Anyone who wants to fan the flames of frustration with Tesla Motors over the strange way that the battery swap feature in the Model S has been rolled out, pay attention. Speaking at the 2015 Annual Shareholder Meeting in Mountain View, CA yesterday, CEO Elon Musk basically said that his company's Superchargers are too good and too free for people to want to swap their battery packs. And that we shouldn't expect to see more of the technology in the future.

In response to a shareholder who followed-up on the accessibility of the one, lonely and underused battery swap station, Musk said the following:

We have, basically, the LA-to-San Francisco pack swap capability in place, and I believe all Model S owners in the California area have been invited at this point to try it out. And what we're seeing is a very low take rate for the pack swap station. So we did an initial round of invitations, where we did basically, like, 200 invitations, and I think there were a total of four or five people that wanted to do that, and they all did it just once. So, like, okay, clearly it's not very popular. And then we said, okay, let's expand that invitation to all customers, but I would expect that all customers behave roughly like that initial sample group.

It's just, people don't care about pack swap. The Superchargers are fast enough that if you're driving from LA to San Francisco, and you start a trip at 9 AM, by the time you get to, say, noon, you want to stop, and you want to stretch your legs, hit the restroom, grab a bite to eat, grab a coffee, and be on your way, and by that time, the car is charged and ready to go, and it's free. So, it's like, why would you do the pack swap? It doesn't make much sense.

We built the pack swap into the car because we weren't sure if people would want to choose the pack swap or not. We thought people would prefer Supercharging, but we weren't sure, so that's why we built the pack swap capability in. And, you know, based on what we're seeing here, it's unlikely to be something that's worth expanding in the future, unless something changes.

In other words, no one should expect the Model X to have much in the way of battery swap capability. For some, this will not be a surprise at all. Of course, the fact that the one battery swap station is barely used shouldn't be a big surprise, since it isn't nearly as easy to use as the free and available Superchargers. You don't need to make an appointment to use those, either.

There's currently no embedding option for yesterday's meeting video, so you'll need to click here to watch. The battery swap comments come at about the hour-and-ten-minutes mark.

Related Video:

Tesla Model S Battery Swap Demonstration

Share This Photo X