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.

Tesla considers its Model S electric sedan as an evolution in the automotive world. After all, its appeal comes with the fact that it combines high levels of performance and efficiency as well as world-class safety – earning the highest ratings possible – and the longest range among electric vehicle. Moreover, the new Tesla Model S continuously evolves through over-the-air software updates.

Tesla’s own platform allowed designers to locate the battery on the floor and its unique electric drivetrain beneath the car. Thanks to Tesla’s platform, the new Tesla Model S has an extremely low center of gravity. This attribute helps the Model S achieve higher levels of handling and performance as well as minimal risk of rollover, making the electric sedan one of the safest cars on the road.

This safety level is enhanced by the fact that the Model S has no engine, which means that its crumple zone -- larger than other performance sedans – is more than good enough to absorb the impact energy during a front end collision. These safety measures, among others, have enabled the Model S to earn the highest possible safety ratings from the NHTSA and the Euro NCAP, while setting a new record for lowest passenger injury risk when tested in the United States.

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