Over the last few years we have seen Tesla Motors mention on numerous occasions it is looking at the option of offering battery swap facilities for Tesla car owners. While so far these comments have not materialised in the shape of new services to Tesla car owners, there is a growing suspicion that the Tesla Model S could be the guinea pig for this new offering. What has changed?
While the company has said nothing directly about offering imminent battery swap facilities, a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission made for interesting reading. Tesla Motors suggested in this filing that it was looking at public facilities to offer a rapid battery swapping service using "specialised public facilities". So far the company has not expanded on this particular comment but it seems almost certain battery swapping facilities are on the way.
What are battery swapping facilities?
One of the major problems, if not the major problem in the eyes of many people, is the fact that electric vehicles run on batteries, which can sometimes take hours to recharge. Even the more efficient and the more high-tech batteries depend upon high-tech charging facilities and can still take a lot longer than "filling up at the gasoline station". A number of companies have been looking at battery swapping facilities and indeed there are such services already available.
In simple terms, you would turn up at the battery swapping facility and your Tesla battery pack would be removed and replaced with a fully charged identical set. The idea is that as each Tesla vehicle goes through the swapping facility the previous batteries which were empty will be recharged and ready for reuse. There is obviously a cost for this particular service and we await with anticipation more details from Tesla Motors.
Quote from ElectricForum.com : "Last week I setup an appointment for a test drive with the new Model S. I've seen the car, sat in it, and messed around with the display previously in the show room, and have been waiting for them to get a test drive vehicle locally so I can give it a spin."
Why is this top-secret?
Tesla Motors, along with many other popular and successful electric car manufacturers, has a history of keeping its new technology and new services under wraps. This then allows the company to release information in a blaze of glory and grab the headlines of the worldwide motoring press. Mark our words, this is exactly what Tesla Motors will do, whether it is next week, next month or later in the year!
We are also awaiting further details on an expansion of the supercharger network which allows a Tesla Model S battery pack to be charged in just 30 minutes offering a 150 mile journey capacity. Indeed in optimum conditions a full charge will be completed in just over an hour, offering around 265 mile journey capacity. These are phenomenal figures and a service which Tesla Motors has worked long and hard perfecting. Now perhaps it makes sense to keep all of this information under wraps and release in a blaze of glory?
While battery swapping facilities are not new, and are indeed available in some parts of the U.S. already, Tesla Motors seems to do it better than anybody else. This is a company on the cutting-edge of not only electric motoring technology, but also battery charging technology. This is a company which has already indicated to the stock market that an announcement regarding battery swapping facilities and other add-on services is imminent.
There is a growing opinion that Tesla Motors is literally dragging the electric car industry onto the next level and while some of the technology currently in use is not feasible for low-tech electric cars, we will no doubt see similar watered-down forms of the technology with relation to battery power, recharging facilities, etc. Tesla Motors could well be the saviour of the electric car market after the recent funding debacles which have seen a number of electric car related companies struggle financially.