Travelers making the journey from San Francisco to Los Angeles this holiday might be in for an early holiday surprise. Elon Musk has just announced via his Twitter account that Tesla battery swap stations will begin operating in ‘limited beta’:
Pack swap now operating in limited beta mode for SF to LA route. Can swap battery faster than visiting a gas station. Tesla blog out soon.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 19, 2014
Tesla has discussed battery-pack swapping since well before Model S prototypes were first revealed in 2009. In fact the Tesla Model S electric luxury sport sedan was designed from the outset to offer the ability to drop the pack easily and quickly out from under the floorpan as demonstrated over a year ago at the Tesla Design Center in Hawthorne, CA.
The battery swap stations will likely be installed at one of the larger Tesla Supercharger stations along California’s Interstate 5 or U.S. Route 101. A logical choice would be to beta test the swapping station at or near the Fremont factory where the robotic mechanisms for swapping could be easily modified and serviced.
EDIT 11:10am PST: Tesla Motors just announced that the new Tesla battery swap station will be at the Harris Ranch Supercharger station. More details here.
Elon once said, “There is a way for the Tesla Model S to be recharged throughout the country faster than you could fill a gas tank.”
We shall soon find out as Tesla Motors is scheduled to make the official announcement via their blog!