According a report from Electrek, Tesla is no longer interested in developing a battery swap procedure, contrary to recent rumours.
In 2013, Tesla demonstrated a battery swap using a modified version of now-defunct startup Better Place’s battery swap system.
Tesla actually constructed one facility in Harris Ranch, California, though it only allowed certain Model S owners to have their batteries swapped. It closed in 2016 and we never heard anything about it again. Electrek suggests that the project may have been aimed at securing subsidies from the State of California.
Reports that Tesla China had registered to provide “sales of battery swap facilities for new energy vehicles” sparked speculation that the company might be exploring battery swaps again. That speculation was supported by the fact Chinese EV company Nio seems have figured battery swaps out, and the fact that, according to CNEVPOST:
China’s new subsidy policy for new energy vehicles effective last year said that only new energy vehicles priced at no more than RMB 300,000 ($59,534) are eligible for the new round of subsidies, while models that support battery swap mode are not subject to this rule.
Tesla China’s Model Y and Model 3 performance versions are priced above RMB 300,000.
NIO has been doing battery swaps commercially for a while, recently introducing its second generation of battery swapping stations. With over 200 stations, over 500,000 swaps have been performed since the stations were introduced in 2018.
Tesla however doesn’t see a future in it. A spokesperson for the company shut down the rumours the company would get back into the technology. Via Shine:
A Tesla official said the company believes electric vehicle charging is the best way to power its vehicles, and that battery swapping is riddled with problems and not suitable for widescale use.
Wait, does Tesla have PR people in China?