Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Tesla Hates Battery Swap for No Good Reason

 I have to defend NIO battery swap:


1. Elon sold himself on battery swap in 2013. (Since Elon has arguably the best foresight in the industry, we know the idea makes sense) The conventional wisdom is that Model S battery swap failed because of low consumer demand. Yes, Tesla soon abandoned the idea, but THE TESLA BATTERY SWAP PILOT WAS COMPLETELY INVALID. Think it through:
a. In 2013-2015 Tesla Model S was sold only to rich people with home charging available. Therefore, there was zero demand for quick battery swap. Local supercharging was only for emergencies, and most people charged while sleeping, which always be the most time efficient method.
b. Battery swap was not tested for long trips. If they had tested a cross-country network, they would have uncovered real demand for battery swap.

2. Teslas are still too expensive for apartment dwellers. This will change, and these lower income EV owners will desire faster charging than 20 minutes. Nobody wants to waste 10-20 minutes EVERY DAY. (This is one reason NIO swap is successful in China, where single family homes and garages are relatively rare.)

3. Battery swap is criticized because it ties up more physical batteries than supercharging, and there is currently a battery shortage.
This argument will be moot as rapid automated battery production is ramped up, raw material supply is increased, and more abundant raw materials are used.

4. The conventional wisdom is that structural batteries cannot be swapped. This is wrong. There is no reason that a structural sandwich cannot be attached to the bottom of a car with removable fasteners. Given large enough bolts, location pins, and smart engineering, the strength of a removable structural battery sandwich can transfer to the entire car.

5. The conventional wisdom is that supercharging stations are more space efficient than swap stations. This is wrong. Supercharging is initially more cost efficient, but not more space efficient. In dense population centers, space efficiency and consumer demand for faster charging will win. The current cost efficiency advantage that superchargers currently enjoy is mostly at the expense of the consumer wait times.

6. So Tesla, because of an incomplete and misguided pilot test project, and false assumptions about cost efficiency, fooled themselves into forgetting about battery swap.

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