After substantial fanfare, Tesla Motors launched a battery-swapping program on a pilot basis last year. The concept was that electric-vehicle owners could pay about $60 to swap out their batteries for a temporary (and fully-charged) one, then return it later. Now, it appears that the program is no longer in effect, Teslarati says.

Tesla had been operating its battery-swapping station just off of California's Interstate 5 in the town of Coalinga, about halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Tesla had retrofitted a car wash in order to run the program, as pictures from early last year showed. The idea was that, instead of waiting for a full recharge from either a standard, fast-charging, or Supercharger device, a Tesla owner could swap in a new, temporary battery in about three-minutes time, similar to filling up with a tank of gas (and let's forget for a moment that filling up in Coalinga on a holiday weekend can take a lot longer than the 30 minutes it takes to get those 170 miles of Tesla range from a Supercharger).

Tesla said as far back as 2009 that the Model S was designed to accommodate battery swaps, and Tesla chief Elon Musk first displayed the process in 2013, showing at the time that a swap could be performed in as little as 90 seconds. Alas, that option may be gone, though Coalinga does boast its own Supercharger. A Tesla representative didn't immediately respond to a request for comment from Autoblog about the status of the swap station.

Still, while the battery-swapping program may have been shelved, that decision may not be permanent. Last month, technical drawings surfaced from a 2014 patent filing that illustrated Tesla's battery-pack swapping system, with the implication that the technology could really hit its stride when used for commercial purposes.

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