A few weeks ago, the publicly maintained scam artist Elon Musk promised that, on June 20, he’d announce a way his rolling boondoggles could be refueled in the same time frame as a gasoline-burning automobile. At the time, DbC felt it should post a prediction that Musk was once again weaseling with facts. Alas, DbC chickened out. (This may speak to the power of the culture’s sponsored insistence on cars-first transportation’s underlying mythologies, among which the cornucopian assumption that Earth’s resources are unlimited and infinitely malleable is not the least.)
In any event, yesterday was June 20, and, as always, Musk was indeed lying. Physics continues to dictate that charging batteries will always be far slower than spraying liquids into a holding tank.
What Musk announced was not some breakthrough charging solution. It was robotic battery-swapping for “$60-$80”!
One cheerleading “tech” blogger describes the process:
Once a Model S owner parks the car on a designated spot, a platform raises from the ground to disconnect and grab hold of the depleted battery. The platform then descends back into the ground, dumps the battery, retrieves a fresh one, and rises once more to connect it to the car.
Yeah, nothing could go wrong there, could it?
Frenzied drivers will still have to do some work though — they’ll have to drop off the battery on the return leg of their journey and pay an unspecified “transport fee”, though they can also choose to keep the battery and pony up the difference between the price between of the old and new batteries.
Outfitting each of those stations with the ability to quickly replace batteries and get motorists back on the road presents quite a logistics problem. There’s the cost to consider — Tesla expects each battery swap station to cost about $500,000 to build, to say nothing of the maintenance and infrastructure costs that will come now that someone presumably has stop by each station and replace worn-down batteries.
Rube Goldberg was an amateur.