Anyone who has driven extensively on Interstate 5 between Los Angeles and San Francisco will be more than familiar with the rather funky smell of cow manure in the Coalinga area about halfway between the two cities. Tesla Motors is running a battery-swapping station at that locale that has some wondering if it passes the smell test.

Tesla's battery-swapping station is said to be able to switch out one of the vehicles' batteries in less than three minutes. That's great – if is was open to the public. As of right now, the station is open only to a "small number" of owners participating in a pilot program, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Tesla confirmed that the station was operating under limited use but declined to elaborate. There are more than a few who think that the station is operating only to benefit from California's zero-emissions vehicle (ZEV) credit system.

The state of California, which reduced the number of credits each Model S generates starting with 2014 model year vehicles, grants a larger number of valuable ZEV credits for cars that have the ability to swap batteries, so the station could be just a way for Tesla to generate a lot of credits. For now, though, given the situation, most Tesla drivers shouldn't bother trying to access that lone swapping station anytime soon.

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Tesla Model S Battery Swap Demonstration

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