Tesla Motors takes EV charging to the next level with its Battery Swap technology, available in its Tesla stations. Battery Swap enables Model S drivers to top up in less than half the time it takes for a gas-powered car to refill a full tank at the gas station.
Elon Musk led the Battery Swap demo pitted against an Audi A8 filling up at a gas station. About 90 seconds after the race started, the red Model S is ready to go with a new, fully charged battery in place. To while away the time, a second white Model S rolls in and does another battery swap. Even after the two battery swaps, Musk and the audience still waited for a considerable amount of time until the Audi is ready to roll away.
Watch the Tesla Battery Swap race against an Audi A8 filling up at a gas station in the video below.
Musk explained how the technology works. Automated nut runners search the battery bolts. These then automatically torque the bolts according to the exact individual specification and replace the battery. A platform raises the Model S during the battery swap and lowers it down again after the replacement.
Model S drivers have two options after the swap service. First, they return the battery on their way back and retrieve the original battery (which has been fully charged in the meantime). Second, they pay a fee from $60 to $80 based on how old the swapped battery is. In either case, Model S drivers are given the option of a fast battery replacement.
Tesla plans to deploy Battery Swap systems in existing Supercharger stations.