Instead of plugging their Model S into the mains or a supercharger to re-energize their car’s depleted battery, Tesla owners in California are now able to simply swap an old cell for a new one in a matter of minutes.
In fact, at around three minutes, Tesla claims it can whip the old battery out of a Model S and put in a new one in less time than it would take for a gas-powered executive sedan’s tank to fill with gasoline.
Tesla’s network of superchargers can add a 50% charge, or 130-153 miles of real-world driving range, to a Model S battery in just 20 minutes.
However, swapping out a battery altogether will mean up to 306 miles of extra range in just 90 sec. But there are two catches to the service.
The first is that, unlike the supercharger network, battery swapping will not be offered free of charge. Tesla says that the cost will be equal to or just under the cost of a full tank of gasoline.
And the second snag is that it is initially launching as an invitation-only service in California where Tesla has built a special facility at Harris Ranch, opposite one of its Supercharging stations, for the purposes of testing the service.