Tesla Model STesla has begun trials of new battery swap technology that could see drivers having flat EV batteries replaced in less time than it takes to fill a regular car’s fuel tank.

The new technology is being trialled in California and Tesla says the electric vehicle battery swap time is just three minutes.

And remarkably, the electric car company reckons it can eventually do it even faster.

“With further automation and refinements on the vehicle side, we are confident that the swap time could be reduced to less than one minute,” said the firm in a statement.

Unlike the free battery recharges at Tesla’s 312-location worldwide Supercharger initiative, there will be a charge for the battery swap programme. Even this will be manageable, though.

Battery swap “will cost slightly less than a full tank of gasoline for a premium sedan” said the firm.

The new battery swap scheme launches this week, in time for Christmas, and Tesla says it will use the trial to both assess the technology itself and the demand for it.