Elon Musk's reality check on Tesla battery swap stations

When Tesla CEO Elon Musk makes a new product announcement, an unquestionably exciting feeling stirs the air. Often held at either a Tesla or SpaceX facility in California and full of invited Model S drivers and EV fans, these launches draw rousing cheers from the crowd reminiscent of Steve Jobs and his " one more thing."

But sometimes the cold hard light of reality hits these new products right in the face and they are basically ignored after the rousing introduction. The battery swap technology in the Model S is the most obvious example of something Musk and his fans were cheering for that never quite took off. There are a few theories why this technology didn't become popular (the fact that there was only one, half-built swap station is one obvious drawback), but the fact is that battery swapping appears dead.

Sometimes it is enlightening to see how Musk promoted something before and after the fact. We've edited together two pertinent clips of Musk speaking at the exciting first battery swapping demonstration in 2013 and then a much more somber analysis of the technology from the shareholder meeting this week. You could watch the full videos for context here, but if you'd just like to see the messages juxtaposed in one three-minute clip, click the video above.

Share This Photo X