Tesla's third generation Supercharger promises to cut plug-in time in half
Charging times remain a big factor in dampening the appeal of electric vehicles, and Tesla is seeking to address this in a big way through the third generation of its Supercharger. Now being rolled out across North America, its V3 Superchargers will offer peak rates of up to 250 kW per car and promise to cut charging times by an average of 50 percent.
Tesla's current crop of Superchargers number in the tens of thousands and dot many major routes across North America, Europe and the Asian Pacific, placed to allow road-tripping Tesla owners to top up en-route. Maxing out at 120 kW, they can offer plugged in Teslas a half-charged battery in around 30 minutes.
So the 250-kW solution Tesla has introduced is a marked improvement. In fact, it makes the company's cars the fastest charging electric vehicles on the market.
That may change when the Porsche Taycan rolls into town promising 350-kW charge rates, though recent testing indicates the figures may be even higher. Swiss company ABB is also promising 350-kW rates through its Terra High Power DC fast charger, for any cars that can handle it, while a consortium of automakers are also working on establishing a network of 350-kW charging stations across Europe.
And on the more speculative side of things, Piëch's electric sportscar we covered this week may charge at rates of over 1 MW, if the figures are to be believed. Even more ambitious, or perhaps fictitious, is the very conceptual Arcanum's 180-kWh battery which will apparently charge at staggering rates of 2.7 MW.
But here and now, Tesla's V3 Superchargers will provide its Model 3 Long Range with up to 75 miles (120 km) of range with just five minutes of plug-in time, according to the company. The new architecture leverages a 1 MW power cabinet inspired by Tesla's utility-scale batteries, and will enable owners to charge up at maximum rates rather than sharing the capacity with vehicles in the stall next door, as is currently the norm.
To further hurry things along, Tesla is also introducing a new feature called On-Route Battery Warmup. This means that whenever an owner navigates to a Supercharger station, the vehicle software will automatically warm up the battery to the optimal temperature for maximum charging rates in time for their arrival. CEO Elon Musk says this will use very little power and won't bring about a noticeable effect on range.
All together, Tesla expects its new Superchargers to cut the typical charging time for owners by an average of 50 percent, according to its fleet data. It opened the first public beta site for the Model 3 in the Bay Area this week, with further stations to be added in North America over the coming months and then to Europe and Asia-Pacific in the final quarter of 2019.
The short video below shows the new Supercharger in action.