Tesla Battery Swap Q&A And Demo Videos

The big electric car news of the week was surely the Tesla Model S battery pack swap demo that I wrote about yesterday. Tesla had been hinting about it for weeks… or years, depending on how you count. But I don’t think anyone anticipated that the battery swap would take just 90 seconds. (Okay, fine, some Tesla enthusiasts probably had the idea….)

As some people noted, it would have been nice if the demo gave us a better view of the actually swap… couldn’t really see much of that.

Also, Tesla CEO and Chairman Elon Musk somehow didn’t have a script for what to say while the swap was happening and while their Audi guy (Javier) was filling up his gas tank in LA. (Say wha?) As some of our commenters noted, he could have used that time to give us more details about the battery swapping that was going on. Not really sure why that wasn’t planned better….

However, a lot of interesting details and comments were provided in the Q&A, which we’ve got videos of below. And a 90-second battery swap — even at $60 to $80 — is likely to appeal to a number of time-sensitive Tesla Model S drivers who value their time at more than $120 or $160 per hour. So, I think it’s pretty exciting to see that Tesla is now going to offer this option.

One of our readers who was at the event has shared a bunch of videos from the demo and Q&A on YouTube. Check them out.

This first video includes the intro to the video shared yesterday (not part of that Tesla video). There’s some really good and funny stuff in here from Elon.

These next three are videos of segments of the event that were included in the video we shared yesterday.

And the next 13 are videos of the Q&A session that followed the demo:

Interestingly, that answer above gives us more information than we reported yesterday. Yesterday, we noted that the driver could get his battery pack back on his return trip or could keep the new battery pack and pay Tesla the difference between its value and the older battery pack’s value. However, here, Elon adds that there’s also the option of having Tesla deliver your old pack back to you wherever you are! You just pay for the transport cost of that.


Interesting to hear in the video above that the price of a battery swap will vary by location based on the price of gasoline in that area. Interesting idea.

So, he indicates in the video above that these battery swap stations are likely to be available starting in the 4th quarter.

As I think has been pretty clear for awhile, Elon notes Tesla is “fundamentally production limited,” not demand limited. In other words, it’s producing all the cars it can in order to supply them to customers who have ordered them. And that should be the case through the end of the year. Nothing new, but apparently some people aren’t aware of that.

For those of you interested in ARB issues — in particular, the possibility of battery swapping not qualifying for such credits — hopefully the rumination and Elon’s points above are useful to you.

Better Place was “better at marketing than they were at engineering.” Ouch….

I love that Elon is open to selling the battery swapping technology only if “they make it as convenient as we do.” In other words, no screwing up or highjacking the customer convenience solution! Musk is a clear EV pioneer who wants to help the world to change in a positive way.

Interesting stuff. Your thoughts?

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