Tesla Battery Swap Is A No-Go

| About: Tesla Motors (TSLA)

Here's the deal. You buy an EV because you think that it's going to be cheaper to run due to electricity being much cheaper than gas. You already overcame the fears that years down the road changing the battery on that car can cost almost as much as a new gas-powered car.

Then, you're faced with the fact that fueling your car is much slower than pumping gas. Even with superchargers, it's much slower (and we'll have to see just what kind of liability these are producing with their promise of being free for life).

Enter today's news

Today, Elon Musk showed off a method to swap the Model S battery in 90 seconds. Faster than pumping in gas. Some will quickly laud it as a solution for the fueling conundrum. I'll say: It isn't.

Why isn't it a solution? For two reasons:

  • You have to pick your battery up on the way back, no matter where you're going. This is a hassle and probably defeats the time saving altogether;
  • And if you do not want to pick up your battery, you can end up with a newer battery. Such has a cost. Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) is going to bill you the difference. Now remember, these are expensive batteries. The difference can certainly be large. How many will be ready to risk a few thousand dollars on their battery swap? Indeed, how many will even want the risk itself - not knowing beforehand just how much they're even risking?

In short, this is a failed idea. It's also funny that swapping batteries ends up costing as much or more ($60-$80) as filling in gas, for a shorter range.

It's not surprising that another outfit trying out the same idea, Better Place, just went bankrupt a couple of weeks ago. That should be food for thought.

Tesla is too into gimmicks

It's weird to see Tesla waste resources on these types of gimmicks. Tesla is going to win or fail on the back of selling hundreds of thousands of cars per year or not -- not on swapping batteries. To sell hundreds of thousands of cars Tesla will have to conquer the mainstream with cars that are nearly as convenient to use as gas-powered automobiles. This won't happen with gimmicks that require the driver to schedule to pick things back or require the driver to risk paying thousands of dollars for a fuel fill-up.


The latest Tesla trick of swapping batteries is a niche gimmick which is not going to do much for Tesla's success or failure.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.