At a demonstration was held Thursday night at the Tesla design studio in Los Angles, Tesla Motors announced a new battery-swapping system for the Model S which allows owners to exchange a depleted battery for a freshly charged one in approximately 90 seconds.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk pitted his companies' Model S against an Audi filling up at a traditional gas station. The first Model S successfully completed its battery swaps in 1 minute and 33 seconds with a second Model S clocking in at 1 minute and 36 seconds. By comparison, the Audi took more than 4 minutes to fill up a 20-gallon tank when refueled on camera by a Tesla employee. According to Businessweek, "Musk insisted that Tesla had scoured the city for the fastest gas station to make the test fair."
Model S owners will have then have the option to wait about 30 minutes for the provided free charging feature or pay between $60-80 for the battery swap. The one possible drawback to the plan is that Model S owners must swap back in their original battery or they will be charged the difference between the new and old batteries.
"The only decision you need to make when you come to one of our Tesla stations is, do you prefer faster or free," stated Tesla CEO Elon Musk. "Our goal here was to eliminate the objections that people have. We want to show that [Tesla] can actually be more convenient than a gasoline car. Hopefully this is what convinces people that electric cars are the future."
The battery swap stations will be located at Tesla's network of "Supercharger Stations" located across the nation. Initial locations include California between Los Angeles and San Francisco and on the East Coast between New York, Boston, and Washington which should be installed by the fourth quarter of 2013.