I seem to remember that the supercharger stations cost ~$50k apiece, not $500,000.00. The current plans include approx 300 across the US mostly located within 150 to 200 miles of each other. Remember that these would mainly be used for long range travel as the current >200 mile range is enough for most people to cover their commute or even a trip to the beach or the mountains! Owners wake up the a full battery every day. I take a 360 mile trip ~6 times a year and there would be 2 supercharger stations on the way there and 2 on the way back. This isn't a trip to a major city like NY or Boston, this is to upstate NY. There is also a supercharger station nearby that, if they equip it so, could allow me to purchase the smaller battery and swap in the larger one for a trip. Then I could reclaim my original battery after the trip. For about the cost of a single tank of gas.... unbelievable.
By the end of 2013 there will only be 80 fast-charge stations across the US which still limits the distance you can travel, especially in rural areas. At $500,000 a pop it will be some time before they'll be common place like gas stations.
A few points because I had similar issues with this too.
1. the battery swap was designed into the car from the beginning, not added on later
2. these cars use a/c induction motors, no "rare earth" permanent magnets here
3. the battery you purchase with the car is your battery, if you swap out to get back on the road faster, you come back to get your original battery, pay for the new battery or pay Tesla to bring your battery to your house
4. used batteries that are no longer viable to power a vehicle (<75% of capacity) can be used as back up systems and as grid tied storage (Solar City is another of Musk's companies)
5. the Superchargers are free for life, so the swap option gives you a choice - Fast or Free.
6. the number of charging and swap out stations won't need to be anywhere near as many as gas stations because 90% of the vehicle charging will be done at home. when you leave in the morning you are fully charged with >200 miles of range.... IF you need to recharge, go to a supercharger and get ~ 165 miles of range in 20 minutes or >200 in 40 minutes ALL FOR FREE..... or swap the battery and be on your way in 90 SECONDS for about $80.00.
7. centralized electricity generation benefits from economies of scale in efficiency as well as being easier and cheaper to clean up when compared to individual ICEs.
8. i won't even mention solar,,, well I did, but I won't talk about it.
I live in a big city and cannot recall any deaths from air pollution. I am going to do some total guess work in math here. 2.4 million people in my home town. Say only 20% own vehicles. That is 480,000 vehicles and get wild and figure they only need to be recharged once a week and stagger that equally over (7) days. Using the $25,000/battery contained earlier in this thread, that equates to $17.14 million in batteries in swap stations alone. How many more will be needed in reserve is anybody's guess. So my figure of hundreds of thousands sound rather low. Find a banker to back such a venture with a return of $171,000/day. That is .001%/day return on the initial investment. The investment will not get much better in really large cities like Chicago, New York, etc.
On the subject of pollution, how are you going to dispose of these millions of batteries when they start to go bad? How expensive will the rare earth minerals needed to produce all of these vehicles. A commodity controlled by our great friends and allies in China. Charles said I was leaving my grandchildren to deal with carbon dioxide, but what are we leaving then to deal with when it comes time to handle millions of batteries? Plants absorb CO2 so I guess in all of this future development someone will create a plant to absorb lead and all of the other heavy metals contained therein.
I am all for being optimistic about future developments, but pure pipe dreams are not the answer. Electric vehicles have been in use for my whole adult life and you see them daily in factories, wearhouses and many retail stores. They fill a great niche, but I think to expect them to replace ICEs without first rebuilding the entire electrical grid and solving the problems involved with battery disposal is only taking place in someone's imagination.
@Tool_Maker, You asked for an explanation of how EVs can reduce pollution "real or imagined." I'm not sure how you pollution is imagined. Have you breathed in any big cities? But to answer your question, let's assume that 100% of the energy to recharge batteries comes from coal/gas fueled power plants, even though that's not true, but I'll allow that for the sake of argument. Power plants have to clean up their emissions. Yes, cars do too, but a centralized process is more efficient than a decentralized method on every vehicle. Second, an EV uses zero energy when waiting at a stop light (except for air conditioning, etc.). Third, EVs can harvest the kinetic energy of braking the car to recharge the battery, thus recovering some of the energy it took to accelerate the car.
I doubt that "each station woulld need hundres of thousands of dollars of inventory to provide a $25 swap." If we could achieve standardization of batteries, the recharging stations could be pretty automated on an assembly line process with some being recharged and age tested while others are ready for deployment.
Further, I think vehicle battey demand could vault us into a new generation of battery technology or other energy source. It would enable new capital formation that would be shoveled back into improvement.
You have not addressed the start up cost of battery swap stations. Each station woulld need hundres of thousands of dollars of inventory to provide a $25 swap. What bank will finance such a business plan? Only the bank of tax payers by courtesy of Uncle Sam.
No I have not ignored high performance electric cars anymore than I have forgotten that Parnelli Jones won an Indy 500 in a turbine powered engine that was to revolutionized the motor car industry. One can do wondorous things with prorotypes and an unlimited budget.
Lastly, someone needs to explain how charging a million+ batteries over an overtaxed grid with the majority of power being produced by coal or gas fired generators is going to do anything to reduce any kind of pollution, real or imagined.
Well yes, there are a lot of hurdles to this, but I still think it's a worthwhile and innovative concept nonetheless. Something has to be done to convince people EVs are the way to go and reduce dependency on gasoline-powered cars.
No doubt Charles, battery swapping is an innovative approach we can see by all these advancements how technology is growing so rapidly . But unfortunately every technology has its advantages and disadvantages . When your car needs more feul you can drive into the station and get ur used battery replaced by a fully charged battery through automated robots . It saves time , it saves your car from being dealt with dirty chords however there are disadvantages as well a lot of capital is required for building these stations , batteries required in stock ,standardization of battery shape and there can be certain dangers caused by malfunctioning of robot arm as well.
A half century ago, cars were still built by people, not robots. Even on some of the country’s longest assembly lines, human workers installed windows, doors, hoods, engines, windshields, and batteries, with no robotic aid.
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