Tesla filed a patent in 2014 called “Battery Swapping System and Techniques,” but the application was just released earlier this year. Now the technical drawings attached to the application are finally available, reports Electrek. The drawings provide us a detailed, rare look at the technology behind Tesla’s battery swap station.
How battery swapping works
Tesla demonstrated that it could replace a battery pack in less than 90 seconds when it first disclosed the concept. However, the time increased significantly when the pilot station actually went into operation. The process is not fully automated anymore and can take around 15 minutes.
For the first swap, the vehicle is inspected, but subsequent swaps should not take more than five minutes, explains Electrek, although this is still longer than what was first announced. Tesla added a titanium armor plate under the car to secure the battery pack, and that might have something to with the increase in time.
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The first picture of the system shows the platform with a “battery pack lift system” below and some other systems to move and hold the battery packs. Another picture shows a Model S stopped over the lift system. The system lifts the car and raises the nutrunners and datum pins to align with the battery pack. Then the system can take out the battery pack and lower it to move it along with the platform for storing and charging it.
In order to place a new, fully charged battery pack inside the Model S, the process can be reversed. The concept does sound exciting, but “we have yet to see a useful enough use case for any kind of important deployment on what as to be quite an expensive facility,” says Electrek.
Tesla to launch solar roof on Friday
On Tuesday, the automaker sent out invitations for the launch of its solar roof product. The event will take place on Friday at Universal Studios in Los Angeles at 7 p.m. Pacific. The show will be live-streamed on Tesla’s website.
The news about the solar roof product was first brought up at SolarCity’s second quarter earnings call, but there was no clear mention of the clean energy company in the invitation. The invitation does feature rooftop images though, notes BI. During that earnings call, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that the solar roof will be an important part of achieving their differentiated product strategy. He added that the product is not a thing on the roof but actually is the roof.