Businessweek: Tesla Motors responded to EV critics by revealing an automated battery-swap system to make the cars better for long journeys.
In front of an audience of hundreds of Model S owners, [CEO Elon] Musk unveiled a new type of automated battery-swap system in which machines grab the flat battery pack from the bottom of the Model S and replace it with a brand-new, fully charged one. During a live demonstration, Tesla managed to perform a battery swap on a Model S in 1 minute and 33 seconds, and then a second Model S in 1 minute and 36 seconds. All the while, a Tesla employee was being filmed at a gas station as he refueled a 20-gallon tank in an Audi, taking more than 4 minutes to fill up the car. Musk insisted that Tesla had scoured the city for the fastest gas station to make the test fair.