Tesla Extends Battery Swap Invites To Additional Model S Owners – Swap Fee Is $80


Tesla Motors is sending out emails to additional Model S owners to invite them to try out battery swapping at the lone site near the Harris Ranch Supercharger in California.

Only some owners are receiving the email, which suggests to us that Tesla is targeting those who often use the Harris Ranch Supercharger and other Model S owners in the vicinity of the swap site.

The battery swap itself takes a reported 3 minutes or so.

As for cost, it’s reported to be $40 each way (you do pick up your original battery pack at some point in time), or $80 total a pop (swap for new battery and swap back to your original battery), which sounds reasonable to us if in fact you’re in need of the additional range and can’t spare 20 to 30 minutes of time to charge.  So, if it’s a necessity to get back on the road with a full charge as quickly as possible, then battery swapping seems to makes sense.

Battery Swapping

Battery Swapping

via Tesla Motors Club

Category: Tesla

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48 responses to "Tesla Extends Battery Swap Invites To Additional Model S Owners – Swap Fee Is $80"
  1. drpawansharma says:

    I think the swap stations have lost their relevance now with the proliferation of so many supercharger stations.

    1. Sublime says:

      If you have a 60kWh Model S, you could swap in an 85kWh for a roadtrip, for less than the cost of an ICE rental.

      This would also allow them to sell 40kWh Model 3s, with the option to swap up to whatever max size the offer for road trips.

      1. Ocean Railroader says:

        I think if they ever invented a 140 kilowatt battery with a 450 mile range would make sense to change out lower range batteries for long road trips with very few superchargers.

        Personally I think Tesla should charge $20 dollars for a battery swap to at least compete with gas powered cars. In that to spend $80 dollars seems excessive.

        1. Lensman says:

          I don’t disagree that $80 seems rather expensive, but that’s for two swaps; one on the trip out, and one on the return journey.

          1. David Stone says:

            Which is why the title should be changed to round or double swap.
            $40 for a very quick charge is not too bad and wil imho be mostly used by business people who travel alot, really do not have the time to wait and most likely have their travel expenses paid for by their employer.

        2. notting says:

          I thought the engine power of an Model S is much higher than only 140kW?! The battery must deliver enough power when discharging for the engine…


          1. Lensman says:

            The 2012 Model S used a 270 kW motor (310 kW for the Performance version). Perhaps that 140 kW you cite is for just one of the motors in a more recent twin motor version?


    2. philip d says:

      I agree but I think the swap stations have huge marketing potential to remove from play the only advantage claimed by alternative green competitors (hydrogen) which is fueling time.

      It would be hilarious if Tesla began dropping in swap stations right next to the handful of hydrogen stations all while continuing to build their Supercharger network.

      That would effectively make up the consumers minds for them on which alternative to choose.

    3. sven says:

      The battery swap stations give Tesla extra ZEV credits for BEVs sold in CARB states. To get the extra CARB credits a Model S has to swap its battery only one time. But each Model S can earn extra credits for up to 25 other Model S’s in the CARB fleet if it gets its battery swapped more than once. In other words, if only 4% of the Model S’s sold in CARB states got their batteries swapped 25 times each, then the entire CARB Model S fleet would get the extra CARB credits for Tesla! These extra CARB credits are worth over $10,000 per car of pure profit!

      The article below explains the above in far greater detail:


      1. See Through says:

        Yes, Tesla is gaming the system, thanks to the game designed by its paid allies within CARB. A game that Tesla plays well.

        The article makes lots of assumptions, like “those who frequently use the Harris Ranch”. It could also be those who keep their mouth shut about what goes on behind that closed gate of the swap station. These could be Tesla employees or big shareholders, or paid agents. If it is so fast, why do people need invites? Smells very fishy. They are just doing this due to the recent negative publicity on how this swap thing is yet another giant farce.

        The article claims “20 to 30 minutes for a full charge”. That’s not correct either. When the other bays are also used, the charge rate drops to half. And 30 minutes is for 80% charge (with no other bay used) starting from 0% charge state. Then add the wait times on busy days. So, it should be “WHO CAN’T SPARE THE 2 TO 3 HRS FOR 180 MILES OF RANGE”.

        1. Alonso Perez says:

          Tesla doesn’t have paid allies in CARB. If it did it would not need to game the system. The system would be such that it would simply apply to its preferred model, which is supercharging.

          You can claim Tesla is corrupting CARB or you can claim they are gaming it. You can’t claim both at the same time and maintain minimum coherence.

          1. QCO says:

            Tesla is definitely gaming a system created by CARB, not Tesla, which advocates supercharging.

            On the other hand, they’re certainly not lobbying to have it changed because the credits are very lucrative (and exclusive at the moment).

            Everybody’s s**t smells a least a little bit.

        2. Lensman says:

          “See Through” said:

          “The article claims ’20 to 30 minutes for a full charge’. That’s not correct either. When the other bays are also used, the charge rate drops to half.”

          I see “See Through” is engaged in his favorite activity here on InsideEVs: spouting FUD, putting negative spin on anything related to Tesla, and promoting Tesla-bashing conspiracy theories. You know, See Through, you’d do better in your campaign to drive down Tesla stock prices and promote your short-seller agenda if you weren’t so obvious about it.

          The reality is this: The first car to plug into a charging pedestal charges as fast as the system is engineered to let it charge, with the understanding that Tesla wants to avoid any chance of damaging the batteries. The second car to plug into the same charging pedestal (two charging cables per pedestal) gets whatever the remaining power is, which may be as low as 1/3 the power the first car is getting.

          But as the first car to plug in achieves over 60% charge, its charging slows down, and more of the available power is routed to the second car. Bottom line: The second car will take longer to charge, but certainly not twice as long if they both need a substantial amount of charging. You might be able to find some “edge case”, an outlier where it takes twice as long, but certainly not in most cases. (Citing outliers as if they’re the norm is a standard tactic of those spouting FUD.)

          This somewhat complex subject is explored at length in this discussion thread:


        3. Big Solar says:

          ole see through, still a pos I see

        4. James says:

          “See Through”, a.k.a. Edward Niedermeyer, is the former editor at The Truth About Cars. So finally, we see through See Through. Edward has been an EV detractor for years – most infamously the first hard-basher of the Chevrolet Volt.

          Today, Niedermeyer tries so hard to find an exclusive for his Daily KanBan website, that he stakes out the Harris Ranch batt swap station the entire Memorial Day Weekend.

          “See Through” WHAT? You try so had to gain notoriety by pushing that big conspiracy that never really is.

          My advice to Edward ( See Through ) Neidermayer: Go Away.

      2. Alonso Perez says:

        Sure. It’s true. But you know, given the credits hydrogen gets, despite being a fossil fuel derivative today, Tesla is right to do this. Toyota is gaming not just the system, but basically lying to the public about the environmental benefits of hydrogen fuel cells, and that’s far worse.
        I’d also argue that if Tesla found real demand for swaps, they would expand the capability. I honestly believe that most Tesla owners just aren’t that interested.

  2. Acevolt says:

    I think this would be great for those with 60 or 70kWh batteries.

  3. bro1999 says:

    Eh, I’d just wait the extra 20-25 minutes for an 80% supercharge.

    Question: Can people with a 60 kWh battery get an 85 kWh battery swapped in? Or are all the batteries actually 85 kWh, and the computer just limits the amount available? So a 70D actually has an 85 kWh pack, but is software limited to 70 kWh?

    1. Lensman says:

      The 60 kWh Model S actually does have fewer battery cells. It weighs, as I recall, something in the ballpark of 200 pounds less.

      While it is, of course, physically possible to swap an 85 kWh battery pack into a 60 kWh Tesla Model S, the swap station would have to update the onboard software for the car to work properly. Not saying it can’t be done, and perhaps that can be done fast enough that there won’t be any additional wait time while the battery is being swapped. But it might be problematic, and at the least could lead to confusion by the driver, because suddenly his car is acting different than what he’s used to.

      1. JakeY says:

        I have read that a firmware reflash takes 30 minutes, so that might be too long. The software would have to be written to accommodate this without a firmware reflash.

        1. Lensman says:

          Thanks, Jake. Getting a 30 minute procedure down to 3 minutes sounds very difficult or impossible. Sounds like they’d have to change the onboard computer hardware to accommodate that.

          1. Brian Swanson says:

            I doubt it would require a re-flash of the car. Battery details are normally stored in the battery not the device they are attached to. Because of this in theory a swap out should work to upgrade battery pack size. However, when building the cars they may test the motors/inverter’s and match them to a specific pack.

            For example 60kwh batteries provide less voltage so when building electric motor’s if some fall short on current handling for the 85kwh battery they will still work in the 60 / 70 series cars.

            1. Lensman says:

              Certainly the BMS (Battery Management System) of the Model S is part of the battery pack, so would be swapped out if the pack is. But the car’s inverter, the charging system, the regenerative braking procedure, even something as basic as how much power is available to be fed to the motor… all these need to be controlled by software designed to work with a specific size (in kWh) of battery pack. All that would have to be updated for a larger pack to operate correctly as part of the car.

              Could all that be updated without “flashing” the firmware and installing a new ROM operating system? I have no idea. Perhaps an interesting question for a Tesla engineer.

  4. Phatcat73 says:

    Are these stations fully automated or is there an attendant?

    1. Lensman says:

      Fully automated. If I recall correctly what I’ve read, there is an office in the swap station which is usually unattended and locked up. If for some reason there is a mechanical failure of the swap system and your car gets stuck, Tesla will remotely unlock the door, so you can get the key which is inside the office for the loaner car they leave there for just such an emergency.

    2. sven says:

      These stations are not yet fully automated. Apparently, technicians need to remove some battery shielding, and on the first visit add a battery sled. It’s unclear if the technicians have to remove the battery shielding every time. See MITE46’s comments in the following thread.



      1. sven says:

        MITE46’s first post with some good pics and info about the battery swapping station start on this page:


  5. Lensman says:

    A $40 convenience charge seems high. If you compare that to the price of a tank of gas, it looks like a bargain. On the other hand, the main selling point of EVs is the significantly lower operating cost, so saying “Well, it’s less than a tank of gas” isn’t all that great. A bit disappointing, frankly.

    Bottom line: Tesla has no motive to encourage more customers to use the battery swap stations. They’re not going to build out a significant number. Battery swap stations cost much more than Supercharger stations, and it’s unlikely Tesla will see that the cost/benefit justifies building a lot of swap stations.

    All just my opinions, of course.

    * * * * *

    One post I read said that the Model S had to be specially modified to use the battery swap station; that the standard off-the-production-line car has the battery pack much too firmly attached to be able to swap it out quickly. Now, was that just another Internet rumor, contrary to fact? Or will all those customers who take Tesla up on the offer to use the swap station, have to get their car modified at a Tesla service shop to be able to do that?

    1. Lustuccc says:


      1. Lensman says:

        From sven’s response above, I’d say it’s not rumor. sven has earned a reputation here for being very knowledgeable about EVs, even moreso than me.

    2. QCO says:

      Hmmm… $40 of gas takes you more than 600 miles in a high efficiency ICE.

      1. JakeY says:

        In a car comparable to the Model S you’ll probably be getting 20-25 mpg. At $3.73/gallon average in CA (here the swap station is), $40 gets you 10.7 gallons. So 214-267 miles.

        Obviously if you drive a Prius that’s quite far from something comparable.

      2. Lensman says:

        QCO said:

        “$40 of gas takes you more than 600 miles in a high efficiency ICE.”

        If a lot of Americans were driving “high efficiency ICEVs” (or rather, somewhat less highly inefficient), then the national average MPG wouldn’t be as low as the 25 MPG which it is.

        But I think you’re gonna have a hard time justifying that 600 miles claim with anything like a mass-produced straight gas-powered car. Checking the numbers on the VW Golf, I get closer to 500 miles than 600. I think you’d have to go to some sort of hybrid gas-electric vehicle, like the Prius, to get that high an MPG without resorting to hypermiling or some other outlier method of achieving extraordinarily high MPG in a stock, unmodified gasoline-powered ICEV.

        I hope you don’t think that comparing one type of EV to another is appropriate, when discussing how far you can drive in the Tesla Model S as compared to a gas guzzler!

  6. ja says:

    That Would Be a Great Deal Is U swap Old For Newer & Forget About It …l o l

    1. Sublime says:

      Tesla will bill you for the difference in value. They were asked this question at the roll out. Personally I wouldn’t want to be at their mercy to determine the difference in value.

      1. ja says:

        I Agree 100%….These Guys Do Nothing For Cheap…I wonder if that $35,000 Model 3 Is Going To Cost Double If it Ever Sees The Light Of Day!????

        1. Lensman says:

          I think it’s safe to say that if Tesla can’t produce the Model ≡ for significantly less than $70, it won’t ever see the light of day. Who would pay as much for a base Model ≡ as a base 60 kWh Model S? Certainly not enough buyers to put the car into production.

          I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see the Model S come in at $40k or slightly more. But suggesting that Tesla can’t build a significantly lower cost car approx. 6 years after the Model S debuted, not even after the Gigafactory is running and producing significantly less expensive (per kWh) batteries, is rather silly.

  7. David Murray says:

    Here’s a question. If you buy a Model-S without the supercharging capability, would you still be able to do a battery swap? If so, this would be a good option for people who occasionally need to travel but didn’t buy the supercharger option.

    1. Sublime says:

      I think such a car will be hard to find. All new Tesla’s include supercharging and I believe it’s added to all CPO models. So it would have to be private sale used.

  8. EVer says:

    Battery swapping is pretty much not needed for anyone. It was mainly showcased to show that you can “charge” an electric car faster or just as fast as filling up a gas tank.

    Waiting for your Tesla at an SC is no problem at all.

    You can stare at your sexy car, enjoy the surroundings, eat something, play music in your car, etc.

    1. LuStuccc says:

      When Musk presented swapping, it show in his attitude that he was not really interrested in swapping batteries. His thing is Faster recharge, better chemistry and better range.
      Model X could be in for a little surprise!

      1. Lensman says:

        I dunno whether or not it showed in Musk’s attitude, but I certainly agree that Tesla is not dedicated to battery swapping. If you follow the timeline of the announcement, then the lack of follow-up, and finally a belated single battery swap station restricted to just a few Model S owners, and compare that to the timeline of how CARB has alternately pushed forward and pulled back on carbon credits for battery swapping, it seems pretty clear that the only reason Tesla is developing battery swap tech is to take advantage of the carbon credits available for that.

        It appears fairly clear that at best, Tesla will build out a battery swap network only so far as they need to for capturing all the carbon credits they can, and not one bit further.

        Personally, I have no problem with that. At best, battery swapping for passenger cars is an interim solution until EV charge times come down somewhat further than they already have. I can see a case to be made for using battery swapping for long-haul freight trucking fleets, using fleet swap stations located along routes where they send a lot of trucks every day. But that’s the only battery swapping application I can think of that might ever make economic sense. Even for that, the price of batteries would have to come down quite a bit from where it is now.

        1. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

          Swapping absolutely makes sense, for two reasons:
          – There are some times where people value their time over the cost
          – Cars will eventually need their batteries replaced. A $40 cost to replace a battery would be much lower than any competitor’s dealership offers.

          1. Lensman says:

            As someone already noted in this discussion, if a Model S driver decides to keep a swapped battery pack rather than retrieve his original one, Tesla will bill him the difference in perceived value.

            And it’s certainly an overstatement to say that the average Model S will need a battery pack replacement. Early indications are that the average pack should last the expected life of the car.


  9. ja says:

    Ur Rite ,…Swapping Is Stupid Period!

  10. Tyl says:

    Swapping has it’s value! Harris Ranch is the last stop I need in my travel to the bay area from Phoenix….. and yeah… it’d be great to swap and instantly keep going. Especially when the superchargers are full, and people are waiting. On the return trip it moves me to Mojave or Tejon Ranch where I charge and take a lunch break. Perfect!

  11. It Looks Like Tesla is gathering Data, and Expanding the Service selectively to maintain a steady learning curve on this game, to see if they can handle a higher volume of flow through than currently!

    I expect a 5 – step process for the swap stations to go from Initial Test sites, like this – to any level of expansion: An Alpha Test – which looks like they have completed, then to a Beta Test – which they are Starting; Followed by possibly a second station elsewhere – where they use the same 2 steps; then followed by General Access – still with Reservations Planned.

    After that – if they deem it needed they will then add a half dozen or so in California, with maybe – another half dozen or so in some company determined ‘Key Sites’ across the Country!

    As Supercharging is now Standard, and will be going forward from all indicators, I don’t expect they will spend more than $10 Million on these (@ $500,000 Each) across the whole system in the USA – or Canada!

  12. MZ/X says:

    It’s not only the battery technology that can power an electric car. Why not to build electric network for them, like for electric trains? Why should rely electric cars only on one technology, Lithium based batteries? Why transporting all the electric energy all the time in heavy batteries, why not taking it from below with a current collector from a rail ? …Fast-charge at motion for electric cars http://www.facebook.com/fastchargeatmotion
    Charge your empty electric car battery up to while traveling on a special electrified track. Electric car gets electrical energy via a bottom current collector. Electricity is radio controlled, high voltage is switched off if the vehicle speed falls below a certain limit. Interested in more technical details? Check our Photo Gallery on our facebook page – Patent script, Patent drawings and Technology Review.