Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) unveiled a new system that would allow its EV drivers to swap battery packs in about 90 seconds, a duration that’s way less than the time it takes to fill up a conventional car at a gas station. Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) plans to install these new battery-swapping systems throughout its network of supercharging stations, which the company is already building.
According to Elon Musk, Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA)’s CEO, the new system is to go a step further in convincing people that EVs (Tesla EVs, actually) can be more convenient than gasoline cars. The outlook is that whenever a car owner drives a Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) auto into any of the company’s supercharging stations, he/she has a choice to choose whether to go for fast charging, which takes about an hour or get his/her battery replaced within 90 seconds. The fear that an EV won’t reach a desired range is one big stumbling block that’s limiting the EV space.
I’m of the opinion that whichever company provides the best solution to this fear of range sets itself as a major force within the EV space, one that cannot be overlooked when looking to invest in this industry.
What are other EV makers doing about their batteries?
Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) isn’t the only EV maker that’s working to provide better battery services. Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. (ADR) (OTCMKTS:NSANY) recently announced that it’s going to introduce a battery replacement system for its LEAF products in the US, which is expected to start during the first half of 2014. But Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. (ADR) (OTCMKTS:NSANY)’s battery replacement system would work differently than that of Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA). Unlike Tesla, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. (ADR) (OTCMKTS:NSANY) is planning to make its own battery replacement system subscription-based.
Nissan’s system only works for batteries that have fallen below 70% of initial output. I don’t see this system as what the EV world desperately needs at the moment. The issue on ground doesn’t have to do with the question “how many miles/years can this battery run before it becomes defunct?” The real issue is “Does this battery have the capacity to get me to my destination?” which Nissan’s replacement system doesn’t exactly answer.
But something is fishy here. If I were to charge my EV, I’d prefer to charge it fully and so would just anybody do. Why don’t they tell us the time it’d take to charge it fully. Last time I checked, the last 20% in the charging process takes longer to complete than the first 20%. This makes me think that, in the case of SAE Combo DC Fast Charger, the last 20% takes more than 20 minutes to complete, which won’t actually make it preferable to Tesla’s supercharger that provides full charge in an hour. Besides, I don’t think any driver would go to a charging station just to get an 80% charge. Having made this comparison, it’s quite obvious that Tesla is ahead in terms of battery technology/services.
What’s in it for investors?
Tesla has only announced that it’s going to introduce this system; it’s yet to start operating it.