Tesla announced today that their cars and infrastructure will be capable of swapping battery packs in less than half the time it takes to fill up a car with gas. While there are many “early adopters”, Tesla knows that it won’t be able to sell a significant amount of cars unless the skeptics can be convinced. They started to hush the nay sayers with the Supercharger network, wherein Model S owners will be able to charge the battery to 50% in 30 minutes. These Supercharger Stations will eventually cover the whole of the U.S.
Supercharger stations will come to be known as “Tesla Stations”. Serving two functions, these Tesla Stations will allow Model S owners (and presumably, owners of future models) to charge the battery for free in 30 minutes, or swap out the battery in less than 2 minutes for between $60 and $80. Once the driver positions the car on the platform, the battery pack swap is an automated process. Elon Musk demonstrated the process today in an event that showed a big luxury sedan (Audi A8) being filled up at a gas station in Los Angeles. During the time it took fill up at the gas station, 2 Teslas had their battery packs swapped, and were on their way.
Tesla will require the owner to reclaim their original battery pack on the return trip, or pay the difference for a new battery. Each battery pack carries its own warranty, and would be prorated depending on its age.
During the presentation, Musk said, “The only decision you need to make when you come to one of our Tesla Stations is, Do you prefer faster, or free?” Tesla believes the future of the automobile is electric, and is not only making great cars to sway people’s opinions, but is now planning on making it faster and more convenient than a gas station.
See the video below for the presentation