Tesla to Demo On-the-Road Battery Swapping
Tesla 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.