Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Tesla Demos Automated 90-Second Battery Swap 

<img style="float: left;" src="http://media2.hpcwire.com/dmr/teslacharger.png" alt="" width="95" height="144" border="0" />When electric cars first began pulling onto our roads, the high cost of the eco-friendly vehicles was the greatest barrier to wider adoption, but based on a special event hosted at Tesla's Southern California design studio Thursday, the question of EV charging seems to have gone from “slow or slower?” to “fast or free?”

When electric cars first began pulling onto our roads, the high cost of the eco-friendly vehicles was the greatest barrier to wider adoption, but as prices have fallen, the inconvenience of waiting for your vehicle to charge, or locating a charging station quickly became the number one reason why electric vehicles (EVs) just weren't competing with traditional petrol cars.

But based on a special event hosted at Tesla's Southern California design studio Thursday, the question of EV charging seems to have gone from “slow or slower?” to “fast or free?” To demonstrate, Tesla CEO and co-founder Elon Musk gave the first preview of the automaker's new battery-swapping solution, which take about 90 seconds to remove and replace a low battery with one that is fully charged.

Depending on what kind of outlet is being used to charge a Tesla, electric “refueling” can take anywhere from 33 minutes to six hours and six minutes, which means that it's just not practical for daytime refueling, and with it any roadtrips. But with the 90-second swapping system, Tesla was able to give 2 Model S's a full charge in less time than it took a petrol car with a 24-gallon tank to fill up at the pump.

Even better, Tesla owners wouldn't have to find the few-and-far-between dealerships or service centers to have an battery swap, but can soon pull up to a number of new “Supercharger stations” being built along some of the nation's busiest roads such as the West Coast's Interstate 5, or between Washington D.C. and Boston.

So when Musk asks “Fast or free?” what he's really offering is the chance to recharge your Model S battery by receiving either a 90-second battery swap, or a free full charge. If you choose “fast,” the Supercharger stations will charge you for what has only been revealed as “the equivalent of a 15-gallon fill-up at the pump,” which comes out somewhere between $50 and $65, which should help pay for each station's $500,000 pricetag.

Of course, Tesla won't be the first to pilot such a system. Just earlier this year the similar Better Place system ended in bankruptcy. But given the quick turnaround and the assurance that your rental battery won't be old and worn down, the Tesla stations are looking to have a brighter future.

Nonetheless, Musk said, "What we really want is to show people here is that [the Model S] can be more convenient than a gasoline car."  

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