Tesla representatives are denying reports that the company is planning to use battery swapping techniques to alleviate Supercharging in China. After Tesla Shanghai Co., Ltd. added a “new energy vehicle battery swap facility” to its plans, according to Tianyancha. Still, the automaker claims it has no plans to adopt the strategy.
On February 28th, Chinese news sources reported that Tesla was planning to launch a battery swapping service for its vehicles in China. Battery swapping is a quick process that allows EV drivers to swap out a low-energy battery pack for one with a full charge. Automaker NIO utilizes the technique to avoid lengthy waits at electric vehicle chargers, but Tesla says it has no plans to use battery swapping and will continue with its global rollout of Superchargers.
“Tesla will not change the battery,” a representative told Beijing Business Daily (via BBT News). Another report from Shine indicated that Tesla representatives said charging the cars is the best way to power its vehicles, and battery swapping is not suitable for widescale use, nor is it effective as it is “riddled with problems.”
In a 2013 presentation, CEO Elon Musk showed how a Tesla EV could be fully recharged in a matter of a few minutes by using a battery swap system. It ended up showing that a battery swap would actually be a minute faster than filling up an Audi A8 at a gas station, completing the process in just three minutes. Battery swapping would require owners to pay a fee, while Supercharging remained free at the time.
Tesla tried battery swaps in the past at its Harris Ranch Battery Swap Station in Coalinga, California. The facility experienced a high concentration of reservations and was booked several weeks in advance for Model S and Model X vehicles, according to some Tesla owners who visited the facility in July 2015. The facility was opened in 2014 to 200 Model S owners who had the opportunity to try out the technique and opened to the public in 2015.
However, Tesla eventually decided to shut down the facility in favor of Supercharging. The company indicated:
“Presently the Battery Swap Program is not accepting any new requests for appointments.”
Tesla’s Supercharger program has ended up being a super successful venture for the automaker. The company has over 20,000 active Superchargers across the world and recently opened up a new Supercharger production facility in China to handle quickly growing demand within the region.
On the other hand, NIO is expected to launch its new, second-generation battery-swapping stations in April 2021. The automaker plans to have 500 total swapping stations in China by the end of 2021.