Tesla unveils 90-second battery pack swap option

Article by Anita Panait, on June 24, 2013

Tesla Motors has unveiled a new charging alternative that entails a quick swapping of battery packs in Tesla Model S units. The new battery swap process was demonstrated by Tesla chief executive Elon Musk on June 20, 2013, at the carmaker's design studio located in Hawthorne, California.

Musk initiated the demonstration to show that swapping a battery pack in a Tesla Model S is much faster and more convenient that filling a conventional vehicle with fuel at a local gas station.

And the result? The robot-guided swap of a battery in a Tesla Model S only took a total of 91 seconds to complete, much faster that the average time to fill up a gas tank.

To better drive his point, Musk simultaneously showed an Audi A8 Sedan, powered by standard internal combustion engine, filling up its gas tank at a local gas station – a process that took around 4 minutes to complete.

The battery pack swap option is also much faster than waiting for 30 minutes to 2 hours to effectively charge a typical electric vehicle at a charging station. This will allow drivers on long-range trips to have their units ready for the cruise in less than two minutes, for a fee. According to Musk, the cost of a pack swap will be equivalent to the cost of gasoline.

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