Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S "Electric Refueling" Vs The Traditional Gas Station Stop

Elon on stage

With Tesla successfully demonstrating the ability to swap a Model S battery pack in approximately 90 seconds, the world was once again introduce to battery swapping.  You know, the technology that eventually led to the demise of Better Place.

How can Tesla Motors do battery swapping right when Better Place failed at it?  Well, there are some slight technological differences in how the swap is performed, but that's not what'll perhaps make Tesla successful at swapping.

The technological differences play only the most minor of roles here.  Swapping is swapping.

Recently, Forbes outlined 6 reasons why Tesla is not Better Place when it comes to swapping and we've yet to see this laid out more clearly elsewhere.

Below, we'll highlight those 6 reasons with a condensed version of Forbes' reasoning.  For the full article, follow the link at the bottom of this post.

  1. Better Place was trying to standardize technology across manufacturers; Tesla is serving only itself. Shai Agassi, the charismatic founder of Better Place, convinced the governments of Israel and Denmark that his plan for battery swapping would solve the biggest problem with electric vehicles and got serious commitments from both. But what he couldn’t do was get similar promises from auto manufacturers to use a standardized battery.
  2. Better Place was hoping to profit from battery swapping; for Tesla it could become costly. Tesla, to its advantage, won’t seek to make money from swapping batteries.
  3. Tesla has already achieved a level of acceptance Better Place never had.  Musk is basically targeting the next 100,000 with this offering and he just might win them over.
  4. Better Place’s technology was never going to make EVs as good as gasoline cars. The Renault that Better Place offered was another sub-100-mile electric car akin to Nissan’s Leaf. It’s a perfectly legitimate commuter car/second vehicle, but a useless long-hauler. Nothing about Better Place’s swap stations was going to change that.
  5. Tesla builds cars; Better Place leased batteries. This distinction is important for a lot of reasons.
  6. Upgrades? Who wants upgrades? Tesla has teased several times that their design allows for an “upgradeable car”...Musk pointed out that future batteries for Model S (and X) might have larger capacity than today’s 85-kWh design and there’s no reason to doubt that those, too, will be available through swapping.
Which of the 6 points do you agree/disagree with?  And will battery swapping actually work for Tesla?  Could we consider it to be successful even if Tesla loses money on it?

Source: Forbes

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