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Tesla Battery Swap Takes 90 Seconds, Technology Will Come This Year

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Tesla Motors is doing all it can to make the electric car a more user-friendly proposition. One of the greatest disadvantages of EVs is battery-charging time, which takes a lot more than filling up a conventional car with petrol. Tesla Motors has been working on a solution to this problem and came up with a battery swapping technology.

Mind you, it’s not a novel idea, as the now-defunct Better Place company was the first to implement it. However, Tesla has great confidence in its technology, which was demonstrated to hundreds of owners of Tesla EVs last night. Swapping the depleted battery of a Model S takes just over 90 seconds, less than half the time it takes to refill a gas tank.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the technology will be available towards the end of the year, starting in California, with the Boston-D.C. corridor to follow. As the demonstration showed, the battery swap is done automatically, with the driver not having to exit the car. The Model S pulled over a hole in the stage and an automated machine disconnected the battery, removed it and replaced it with a fully charged one.

Musk said swapping the battery would cost about $60-$80 (€45-€60), or the price of about 15 gallons of gas. The company will bill a credit card on file for the cost. The users can also pick up their original battery pack, fully charged, for the same price. However, if users don’t want to make another swap, they can keep the pack received on the first swap and pay a determined amount of money if the battery is newer. The warranty will be the balance of the standard 8-year term, dependent on the age of the pack they received.

There’s also a second option – receiving the original battery pack from Tesla for a transport fee, which will be announced later. Musk says each battery swap location will cost $500,000 (€378,000) and that they’ll be adjacent to the Supercharger stations. Each will have about 50 batteries available, and reservations won’t be required. The Superchargers will continue to be available without cost.

By Dan Mihalascu

Story References: Tesla via Forbes

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