As promised, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk demonstrated a battery swap option for the Model S. The swap, which, similar to the Better Place approach, has the target vehicle drive over a pit for removal of the old and insertion of a new pack, takes about 90 seconds.
The scenario, said Musk, is that each Tesla Supercharging station (“Tesla station”) would have a swap option. Customers could have either free charging via the fast charger for longer periods, or a paid battery swap.
The goal is to eliminate the objections that people have. It’s convincing people that are skeptics. Some people take a lot of convincing. [An electric vehicle] can actually be more convenient than a gasoline car.—Elon Musk
The California Air Resources Board staff is considering modifying the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Regulation to exclude battery swapping as a “fast refueling” technology as the intent of the regulation is for the regular use of a fast refueling mechanism—i.e., not an occasional use. (Earlier post.)
Specifically, the proposal would make range accumulation through battery exchange ineligible for meeting “fast refueling capability.”
Fast refueling plays a role in the classification of different types of ZEVs and the calculation of ZEV credits. Under the curent regulations, the “fast refueling capability” requirement for a 2009 through 2017 model year Type III, IV, or V ZEV will be considered met if the Type III ZEV has the capability to accumulate at least 95 miles of UDDS range in 10 minutes or less and the Type IV or V ZEV has the capability to accumulate at least 190 or 285 miles, respectively, in 15 minutes or less.
Essentially, the higher the type number, the more credits the vehicle earns for the manufacturer when it is placed in service in California.