Tesla will not offer any method to swap out batteries within its all-electric vehicles. This means Tesla cars will have firmly-bolted battery-packs that users will have to charge. Moreover, they will certainly not benefit from battery swapping platforms.
Tesla all-electric car owners will have to rely on special car chargers that pump in electric current. This method is way slower than executing a battery swap, but Tesla claims “battery swapping is riddled with problems and not suitable for widescale use.”
Tesla invested in but later dumped battery swapping methodology:
Tesla was interested in battery swapping technology. In fact, the company reportedly demonstrated a battery swap using a modified version of now-defunct startup Better Place’s battery swap system.
It seems Tesla even designed the Model S and X with the intention to make battery swaps easier and faster. However, the company gradually moved away from the concept.
Investing in battery swaps has created a big dilemma for $Nio: it prevents them from redesigning their cars and integrating cells into the body structure like Tesla.
— AMuchBetterFace (@AMuchBetterFace) March 2, 2021
The Tesla Model 3 and Y do not have the design philosophy. Without battery swap technology, these vehicles are perhaps cheaper, lighter, and simpler to manufacture.
A Tesla official in China has confirmed that the company is not looking to get into battery swapping. A publication reported that “[Tesla] believes electric vehicle charging is the best way to power its vehicles, and that battery swapping is riddled with problems and not suitable for widescale use.”
Ample is keeping the EV battery swap dream alive! https://t.co/exglSXCav2 CNBC got a first look at their swap stations (video in post.) via @CNBCtech w/ @Jeniecep @eBlackEdits They are taking a different tack than Tesla circa 2013 or Better Place, but facing deep skepticism…
— Lora Kolodny (@lorakolodny) March 3, 2021
The statement appears to be a remark on NIO, one of Tesla’s main competitors in China. NIO has adopted the battery swap technology as its core business strategy. Meanwhile, another company, Ample, is trying the same technology.
Batteries are a major component of all-electric vehicles. And there are far more important aspects to consider than just saving time by pulling out a depleted battery for a charged one at a random station.
Why is Tesla not going ahead with battery swap?
Tesla might have a solid reason for not going ahead with battery swap technology. While there may be a few benefits, there are far too many complications and uncertainties.
Electric car advocates hailed the battery swap technology as the optimum solution to address several concerns. All-electric car owners would simply drive in, pull out their depleted batteries, slid in an already-charged battery, and drive out.
The entire process would take as much time as a refill at a typical gas station. Needless to add, this sounds promising. However, there are several technical and quality-related challenges.
Users of the service would most likely never end up with a battery that is similar to the capacity they have currently. However, they would realize this only when they plug their car into a proper charging outlet.
This is Very Interesting… Swap Car Batteries Instead of Charging: #Nio, often cited as the Chinese version of #Tesla, now offers a “battery-as-a-service” option. Owners can pay for a monthly subscription to a service that swaps the battery rather than waiting for a charge. pic.twitter.com/J3wUDbEgs4
— Kevin Van Trump (@KevinVanTrump) March 2, 2021
If or when battery swap technology gains popularity and all-electric car owners adopt the same, many battery companies would start making OEM batteries. These products would adopt a common standard.
While this could reduce the price of batteries, it could also cause issues with quality. Car owners may end up with a poorly made battery, while they lose their high-quality Tesla-made battery.
Tesla wouldn’t want its cars running on degraded or substandard batteries. However, with battery swap platforms, the risk is omnipresent.