Elon Musk: End Of Range Anxiety For Entire Tesla Model S Fleet Coming Via OTA Software Update


Elon Musk Tweets

Elon Musk Tweets

On Thursday morning, at 9 AM PST (Noon Eastern), Tesla Motors will hold a press conference where an announcement will be made that will “end range anxiety” for the entire Tesla Model S fleet, according got Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

This range-anxiety-ending Model S modification will come via an over-the-air software update.

Let the speculation begin as to what’s coming for Model S owners.

We’ll have all the details on Thursday, that’s for sure!

Seems Like That's Plenty Of Range Already

Seems Like That’s Plenty Of Range Already

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95 Comments on "Elon Musk: End Of Range Anxiety For Entire Tesla Model S Fleet Coming Via OTA Software Update"

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Well, not all the older cars can drive themselves to the nearest charging point.

So, I assume there is maybe some new way to display range on the instrument cluster? That really wouldn’t solve the range issue, though.

Or, they found a cool trick to re-program / pulse power to the motor(s), to actually extend range when the vehicle is at a constant speed? Kinda like “Torque Sleep”, but more like “Torque Pulse”?


The latest S’s have a system that takes into account changes in altitude. Basically a 3D of your route. According to our resident S owner Mark Z it is uncanilly accurate in his S. So I think this will be the software update referred to here.

Sounds reasonable.

But I’m really hoping it’s more like they can take advantage of reducing the battery load / discharge to the motor(s) by dividing usage into milliseconds, so you can cut power to every other time slice, thus reducing the motor load by up to a theoretical 50%.

The other half of the time, the battery would be essentially “resting”, while the current kinetic force keeps the vehicle moving until the next moment in the timed power cycle.

These tiny motor pulses wouldn’t be noticeable by anyone riding in the vehicle: the vehicles velocity would appear as a steady, smooth motion. When the EV can’t keep up with a sudden higher load or speed increase, the controller software would use both even and odd cycles for full power to the motor, again– seemingly instantly. It’s something only a computer driven electric motor could do.

Clive Sinclair was working on a “Chopper” circuit that did something similar to this, in an attempt to extend battery life, back in the 80’s.

I’m pretty sure that there’s not much in the way of science backing you up on this.

Exactly how sure are you? 🙂

The concept is not much different than how my Segway dynamically balances using 100’ths of a second time slices, to solve to the next position in space; depending on user input, current velocity, wheel load, rate of user or non-user (bump) turn, etc.

Rather than balancing on two non-tandem wheels, the goal here– would be to cut constant battery load to the motor. Tesla’s essentially already done this with their “Torque Sleep” mode in a dual motor config. The rest of it, would be to just increase the granularity of the switching, which can likely be done in software.

I have no idea how much energy one could actually save using such a technique (which is why I said a possible 50% above, if you only power either the even or odd cycles), but I assure you: the idea is quite solidly based on Science.

As I said, Clive Sinclair was doing similar research on the concept, in the ’80, around the time of his C5 EV.

Sorry, but this is patent nonsense.

Whatever you say. 🙂

You seem to be describing PWM (not very well I might add). PWM is how the motor controller works and is largely why a switched mode power supplies are very efficient. The goal is to use semiconductor switches to switch between fully on and fully off states at many kHz, so the energy dissipated when the current through and voltage across the switch is minimized. By changing the time on versus time off (duty cycle) the average voltage to the load can be changed. With a PMAC motor, by using a sin/cos resolver to give rotor position, two current sensors, and a control loop, torque control can be provided. Motor controllers are around 95% efficient already, so there is only some limited gains available here. I’m not familiar with the algorithms to drive induction motors, which might be able to be updated to give slightly better efficiency, but one of the next big thing is SiC and GaN semiconductor switches. These can allow for 99% efficiency and switching operation at over 100 kHz (order of magnitude higher than existing systems). Obviously then the cooling systems and filtering components can be made much smaller. Source: Me – Electrical & Electronic Engineer.… Read more »

This would be software to control the motor controller, using feedback from the vehicle’s speed, etc. It would be more of a supervisory level added to the system, to reduce battery usage. Nothing in the physical drive train would change.

Here’s what you’re missing: this is already what most motor controllers do to control power output. It’s likely already done in the model s.

Great idea, but not likely what this is about.

Uh, tesla already advised Broder to drive that way during that infamous test drive. Didn’t work then.

I’d doubt they’d want to try it again.

You either need power to push a car or you dont.
Going to double the power and then going to nothing is going to lower the efficiency of the whole system.`

As a kid, I had an aunt who drove that way, and she got inferior mileage.

Ah yes… your aunt was one of those people who drive like the accelerator is an “on/off switch”. I can’t stand riding with those people.

Apples & Oranges comparison with your Aunt as a dismissive example: 1. You can’t completely turn off an ICE and restart it to burn efficiently, at many fractions of second. Your example is always burning energy when running, even while idling. No ICE vehicle or hyper-miler can emulate “Torque Pulse” as I’ve defined it. 2. Your Aunt was only vaguely aware of her speed, so there was a huge amount of latency in her reactions to maintain her velocity. No human can do what I’m suggesting, using a mere accelerator pedal. I’m not talking about simple analogue ICE “Cruise Control”. 😛 3. What I am saying: “Torque Pulse” is where you completely cut power to the motor on a given number of cycles (even or odd, or whatever the system chooses depending on conditions) to save energy, while momentum carries the vehicle to the next time slice where it will apply torque again, to solve for velocity. 4. The difference between 100’s or 1000’ths of a second to digitally control a motor’s operation, should be enough to demonstrate that you can’t reasonably expect any human (even your dear sweet Aunt) to be able to manually emulate the same thing. 4.… Read more »

I love it when people here talk “High Tech”.

Not that it tells me anything more about the car, but its a great education to me about THEM.

That paragraph you typed was nonsense. Last time I checked, Since ‘tesla’ is given all the credit for inventing the induction motor, (misplaced in my view, but whatever), all TESLAS to date have been driven by them.

Nothing happens or, more to the point CAN HAPPEN in an induction motor in ‘1000’s of a second’. If you tried, you’d just get more heat out of the motor, which our friend ELON has said he’s trying to AVOID, not ENCOURAGE. That heat, btw, ultimately comes from the battery charge, after it has already overheated the battery and inverter more than necessary causing more losses.

Don’t believe me? Fine. Go build something to prove me wrong. I’ll be waiting for a while.

I’m merely suggesting cutting the motor usage into tiny chunks of time, at a software level. Cut some of the cycles out, with some smart programing to maintain speed when the next “On” event occurs, if it even needs to…

Heat should actually DECREASE from the motors or batteries not being on a constant load while running.

Prove it.

This wouldn’t do anything.

It’s like running a 2 kW heater at 50% duty cycle and a 1 kW heater at 100% duty cycle. Both use the same amount of energy and do the same amount of work (approximately). Actually since I^2*R, pulsing the battery, motor, and controller would actually increase losses, running things constantly at lower power tends to be more efficient.

Reminds me of the times we went to show off the electric race car I had designed the drive-by-wire & safety system for. It’s actually amazing (and often highly amusing) what weird ideas people come up with that don’t work at all. Some guy tried to convince me that switching the cells between series and parallel at 100 kHz would create perpetual motion… this isn’t much different.

You are explaining something that “average joe” won’t understand.

If they understand the difference between “copper loss” and “switching loss”, they would have said the stuff in the first place.

But Anon is a Tesla fan, so Tesla can’t do anything wrong…

Yeah, “Just put a VOltage-DOubler on it and you’ll get twice the power for the same input”.

THen, use 1/2 the power made to run a generator to make the input power.

That way, you can make a tractor-trailer run from a Flashlight battery.

UH huh.

Now Anon ain’t saying exactly this, but he sure *DOES NOT* understand about potential to kinetic energy conversion, and the fact that someone told him or he heard about the newest catch phrase “Torque Vectoring” on Shaft-encodered slow speed ac motors forgot to tell him that the efficiency actually DECREASES while doing this and they are optimizing low speed performance, and not heating nor power consumption.

Which is why all OTHER car manufacturers do NOT use induction motors since the easiest way to eliminate heating losses in the rotor bars (wires), is TO SIMPLY NOT HAVE THEM.

But if tesla did this, they couldn’t call their Tesla a Tesla anymore since it wouldn’t have Tesla’s (supposed) invention in it.

Not criticizing here, I own a Tesla, and I’m perfectly ok with the induction motor since I don’t care about a few % points of efficiency. But it goes to the point of the Nonsense ANON is spouting.

Chargepoint? Perhaps will reduce Your range anxiety but I will make you sell your EV and get an ICE to save money. Average price per Kw/h $045 cents even more.

It seems what was learned and implemented in the Roadster 3.0 as it relates to battery software, since the Roadster has the new Model S battery cells, where now the Roadster can travel over 400 miles using a 70kWh battery pack, this battery pack software update should push the 60kWh Model S pack closer to 300 and the 85kWh pack closer to 400 EV miles.

Roadster 3.0 isn’t using Model S cells. They’re using modern day but custom cells to fit the existing battery pack enclosure. Also, the range increase is also from an aerodynamic body kit, low rolling resistance ties, and brake adjustments.

The Model S software update will have nothing to do with Roadster 3.0

Keep dreaming. I would guess most Roadster owners by now have put more efficient tires on their 53 kwh (mine’s about 48 kwh at this point actually) Roadsters that have gotten most of the mileage improvement that ‘3.0’ upgrade supposedly is going to provide. And that test drive only got around 340 miles anyway. There’s nothing about ‘over 400 miles’ here ever.

I’m still waiting for the “model S” to ‘average’ 300 miles range, as was promised before the car even came out.

The 300 miles was promised under the old testing regime. And they achieved that.

The EPA changed the rules mid-game, which yielded a lower official mileage.

You really can’t blame Tesla for this.

The 300 miles was promised under the old testing regime. And the Model S achieved that.

The EPA changed the rules mid-game, which yielded a lower official mileage.

You really can’t blame Tesla for this.

People seem to have trouble understanding plain English. I said people averaging 300 miles. Tesla willingly uses EPA figures since the ‘average’ person doesn’t do as well, and it makes their cars look like they get more range than they do.

When I changed the tires on my Roadster and told the Tesla Tech I was getting BETTER than the ‘IDEAL EPA RANGE’, he was very surprised since he thought no-one ever got the ‘ideal’. Of course, I’m easy on the Pedal anyway.

So I’m still waiting for people averaging 300 miles. EPA or European Test Cycle or other ‘metrics’ people hang their hat on has no relation to I said.

Bill, the only thing you can reasonably expect “people to average” is general ignorance and/or indifference… 300 miles is some ways beyond that. ;oP

I would bet that most people who can afford a Model S (or a Roadster) at this point probably enjoy the driving experience more so than range economy. Most people don’t drive that much on a daily basis, so their average doesn’t matter to them. I drive a “lowly” Leaf, that doesn’t get anywhere near the “average”, either advertised by Nissan or most hyper-milers. But I enjoy the hell out of it! I’m far lighter on the pedal in our ICE than the Leaf. Too much fun and I really don’t need even that little range.

Waiting for people to change their behavior might require more patience than we collectively posses. I try not to base my expectations on the “people average”… ;oP

Oh, I’m not talking about people in general. I’m talking about people here who don’t understand what I am clearly stating.

Which is: How about Tesla honoring their previous statements which I initially assumed were totally truthful.

But as you have read the many comments here, many of us are somewhat skeptical of the comments to be made this Thursday.

We have a saying: “Once bit, twice shy”.

Not to belabor the point, but intitially WAY BACK, before the car was made, the S was advertised as averaging 300 miles.

Then when the car was released it said, ‘300 miles at 55 mph’.

Excuse me if I claim that’s not exactly what they said.

Its a small point, so i’ll drop it here. At least they didn’t do a “FORD” and claim 47 mpg when the real cars would do like 34.

I’m guessing “intelligent range” instead of rated range.

That means, like any modern airplane in the world, you can enter the destination and traveling speed(s) and the car will calculated how many rated range miles will be used used and what remains:

1) Weather – obviously, wind and temperature is huge, but so is contanimation of the highway (standing water, snow, etc). Automatically uploaded current weather, and forecast weather.

2) Elevation changes – yes, those hills take power. All the data is already at hand for the car to know the elevation changes once you program in the destination. All automatic and transparent to you.

3) Planned cruise speed – crucial to the range of any car, gas or electric

4) Known detours – automatic

5) Vehicle weight – this should be automatic, since that air suspension could be used to estimate weight. I suspect, however, that you’ll have to say X number of passenger, kids or adults, and Y pounds / kg of packages.

6) Towing – very difficult, and applies to Model X officially, but one part is easy – weight. The other, aero drag, is not so intuitive. Maybe you click on a boat icon, or square box, etc.

Maybe it’s as simple as the NAV now lets you plot your whole day. Just touch the map three time for three stops and it figures out if you’ll make it with plenty of juice to spare, or if not it recommends safe charge points along the way.

Yes, I think this is exactly right. It will be a sophisticated trip planner. You’ll likely run through a wizard and then the trip computer will warn you if you deviate from the trip plan you entered.

+1 Tony’s “intelligent range” suggestion is what I think is coming. ‘Rated range’ has always been a poor adaptation of a State of Charge (SOC) display; Broder’s biggest invitation, IMO. Moving to an algorithm, like the Volt/others, is helpful and cuts down on the arithmetic of trip planning.

But Tesla, please do keep some proxy for SOC.

More ‘location based’ integration and elevation, would also not surprise me. I’ve been impressed how my ancient non-autopilot car now remembers where I want immediate, or scheduled, charging (since ~6.1?).

Charge scheduling, that added the full TOU time window, rather than just start time, would also be an important place to, frankly, catch up.

The only thing I would add to your excellent list is Speed Suggestions. The car and the driver need some way to communicate their intent. If the driver wants to go 85mph in a 60mph zone (which seems to be all of CA) the car could adjust the range for this behavior. Conversely the car could say, “You normally drive 15 over the limit, to make it to your all your destinations today we need to remain 5 over for 90% of the trip. You will charge less and arrive faster.”

Agree this is likely to be a more accurate range estimation tool.

Seat occupancy sensors can give at least a headcount in the car that could drive estimates.

Head/tail/crosswinds can be estimated, but it may make sense to give a 90% confidence interval or similar.

Likewise, it’d be nice to see a + or – 5 mph estimate relative to speed limits.

It’s kind of funny — P85D is the worlds fastest accelerating sports sedan but you might need to drive it 5-10 under the speed limit to make it to your destination :-P.

My guess is that it’s a new “super slow limp-home mode”– something like a 55mph top speed and 0-60 in the 9s… kind of like a $100,000 Prius, but with half the range instead of 40% of it.

You really have no bloody grasp of what Tesla is about, do you.

Not an EV fan and you’re on this site on Sunday morning. That is actually very sad…

Maybe and EV fan but not a fanatic !!!

This I have been waiting for. At the moment you have to think about weather, temperature, altitude, speed and payload and so on.
A computer does this job much better and the driver can relax or and concentrate more om the actual driving.

I agree, right now being a long distance Model S driver is more akin to being a private pilot than a casual cruiser. Tesla could automate a large amount of the trip planning and just provide a set of behaviors for the driver to follow, if they want to reach their destination on time.

I’m expecting to be disappointed on this one… It is likely to simply be an improved trip planning feature… They will address range anxiety by trying to convince people that it isn’t real (I agree) not by some magical range increasing update. Hopefully Elon didn’t over sell this one, because while very cool to me, the general public isn’t likely to be impressed.

How could “About to end range anxiety” possibly disappoint 🙂

A discount on a 2016 Volt? Great Job Elon.

Haha, nice.

No no, to troll properly you would have wanted something like,

“Tesla’s introducing a Volt with a 17″ touchscreen!”

Every Model S sold now comes with a free used Volt just off lease!

A new button on the screen to call a mobile battery swap truck?

Business idea

They can call it, “On Swap”. 😉

Tesla coils on all Verizon towers that zap 10 miles of range into the car. The SW update is to give the towers a position. 🙂

Yeah, Tesla coils
Would look really cool… Bonus points if they can make the light discharges in the shape of the Tesla Motors logo…

Tesla knows the state of charge of every model S in existense. They know where they are and mostly where they are going. Knowing this, Tesla could send a message directly to a Tesla owner that they are watching over them and will mobilize Tesla resources to assist the owner, whether active assist to nearest charge location, to actually sending out mobile chargers or even tow trucks.

Range Anxiety is really just Range Uncertainty.

So my guess is that this is a much more accurate calculation that takes into account not only altitude changes, but all weather conditions, traffic ahead, state of the vehicle, basically all relevant data. If you can repeatedly count on what the car says, down to the mile, you no longer need to worry.

Exactly. Quite some time ago, Tesla was talking about having advanced navigation introdued in firmware 6.0. It’s believed that when Tesla did their 2-car cross-country trip with minimum charging, that they were using a beta of the software.

As with all things Tesla does it’ll come late, almost certainly with bugs, but it _will_ come.

Since this is a Guessing game – I would guess that most Tesla Model S traffic – is not so far from other Model S Traffic – since one Model S Sale leads to another sale nearby, and they already know where each car is – they can use the cars running experience on a route to update others and the reference car with changed data – like Traction issues, Traffic Flows, Temperatures ahead, elevation changes and other things combined with a good Nav update, to provide – as Alonso says – more range certainty.

Possibly also – is they now have enough Battery Data, to allow an emergency dip into lower states of charge to get you that last few miles to a charger.

So – suppose they solved Range Anxiety, now how about – Charge Anxiety, or Charge Rate Anxiety, or Time to Charge – enough to make it to the Next Supercharger (That is less crowded)!

Honestly – is anyone else working on live upgrades to their EV’s, that get you improvements in the morning after you go to bed?

I can say the Tesla crushes GM’s Nav Traffic, for intelligence. By comparison, the Sirius/XM based traffic colors are slow to respond, and they appear on fewer roads. The 17″ screen is a jewel for this. Not just because it’s 17″, but because it is portrait. It pinches in and out, like an ipad, quite effectively, too.

My bet is on a chemical solution, rather than nav software update: Spray a calming drug into the passenger compartment via the air ducts as soon as range goes low.

They are already partners with Mercedes so… maybe the Model S will get a special version of the S-Class’s new fragrance dispenser! ha.

Maybe it’s electric shock therapy. If the driver starts searching for charging stations with over 50% charge, the seat gives them a zap.

Well, there is not much one can do with only an OTA software update. I guess they can put in an economy mode that severely limits acceleration, top speed, and HVAC usage to extend range. And they can improve the range estimator to account for speed, elevation, traffic, load, etc. And they can integrate in all of the known charging stations into their system.

It better be something good, no “emperor new clothes that only the clever can see” type of thing. Their current European sales figures are bad, not to mention asia.


I’d bet on better navigation estimation for the range. Something like, “if you drive like you normally do you won’t make it home, but if you only drive 3+ the speed limit then look, you make it home.” The car needs a way to tell the driver how poorly he/she is driving for the conditions/terrain/etc and give constructive feedback. Most of the big “oh no I ran out of range” stories so far have been from people doing 85mph on the highway and not realizing just how bad that is for range and the range estimator not knowing whether they were going to be lead foots or Prius drivers that day.

Since the current range estimator in the Model S is optimistic (typical driver won’t see “rated range”) it’s likely a more accurate range based on driver performance & planned trip conditions (elevation climb, etc).

Adding a couple of concentric range circles on the map like the Ford does wouldn’t hurt either.

When you can see the charge points inside your range radius, there’s not much to be anxious about. Unless they’re Blink or SemaConnect chargers.

A feature to filter out unreliable charger vendors on your charge map would be nice.

And a Filter to deselect stations at unfriendly Car Dealers, etc. that don’t let other brand owners charge there, so you don’t double your charging anxiety after arriving and getting turned down! Something like a Plugshare 8-10 Rating Filter could be nice to, so you only see listings with high ratings!

Probably another overhyped event thanks to the usuak Elon Musk tweets.

Remember the D event in September 2014? Could be a re-run, disappointment after the event included.

Tesla should maybe considering toning down expectations and promises.

The D Reveal was over-hyped? What???

0 – 60 in 3.1 seconds, fastest production Sedan on the Planet, totally digital AWD that can adjust to the road per millisecond, with unheard of range-extending power efficiency– and THAT was a DISAPPOINTMENT to you??? Oh, and AutoPilot.

What freaking alternative Universe do you live in???

The one where only Tesla fan boys care about the obnoxious stats of a $100k+ car that very few people will ever actually own.

Sounds like you have a bad case of sour grapes, my friend. 🙂

What Tesla does now, others can reap the more affordable rewards of, later.

Sorry you can’t obtain the immediate gratification you’re bitter over…

Maybe the Model S is indeed, like many other high end cars, only for the happy few, but there is a clear sincere will from Elon to bring to market the Model 3 that will be affordable to much more people. Especially considering that fuel cost included, a BMW 3 series is not really cheaper than what the Model 3 would cost. There is also the Gigafactory as proof of the will, with real ground moved, steel beams assembled and concrete poured that is just way too big for only the Model S and X. So the Model 3 is coming, but it takes time and there is indeed a part of unknown that can induce unwanted delays. To my knowledge Christopher Columbus was unable to tell the exact day he would find land but he was standing firm on the will to find it.

What are you talking about—in a few years one could probably pick up an S for 40 or 50 grand—–

Anon, have a look what Tesla stock did since September 2014.

Tesla hyped up that event as if the D was an entirely new car model when it was jus the AWD option they hinted at for momths.

How did Tesla hype of the event by making a single announcement about it?

Dr. Miguelito Loveless

And what exactly does the company’s stock price have to do with anything? Are we discussing the technical merits of their products or wild ass speculations of Wall Street?

tftf has issues with Stock Price, and is angry over stock reaction over “D”.

I now understand his strange filtering being applied to Tesla’s amazing digital AWD advancements now.

I don’t think the D event was over hyped. It wasn’t a new model but it was a quite big step that was long awaited for by many. In snowy countries like Norway AWD is very welcome. And no matter what YOU think of the 3.2 s 0-60 mph stats, it is a relevant aspect for many cars above $100 000. The 0-60 mph “roller coaster” event rides also seemed to pleasure most people.

On the other hand I have a feeling that this particular anouncement is over hyped, since it sounds like a pure software update. Updates have been done all the time without anyone blowing the trumpets. But I hope I’m wrong.

Is not overhyped mode is Insane mode 🙂

I think the update will maximize Engine & its Components Efficiency , So that the Entire system utilizes Less Power To carry out The same task ..Ie: An EE Lite That Uses 23 Watts Yet Produces 100 watts of lite , The Equal to the Old 100Watt incandescent Light that actually used 100Watts to produce same.. …….

Range anxiety doesn’t exist

Until you can leave your dead car on the side of the road and return with 100 miles worth of range you can pour into the battery in one minute in order to continue down the road, range anxiety will continue to exist. Yes, there will be high-rate dump chargers on tow trucks, but you still can’t carry that in a five gallon jug.

I think how this update will work is that you be able to type in the address you are going to. After you type in your address you are going to the Tesla Model S will show you how much battery range you need and if you need to stop for a charge. And if you are on the road it will lead you to a quick charger.

It will keep track of how far you can go on your existing charge.

Wait! I Got it! “Via OTA Software update” – is code saying – a Sikorsky Sky-crane Helicopter – will pick you and your Model S up, and take you to the Supercharger station – Over The Air – And the Software – will call the service if your are getting short on range and your steering wheel senses your pulse start to increase! 🙂 Yup! That’s it! For Sure – Never Worry about getting to the Supercharger – Elon will “get you to the Supercharger on Time!” 😉


They’re making electric helicopters now? How do they lift the weight of that huge extension cord?

not that publications and fans hype his tweets anyway elon seems to be having fun this time.

My guess is that it’s a virtual fusion reactor. So if you put in a virtual banana peel it will virtually drive the car forever.

Then you either take the blue pill, the range anxiety ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. Or you take the red pill, you stay in wonderland, and I show you how deep the range anxiety goes.

There is a battery that’s available today that can give you a range of 1000 miles, but the problem with that battery is it can not be recharged. It has to be replaced when depleted, but it would work great as a Range Extender. I suffer from range anxiety, but this solution would work for me.

fingers crossed. It’s finally the ‘Model SCSX’.

New 10X efficient solar roof panel, featuring dynamic azimuth positioning, to receive continuous 100% STC-rated capacity, amplified and delivered to you by the nearest Space X satellite.

Solar City, Space X – SCSX. Get yours.

What about OTA hacks or viruses that can wreck havoc to law abiding TESLA drivers?

Its 9 volt batteries….lots and lots of 9 volt batteries.

Battery Swap access..