As usual, it all started with a tweet from Elon Musk saying “There is a way for the Tesla Model S to be recharged throughout the country faster than you could fill a gas tank.” What can you understand from that?
The usual suspect would be battery swapping. Musk is now thinking that, while they’re advancing and building Supercharger after Supercharger all over the U.S. and Europe, why shouldn’t they use the Better Place approach? That is – swapping the empty battery with a freshly-charged one on the way, an operation that, truly, wouldn’t take more than a minute or so.
In 2011, Elon said (quoted by Autoblog): “When people take an occasional two-way long distance trip, they’ll get a replacement pack and then pick up their original one on the way back. The issue of giving up your one-year old pack for a three-year old one goes away.”
If electricity for charging the Teslas is free and comes from the Sun itself, then what’s stopping the most successful entrepreneur of our times do it? Maybe he’s waiting to buy Better Place, or maybe they’re testing their own, better system – better than Better Place’s, anyway.
Tesla’s quarterly report said at one point: “other factors that may influence the adoption of alternative fuel vehicles, and specifically electric vehicles, include … our capability to rapidly swap out the Model S battery pack and the development of specialized public facilities to perform such swapping, which do not currently exist but which we plan to introduce in the near future.”
So Tesla is actually publicly recognizing that the battery swapping model probably works (why shouldn’t it?). Now they didn’t offer any new information on that, but Sarah Meron, communication VP told Autoblog: “We don’t have any comment on battery swapping right now or timing of further announcements. But we’ll let you know when we do!”
If this (and a cheaper Tesla model) appears in the not-so-distant future, gas cars will start to become pointless and solar power will start to move the world.