Despite some reports, Tesla has denied it will revisit battery swapping. Here's why.
About a week ago, we reported about the future potential of Tesla revisiting battery swapping. Nio has a successful battery swapping system in China, and reports asserted that Tesla may follow suit. However, Tesla commented that battery swapping is "riddled with problems and not suitable for widescale use."
More recently, Tesla China's Vice President of External Affairs Grace Tao talked about Supercharging versus battery swapping. She did so to clarify why Tesla believes Supercharging is the better option, as well as why it doesn't plan to revisit battery swapping. She said that many of her friends have asked about Tesla's potential battery swapping, so she wanted to provide details. Tao shared via Teslarati:
“As early as 2013, Tesla tried battery swap. The battery swap mode is currently a good recharge mode in some specific areas such as taxis or buses, but we have always believed that the charging mode is the best for large-scale civilian electric vehicles. The way to supplement energy.”
We can only assume Tao learned about the recent reports stating that Tesla may be considering battery swapping. Stories about the possibility surfaced earlier in China, and Tesla has already spoken out confirming that the reports are false. The company even told Chinese media agencies that it will not be pursuing battery swapping.
Tao's recent message isn't all too different from Tesla's previous statement, but it works to clarify the situation, rather than just saying battery swapping is problematic. Tao explained in a Weibo post (first translated and shared by Teslarati). To put things in perspective, Tao reflected on the history of smartphones:
“You might recall that ten years ago, many electronic products we used removable batteries, and a mobile phone required two batteries. Nowadays, most electronic products such as mobile phones and computers have become integrated built-in batteries, and the way of supplementing energy has also changed from replacing batteries to high-power fast charging…Constantly increasing the layout of charging piles and improving charging efficiency at the same time, we think this is the best solution to users’ anxiety about charging…The national standard charging interface is consistent, which will greatly improve the efficiency of charging. Tesla’s latest V3 overcharge technology can replenish up to 250 kilometers of battery life within 15 minutes, and the time for a cup of coffee has basically met the electricity demand of a week in the city for commuting.”
In an effort to increase EV adoption, Tesla CEO Elon Musk promoted battery swapping years ago. He used the method as a way to show that EVs can actually "fuel up" quicker than gas cars. However, swapping wasn't free, and most Tesla owners charge at home most of the time. On long road trips, the Supercharger network is convenient for Tesla owners and much more widespread and reliable than competing charging networks.