The Tesla battery swap is the hoax of the year

What California says about zero-emission vehicles, and why Tesla is committing fraud

Image representing Tesla Motors as depicted in...

Image via CrunchBase

Guest essay by Alberto Zaragoza Comendador

I didn’t create this essay because I dislike electric vehicles. While I’m skeptical of their potential, I have nothing against EVs per se.

Sure, electric cars enjoy a laundry list of incentives. I totally disagree with these policies, but a bajillion people have already pointed out why electric car subsidies are dumb. I cannot add much value there, and EV advocates will argue they’re doing nothing illegal anyway.

The fundamental reason this blog exists is to tell the world about the fraud Tesla is committing. This has resulted in tens of millions dollars’ worth of fraudulent carbon credits being received by the company, and if nothing is done the tally will get into the hundreds of millions. This blog exists not to tell people about EV incentives, but about the illegal incentives a particular EV company is getting. I covered much of the same ground in my first post, but here I’ll give California’s own regulations as sources.

You don’t have to take my word for it.

Click here and go to slide 13. It shows how many Zero Emission Vehicle credits a car gets. ZEVs are divided into seven categories:

· Type 0: less than 50 miles, 1 credit

· Type I: 50-75 miles, 2 credits

· Type I.5: 75-100 miles, 2.5 credits

· Type II: 100-200 miles, 3 credits

· Type III: 200+ miles, 4 credits. (Also: 100+ miles with fast refuelling).

· Type IV: 200+ miles with fast refuelling, 5 credits

· Type V: 300+ miles with fast refuelling, 7 credits

This system is regulated by the California Air Resources Board. And by “fast refuelling” they mean refuelling to 95% of capacity within 10 minutes (Type III) or 15 minutes (Types IV and V). This is impossible for batteries, so it could only be done with hydrogen. Indeed, you’ll hear complaints that the regulations are designed to favor hydrogen over batteries. Well, tell California.

English: Tesla Model S Prototype at the 2009 F...

English: Tesla Model S Prototype at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Model S is clearly a Type III vehicle: it gets between 200 and 300 miles, but even in the fastest Superchargers it needs about one hour to reach 95% of battery capacity. Tesla itself quotes 75 minutes for 100% charging. So it gets 4 credits per car…or at least it should. Let’s go back to 2012.

As of June 15, the 85KWh version (called S3 here) was considered a Type III vehicle. But by October 12 it had morphed into a Type V. So the upgrade happened at some point between these two dates. Presumably, the 60KWh version was also upgraded in the same time frame. Here is a December 20 confirmation that both versions had been upgraded, showing how the 60KWh model went from Type III to Type IV. And here is an restatement in April 2013 of basically the same things, but including the cancelled 40KWh version. (CARB doesn’t seem very well organized).

In any case, production of the Model S only ramped up in the last quarter of 2012, so the vast majority of them qualified under the new classification. The real question is, why the upgrade?

Because of the battery swap. If the car can exchange batteries in 90 seconds, then it’s totally crushing the 15-minute requirement established by the California Air Resources Board. Notice that, even in this case, the 85KWh version still doesn’t meet the range requirement to be a Type V vehicle, as it’s rated by the EPA at 265 miles. So it would be stuck at 5 credits. It seems CARB bent the rules a little, or perhaps they concluded that the superb refuelling time “offset” a deficiency in range. In any case it’s no reason for alarm.

What is a reason for alarm is that CARB gave Tesla these extra credits before any battery swap station had been built. In fact, it happened about nine months before the feature was publicly demonstrated (June 2013). I’ve emailed CARB officials and Tesla twice, to find out more about this issue. Did Tesla demo the battery swap to CARB officials? If so, when and where? Did Tesla bring its own car, or does CARB have one for testing purposes? Did CARB officials check and drive the car before, during and after the swap?

They haven’t answered.

By May, the battery swap was becoming a problem: CARB openly discussed removing it from the fast refuelling category. Perhaps other carmakers were complaining to CARB that Tesla was getting credits for a feature nobody could use. In any case, the agency deferred a decision to October.

In June, after weeks of teasing, Tesla demonstrated the 90-second, fully automated battery swap in public. It was their biggest event this year. Or ever: I can’t remember any other Tesla event with such a level of media coverage.

And guess what, the company brought its own cars and didn’t let anybody near them. The official video doesn’t even show what’s happening under the car.

By August, Tesla forum users were openly calling the feature a stunt. You see, some Model S owners have already put their battery warranties to use, and the battery change takes three or four hours, and a few workers. It’s impossible to automate it, let alone to do so in 90 seconds. This somehow went unnoticed for the Internet.

The company itself hasn’t made a statement about the swap feature for several months. And looking at their SEC filings, there is exactly one reference to this swapping thing.

our capability to rapidly swap out the Model S battery pack and the development of specialized public facilities to perform such swapping, which do not currently exist;

I won’t give you a link, because the exact same sentence has been appearing in every earnings report for a couple years. No estimates of how much the swap stations could cost, or when they could open, or what areas they could serve, or any meaningful information.

The writing was in the wall all this time. Tesla never intended to build the “specialized public facilities to perform such swapping”.

October came, CARB met, and the same issue came up: does a battery swap qualify as fast refuelling? See slide 12:

Some [battery electric vehicles] have been qualifying under the fast refueling definition by means of battery exchange. However, it has not been publically demonstrated that battery exchanges have occurred on the vehicles earning credits. Though staff does recognize the potential for a battery exchange to help market the vehicle, other vehicles earning Type IV and V ZEV credit depend on fast refueling for vehicle operation and success. Staff is proposing to remove battery exchange from qualifying under the fast refueling definition, starting in 2015 model year.

Translation: we know Tesla is a scammer, but we don’t want them to go bankrupt so we’ll let them milk the battery swap cow for another couple years.

As it happens, starting in 2018 all ZEV credits will be awarded on range alone, not on refuelling time (see slide 66). This means the battery swap will no longer give Tesla any extra credits. So if CARB actually takes action in 2015, Tesla could only exploit this loophole for two or three years, out of five in total. Maybe the scam could stop before reaching $200 million. Phew! Good to see those regulators doing their job.

Tesla has reported sales of the 85KWh version at 70-90% of the total. Remember this version was upgraded from four ZEV credits to seven, and the other version from four to five. If that’s the case, then 35-40% of all ZEV credits they earn in California come because of the battery swap. Only Tesla knows how much they’ve made off these credits, but over the last four quarters their ZEV revenue has been $170M. Do the math.

And that doesn’t include figures for the current quarter. Or credits they have earned but haven’t sold yet. If you check the document I just linked to, but in slide 68, you’ll see that all credits can be “banked” (stockpiled) without penalty. Presumably, this could only change starting in 2018 when the ZEV program will revamped. So even if the market is weak one quarter, they can make it up the next.

Here you can see the transfers of ZEV credits among carmakers. It seems Tesla has sold 1,311.52 “credits” from October 2012 to September 2013, which is precisely the period we’re interested in, and they still have 276.080 left. But this is a different measure of credits (grams per mile of non-methane organic gases, and I don’t understand it either). To arrive at the ZEV number, you have to divide them by the number that appears at the bottom of the website, which for this period is 0.035. So Tesla has sold 37,472 credits, and they still have 7,888 in balance. This suggests their total ZEV credits earned for the period were 45,360, so they’ve sold 82% and kept the rest.

Note: this is not an audit. There is surely something I’m missing – credits transferred among states, carried over from previous periods, etc. So this is only an approximation. I suspect their credit generation in California was greater (it has provided 40-50% of their car sales), but they transferred those credits to other states. Also: the number of ZEV credits “generated” by other electric cars cannot be reliably calculated, because the big carmakers sell a lot of low-emission vehicles and they can also generate ZEV credits with those.

Still, we’re probably looking at $150 million in sales of California credits over this period, of which $60 million correspond to the battery swap. Including credits they haven’t sold yet, the respective figures grow by $30 and $12 million.

The bottom line is that ZEV credits are a key source of “revenue” for Tesla. Pure profit, in fact. And they will remain so for the foreseeable future.

And this has serious implications for entire ZEV program. Tesla “produced” about 45,000 ZEV credits in the state from October 12 to September 13. (For calendar 2013, the figure would be higher). Of this amount, about 18,000 (40%) were fraudulent. The only other electric car selling in decent amounts is the Nissan Leaf, but it only gets three credits per car and sells less than the Tesla. Everybody else is a rounding error, and the system as a whole probably produced less than 60,000 credits.

So if 40% of the credits Tesla gets are fraudulent, that’s 30% of the entire California market. In fact, it’s probably more than 20% of the entire US market. And that’s assuming the rest of the system is clean.

In short, the ZEV mandate is a joke.

So here we are, fifteen months after Tesla started getting carbon credits for the battery swap. The company has already cashed out, probably for more than $60 million. Without building a single swap station, or demonstrating the feature in consumer cars, or bothering to provide any sort of explanation.

I have emailed them, written on their Facebook page, posted in their forum. Their only “reaction” was to kinda make the battery swap disappear from their website. It’s impossible to get an actual response from the company.

Tesla intends to shut up its way out of this mess.

The question is, how could a scam so brazen go unnoticed for so long? I think other carmakers probably don’t want to get into trouble with California officials. So they’ve been lobbying to put an end to the special treatment Tesla gets, but they haven’t publicly denounced the situation or filed a lawsuit.

And for industry outsiders, well, the idea that the whole battery swap thing could be a fake is just surreal. How could Tesla sink that low?

The Tesla battery swap is the hoax of the year.


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Chad Wozniak

More evidence, inter alia, of how electric cars function as an upward redistribution of wealth from poorer to richer – middle-class taxpayers pay the subsidies that let rich celebs and others buy electric cars at prices far less than their actual cost (factoring in production, recharging facilities and disposal of hazmat components).

I remember when Tesla gave their swapping emo. They also said that each swap would cost an
amount that I figured would be twice as expensive as using gasoline. Only in California do they consider a car that is responsible for marginally less emissions to be “zero emission.” I
would argue that point in disallowing ZEV credits.


How much of their gross revenue is directly associated with some sort of government subsidy program again?
just sayin big $$$$$$$

Hmmm. Swaps. California. I dunno. Maybe something to do with movie making. Immoral too. Or at least disreputable. Must be the culture.

Is it too late to suggest we just give California back to the Spaniards? True, we would lose around 80% of our “naked people doing things that would startle a caribou into sterility” industry, but I think it’s worth the risk. Plus, we still have Florida.


I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t want to ride on or live under a high voltage line……

Stark Dickflüssig says:
December 21, 2013 at 5:24 pm
Great minds in the same gutter. I’m not sure if I should be proud or ashamed. I’m too old to be ashamed so I’m going with….
At least the movie makers have to earn their money through actual sales.


Here’s the video of the battery swap.. ( I love the OMG exclamation by the woman…)
The chassis and battery…
From an engineering perspective, a rapid battery swap should be possible, but it sure doesn’t look to me like this system is readily suitable.


Just hand waving until something is done like a lawsuit…..

Berényi Péter

If true, who is entitled to sue Tesla under California law? Can the state be sued for skipping verification of claims and wasting taxpayers’ money?


DJ says:
December 21, 2013 at 5:30 pm
“Here’s the video of the battery swap.. ( I love the OMG exclamation by the woman…)”
So, two possibilities
a) They hired Penn&Teller for that.
b) the battery hangs UNDER the steal beams. Hmmm….
I go with a).
[“steal beams” ?? 8<) .. Mod]

Maybe the problem is that they can’t get the extra batteries they would need for the swap stations. I understand that they are selling every battery they can get.

Crispin in Waterloo

Don’t people buy the Tesla for the feel good buzz? If someone bought it because of the features it does not actually have then they can claim to have been induced to part with money under false pretenses and or “uttering”.
California can ask for the money back on the same grounds.


Why the excitement?
Tesla lobbied and bamboozled the regulators more effectively than its competitors. That is SOP in the USA today, just ask about bank regulation if you need a more substantial illustration.

TImothy Sorenson

The click here go to slide 13 does not link to a ppt or ‘slided’ document but links to a zev standards document.

Bill H

One more green energy scam supported by big control government… Follow the redistribution of wealth by liberals…
This doesn’t surprise me… at all…

michael hart

OK, so it’s a fraud, but we all knew that.
Still, if I could pull up at the red-carpet and drop Scarlett Johansson off, I’d buy one.
If I had the money.


I am not sure why the author is implying the battery swap is some sort of fake because it takes a few hours in the shop. Sure, looks like there or a lot of bolts to undo, you have to put it up on the rack, and somehow support a damned heavy battery when it’s undone – seems like it might take an hour or so without specialized equipment.
But it seems that Tesla’s built a specialized rig that removes all of the bolts at once, lowers the battery out, shuffles in another one, raises it back into place, and then replaces and tightens all of the bolts at once. That’s not exactly rocket science, and it’s pretty believable to me that it could switch out a battery in 90 seconds.
Hell, I betcha with trained staff and a few specialized pieces of equipment, you could get a manual replacement down to under 15 minutes and meet the CARB requirement.

I suspect that demonstration of the battery swap system is a demonstration of the concept of a battery swap system.
The next question to ask is: “What happens to the depleted battery?”
So let’s try a little “Scale to a real population” test.
At a popular local filling station, there are 16 bowsers, with an average filling time of about 6 minutes for a diesel/petrol car. i.e. 10 vehicles/hour/bowser or 160 for the whole station in an hour.
If the vehicles were all Tesla-like EV that’d translate to the station having 160 batteries to store and to recharge/test at the end of the per hour of operation.
“No problem” ?? If the 85kWh batteries are recharged at 1C, they will take about an hour to recharge, with each charger drawing over 90kW off the grid. i.e. the whole station would be humming with an electricity consumption of 14.4 MW, just to run the chargers. (14,400kW) Adding in the “robots” to change batteries, conveyor systems, cooling systems to temperature-condition the batteries down for charging and removing the heat produced during charging, it could easily be 16 MW. Probably 1000 times more than what they’d be drawing off the grid now.
Where are all the batteries going to be charged? Obviously, a facility will have to be built to accommodate the automated, battery handling and charging system. They’ll have to be automated to cope with that rate as the pay rate of human HV-DC technicians is proportional to the risks of the job.
There’s not just the electrical risk, but we’ve already seen what happens when Tesla batteries are inadvertantly punctured by a conductive object. There’s a significant fire risk and associated with the, the toxic hazard of fumes from the fire. Each battery will probably have to be handled inside a “cell” of sorts to guard against the spread of fire and fumes while in the facility.
And once charged, the battery would have to remain in that cell while it’s warehoused (with a trickle-charge and condition monitoring).
I can’t imagine such a facility being built for less than $10 million. Any takers?
RoI (before operational overheads) at $10 flat fee per swap is 6250 operational hours at peak turnover rates. Before operational overheads.
Given the limited range of EV with only 85kWh battery (it’s like giving a full-sized car a fuel tank that’ll only hold 10 litres), there will have to be 2 to 3 times as many battery swap and charge facilities as existing filling stations. All of them well-connected to the electricity grid or their own nuclear power plant. 😉
And who’ll be paying for the upgrade of the grid and the power stations? A few square metres of PV on the roof aren’t going to cut it.

Richard Parker

Now I know why Tesla has been the only EV company reporting profits.

BTW: In order to make an automated system work quickly, its operating environment must be perfect.
That includes the underside of the car. Nice and clean. No buildup of mud, muck, bitumen, salts, bits of dead animals stuck in exactly the wrong place, … No corrosion on the screws, … No cross-threaded screws from a previous installation …
So the swap cycle time is going to be more than just the 90 seconds to do the nominal task; there’ll be a need to clean and inspect before the actual swap and, in the lands of prima iuris, a post-swap inspection.
A real car, coming out of a real traffic environment, is far from clean underneath. That’s probably a surprise to far too many people.
Even in factories where assembly is automated and the parts are nominally perfect, there are screw-up.


Richard Parker says:
December 21, 2013 at 7:19 pm
“Now I know why Tesla has been the only EV company reporting profits.”
But only just barely. Expected P/E for next quarter is 259. They’re a hype-based operation like Amazon.


You see, some Model S owners have already put their battery warranties to use, and the battery change takes three or four hours, and a few workers. It’s impossible to automate it, let alone to do so in 90 seconds.


Here’s a photograph of the battery when I was visiting the San Jose dealership. I was eating at an incredible Indian restaurant close by and thought I would stop in to snap a few photos. I wondered how difficult it would be to change?comment image

No bent screws or washers, no bent or dented underbodies or sheet metal, no “drooping” tires or mis-aligned frames.
Aligning the car to the underbody + receiver + recharger-battery-carrier + nut-driver wrenches?
Not as easy as it seems, unless each “bay” (the six “bowsers” mentioned above in the king’s English) has its own automated drive-off-drive-on ramp and wheel guide – the station would need either an underbody guide+find+align-laser to car + move the frame, or somehow “lock” the car to the underbody frame like they do on the rigidly-attached assembly line conveyors.
(And, how do you assemble a multi-car-company good-for-all recharge station? )

charles nelson

What’s all the fuss about? I strongly recommend that they place small wind turbines at strategic places over the car’s exterior. Then as the car moves forwards through the air, the wind turbines will generate sufficient electricity to recharge the batteries.

Chip Javert

Berényi Péter says:
December 21, 2013 at 5:36 pm
If true, who is entitled to sue Tesla under California law? Can the state be sued for skipping verification of claims and wasting taxpayers’ money?
The VERY definition of government is “skipping verification of claims and wasting taxpayers’ money”; reference:
o Bank regulation
o social security pension accruals
o Obamacare
o primary & secondary public schools
o etc, etc, etc

You’re being way too public about who you are, and where you can be found. I wish we lived in a world where we didn’t have to think of such things, but we don’t.
You should change your car, change your location, change your driving routes daily, and make sure only a handful of very trusted people know how to reach you.
I wish I was joking.

David Dowell

Dear Alberto, you speak of all the “laundry list of incentives for electric cars” excuse me but what about the countless government incentives that the oil and gas have been enjoying from this country alone for decades. American tax payers have been spending literally billions each year alone on what our country calls “Energy Security” (Please look this up yourself) American tax payers pay for the US Navy, Marines, Airforce to patrol the Middle East to keep the oil lanes safe for tankers to keep the oil flowing. Yes we pay for all of that including billions each year of tax cut for these same companies. Over decades this amount trillions of American tax payer dollars just for “Energy Security” alone. Many independent studies have been done on this issue and stated gas now would be in the neighborhood of $15 a gallon if we had to pay at the pump for all the support we give each year to the gas and oil companies.
And yes I do believe in all the solid science behind “Global Warming” In addition, investments in alternative energy are a good investment for our future. Companies like Tesla are still at the very early stages of innovating the future of clean transportation. And yes entreprenures like Elon Musk should be admired and respected. I was shocked to see two weeks ago on Fox News the commentators seemed to be thrilled that a Tesla stock had taken a hit because of the fire. They seem to be rooting for the demise of this American company. What is that all about? I thought Fox News admired entreprenures? I thought they love new high paying American manufacturing jobs? Apparently not when it comes to green energy. Right now China (like so many other countries) is chocking on its own smog and is fertile ground for this new technology. Yes, believe it or not, we can make a lot of money in this new technology. We need to keep moving forward!

John F. Hultquist

Peggy Noonan for the WSJ wrote of “The Most Memorable Words of 2013”.
“Botched” is her choice for that word, specifically when used as the botched rollout of ObamaCare.
The sentence of the year is very famous. “If you like your health-care plan, you can keep it,”
Now we have the hoax of the year – “Tesla”
Ms. Noonan, Daniel Henninger, or Holman Jenkins (all WSJ op-ed types) might take up this issue. But it is already known. That nothing is done about it has to do with the hoaxes in the CA governor’s mansion and the US White House. That’s depressing.

Steve W.

Funny you should bring this up today. I just saw this:
This guy is spending just over $18k to upgrade his Tesla battery from 60kwh to 85kwh.
There is 5 hours labor included in that price!

Alan Robertson

What killjoys. It’s the intent and the statement, don’t you see?

r murphy

Charles you are a genius, I have access to massive govnt funding, lets get Gore and Suzuki on board and get rich.


I’m surprised no one has questioned: who owns the swapped battery packs. You buy a new tesla, pristine and very expensive battery pack included, You go on a trip, you need to stop for a fast swap recharge, would you do that? Are you going to accept an unknown aged battery pack of questionable quality to be swapped into your brand new tesla? Do you have to buy two or more battery packs and have them charged and stored for your personal use at specific ‘stations’? Don’t see how this would ever be feasible or am imagining how this is supposed to work.

David Dowell says:
December 21, 2013 at 9:06 pm
There are almost too many lies, exaggerations, and false propaganda in your short reply to respond to each – and, such as your assumption that much of the military costs are to “fund” (or are spent because of) oil – almost all go directly into international politics. Oil has a role, a prominent role in international politics of course, because the world’s economies run on oil, electricity, and coal and nuclear. And wood when YOU deny people a quality life and when YOU encourage and develop policies deliberately intended to kill millions, and harm billions more by deliberately denying them inexpensive and reliable energy.
In that, I cannot forgive you for the deaths and harm you are encouraging by your CAGW religion.
Nonetheless, let’s look quickly at a few other parts of that “price” you are so wrong about.
1. When oil is 100.00 per barrel, as it is roughly right now, how much is spent to pull it up out of the ground, ship it to the port or pipeline, and get it to the refinery? How much of that 100.00 per barrel is spent on tax, title, and personnel, and maintenance, equipment, tools, and operations” of the companies providing the world’s transportation needs?
2. How much of that 100.00 per barrel goes directly to the government of the producing country as taxes, fees, and government charges and tariffs? If it is a US driller, how much goes to the federal, state and local governments, and how much goes to the owner of the well? (I KNOW you are trying to claim that the oil depletion allowance is not a “tax credit” similar to millions of other companies receiving as part of their standard financial system depreciation, but we will leave that lie to the Occupy fellows, the ABCNNBCBS enablers, and their White House liars. Rather you are trying to maintain the lie that the oil depletion allowance is a “subsidy” to the oil companies – but, then again, that is what you have been trained to repeat.)
Hint: Some 80.00 dollars of that 100.00 goes directly to government pockets.
3. So, we have paid 100.00 per barrel for the raw oil, but have not refined it nor have it delivered to the end user. Now, in the US due to deliberate democrat policies to increase energy prices and maintain this recession they began back in 2007 with Pelosi’s first budget submittable to Bush, the price of gasoline at the pump is just under 4.00 per gallon. European prices are higher – because taxes in Europe are higher still.
So, at 4.00 per gallon, how much of that gallon goes to the government in USER-PAID taxes of all types? Include, of course, the 14% of all wages paid that goes to Social Security, Medicare, direct income taxes, corporate income taxes (now 50% of profits!), sale tax (7% of the sales), gasoline highway tax, disposal and environmental taxes on the tires, oil itself, maintenance fees, property taxes on the refinery AND distributor AND gas station AND warehouses AND parking lots AND …, Include license plate taxes for the trucks delivering the oil, trailer inspections and fees ……


For even faster refueling, simply call your valet and arrange to have him meet you near the end of your range with the flatbed truck with the spare EV. Or just the spare car.

If it is too difficult and expensive to switch out the battery pack from under the car, then I repeat this suggestion I made April 10, 2013 in “Is the Tesla Model S Green?”:
To that I have a Solution: U-Haul Battery Pack Trailers !!!
Instead of waiting for an hour for a recharge, you check in one trailer and get another. Once you get good at it and are a customer in good standing, It ought not take more than 10 minutes. There will probably be a Full Service Lane, too. It also eliminates lots of problems with battery packs that get old. Of course, the theft risk of towing a $20,000 lithium-ion battery trailer will give you pause. And there is the chance that a charged trailer isn’t available when you drop one off.
Finally, there is that pesky image of a Tesla pulling a U-Haul, even if it has racing stripes. I won’t be able to look at a Tesla without the mental picture of it pulling that trailer. 🙂


kind of related. i do wonder what will happen when all the solar in my state of Queensland, Australia, that is connected to the grid reaches use-by date around the same time!
20 Dec: Scientific American: A Solar Boom So Successful, It’s Been Halted
Photovoltaics proved so successful in Hawaii that the local utility, HECO, has instituted policies to block further expansion
By Anne C. Mulkern and ClimateWire
Hawaiian Electric Co., or HECO, in September told solar contractors on Oahu that the island’s solar boom is creating problems. On many circuits, the utility said, there’s so much solar energy that it poses a threat to the system and a safety issue. Studies are needed on whether grid upgrades are necessary. If they are, residents adding solar must foot the bill. And starting immediately, contractors and residents would need permission to connect most small rooftop systems to the grid…
“We can’t allow circuits to become dangerous,” said Peter Rosegg, a utility spokesman. “We can’t allow circuits to become unreliable because there’s too much PV on those circuits.”…

Thinking of the “swift battery charge” demonstration – NEVER repeated elsewhere, nor outside that hall – ….
NASCAR has many rules, many regulations about fuel tanks, carburetors, restrictors, bore sizes etc. The NASCAR inspectors and administrators take their jobs very seriously, and very seriously inspect cars before and after races and time trials and before the season. But … The NASCAR drivers and NASCAR lead mechanics – following perhaps too closely to their highly illegal bootlegger roots – take those same regulations not-perhaps-as-dutifully-as-they-should.
Tales are made of Smokey Yaunik being suspected of using too much fuel during a race (so he would not need as many pit stops as his rival teams and so finish faster) .. Inspected after the race, nothing was found illegal, but the fuel system, tank and all fill lines had been removed for the inspection. Smokey started the car anyway, drove it out of the inspection shop, around the track and all the way back to the his own shop. “Empty” the whole way.
Now, we’ve seen above the “battery” casing ABOVE the battery – which cannot be unbolted from the chassis – it IS the entire chassis below the seats and bedpan between motor and drive …. It (that frame) cannot be removed. So, from below, how many bolts and how are everything tied together? The video was careful NOT to show any details, only the outside casing rising from below. Up from a 30 inch high stage?


What does not make sense in the whole process is that you are not going to drive away a leave your $18k battery pack for someone else.
This would immediately loose you your guarantee on your $18k investment. You now have a second hand battery pack of unknown origin.
As the general stock of batteries ages, you risk picking up a weak unit for your brand new Tesla at the first “refill”.
The demo, however irrelevant to real life filling station scenarios, seems technically feasible so I doubt it’s a fraud in that sense.
However, since this does not currently exist, even at one single location in the world for customer use, it DOES NOT EXIST. It does not merit a single ZEV point , ever.
It is a scam which has been approved and regulated by CARB.
The ordinary man in the street is subsidising rich men’s toys.
Alberto does well to point out this is recognised by CARB but they just kicked it down the road. So it’s not oversight.


It just irks me when kilowatt hour is written as KWh while the correct version is kWh.
Other than that, great article!

Adrian O

Battery swapping to combat human caused climate change.
An inexistent solution to an inexistent problem.

Adrian O

Imaginary things paid for with real money.
PS In Romania during the darkest dictatorship years, I saw a classic century year old comedy about elections. It was all play EXCEPT for the banquet scene in which there was very real and plentiful food.
The message was very clear, and escaped censorship.
The rest may be comedy, but the money is for real.
The director became a star of the American theater, a decade later…


It bears to remember that absent the carbon credit sales Tesla would not be profitable, which has massive impact on stock price and their ability to get loans. The SEC should be put on this trail and investigate.


charles nelson says:
December 21, 2013 at 8:07 pm
What’s all the fuss about? I strongly recommend that they place small wind turbines at strategic places over the car’s exterior. Then as the car moves forwards through the air, the wind turbines will generate sufficient electricity to recharge the batteries.
A member of the Swedish Parliament actually suggested that very thing at a paliamentary hearing on energy policy. Which gives you a clue why H. L. Mencken thought that “ignorant politician” was a tautological statement.

In the UK what is described in the head posting, if true, would be fraud by misrepresentation under S1, Fraud Act 2006, and any citizen would have the right to ask the police to investigate, whereupon prosecution would follow. I do not allege that what is described in the head posting is true, but, if it had happened in Britain, the posting, turned into a witness statement and backed up with the evidence, would certainly be enough to establish a prima facie case.
I have long thought that the only way to bring this scare rapidly and inexpensively to an end is with a couple of fraud prosecutions, but the near-universal reaction among the skeptical community has been outright funk.
One of those who exposed the hockey-stick scare will say privately that there is more than enough evidence to prosecute some of the parties to that particular scam (no names, no pack-drill): but when I asked him to let Mr. Cuccinelli know that he was disinclined to do anything, and he wanted to be paid several thousand dollars to draw up a one-page outline of what was fraudulent and why.
Here are some further aspects of the scare that seem to me to raise questions about whether fraud has been committed. There was the alteration by the WMO of three tree-ring series to bring them into conformity with the thermometer record since 1960. There was the IPCC’s superimposition of four trend-lines on the global-temperature dataset to claim, falsely, that the rate of warming was accelerating and we were to blame. There was the assertion that 97.1% of 11,944 scientific papers supported the consensus that most of the global warming since 1950 was manmade, when the authors of the paper had themselves marked only 0.5% of the abstracts as endorsing that notion. There was Gleickgate. There was Climategate: dozens of frauds plainly evidenced. There was Al Gore’s publicly faking a CO2 experiment. But none of these frauds (except parts of Climategate involving Jones, who could and did plead ineptitude) was perpetrated in the United Kingdom, where the laws against fraud are tough.
In the United States, even where the State (in its wider sense) refuses to do its duty because it does not like to prosecute those whose frauds reflect the prevailing political opinion (Communism at present, both in California and in DC), private citizens can sue in the civil court under the Racketeer-Influenced Criminal Organizations statute. They can personally collect millions in damages. But will any of the conservative think-tanks raise the cash for even one fraud prosecution, even in the plainest of cases?
I, for one, will not be holding my breath. It is because skeptics have not been tough enough in fighting the Forces of Darkness that, until now, the F. of D. have prevailed, and the largest transfer of power and wealth in human history from the poor to the rich continues unabated.


Spend any time working on cars yourself and you will know how this idea is going no where in pratice , in a perfect new state under ideal conditions perhaps . But after some time and some miles , no way .
Still the guy behind Tesla has done every well out of it with lots of ego boosting from the greens , although its worth noting he often threatens to take people to court for not showing him enough ‘love’ in their car reviews he never actual does anything because there based on facts even if he does not like them.
Range , price and recharging times are still the EV killers .

The feasibility of windmills on your car depends on a lot of factors; unless it’s a very still day, the wind blows independently of the motion of your car, with the maximum trade-off of energy generated vs. drag occurring whenever you’re stationary at the traffic lights.
On the interior of the car, you could also harvest low grade thermal energy from the cherry red glow of the driver’s embarrassment.
(none of which mitigates the obvious assumption of the MP that the act of driving into the air generates free energy)
Could still be tempted to drive this for a bit, just not under any bridges or when I’m in a hurry:


OT, but in response to RACookPE1978 @ 11:49 Dec 21.
Smokey Yaunik, the master of interpreting what the rule book said — or, perhaps, didn’t say..
Trying to figure out NASCAR’s rule book threw me at first. Then, after studying the rules from all sides, I realized I’d made a colossal mistake. I’d been reading the rule book to see what it said. And all along what I should have been doing was finding out what it didn’t say. After I started doing that, racing became fun in a big way.
From the legend himself;
Pages 2 & 3 are a hoot!!!


How is the Tesla a “zero emissions vehicle?” At least 60% of the electricity in California is generated from fossil fuel, is it not?