Electric cars

Musk Shows Off 90-Second Tesla Battery Swap

Effort to make electric cars more popular

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Earlier this week, Tesla founder Elon Musk hinted that he had a surprise up his sleeve for those still skeptical about the viability of electric cars. Last night, at a jam-packed event in Los Angeles, he unveiled a new way to power up a car in less time than it takes to fill a tank up with gas.

In the video (below), uploaded by Tesla this morning, Musk embraces the Tony Stark/Iron Man characterizations, appearing on stage in a flashy blazer with microphone in hand, sans any detailed charts or diagrams. Musk kicked things off by explaining his thinking behind the battery-swapping initiative, which is to essentially mainstream electric car usage. 

Then Musk summoned a Tesla Model S on staged to have its battery swapped out with a fresh one while an overhead video displayed an employee filling up another car's gas tank at a local filling station in real time. Framed by techno music and occasional commentary from Musk, the video shows the Tesla vehicle sitting in place as automated nut runners remove its undercarriage paneling and swap out the car's battery with a new one in roughly 90 seconds. Adding to the showmanship, Musk then called up another car to have its battery swapped while the gas-powered vehicle was still waiting for its tank to fill up.