Tesla Says One Battery-Swapping Site Will Go Live In December


Photo of Tesla Model S battery swapping versus 'fastest gas pump in LA' tweeted by Elon Musk

Photo of Tesla Model S battery swapping versus 'fastest gas pump in LA' tweeted by Elon Musk

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For more than a year, Tesla Motors has promised to open battery-swapping stations.

It first demonstrated the technology over year ago, but little progress has been seen since then. Instead, the electric-car maker has aggressively expanded its Supercharger network of DC fast-charging stations.

Apparently, though, it hasn't forgotten battery swapping.

MORE: Tesla Model S Battery Swapping: Will It Ever Actually Arrive?

SlashGear reports that Tesla will open its first battery-swapping station before the end of the year, in California.

The station will be located between San Francisco and Los Angeles, presumably to afford Model S drivers a quicker travel time between the two cities.

2014 Tesla Model S 'P85D' all-wheel-drive model

2014 Tesla Model S 'P85D' all-wheel-drive model

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In Tesla's June 2013 demonstration, the battery-swapping system removed a battery pack from underneath a Model S and replaced it with a fully-charged one in around 90 seconds.

At the time, Tesla said customers would have to return for their original battery packs or pay some kind of surcharge, but hasn't discussed any details of that process since.

And unlike the free-to-use Superchargers, the company also said it would charge a fee for the battery swap itself.

RELATED: California Hands Loss To Tesla In Proposed ZEV Credit Changes

The station may not even be open to the public. Instead, it may be only be used for testing or demonstration purposes, possibly by a fleet operator.

Battery swapping appears to have become less attractive to Tesla since rule changes eliminated its ability to earn extra Zero-Emission Vehicle credits form the California Air Resources Board (CARB).

Better Place Battery Swapping

Better Place Battery Swapping

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The rules originally allowed to Tesla to earn extra credits because battery swapping was considered a fast "refueling" technology under the arcane system.

Without the potential for profit from selling credits to other carmakers, battery swapping is much less compelling from a business standpoint.

The only other commercial battery-swapping service was Israel's Better Place, which filed for bankruptcy last year after attracting roughly 2,000 users in about one year of operation.

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