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Tesla’s battery swap program won’t help the rest of us EV drivers

June 21, 2013

Elon Musk of Tesla Motors has announced his plans to build battery swapping stations for the Model S even as the very cool Better Place stations have failed.
Click here for the story and video
At about $80 a pop to swap out the battery, going to these stations will be quite pricey compared to the cost of charging a Tesla. Still, it is the closest you can get to filling up on juice in less time than it takes to fill a traditional vehicle with gasoline.

Swapping on a regular basis would get expensive and probably wouldn’t be necessary except on long trips, but it probably is what is needed to convince skeptics that EV driving can be as reliable and spontaneous as a driving a gas guzzler.

I would have definitely paid the price to swap out the battery on my husband’s Nissan Leaf when my patience was running thin on our road trip from Silicon Valley to Malibu over Memorial Day weekend.

But, of course, it appears that these swapping stations will only be for Tesla drivers. It continues to bug me that Tesla is building its own exclusive infrastructure, even as people tell me that Musk is setting the standard for the EV world.
Perhaps, but for now at least, the majority of Americans cannot afford to buy a Tesla.
Maybe I am just jealous that we had to spend about five hours charging at each stop on our Road trip while Tesla drivers will soon get a full charge in a mere 90 seconds.
What are your thoughts?
Will other EV car companies follow Musk’s lead?

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2 Comments
  1. GGPA permalink

    I do not see battery swapping taking off for Tesla, or anybody type of EV. It would not surprise me if Tesla knows this, but the offer the service because “it probably is what is needed to convince EV skeptics”

    From the Tesla video it seems they will be offering the battery swap at the same places where you can already get a fast DC charge. We have a Leaf and we have used Quickcharge a few times and I find the 30 minutes (or less) not inconvenient.

    So I am sure I would not pay $80 for a battery swap in such a situation. Also, EV batteries are really expen$ive, and what is my guarantee that I am receiving a good 12-bar battery and not a dud?

  2. You allude to the next generation of Tesla cars, I think you hit something. Scenario:say your Leaf lease is over in the three years and you want to buy a 35K Tesla III gen and it has supercharging stations throughout the nation. Your supposed “local” EV is not tethered anymore.

    The benefit is not now for non-Tesla drives, but down the road for future EV owners. What about that value proposition in three years, buying an American EV car from a company that chutzpah to build their own network.

    The DOE has moved past public charging stations and now are targeting Workplace charging stations.

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