Tesla unveils switchable battery, filling Better Place void

The Tesla SuperCharge stations, are planned to cover the major highways in the United States by 2015.

June 21, 2013 15:08
1 minute read.
Tesla Motors vehicle

Tesla motors370. (photo credit: Elon Musk- twitter)

Electric car company Tesla Motors unveiled switchable-battery technology Thursday night, introducing a model made famous by the now-defunct Better Place, which filed for bankruptcy in May.

Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk announced via Twitter early last week that the company would be demonstrating its own swappable battery, a feature it would add to its growing network of SuperCharge stations in the United States. The Model S car, on the road since June 2012, had been designed with the ability to swap battery packs all along, he said in a later Tweet.

“It’s about convincing the people who are skeptics. They take a lot of convincing.

What we want to show here is that you can be more convenient than a gasoline car,” Musk said.

During the demonstration, two Tesla vehicles swapped their batteries in the same amount of time as a gasoline car refueling in Los Angeles, taking about 90 seconds each to the gas car’s four minutes.

“Hopefully this is what convinces people finally that electric cars are the future,” Musk added.

The difference, however, is that Tesla customers will have to pay for the 90-second battery swap, while the SuperCharge station’s use will remain free. Drivers will have to decide: “Do you prefer faster or free?” The Tesla SuperCharge stations, which are planned to cover the major highways in the United States by 2015, allow drivers to charge half their battery in 20-30 minutes.

Tesla’s cars have a maximum range of 265 miles per charge (426 km.), significantly higher than the 120 km. maximum on Better Place’s Renault cars.

“When we designed the Model S we thought we should preserve the optionality. We thought what if people do want to stop only for a short period of time?” Musk said.

Shai Agassi, the founder of Better Place who pioneered and championed batteryswap technology since 2007, did not respond to The Jerusalem Post’s requests for comments.

Early last week, Tesla recalled a set of its cars due to a weak latch holding the leftback seat in place that “reduces our confidence that the left-hand seat back will be properly retained in the event of a crash.”

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