In a tech demo held last night, Tesla Motors' Elon Musk showed off what just might be the technology that will bring his line of electric vehicles (EVs) into the mainstream. Swapping batteries at Tesla stations could mean EVs would no longer be restricted by their initial range. Instead, you could simply pull into the station, juice up and be on your way. The experience would be very similar to that of pulling into a traditional gas station.
It only took 90 seconds for Musk's Tesla Model S to complete its battery pack swap. That's a lot faster than your average time at the gas pump — something Musk highlighted during his demo quite effectively. On a screen mounted behind the on-stage Tesla station, a traditional sedan was shown pulling into a gas station. The two cars each began their refueling process at exactly the same moment.
As you watch, the seconds ticking away on the big screen, Musk touting the precision and safety of his new process, a strange feeling just might come over you. You may find yourself wondering if it really does take so long to refuel a car at the pump. You may look for signs that Tesla is in some way fudging its claims. But when that second Tesla sedan pulls up, you just might realize that this tech is on the level. A 90 second refueling time definitely beats your average stay at the pump — handily.
A battery swap is reportedly going to cost Tesla owners somewhere between $60 and $80. Depending on where you live, that's about the same as a tank of gas. And a battery swap isn't the only refueling option when pulling into a Tesla station. There's also the Supercharger, which refills your battery instead of swapping it out. As Musk points out, the Supercharger is going to be a free service.
In the EV mogul's own words, "the only question you need to make when you pull into... Tesla stations is: do you prefer faster or free."
Check out the video below to see the battery swap for yourself.
Via Tesla Motors