Imagine pulling into a service station, but instead of filling the tank with unleaded, you slide out your drained battery and -- for a fee -- slide in a fully charged one. It's a similar model to that many stores use for propane tanks, and it could one envisioned for Tesla's new Model S sedan. Edmunds Green Car Advisor reports the new model was designed with swappable batteries in mind, according to Tesla's outgoing director of vehicle engineering and manufacturing.
In an interview shortly after his resignation was announced, Michael Donoughe said the Model S's lithium-ion battery pack was designed to be switched with a fresh one in five minutes or less, about the time it takes to fill a standard car's gas tank. The concept, he said, stemmed from a need to design the battery pack to be installed during the car's manufacturing process at assembly-line speed.
That kind of battery-swapping system has been envisioned by Shai Agassi, founder and CEO of Better Place, a Palo Alto startup aiming to build and operate battery-swapping stations for electric vehicles, though Donoughe said Tesla isn't "wedded" to Better Place. Green Car Advisor says Agassi had met with Tesla about his battery-swapping business, and Tesla's decision to design the Model S for quick battery swaps might have something to do with those discussions.
The Tesla Model S is reportedly on track for a 2011 launch, and the company expects to produce 400 a week or 20,000 a year within six months.
Sometimes the simplest solutions are the ones that make the most sense. Besides one of the biggest downers of getting into an electric (or even hybrid) car is the expense of having to replace your batteries when they fail, which only gives you 5 years or so. This solves all of those issues, or in the least is a reasonable fix until the quick-charge battery option can be merged with this idea so you can "fuel up" at home if you like.
My local gas stations services about 200 cars a hour, that would require for a 8 hour day 1600 batteries either charged or ready to go. Are they going to truck in charged batteries constantly or recharge them at the station. I think you see were I'm going. This is not a good idea.
The numbers you have provided tell me that you don't know where you are going. Most gas stations only hold 2-10 thousand gallons. Assumming that all 1600 of the customers get at least 10 gallons of gas thats 16,000 gallons of gas. Also gas tanker trucks only hold 9,000 gallons of gas. Are gas stations getting constant deliveries now? At a rate of 200 cars per hour that means it only takes about 20 seconds for each car to refuel. That means you would need 15 pumps to get each person refueled in five minutes. And each pump would have to be in constant use for eight hours straight. They are only going to make 20,000 of these cars in year and I doubt they are all going to be sold in the same city and all go to the same extremely busy gas station on the same day. I think you see where I'm going. This is a good idea and I'm pretty sure the guys that came up with the idea thought about the logistics for more than five minutes.
Hollycow's math might be off, but the underlying criticism is sound. Each gas station will have to store anywhere from a few dozen to a few hundred batteries. (Or will they be receiving deliveries of fresh batteries daily?)
All things considered, I think they spent SIX minutes thinking about the logistics... the bottom line being that **the gas stations*** would have to figure it out and bear the burden.
Whatever. The fundamental drawback of the pure electric car remains the batteries and the recharging thereof. Nice-looking car, though, even if the name is stupid.
I had this idea a while ago but since I'm 13 no one would take me seriously.....
justsaying's point is valid that these cars, at a distribution of 20,000 nationwise aren't going to constitute a major part of the gas station's business. if they do get a few stations in so many major cities to conduct the battery swapping business, then it will be a small manageable operation. If the car is a success and they continue to sell more and more, than the industry will gradually adapt at a reasonable and manageable rate.
Further considerations of cutting down the need for such a huge battery swapping operation is that these batteries could be simply charged at home overnight. In light of that, the only real need for battery swapping would not be so much in the cities but along the freeways for cars traveling farther than their daily charge can handle.
So this battery swappable feature may be cumbersome as the primary method of refueling, but in reality, as long as it isn't the primary method, it will add a degree of flexibility which the american lifestyle can adapt to and economically support in the near term.
Just a few comments. Several stations near me have between 15 and 18 pumps -- most of which are occupied at any one time. These are high volume (low price) stations.
I would venture to say that the equivalent battery swap would require at least a thousand batteries /day. Charging replacements on site would be a pretty massive operation -- much nore work than having the tanker fill up the tanks.
Off site probably wouldn't be any prettier.
Not to mention that the batteries are presumably a bit heavy. Swapping might not be as easy as filling up.
I'm only saying that the swapping model may not be ideal.
To charge just a hundred of 50kWh batteries per day, which will be barely enough for a vehicle to move at reasonable range, one would need to have 200 kilowatt power plant.
Even if we have light, high energy density batteries, introducing electric vehicles into market will not be easy.
I am constantly amazed how people fail to grasp the disruptive nature of EVs/PHEVs. The debate over "station capability" will become a moot argument for all but long distance rest stops as people will begin charging at home or pretty much wherever they park. While the power requirements to fully charge a 50 kWh battery quickly (ie under an hour) is quite large and would require some infrastructure, people will not have to wait for a fully drained battery to charge. Hence, I predict as EVs and PHEVs start to emerge, places like Starbucks will offer "charging stations" along with the WiFi. Such stations won't be powerful enough to charge a fully drained battery, but will do just nicely to "top off".
The starbucks idea gains even more merit when you consider the expanding availability of "wireless charging"
A lot of you are worried about the amount of batteries these places would have to carry. You are failing to take into account that the battery you just swapped into the station can now be charged. So if you come in drop one battery off an swap one out the same number of batteries are still in the system. So for this to work you'd need only about 45 of each type of battery ( a Tesla battery, a Nissan battery, a volt battery, etc.). this works because under the correct charge conditions these batteries take about 45 minutes or less to charge. So if it takes you 1-5minutes to swap out your battery, by the time the 45th person gets there your battery is now charged and they will take that.This has been covered on the Better Place website. The only replacements would be for the batteries that no longer hold a sufficient charge. It will in fact cost less then a gas station.
I hear you NeonRobot I'm 12 thats happened to me more than once
I keep seeing the plug and charge concept from articles on electric vehicles. It is obvious the battery exchange is the most practical one method. Service stations need to be built using solar, wind and whatever renewable energy source is available to recharge a battery just as a gas fill is standard.
So we need agreement on a battery standard for these service centres. You drop in, your now uncharged battery slids out, the new charged battery slids in and you pay and off you go with a fully charged battery much like a gas fill now. So really you fill you tank each time. An auxilary tank charge takes care of making sure you use all the energy in the main battery before a replacement. Thus in the future the word charge exchange will take on a whole new meaning!
neonrobot and bigb: !!!! Don't let anybody shut you up! It's not the grumps of the world that count, it's the ones that take you seriously, and you can be sure there are plenty of older people-- such as myself-- that will always be willing to hear what you have to say.
When I was 12 I started reading Popular Science and Popular Mechanics magazines just like you guys, getting creative, and eventually building the things I imagined. I recently converted a BMW coupe to full electric power that is much faster than it was when it was running on gasoline, and is "burning rubber" now on You Tube. It was much more difficult, it took much longer and cost much more than I expected, but the car's getting plenty of attention and I'm using it to help people get the idea that EVs are the logical replacement for gasoline cars.
Keep going, fellas. We need smart, creative guys like you to provide the inventions we'll be using in the years ahead.
Battery swapping may prevail, or it may not, but in any case you'll find some of your ideas work and some won't. Don't allow your failures to define who you are, allow your persistence to do so. If you try a hundred different ideas and only one of them works, but that one idea is a cure for cancer or helps us to get into space cheaply and safely, it's your successes that you'll be remembered for.
Battery swapping is obviously the best choice.
InternetA.D.D got the math right. Per charge station... 45 batteries... 45 min to charge... 1-5 min change outs... and spare batts for bad batts. Even 2 charge stations could share the same inventory.
Tesla makes all their cars rechargable at home so don't fret abou having to go to the nearest gas... err... battery station, unless you forgot to charge, have a bad battery, or have been driving a while.
I want mine soon! =D
The battery swapping is all automated guys. No need to get out of your vehicle anymore. Stop thinking you have to lug some huge brick into your engine.
Just guide your vehicle into place and an underground system just under your car will take care of the rest.
Battery swapping won't work; the cost that a gas station would need to pay to have this battery swapping station would be too great. They would need to hire more people to run the battery swap, became of the liable of a battery falling on a person and hurting them would make them at risk (these batteries weight hundreds of pound). Also it would cost the gas station more in insurance money and in construction cost for a battery storage place, (because most gas stations don't have garages anymore). How as a business person can you find a profit in this when there are only 20,000 cars being made in a year? The station may only see two or three swaps a day if that, but the station is paying to have though batteries sitting around, paying people and insurance. It won't work if people have to work hard at it, people like easy things. The swapping station would need to be a full service and not self service there is too much liable here. It would cost too much to change a battery, maybe 200 or 300 dollars. If you go to a garage now and ask them to change a battery, even if you being your own battery in, it would cost you 30 to 50 dollars. Good Luck with this idea.
I love uneducated people like David4031. The cost to charge the battery from empty to full is about $3.00, which is the cost of one gallon of gas. As for the gas stations making money, they would welcome the battery swapping because gas stations make VERY little off the gas they sell. This is coming from someone I know that works for a large gas station chain. As for the safety some of you must have never seen a modern warehouse and the forklifts they use. These forklifts run on large batteries that are changed out very easily by a person and some of the newer battery stations in the warehouses are mostly automated. So there is no risk of getting hurt. As for housing the batteries and how you would change them I am sure that a type of drive thru system, like a car wash could be designed to change your battery. Most people miss the BIG picture and that is your getting a car that will cost you about 3 bucks to charge and will take you 300 miles. I am pretty sure most people don't drive more than 300 miles a day. I welcome EV's and can't wait to get one. And for those long trips on the road well I can say I am sure that swapping the battery won't be a big deal.