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Tesla Model S

Tesla Debuts EV Battery Swap System

Tesla Model STesla Motors has debuted a system that swaps battery packs in electric cars in about 90 seconds.

At an event yesterday, the electric car maker’s CEO Elon Musk said the system offers an alternative to charging EVs and should help convince consumers that EVs are “more convenient than a gasoline car.” Musk demonstrated the new technology on stage, swapping out two Model S battery packs in less time than it took for a car on a video screen to fill up with gas, which took about four minutes.

A battery pack swap will cost between $60 and $80, Reuters reports. This is about the same as filling up a 15-gallon gas tank.

Reuters says the stations will each cost about a half a million dollars to build.

The battery swap stations will be located alongside Tesla’s fast-charging stations, Musk said on Thursday. The free fast-charge stations take about 30 minutes to charge a battery. “The only decision you need to make when you come to one of our Tesla stations is do you prefer faster or free,” Musk said.

Tesla will roll out the battery swap technology this year, first between Los Angeles and San Francisco and then in the Washington-to-Boston corridor, Reuters reports.

Tesla’s announcement comes less than a month after EV battery swapping company Better Place filed for bankruptcy. At the time, Dallas Kachan, managing partner of cleantech research firm Kachan & Co, said he didn’t expect to see other startups pursing battery swapping infrastructure.

“When Better Place was founded, the jury was still somewhat out regarding battery swapping and fast charging,” he told Environmental Leader. “Well, the verdict is in, and charging infrastructure has clearly won.”

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