Elon Musk, CEO and Chief Product Architect of Tesla Motors, has said that Tesla will roll out its first battery-swapping stations within the "next few months."
A Tesla battery-swapping station, you might recall, was unveiled back in June 2013 at a demo in California. Tesla crew showed at the time that they could swap out a battery in about 90 seconds, faster than it took a colleague to fill up his Audi at a nearby gas station. Here's the video if you missed it:
The first battery-swapping stations were supposed to roll out by the end of 2013, but I guess we can give Tesla a little slack. It's been working on plans for a gigafactory, getting the Model X ready for launch, getting deliveries of the Model S to Europe and China going, rolling out Superchargers across Europe, and fighting auto dealer associations in New Jersey, Texas, and elsewhere.
The first "few" Tesla battery-swapping stations will be in California, between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Elon stated that Tesla would evaluate how they do before deciding to roll out battery-swapping stations elsewhere.
In other Tesla news, the price of the Model S has dropped in a few European countries. In Germany, the starting price has dropped by about 7,000 euros (~$9,650), down to 65,300 euros (~$90,100). In the Netherlands, the starting price has dropped by 4,000 euros (~$5,500), down to 66,200 euros (~$91,200). While no reason was given, speculation has ranged from lower-than-anticipated sales to a simple update based on changes in currency exchange rates. I also wouldn't rule out the possibility that logistics for sales in Europe have been smoothened out and better economies of scale achieved, so Tesla is adjusting prices down accordingly. Elon has said repeatedly that the Model S would earn Tesla the same profit per car overseas as it does in the US, and that the higher prices are only from adding on unavoidable costs related to shipping, taxes, duties, etc.
Notably, Tesla anticipates sales in Europe and China to be about double what they are in the United States by the end of the year.