of dealers located 250 miles apart, it will become a much more practical option. That seems like it might happen in Europe or down the Northeastern Seaboard, but is sadly not likely soon even between New York and Chicago (though I'd love to see a Tesla store in upstate New York).
          Rotation
          • 3 Years Ago
          @skierpage
          Yes, this is impractical for long trips. Yes, all BEVs without even this are also impractical for long trips. DC fast charge isn't fast on this car. At the max CHAdeMO charge rate it would take about an hour to 80% fill even the smallest Model S battery (160 mile). That means stopping to charge for an hour every 2ish hours (160*.8 = 128 miles).
        • 3 Years Ago
        @briang19
        Good luck with the Karma. It's vaporware. Tesla has at least manufactured and sold an electric car, unlike Fisker. But seriously, good luck. I have to correct you on "only good for city/local". The Tesla is quite suitable for 60-100 mile each-way round trips, in areas with a lack of charging facilities. That isn't "local" but might be called "regional". That's something no other electric car can do right now, and that is precisely the extent of my needs... so I'm getting a Tesla. If I have to go further, I'll take the train.
    • Load More Comments
    Advertisement
    2015 Ford Mustang
    MSRP: $23,800 - $46,170
    2015 Jeep Cherokee
    MSRP: $22,995 - $30,795
    2015 Subaru Forester
    MSRP: $22,195 - $33,095
    2015 Honda Accord
    MSRP: $22,105 - $33,630
    2015 Toyota Highlander
    MSRP: $29,665 - $44,040
    Advertisement