For something as secret as a battery swap option in the Tesla Model S electric vehicle, we sure have heard rumors about it for years. Four (!) years ago, after all, we knew that the Model S was designed to accommodate battery swaps and Tesla CEO Elon Musk has talked about taking long-distance EV trips that included battery swaps, and Tesla's proprietary Supercharger network was supposed to have a battery swap component at one time. But then the discussion shifted to focus on that Supercharger network, and how, by stopping for lots of 20-minute sandwiches along the way, a cross-country EV road trip would be totally doable. And, for a while, the Tesla battery swapping talk disappeared.
Until, of course, Musk brought it back a month ago by tweeting: "There is a way for the Tesla Model S to be recharged throughout the country faster than you could fill a gas tank." That set off a fresh search for information, which we now know we will be cleared up later this week.
"Live pack swap demo on Thurs night. Seeing is believing" - Elon Musk
Yesterday, Musk tweeted: "Live pack swap demo on Thurs night at 8pm California time at our design studio in Hawthorne. Seeing is believing." He also tweeted that Better Place founder Shai Agassi "actually got the idea from a visit to Tesla. The idea is obvious (many things allow battery swap), but the technology is not."
We have so many questions about this new option: does it apply to all Model S vehicles? Will it be free, like Supercharging? Will the swap locations be at Tesla stores, Supercharger stations or at other locations? Why is Tesla thinking of battery swaps when it's also been so bullish on its fast-charging technology? We'll try to find answers to all of these questions when the first public swap is performed live on Thursday.