Tesla to demo quick-swap electric car batteries

Jun 18, 2013
The Tesla Motors logo is seen on the wheel of a car at Tesla Motors headquarters, May 20, 2010 in Palo Alto, California. Tesla Motors said Thursday it would demonstrate a way to quickly recharge electric cars by swapping drained batteries for fresh power cells.

Tesla Motors said Thursday it would demonstrate a way to quickly recharge electric cars by swapping drained batteries for fresh power cells.

Tesla chief executive and founder Elon Musk used popular the messaging service Twitter to put out word that a "live pack swap demo" was taking place at the company's design studio in the Southern California city of Hawthorne.

Video from the event was to be posted on the Tesla website about 0430 GMT on Friday, according to Musk.

Making it fast and easy to restore full power to electric is seen as a big step in winning over drivers hooked on the convenience of refueling vehicles that run on petrol.

Tesla last month said that Musk would invest $100 million in the surging electric , and that it would repay a loan from the ahead of schedule.

The California maker of high-priced said it would launch a new stock offering of some 2.7 million shares along with $450 million in convertible notes to raise fresh capital.

Musk was to purchase $45 million in common shares and another $55 million in a private share placement, the company said.

Tesla said it expected to raise some $830 million and use the proceeds to prepay a loan from the US Department of Energy.

The moves came amid a stunning surge in the value of Tesla, which has just a tiny share of the US car market but turned a profit for the first time in the past quarter.

Tesla shares were up slightly Tuesday to Wednesday to $102.83.

The shares have more than doubled this year after struggling through 2012 on production delays and questions about whether it could turn a profit.

On May 8, the California-based firm announced $11 million in net income for the first quarter as revenues rose 83 percent from the prior quarter to $562 million.

Tesla cited strong global demand for its $62,000-$87,000 Model S, saying it is receiving orders at a rate of more than 20,000 per year worldwide, adding that it seen "significant upside potential in Europe and Asia."

Although Tesla has been on the upswing, the road has grown bumpier for the electric .

Explore further: Researchers achieve 'holy grail' of battery design: A stable lithium anode

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TheGhostofOtto1923
1.6 / 5 (19) Jun 18, 2013
Just recently we learned this:

"Is EV battery swapping dying?
Better Place aimed very high, trying to make real the vision of a world where depleted electric car batteries could be swapped rapidly for fully charged ones. The task apparently proved too difficult for the startup: After burning through about $850 million of private investor money, it couldn't raise money anymore and had to file for bankruptcy. This follows the departure last fall of ex-CEO and company founder Shai Agassi, the man who was most closely associated with battery swapping."

-So it wasnt the concept that was bad but the company? Something else going on here?
Jeddy_Mctedder
2 / 5 (12) Jun 18, 2013
THe next timethe market crashes tesla will go bankrupt and secured debtholders will replace current equity holders. I would not be surprised if the big auto makers are the secured debt holders. Unsecured creditors will be blown out along with equity
antialias_physorg
2.6 / 5 (10) Jun 18, 2013
If they can make it work we may well look back to this day in terms of "you spent HOW long standing beside the pump in your day and age? ..."
Shootist
2.1 / 5 (14) Jun 18, 2013
Smart. Powering cars with coal.

Oh — what a world, what a world!
djr
3.3 / 5 (12) Jun 18, 2013
"Smart. Powering cars with coal."

Except that the U.S. is shutting down coal plants at a very rapid rate - and the fastest growing power sources are wind and solar - so if you follow the curves - it won't be too long we will all be driving electric cars - powered by cheap, clean, renewable energy sources.

http://cleantechn...markets/

Oh - what a world, what a world!
drjon4u2
1.7 / 5 (11) Jun 18, 2013
It is so stupid and inane to pull into a service center every 200-400 miles and wait to have your 400lb battery changed so you can continue on only to pull into another station, and another, that anyone who places money into this stock, or, buys one of these dogs and expects reliability is truly a fool and a tool of an untrustworthy government. Only a fake fiat currency printed by idiots would pay for this insanity. Do me a favor, don't come running back and ask for more government bailout, when this idiot's delight fails, for great revolutions have started from far less.
Horus
4.2 / 5 (5) Jun 18, 2013
Drjon: stop whining into a mirror. Musk also has a publicly traded solar power company and personally those free charging stations and now having removable batteries to boot makes these cars even more attractive. He also announced a commuter line to compete with Honda and the rest of the industry.

Sorry, but a fool is someone who keeps burning gasoline/petro and paying for the privilege to do so.
Aaron1980
2.3 / 5 (9) Jun 18, 2013
Of course... battery swapping is the only way to go with electric vehicles.

If they stop doing anything else and focus on this one thing we will be way ahead of the game.

Swapping is faster than filling a tank with gas. The same approach that is currently used with propane tanks.
antialias_physorg
3 / 5 (9) Jun 19, 2013
It is so stupid and inane to pull into a service center every 200-400 miles and wait to have your 400lb battery changed so you can continue on only to pull into another station, and another,

How is this different from pulling into a gas station to have your gas topped up? If the time taken for a battery swap is not significantly longer then I see no hardship, here.

Of course... battery swapping is the only way to go with electric vehicles.

As long as:
1) battery capacity is fairly low and batteries are faily large
2) batteries cannot be feasibly reloaded with a fluid (e.g. rechargeable ionic liquid batteries)

1) might change with zinc-air or sodium-air batteries, which may give you ranges where the times when you need to recharge may be few and far between.
2) might change with flow batteries
https://en.wikipe..._battery
hemitite
5 / 5 (3) Jun 19, 2013
One good thing about battery swapping it that the current cars would get better cheaper batteries as a matter of course as time goes on. The owner of the car may not even own its battery but just pay a monthly bill to the power cell provider. That would cut way down on the purchase price of these vehicles.
nkalanaga
not rated yet Jun 19, 2013
Battery swapping works for other consumer devices, why not cars? And, as Hemitite says, as batteries get better, everyone will benefit, not just those buying new cars.
antialias_physorg
2.1 / 5 (8) Jun 19, 2013
One good thing about battery swapping it that the current cars would get better cheaper batteries as a matter of course as time goes on.


- Different batteries supply different voltages which are determined by the material mix.
- Different battery types may require different charging speeds/characteristisc.
- Different battery types may require different operating temperatures,

So while it may sound nice to just dump an old battery tech and plug in a newer one it's not as straight forward as all that.

So you cabn't just swap out a lithium ion battery for a zinc air one.
hemitite
5 / 5 (1) Jun 19, 2013
AP,
I suppose that the folks in the swapping business might supply different batteries for different car types, or the cars themselves might me designed to accommodate different battery packs.

After all there are usually three different types of gas and sometimes diesel oil at the corner gas station, along with all the different sorts of batteries and engine oil for the wants and needs of different cars and their drivers. I don't see how this situation would be any different.
antialias_physorg
2.3 / 5 (6) Jun 19, 2013
Supplying different battery types is an adequate solution for swapping (if the number of different/standard systems is smallish) but not for upgrading your battery pack to something better - which is what nkalanaga was asking about. For that you will need (at the very least) new control electronics and (at worst) entirly different environmental control.

Though you certainly won't need to swap out the more costly part (as you would if you wanted to 'upgrade' from gasoline to diesel.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.4 / 5 (18) Jun 19, 2013
So you cabn't just swap out a lithium ion battery for a zinc air one
-without some design and planning and standards that is. Upgrading an interface module and software might happen from time to time, like swapping out your cpu.

One reason that Better Place went bankrupt was that batteries cost around $15k apc. Swapping for cheaper batteries as they become available would be worth it.
Inspector Spacetime
3.7 / 5 (3) Jun 19, 2013
Musk is cool. An innovator trying to leave the world better than he found it. Every day, I see more hybrid cars on the road, but not many electric cars. I have a feeling that will change. Price of petrol will keep going up. What I really like is what he's doing for commercial spaceflight and his dream of getting us to Mars.
nkalanaga
5 / 5 (1) Jun 20, 2013
There are different flashlight etc. battery techs too, carbon-zinc, alkaline, nicad, etc, but they're all interchangeable. Some hold more charge than others, but the output voltage is the same, and there's no reason car batteries couldn't be built the same way.
Eikka
2.3 / 5 (6) Jun 20, 2013
The reason why battery swapping doesn't work is the number of redundant batteries one needs to have on every "power station" to be able to serve a number of customers, because there's simply not enough time to recharge the empties if and when you get 50 customers per hour coming in for a new battery.

Every dinky little fuel stop has to stock batteries just in case, because there will be a moment when there's more than one customer per hour, and if that happens and they don't have a full battery then the whole point of it is lost. You can't even use them for grid balancing because they need to be full and waiting ready.

That means more batteries per car, most of which just sit idle and rot, which means more cost per mile for the service.

Someone's got to pay for it.
islatas
5 / 5 (1) Jun 20, 2013
The hardest part of this will be settling on industry standards. After that keeping up with battery tech may just involve keeping the control systems on the battery packs. That wouldn't be anything new. The computer industry has been doing it for peripherals and storage for a long time. No one has said batteries would have to be charged on site. Gasoline isn't refined on site and somehow there's enough for rush hour. Think bigger. Not every station would 'need' to supply batteries or all grades of batteries. Not every station in the US now has diesel, bio, off-road LSD, or kero and all those fuels are extremely viable here.
nkalanaga
not rated yet Jun 21, 2013
Eikka: THAT is valid objection. Of course, they won't just sit and rot, as they'll be rotated in and out of service, but setting up the initial service facilities will be a major enterprise.

On the other hand, they currently have to stock hundreds or thousands of gallons of fuel, and have it delivered regularly. Would the batteries and chargers be more expensive, or take more space, than the storage tanks, pumps, and enough fuel to fill them the first time? After all, they won't have to have truckloads of new batteries every day, they'll be recycling the old ones, unlike liquid fuels.

Lastly, there weren't any "filling stations" when the first internal combustion cars came out. Gasoline was sold as a cleaning solvent, at hardware stores, and many of the cars were designed to run on multiple fuels, including ethanol and kerosene. It's possible that the first battery stations will be in major cities, and won't go nationwide until there's a critical mass of vehicles.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.3 / 5 (15) Jun 21, 2013
Here is a vid of musk and switching out 2 car batteries in the time it takes to fill one audi gas tank
https://www.youtu...Ev2f_Uhw

Re switching or charging he says 'Which do you want - fast or free?'
The reason why battery swapping doesn't work is the number of redundant batteries one needs to have on every "power station"
And how do you know they wouldnt be modular and standardized? How do you know the govt wouldnt mandate such standards?
Eikka
2.3 / 5 (3) Jun 22, 2013
Would the batteries and chargers be more expensive, or take more space, than the storage tanks, pumps, and enough fuel to fill them the first time?


Very much so on both counts.

The energy density of gasoline is 30-50 times greater than lithium batteries, and even given the difference in engine efficiency, an equivalent amount of batteries would take 10 times the space to store, and batteries are a huge investment in comparison to a steel tank and a row of pumps.

One point of battery swapping is that you can recharge the batteries slowly to limit the amount of power you have to deliver to a station, and the damage done to the batteries by high currents. If you take 8 hours to recharge a battery, you need as many batteries stockpiled as you expect to have customers during that 8 hours, and some spare ones just in case. If you try to recharge the batteries as fast as they come in, you might as well do it directly instead of swapping.

nkalanaga
not rated yet Jun 22, 2013
Up front, yes, but one also has to consider the cost of refilling the tank, which would be higher than the cost of the electricity. Once the initial supply of batteries is paid for, the only battery cost is replacing the ones that wear out.

I imagine that it will be a slow process, regardless of current cost ratios, but someday we'll have replaceable battery packs for cars. It took years to build the infrastructure for liquid fuels, and the same will be true for electric vehicles.
gwrede
1 / 5 (6) Jun 22, 2013
but not for upgrading your battery pack to something better - which is what nkalanaga was asking about. For that you will need (at the very least) new control electronics and (at worst) entirly different environmental control.
Ever heard of standardization?

For example, the same USB device can be used by Mac, Windows, Linux, and your cell phone. Some of them need lots of power, like an external hard drive, and some of them provide services, like wlan, broadband, or measuring instruments.

Compared to that, the fact that a battery basically needs to provide voltage, power, and specs to the car, I see no problem here. When inserted, the battery tells the car its specs, and the car either adjusts to them (for example, if the battery is of lower strength, then the car might restrict your gas pedal to not go all the way to "the metal"), or rejects the battery with a loud beep. It's like with solid state vs hard disk drives, the computer couldn't care less!
gwrede
1.6 / 5 (7) Jun 22, 2013
I simply have a hard time understanding why folks here see such a mountain of problems with swapping batteries at the gas station. If the government decided that starting in 2015 all electric cars and gas stations were to work with swappable batteries, the industry would accommodate in no time, flat!

All batteries are made of many small cells, so we could agree on, say, 400V as the voltage. Or we could agree that there should be three voltages, like 300, 600 and 1200. The smallest for sub-compacts, the middle for regular cars, and the largest for heavy duty pickups, limos, or monster trucks.

The batteries would have a digital interface which tells the car its volts, amperes, and hours. (Sony has sold such camcorder batteries for at least 20 years already. I have some.) Cool cars could have two battery bays, and these could be connected in series or parallel according to the whim of the day of the driver, on the dash pad. That is no problem with modern motor electronics, at all.
gwrede
1.6 / 5 (7) Jun 22, 2013
We then have the issue of batteries of different condition (worn out vs brand new) and different versions (newer being better, of course). How do you distribute the cost in a fair manner?

Since these batteries would contain a small computer anyway, you could be charged by energy actually used (vs today's gas stations, where you pay for the energy you're going to use with the next tankful of gas). The computer in the battery would tell the gas station how much energy you _really_ used from it, and that would be the price you pay.

The price of already used energy could be visible on the dashboard. Of course poor people would have to stay by the roadside till they can beg or steal enough money to go to the gas station, but hey, when has America really cared for the poor?
philw1776
1.6 / 5 (7) Jun 23, 2013
Musk is an innovator and a disruptor. I wish his endeavors well. "Get you ass to Mars!"
Pkunk_
1.7 / 5 (6) Jun 24, 2013
Just recently we learned this:

"Is EV battery swapping dying?
Better Place aimed very high, trying to make real the vision of a world where depleted electric car batteries could be swapped rapidly for fully charged ones. The task apparently proved too difficult for the startup: ...."


If anyone can do it , it's Musk.
There is one critical difference , Musk isn't doing this because he believes in a green utopia where everyone runs on Solar power and has windmills in their home. Or most importantly he isn't doing it for the EASY money that anything "green" can get.
The man has a well-made reputation of success. He succeeded to send rockets to the ISS at SpaceX . And with Tesla he took the right track. Don't go after the mass market , but make Electric cars for people with millions in the bank who buy electric cars because of the "kewl" and elite factor.
antialias_physorg
3.4 / 5 (5) Jun 24, 2013
Well, it looks like the time for a swap is very competitive.
This site has the demo with comparative video for gassing up (for those who can't see it: they did two swaps in the time it took for one car to gas up). Pretty neat.
http://venturebea...p-video/
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.5 / 5 (16) Jun 24, 2013
Well, it looks like the time for a swap is very competitive.
This site has the demo with comparative video for gassing up (for those who can't see it: they did two swaps in the time it took for one car to gas up). Pretty neat.
Oh sorry aa but I already posted that a few feet farther up the thread. Do try to keep up-
antialias_physorg
2.7 / 5 (7) Jun 25, 2013
Oh sorry aa but I already posted that a few feet farther up the thread. Do try to keep up-

You know I don't read sockpuppet-talk, therefore waste time on your posts only very occasionally.
antialias_physorg
3 / 5 (8) Jun 25, 2013
Awww...made another voting sockpuppet just for me? I'm flattered.

You're just the most hilarious loser the internet has ever seen.
ryggesogn2
2.6 / 5 (10) Jun 25, 2013
I simply have a hard time understanding why folks here see such a mountain of problems with swapping batteries at the gas station.


Why a gas station with all the rules and regulation for underground tanks, etc.

Tesla should create his own swap shops, create the standard battery and let others follow his lead, or not.
The battery powered hand tool industry has not settled on a standard, but we do have standard 12V lead acid and AAA, AA, C, and D cells.
For even added hype, build it under a windmill generator.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.3 / 5 (13) Jun 25, 2013
Awww...made another voting sockpuppet just for me? I'm flattered.

You're just the most hilarious loser the internet has ever seen.
You sound upset. I haven't downrated you in weeks aa but when I do I dont use sockpuppets. Why bother? And I don't try to enlist the support of the genuine vermin infesting this site, by accusing you of doing so, do I?

And I don't lie.

You're too lazy and inconsiderate to read through the thread before posting? Well we've seen that before haven't we?

Keep up the good work. You always give me the chance to say something witty and intelligent.
Estevan57
3 / 5 (20) Jun 26, 2013
It is too bad you are neither witty, nor intelligent.
antialias_physorg
3.7 / 5 (6) Jun 26, 2013
You sound upset.

Nope - amused ;-)

See: At least DavidW used his own alias when going on a downvote spree. He was a religious nutcase fanatic - but at least he put his name where his mouth was. That is something worthy of respect (even if the action was childish in itself).

You on the other hand? you ballot stuff. You use sockpuppets to argue. Yet you somehow argue for democracy?
You are rabidly nationalistic. Yet you decry that tribalism is one of the big evils inthis world?

Look in the mirror. By your OWN standards the source of all the problems you decry in the world will look right back at you.

And that...that I can't respect. If you're evil - then at the very least own up to it.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.3 / 5 (14) Jun 26, 2013
but at least he put his name where his mouth was. That is something worthy of respect
What you are specifically accusing me of, is something I did not do.
You on the other hand? you ballot stuff.
Your friends ethelred and frajo and skeptic heretic used to gangrate poor zephyr and others as well. One of them dropped me a full point. Would you disparage them as well?
You use sockpuppets to argue.
Only for comedic effect.
Yet you somehow argue for democracy?
I argue that all political systems are a sham. Purpose-built, Controlled from Above and Beyond. Have I not been clear on this?
You are rabidly nationalistic
No im not. this is your default category for people who disagree with you (and happen to be right).
Yet you decry that tribalism is one of the big evils inthis world?
I never said this. I said it is an unavoidable condition. It can be extended over the entire species and this is what the west is doing.
THE_ANTIPHILO
1 / 5 (8) Jun 26, 2013
Look in the mirror. By your OWN standards the source of all the problems you decry in the world will look right back at you.
Well thank you dr spock.
And that...that I can't respect. If you're evil - then at the very least own up to it.
Ok then Im evil. Here I have proof for you:
http://www.youtub...tEUqKAeI
Eikka
5 / 5 (1) Jul 03, 2013
If the government decided that starting in 2015 all electric cars and gas stations were to work with swappable batteries, the industry would accommodate in no time, flat!


Yes. The industry would accomodate by killing the electric car again until the gov decides to repeal the ruling, because it's an unworkable proposition that would drive gasoline station owners bankcrupt and cause extra costs to manufacturers who are already sruggling with high manufacturing costs and low demand.