Everryone, everywhere, is speculating Elon Musk's grand finale of his "5 part trilogy" to be (drum roll please) .... Battery Swaps! ... Huh?
If there's one thing the Elon Musk love affair has taught us, it's to expect the unexpected. To suggest that a man so optimistic about energy storage that he has proposed the idea of a "Hyperloop", is going to finish his 2013 marketing genius with an announcement related to battery swapping is about as naive as our first time in a strip club.
Battery swapping isn't an innovative concept and it's a logistical nightmare. Two things Elon Musk doesn't deal in.
Elon announces his chain of Supercharger stations sometime next week, only to set up the value of his final announcement regarding the technological breakthroughs in energy storage and his plan to integrate them with tesla vehicles by 2017.
While everyone is expecting a "Battery Swapping" announcement, I'm willing to bet the grand finale will be related to graphene supercapacitors and their very real applications by the year 2017. Here, he will unveil the ability for a graphene capacitor to "fully charge your Tesla in less than the amount of time it takes to fill a tank of gas."
Part 4: 100+ supercharging stations throughout country by 2015.
Part 5: Technology to charge your car in 1 minute, FOR FREE, by 2017.
Part 6: Game Over for ICE cars by 2020.
Elon has repeatedly pointed to his tweet ""There is a way for the Tesla Model S to be recharged throughout the country faster than you could fill a gas tank." when referencing his "Part 5" announcement.
Now, I'm not a detective, but I think if he were talking about battery swapping he wouldn't have worded it "recharged."
In a response to a follower Elon said "I'm a big fan of ultracapacitors. Was going to do my PhD at Stanford on them. But we need a breakthrough in energy density" followed by "Sure would be convenient if that breakthrough happened in time for our Gen3 vehicle :)."
Scheduled for a 2017 release date. He is optimistic the technology for energy storage will be ready by the time his Gen3 vehicle is being produced. Imagine a Tesla that charges in 30 seconds to 1 minute ... For Free.
Who would buy an ICE vehicle?
His desire to build a Hyperloop was fueled by what friends say "was a technological breakthrough over the summer" last year. If he plans on a solar powered Hyperloop with the storage capacity to never stop and travel from San Francisco to LA in 30 minutes, I think we can assume he has similar plans for his car in the near term.
It's no longer a question of if. It's a question of when. And according to Mr. Musk that question of when seems to be a lot sooner than most people are giving him or the breakthroughs in storage capacity credit for.
Assuming the announcement will not be related to battery swapping, but instead will focus on the breakthroughs in energy storage and optimism of the future. What companies could benefit from a Tesla graphene supercapacitor.
Well, if I'm a billionaire EV manufacturer and the only thing I need to have happen in order to revolutionize the way we drive, is an increase in energy storage capacity, I'd probably set up a few meetings with companies that are working with the miracle material graphene. Particularly if that company is 20 minutes down the road in Sunnyvale California. German tech company Aixtron is worth a look, especially given Elon's optimism in the German market.
Expect the unexpected. Parlaying a confident and convicted Elon with unexpected announcement could mean another surge in not just Tesla, but any cookie jar sitting on the same shelf.
Disclosure: I am long TSLA.