Tesla abandoning battery pack-swapping technology
Tesla owners prefer using the Supercharger network.
Tesla has all but confirmed it is about ready to give up on the battery pack-swapping technology that it once promised would end range anxiety for good.
Speaking during the company's last shareholders' meeting, company CEO Elon Musk explained that only four or five of the roughly 200 Tesla owners who received an invitation to participate in the battery pack-swapping pilot program in Harris Ranch, California, did so, and most of them experimented with the technology just once. According to the executive, Tesla designed the Model S with a removable battery pack in order to leave no stone unturned but the company always expected that owners would find Supercharger stations a lot more convenient.
"We thought people would prefer Supercharging, but we weren't sure, so that's why we built the pack swap capability in. And based on what we're seeing here, it's unlikely to be something that's worth expanding in the future, unless something changes," said Musk during the meeting. In other words, the future looks grim for the battery-swapping station.
The upcoming Model X crossover (pictured) is nearly ready for production so its battery pack will likely be easily removable, but future Tesla models like the 3 Series-fighting Model 3 and the long-rumored second-gen Roadster are not expected to be compatible with the company's pack-swapping technology.
The reaction of Tesla drivers hardly comes as a surprise. A new battery pack can only be fitted by appointment, and the three-minute long process cost roughly the same as a full tank of gas for a Model S-sized sedan. In comparison, getting a full charge from one of the numerous Supercharger stations scattered across the country takes considerably more time but it's free, and Tesla promises it always will be.