John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Tesla to Demo On-the-Road Battery Swapping

tesla_model_sTesla founder Elon Musk has long maintained that the battery pack in the company’s Model S electric cars is so easily removed and replaced that it can be swapped out mid-journey, eliminating the need for charging stopovers when driving longer distances. On Thursday, he said, the company will deliver on that promise.

In a Tuesday morning tweet, Musk announced plans for a live battery pack swap demo this Thursday at 8 pm PT.

If all goes well, this could be a milestone event for Tesla, which suffered some bad PR this year after a New York Times article questioned the viability of its cars for long-range trips. The company has been working hard to address the issue of long-distance travel, announcing plans at D11 to dramatically accelerate development of its network of Supercharger battery-charging stations, giving Tesla customers coast-to-coast coverage.

Enabling easy Model S battery swaps would bolster this strategy even more. Right now, it takes about seven hours to recharge a Model S at home, and an hour at a Supercharger station. Offering folks the ability to simply swap out a battery would obviously drastically shorten that time. Problem is, Tesla batteries weigh in excess of 1,000 pounds.

But Musk is nothing if not a visionary, as he demonstrated in abundance at D11. And he’s clearly got a viable solution in mind. We’ll learn what it is on Thursday, and perhaps hear a bit more about the “specialized public battery swapping facilities” that Tesla says it plans to introduce in the future.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work