Tesla has been granted a patent for a quick-swap Electric Energy Storage System (EESS), a new patent reveals.
The new patent builds on Tesla’s earlier efforts to develop a functional and rapid battery swap system that could could compete with traditional gas station trips, something Tesla succeeded at offering but has since shelved. High capital costs of loaner batteries, a requirement for massive amounts of battery packs to be held at the ready for customers, customers preferring to charge up than have their batteries removed/replaced, and a commensurate high cost for the service were believed to be the culprits. Tesla built a single battery swap station in Harris Ranch, which is strategically located on the route between San Francisco and Los Angeles, but it apparently saw little use and Tesla didn’t take the idea further.
The new patent filing includes 52 pages of drawings that detail the operation of the system, which includes a basic 2 pillar vehicle lift system and accompanying battery lift.
Tesla has been very quiet on the potential for public battery swap stations, with efforts instead focused on delivering Model 3 on time (check), expanding Supercharging to accommodate Model 3 drivers (check), and moving its autonomous driving solution (dubbed Full Self Driving) to market. Full Self Driving will be put on center stage in the coming months as Tesla CEO Elon Musk has promised to demonstrate a fully autonomous trip from Los Angeles to New York by the end of 2017.
With autonomous driving solutions taking care of the driver portion of any trip, charging is yet to be addressed for autonomous vehicles and a battery swap solution could come in extremely handy for the hundreds of thousands of Full Self Driving–capable Teslas that will be flooding streets over the next 12 months. How else will I be able to realize a trip where I get in my car and fall asleep for the night only to wake up 1,000 miles away in the morning?
The solution does not reveal much about what Tesla is planning to do with the patent, as the vehicle pictured is a Tesla Model S with the original nose cone style and a standard battery pack coming in to meet it.
As Tesla continues its unstoppable pace of innovation, the rest of the automotive world appears to have stirred from its slumber, with numerous announcements about new models coming in the next few years but very little change on dealer lots and in the garages of drivers around the world. Tesla seems to be okay with the bargain, as every additional day that passes with no real competition emerging is just another piece of the market Tesla can and will consume … like the BMW 3 series.
Source: TechCrunch | US Patent & Trademark Office
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