Tesla just keeps on rolling out new programs that make electric cars a real possibility for the majority of daily commuters. First came the introduction of the up-to-300-mile Tesla Model S, which was a revolution in EV technology in itself. Then came the release of the Supercharger network, which is free on any Model S with an 85 kWh battery – a $2,000 option on any Model S with a 60 kWh battery.
Sure, the Supercharger network is still small, but Tesla promises to have 98 percent of the U.S. covered by 2015 and enough to enable coast-to-coast driving in the winter of 2013. You can actually see a cool interactive map on the Tesla site. However, we’re not here to plug the website; we’re here to tell you that Tesla has again revolutionized the EV world with its pack-swap option at Supercharger stations.
This gives Model S owners the ability to choose waiting 20-plus minutes for their Model S to recharge and pay nothing or pay a fee and have their Model S’ battery pack swapped for a fully charged one. You’re likely thinking that these battery packs are so complex that it has to take hours to replace. But that’s not the case at all.
Thanks to Tesla using automation and a drive-over system, you can pull up to a station and drive over a small pit – similar to a quick oil-change place – and an automated system removes the discharged battery and replaces it with a fully charged one in just 90 seconds.
With Elon Musk being as flamboyant as he is – and rightfully so – he challenged the fastest gas pump in Los Angeles to a duel. Well, Tesla managed to swap out two Model S batteries before the gas pump could fill up an empty tank.
So it’s your choice: free or fast? We are just concerned with exactly how much this “fee” is for the pack swap. We bet it’ll run about the same price as a tank of gas: $50. Unfortunately, there is no ETA for the roll out of this program.
Click past the jump to read more about the Supercharger stations