First Tesla Battery Swapping Station Expected To Be Online This December



Old Tesla Tweets On Battery Swapping

Old Tesla Tweets On Battery Swapping

Reaffirming our report from a few months ago was a statement made by Tesla CEO Elon Musk at the Tesla D unveiling.

According to Automotive News, Tesla’s CEO provided an “update on Tesla’s long-promised battery-swap program, he said that Tesla plans to open its first station, between Los Angeles and San Francisco, within the next two months.”

Here’s our speculative guess as to where that first swapping station will be located: at the site of the Harris Ranch Supercharger.

As we reported previously, the Harris Ranch Supercharger is “where there just so happens to be a non-functional car wash site, which would make for an ideal battery swap station. Apparently, Tesla has already struck a deal with with the property owners and the battery swap site should be operational within 6 month’s time.”

“Makes sense right? Tesla rips up the concrete, installs the necessary mechanicals and make use of the existing car wash facility. Pull in…pull out.

Look for the Harris Ranch Supercharger site to soon (probably sometime in December) become home to the world’s first Tesla battery swapping station.

Harris Ranch Supercharger Info

Harris Ranch Supercharger Info

Source: Automotive News

Category: Tesla

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58 responses to "First Tesla Battery Swapping Station Expected To Be Online This December"
  1. Big Solar says:

    Hopefully people will use this swap station.

    1. See Through says:

      Tesla is getting desperate to get those ZEV credits! They were so yummy while they lasted.

      1. Grendal says:

        Except they only get credit for the specific swap. So your snide implication is completely wrong. The sad thing is that Tesla gets no credit at all for their successful fast charging system of Supercharging. I suppose Tesla isn’t willing to spend a lot of money to adjust the attitude of CARB like the Hydrogen lobby is. They get an enormous amount of credits for a car that you can’t even buy.

        1. Grendal says:

          I will correct myself since Toyota just announced that the Mirai can be bought in late 2016.

          1. See Through says:

            Toyota Mirai will be on sale late 2015, not 2016.

            1. Priusmaniac says:

              You mean will be on life support fossil lobbied subsidies.

      2. Spec9 says:

        They SHOULD get ZEV credits for this but I don’t think they do.

        1. See Through says:

          The question is between 4 and 7 credits. Tesla cheated on CARB; showed them the battery swap that was never implemented, and was still enjoying higher credits. If they show real usage of the swap station, they can get back to prior level of 7 credits per car. Read this insideevs article by Jay Cole, “CARB ZEV Program Changes; Tesla Takes Largest Hit, Fuel Cell Tech Wins”

          “Also, while it might appear that Tesla’s battery swap technology that enabled the automaker to previously book 7 credits per Model S might still apply to the new standard, there is a rather lengthy submission (and usage verification) process that has to be filed to ARB’s executive officer. In other words, if there are more hoops now to jump through for not much (if any) ZEV transfer revenue – you can bet that Tesla’s battery swap plans probably just died.”

        2. Priusmaniac says:

          CARB will end up giving credits to fossil fueled diesels if you can prove it come from the dirtiest Alberta production site.

  2. Mark H says:

    I still struggle with this. Not the concept of swapping, but that the manufacturer be responsible for the station. Will Toyota pay for hydrogen stations?? I am almost certain that no standards exist for a universal battery swap station but this seems a bit much to me to really expect any auto manufacturer to build them.

    First lets see how much this station is used. Maybe they are hoping they can get CARB to re-instate the swapping credits now that a swapping station exist. We will see.

  3. GeorgeS says:

    I’m struggling with this concept. Even if I did have the money for an S I’m not sure I’d go for it. It seems much simpler and cheaper to use the superchargers.

    1. Mark H says:

      Especially in a Tesla. Even if “my” battery is protected for me to pick up later, I just don’t want you under my EV. Fleet vehicles might be different.

    2. kdawg says:

      Comes down to time. If you don’t have the time to Supercharge, you swap (and pay for it too).

    3. Blind Guy says:

      If I were fortunate enough to be a Model S owner; I would much prefer access to more superchargers instead of fewer battery swapping stations. After traveling 200+ miles, it would make more sense to make sure there is always access to a clean restroom and refreshment instead of a 5 min pit stop. More SCs give more Tesla owners more freedom in more directions then slightly faster swap stations would JMO. KISS!

    4. Scramjett says:

      While I don’t disagree with everyone’s preference for more superchargers, I would probably use a battery swap station under this particular scenario:

      If I’m driving late at night and the kids are fast asleep in the back (and yes, I’ve done that frequently), then I’m going to want to minimize the chances of them waking up. If Elon can pull off what he showed in the original swap video out in the field, then a swap would be faster than stopping for gas and I can get in, swap a battery, get out and back on the road before the kids have a chance to even wake up.

      That’s just one scenario, there are probably at least a dozen more that I can’t think of (but someone might be able to). I think there are times when the supercharger is best (stopping for dinner) and times when swapping is best (see above). Most cases the supercharger will work best, but I can see how a not insignificant number of people might take the swap route.

  4. Realist says:

    I heard its just bullshit to get 9 ZEV from Carb, will not be available for public.
    More Musky lies.

    1. liberty says:

      No it is to combat the lies coming from the california fuel cell partnership, CARB, and toyota that fueling is more convient in a fuel cell vehicle.

      By the time there are 1000 fcv on california roads, 1000s of teslas will have crossed between northenm and southern californian. This station will help with the jounalists.

      The two biggest lies from fuel cells they are more convient to fuel (no you need to find a fueling station phevs can use any gas station) and they are greener.

    2. Blueberry Blipblop says:

      I think the state withdrew the ZEV credits for battery swapping. The rules before Tesla battery swapping event was that if you could “fill up” an EV within 10 minutes you would get extra ZEV credits. But later on they changed the rules to not include battery swapping. So yes, the ZEV credits was probably a big factor behind the battery swapping. But it was no lie.

      1. liberty says:

        Yes carb changed the rules, but tesla spent the money, they might as well get the tech right. It combats the fuel cell lobbies PR.

      2. Grendal says:

        Actually you have it wrong. Tesla will only get credit for each swap. So it is not a way to get a lot of ZEV credits. The Fuel Cell lobby has ZEV credits wrapped up with their leased Fuel Cell cars. CARB is a political entity and can easily be swayed by money. They are essentially screwing Tesla by giving them no credit for Supercharging at all. That is a successful fast charging system that allows an EV to be competitive with gas and diesel cars. CARB has gamed the ZEV credit system to exclude Supercharging while including Hydrogen refueling.

    3. Bonaire says:

      With the drain of the coolant fluids, they must be doing something with a dual-head valve to handle disconnect/reconnect and that valving is not in all cars (my suspicion is cars must be outfitted with new valves).

      Will a battery really be swapped fast? What about coolant system bleeding, etc. What if a swap causes a battery overheating issue if coolant leaks – does the driver have to go to their local service center or be picked up by tow vehicle?

      Also – isn’t there supercharging at this Harris Ranch site already?

      1. Grendal says:

        Yes. Harris Ranch is a Supercharger location.

      2. Lensman says:

        Tesla has already demonstrated the ability to do automated battery pack swapping. I understand that the coolant lines are self-sealing when disconnected.

        Whatever the mechanical challenges are, obviously Tesla has already overcome them.

      3. Coolant Lines, Like Air Hoses or Hydraulic Hoses, are what is called – ‘Quick Connect’ and seal when release male and female couplings in this case. It was also said, way back by Tesla, that the Pack was designed with Swapping in mind.

        Also – the new shields for road debris to protect the pack, are deigned in such a way as to not interfere with the Robotic Swapping/installing equipment.

  5. Taser54 says:

    Hard to expect anyone to use this station. After all, the superchargers are right there. We’re talking a difference of what? 15-20 min vs supercharging? And the still has to return to get his/her battery later.

    Now if Tesla created an automated service center, that would be an accomplishement.

    1. Gsned57 says:

      That cost analysis makes sense to me but then again I can’t justify a $70000 car. I think there will be plenty of folks however that would be happy to spend $60 and get 20 minutes of their day back. This is also a very easy way to go grow a 60kwh model to an 85 or maybe a 120 in the future. 90 seconds for an upgrade.

      1. QCO says:

        Upgrading the battery is an interesting point…

        Maybe this ends up being a special purpose service centre for quickly replacing worn out batteries in the future. That’s a much better solution than spending a day waiting at a repair shop.

        1. ffbj says:

          Seems reasonable, like a mini service center with few battery swapping bays.

        2. Bonaire says:

          I thought batteries didn’t wear out? And if they did, they needed to be tested by the service centers to warranty replacement?

          This has to be a CARB compliance issue – maybe they are trying to claw-back the 3 out of 7 credits per car since they paid full 7 credits because all Model S were “fast swap capable” (which I doubt that is true without re-valving the coolant links). The number of credits involved is in the tens of millions of dollars – is a claw-back in progress?

          1. Grendal says:

            No. The new rules say you only get credit for the swaps that you do. HFCV’s get truckloads of credits for cars you can’t even buy. So focus your ire on HFCV’s if you think someone is gaming the system.

      2. 1) there’s more to upgrading a 60kWh to 85 than just swapping the battery.

        2) no one is going to drive from whatever metro area they live to Coalinga to get their battery upgraded. Harris Ranch is in the very middle of a very long, not very pleasant drive.

        1. gsned57 says:

          1. I would assume the more you are referring to is software related. I suspect Tesla’s engineers can figure that part out pretty easily (I’m no expert but not aware of any hardware limitations to what i’m suggesting.

          2. This is the first of what could be many if it works out. Same argument could have been made for the first super charger “great but I don’t want to drive there to get a quick free fill up”. This is the first one. Give it time and if it proves out financially they’ll build more.

        2. Get Real says:

          And,—because its a very long and unpleasant drive their will be willing buyers of a battery swap to shorten that drive, especially if the superchargers are backed up.

    2. JakeY says:

      Just on the other hydrogen articles, there are multiple manufacturers banking that consumers would be willing to pay more for fuel just to get that 5 minute refueling time.

      Tesla’s swap infrastructure will be a similar test (although in this case it’s “free” vs $60).

      1. Lensman says:

        Auto manufacturers are not “banking on” customers being willing to pay twice as much as they pay for gasoline to get a five minute refuel time with a “fool cell” car.

        Auto manufacturers are, however, “banking on” the carbon credits they will get for selling a -very- limited number of California compliance fuel cell cars. Very limited, because there is essentially zero demand for such cars outside of a few fleets with their own private hydrogen fueling stations.

    3. See Through says:

      Not if you end up behind 20 other people waiting to charge at super charger! This is very possible on those weekend trips between LA and SFO. Then, you better pay up for the swap to get going quickly.

      1. Spec9 says:

        If there are 20 Teslas waiting to charge at a supercharger then Tesla has WON.

        And they’ll build a few more superchargers. They are pretty good at installing them now.

    4. Lensman says:

      Not hard at all to expect people to use this station. Drive from LA to ‘Frisco, or vice versa, and swap the battery on the way; swap the original battery back in on the return trip. Avoid the 20-30 minute SuperCharger stop to recharge the battery.

      The real problem, I think, will come with those who don’t swap their original battery back in, and later have a battery pack issue. There will always be the suspicion that they traded for a pack that wasn’t as good as the original.

      Time will tell if this idea catches on, but personally I’m dubious.

      1. Phr3d says:

        actually 60 min, as you swap your own fully charged pack back in on the return, instead of recharging – basically a buck-a-minute and for those that make the trip frequently, it might be worth that.

  6. Tyl Young says:

    Sometimes on the very busy SF-LA>LAS/SAN/PHX I-5/I-10/15 corridors you just want minimal time stops. You can make it easily to Harris Ranch from SF, 90 seconds later you are on your way with a full battery! Time is money, this IS California, so with other battery swap stations in the southland, everything will be right with the world! This is where all the MS’s are, sometimes you just want to get there! …minus a few dollars of course!

  7. EVer says:

    really no need for swapping

  8. Lou says:

    I was thinking the other day about battery swapping, not just Tesla but all EV’s. The “market” for them(if there is one)would seem likely to be in that 85 mile range battery car upgrading(temporarily) to a 200 mile BEV. Spend a few bucks, upgrade to that larger battery and then you can take that longer trip. You don’t need such range very often, but when you need it you can access it. It also means you’d not need a whole lot of batteries, just enough to make the trips doable for casual travelers.

    1. Get Real says:

      I totally agree and I have said this too before. But, to make that work there would need to be swapping stations close to the owners.

  9. Mark says:

    This is cool tech, but I just can’t see it catching on. The cost of storing extra packs, the cost to the consumer, they could put in many more superchargers for the same cost. Also, people are cheap, even people who can afford a Tesla. I’ll go grab a coffee and kill 30-40 minutes to save $40.

    1. Mark says:

      I never thought of the larger packs for road trips. I could see that I guess. Would have to be at least double the range to make it worthwhile tho. And under $200.

    2. Lensman says:

      “Better Place” (originally “Project Better Place” already tried a business model based on battery swapping. It utterly failed, because the startup costs are so high that the company had to charge a fee which essentially wiped out any cost advantage of not having to pay for gasoline.

      There has been an analysis posted on Seeking Alpha claiming that the SuperCharger system actually generates a net profit for Tesla. I don’t know if that’s true, but perhaps it’s so. However, there is absolutely no way that a battery swap system is going to pay for itself, not even with a few carbon credits per swap. The swap stations, at 1/4 to 1/2 a million dollars apiece are too expensive, and stocking the stations with a bunch of battery packs will also be quite expensive. At $21.25 per carbon credit (not a fixed price, that’s a market snapshot), it seems to me that this will be a massive money loser.

      I expect to see very few of these swap stations set up by Tesla.

  10. Francis L says:

    Let’s say that in a few years, I would like to buy a used Tesla with an old battery. So if I make the travel through california, I’ll be able to get a better battery for free? Might value the trip!

    1. Lensman says:

      Sorry, no. The intent is to swap your original battery pack back in, on the return trip. If you choose to keep the replacement, Tesla will charge you for the estimated value of the difference between the two packs.

      At least, that’s how the plan has been described.

      1. Plus, Tesla Knows your VIN, And if you swapped your cars Battery out, but not the original back in: Even Battery Packs have a Tracking Number – it would be part of the cars Data Stream, I am sure!

        Also – they might well know even more – just like they called out the New York times Writer on his BS – because they have the Data – just need to retrieve it!

        I also bet – they could have a Code – if – for example your Service Center said – they could swap out your pack for a new one or an upgrade, but you preferred to have an Auto Swap/Upgrade at a station – since you normally have to pay – there will be a system to do billing, and – with the codes entered from the service Centre – these stations could do Battery Upgrades as well. Support Techs, could then either leave your older battery in swap service, or pull it from the station with their supply trucks (Another cost for replenishing and loading these stations – a truck designed to deliver a collection of batteries)!

  11. Teo says:


    The rules say the first 25 swap events of each car will fulfill the fast refueling criteria. This means only 4% of cars need to use battery swap 25 times. For each 100 cars sold, if 96 never use swap and 4 of them use swap 25 times each, they would get the full 9 points per car for the entire 100.

    To read the specific rule, search for “1962.1_Clean.pdf”. It is the first link on Google. Then in that PDF file go to page 14. Under 1.b.iii. it says:

    Quote: “Only the first 25 fast refueling events performed on any individual Type III, IV, or V ZEV shall count towards the total number of fast refueling events, respectively”

    In 12 ZEV states Tesla is expected to sell 6720 cars in 2015 according my calculation based on ZEV states corresponding to 28% of US car sales. Ideally Tesla would like to get 9 credits for all the 6720 cars. In practice they might achieve much less than that. However that’s fine because they only need 100 swaps a year to break even.

    Each swap for 2015 cars will increase credit points from 3 to 9. That is 6 credits points. Each credit is worth about $4,000 in the open market (the maximum price is $5,000 because this is how much car manufacturers would pay California if they didn’t buy credits from Tesla). 6 credits is worth 24,000. If they do 100 swaps in 2015 that would be 2.4 million USD. That should cover the cost of a swap station and the cost of free swaps they are going to offer to 2015 model cars.

    1. Lensman says:

      A single carbon credit is worth about $4000? May I ask where you’re getting that info? The following source indicates they were selling for $10-15 apiece a year or so ago (and that price was down from the ~$25 I cited in a post above):

    2. OK – Found the pdf – – now – about that Pricing structure, could you add where you came up with that figure?

      Were you basing the value on this article that says $35,000 per vehicle (in 2013) at 9 credits (9 x 4 = $36,000)? –

      Currently – the Per Tonne Price shown here – is $12.60 per Tonne; but that is not ZEV Credits.

      Here is a 5 year old ZEV Tutorial – as found in this story – – however – I must have missed the figure – Pay us $5,000 per credit if you don’t have them buy building ZEV’s or buying them from other makers – sentence. Could you point that one out?

  12. Bottom Line, if Tesla Motors installs one such swapping station per, let’s just say ~ 140 Supercharging station Sites (About the number the ‘Coming Soon’ Slider sort of shows we will have) – then – in the end, at that ratio, we might end up with about 3 – 4 of them in the whole USA / Canada Spread!

    Obviously – I think it will take a few more to get genuine and long term attention, maybe about 1 Swap Station per 20, or maybe even more than 1 per 10, might be the final number or ‘Sweet Spot’, allowing to Swap at one Station and Supercharge at the next, for those 3,000 mile EV Trips some might actually take!

    Or – instead of installing them at current Supercharger locations as suggested, they could install these – Between – existing Supercharging Stations? Would that work?

  13. Aha – OK – I found a reference to the $5,000 ‘Fine’ as a figure to compare: “-If a carmaker does not meet ZEV requirements, the fine is $5,000 per credit. So this is approximately the amount of money that GM or Honda are willing to pay for credits.” – about 40% of the way down the page on this article/Blog Post – – and a bit further down, there is the line “More intuitively, they get $35,000 worth of credits when they sell one of those in California”, so maybe that is the same reference Green Car Reports used in my link above!

  14. Bloggin says:

    Swapping makes sense with the large Tesla battery packs when on a road trip when you don’t want to spend an hour or two for charging.

    Currently the Superchargers offers a 170 mile change in 30 minutes. So it should be about 40 to 60 minutes to fully charge the 60 – 85kWh pack.

    $60 for a battery swap works.

    1. Phr3d says:

      The swap stations -appear- to be focused on highly traveled long routes, i.e., ~400 mile trips used regularly. In -that- case, and the apparent intention, is that you need to double everything:
      you get the 30+ min benefit going To your destination, and get it again returning From your destination.

  15. Stuart22 says:

    I think the only real future for Tesla’s commendable swapping scheme is in auto racing. Pull into the pits, swap battery, get back on the track.

    Otherwise, it’s bound to be a flop – it is too socialistic to work in America.

  16. Reality says:

    Tesla is not building a battery-swap facility. They’re building a house of cards. There only reason for this is to keep up the charade upon which California’s tax credit is built.