Tesla To Demo Electric Car Battery-Swapping

One of the key features of Tesla's electric cars hasn't been seen yet—but that's about to change with a demonstration of the battery swap-out tech.

Tesla's CEO Elon Musk announced via Twitter that his range of electric cars will get its first battery-swap demonstration this Thursday, June 20th at 8 p.m. in California.

One issue with electric cars is that, due to the hard physics and chemistry of battery design, batteries can't be recharged very quickly. This means that while a car that runs on gas can pull into a gas station, fill up with fuel, and drive off in mere moments, an electric car takes hours for a full charge and a much longer interval for a quick top-up charge.

Tesla's solution to this is an automated device that can slide out a drained battery from a car and swap it for a fully charged one. It's not been seen yet, due to technical difficulties.

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  • EVJuice

    Kit writes: " It's not been seen yet, due to technical difficulties."This comes across as pretty slimy as there is no proof of this whatsoever.

  • Couchindale

    I've struggled for ten years to understand why this was not originally designed into electric cars... cooperative induistry development of a standad batpack form factor (i.e. CD / DVD) and hot swap.

  • Bob_Wallace

    It's not clear that battery swapping is needed.  With 200 mile range EVs and <20 minute 90% recharging one can drive all day (more than 500 miles) with only two modest stops.  Almost everyone driving a gasmobile stops that much now.

    With battery swapping you need a supply of batteries and you either need the ability to recharge those batteries very quickly (same as in the first paragraph) or you need a honkin' big load of batteries that you charge on a 24 hour basis.

    Swapping has high capital costs.  Extra batteries, real estate, swapping machinery.

    Swapping would probably lead us to a battery lease system.  You'd lose possession of the battery you purchased with your car.  Leasing could be better or not as good, jury is out. 

    If EV batteries stay very expensive then leasing would make EVs more attractive to some people - lower initial purchase price for the car.  But batteries are likely to become very affordable.  (There's some indication that they are getting there quickly.)