Tesla Supercharger site in Dorno, Italy, photo by problemidiricarica.wordpress.com/
If you road-trip with an electric car like a Tesla, you soon become acutely aware of miles per hour. That’s not the miles per hour you see on the speedometer, but the rate at which the car will gain range when being fast-charged.
That’s charging miles per hour, which determines how quickly you can pull out of the charging station and back onto the highway.
And it’s about to get quicker—more akin to a gas-station stop. Tesla’s Supercharging V3, announced Wednesday, charges the Model 3 at a rate of up to 1,000 miles per hour (temporarily), or what Tesla says can gain you as much as 75 miles of range in five minutes.
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Tesla on Wednesday opened its first “public beta” V3 charging site in Fremont, California. It includes entirely new hardware, including grid-connected batteries to act as a buffer to stabilize electrical loads (and reduce demand charges from utilities). The 1 megawatt power cabinet supports a charge rate up to 250-kw per vehicle. Stations’ power will no longer be shared between Teslas, which could slow down charging rates, but each car will have its own dedicated power supply.
Tesla Supercharger cable – V3 vs. V2
Power is delivered to the car via a new liquid-cooled cable design that Tesla claims is actually lighter and more flexible than the current air-cooled cable.
In getting ready for the hardware, Tesla will roll out a software update to vehicles that includes On-Route Battery Warmup, a mode that smartly heats up the battery to the optimal temperature to reduce charge times in cold weather.
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Tesla says that, on average, V3 Supercharging will halve the amount of time its customers spend charging to about 15 minutes. That in turn means less congestion and waiting at Supercharger stations, where long lines can sometimes form on holiday weekends.
Supercharger V3 charging times
The higher speeds will be available for more owners this spring, Tesla says, as more chargers come online. Although the rates are initially for Model 3, the company will boost Model S and Model X speeds “in the coming months.”
Tesla will break ground on the first non-beta V3 site next month, with more North American sites coming in spring and summer, then Europe and the Asia-Pacific region in fall. The company says that thousands of new Superchargers will come online in 2019; it doesn’t stipulate that all of these will be V3 Superchargers, but it would be unlike Tesla not to deliver its most advanced version.
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Tesla says that it has 12,000 Superchargers across North America, Europe, and Asia—and that 99 percent of the U.S. population is covered by the charging network. Tesla says it will also soon be “unlocking” the 145-kw potential that many of its existing V2 Superchargers have always been capable of.
A mere 350 kW … what are you referring to, a children’s toy?
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 24, 2016
Supercharging V3 isn’t as quick as CEO Elon Musk suggested when he called the 350 kw peak of CCS charging at the time “a children’s toy.” But it is significantly faster than anything available on the market (until very late this year and when the 2020 Porsche Taycan arrives).
And it charges the nearly 200,000 Model 3 sedans that are here in the U.S. today, getting drivers on their way very quickly, in time for summer road trips.