Tesla one lap ahead with 250 kW supercharging
At last, Tesla starts rolling out its V3 Superchargers capable of charging up to 250 kW . The current V2 network has an average capacity of 120 kW. The first one of 250 kW – in public beta test – is installed in the San Francisco Bay Area and is for Model 3 use only. Europe and Asia will have to wait until the last quarter of 2019.
According to Tesla’s website, the V3 has a complete new architecture. The new power cabinet of 1 MW has a similar design to the previous one. But it can charge more than one car at the same time at maximum charging speeds the car’s battery allows.
No more splitting power
“No more splitting power with a vehicle in the stall next to you”, the company promises. Tesla uses water-cooled and more flexible cables instead of air-cooled today. This makes them more efficient.
The V3 allows a Model 3 Long Range owner to charge for 75 miles or 120 km in only five minutes. Tesla estimates a typical average nearly full charging session will take up 15 minutes on average.
Only Model 3 to start
For the time being, it’s only the Model 3 that can benefit from the maximum charging speeds. Model S and Model X will get a firmware update to enable faster charging “in the coming months”.
As a sop for all the other Tesla owners, the company will unlock the existing 12.000 V2 Superchargers worldwide to be able to charge at 145 kW. In theory they are capable of 150 kW from the beginning, but deliberately limited to 120 kW.
Another clever improvement is the ‘On-Route Battery Warm-up’. The feature Tesla is rolling out with software updates from this week, lets the car ‘warm up’ the battery the moment it knows (from the navigation system) it’s going to a Supercharger station.
This way the battery will have the optimal temperature for charging when the car arrives at the charging point. The latter will cut charging times by 25%, according to Tesla.
‘Fastest production charging’
The first non-beta V3 Supercharger will be installed in the US next month. The rest of the US network will be upgraded in Q2 and Q3. Europe and Asia are next in Q4. With all these improvements Tesla hopes to be able to charge two times more vehicles per day by the end of 2019. That should enable it to keep pace with the growing fleet of Teslas.
With the V3 Superchargers Tesla claims “to deliver the fastest production charging experience at an unprecedented scale compared to other electric vehicle manufacturers.” For the time being.
400 Ionity superchargers
In Europe, Ionity owned by Volkswagen, Daimler, BMW and Ford, is rolling out 400 superchargers capable of 350 kW. More than 10 are already working, another 16 are being built.
Dutch electric vehicle (EV) charging company, Fastned, has unveiled the first of its new ‘superchargers’, at De Watering along the A8 highway near Amsterdam in March last year. It wants to equip all of its charging stations along major highways with those superchargers in the future.
European MEGA-E network
Another Dutch electric charging network company, Allego, installed in June 2018 its first 350 kW charger at its Van der Valk charging plaza along the A2/A67 highway in Eindhoven (The Netherlands). It claims a five-minute charging session will do for driving 100 extra kilometres. If your car can cope with this…
These superchargers are part of Allego’s European MEGA-E (Metropolitan Greater Areas Electrified) high power charging network that will foresee the installation of 322 ultra-fast chargers and 39 multi-modal charging hubs in more than ten European metropolitan areas.
Only Porsche Taycan
Musk has a point claiming the “fastest production experience at 250 kW”. Only the Porsche Taycan, which is expected somewhere this year, will be able to charge at 350 kW or higher speeds. The Audi e-tron, for instance, is capable to charge up to 150 kW today, the Jaguar I-Peace merely 100 kW.
In December 2018 a Porsche Taycan test vehicle of the Fastcharge research group of Siemens, Porsche, and BMW was able to charge at 450 kW. Just three minutes needed for 100 km this way. The Porsche had a European standard CCS (Combined Charging System) plug, capable of 400 or 800 Volts and used an ‘innovative cooling system’. No further details were given.
Getting too hot
The problem with fast charging is that the batteries get hot. In electric cars the battery management system prevents the battery overheating while charging. Especially when it comes to the last 20%. Elon Musk isn’t a believer of much higher charging rates than 250 kW.
“The thing about a 350 kW charger is that it doesn’t actually make a ton of sense, unless you got a monster battery pack with very high kW. We think with 350 kW for a single car, you’re going to frag the battery pack if you do that”, Musk said earlier.
There still is the question whether the grid will be able to cope with a network of such powerful chargers used at the same time…