March 7th, 2019 by Kyle Field
Tesla rolled out the first of the next-generation V3 Supercharger tonight in Fremont, California, at an exclusive event for an exclusive subset of Model 3 owners in Tesla’s Early Access Program. The new chargers will initially roll out for the Model 3, with the capability being provided for the Model S and X via over-the-air software updates over the course of the next few months.
The new V3 stations will charge up vehicles at 250 kW of power, making Tesla’s vehicles the fastest charging vehicles in the world! If that doesn’t sound like the realization of a long-term plan to convince the world of the supremacy of electric vehicles, I don’t know what would be. The new V3 Supercharger standard represents a step change improvement in charging capabilities.
Every four chargers will be fed off of a single 1,000 kW power cabinet, which means owners will no longer have to concern themselves with which charging pair they are plugging into when charging on a V3 Supercharger.
Core to the new high-speed performance is a new liquid-cooled cable that translates to a more flexible and easier to use cable. Tesla has flirted with adding liquid-cooled cables to Superchargers in the past, but the rollout V3 is the first use of the new technology at scale.
Tesla is also flexing its software muscles with the new V3 Supercharger standard with a creative feature called “On Route Battery Warmup.” The feature preconditions the battery for charging when the vehicle recognizes that it is navigating to a Supercharging station. Tesla says that preconditioning the battery on the way to the Supercharging station will reduce the average charge time by 25%. Because this is just a software hack, the fix can be rolled out to the Model S and X as well.
powers features combined translate into a real-world charging rate of 1,000 miles of range delivered per hour. Boiling that down to real-world rates, the new chargers will push 75 miles of range into a vehicle in just 5 minutes. Looking at average charging times for a Long Range Model 3, the V3 chargers will cut the time required to charge by 50%. Tesla expects this to result in average charging sessions of about 15 minutes. Said another way, the 15 minutes I spent at a Tesla urban Supercharger operating at 72 kW this afternoon would have given me a nearly complete charge instead of the 72 miles of range that it added to my battery.
In parallel to the new V3 Superchargers, Tesla will be updating its existing network of V2 Superchargers to enable a peak charging rate of 145 kW. 145 kW is the charging rate of a current shared pair of Tesla’s Superchargers, so the fix seems to be a simple software unlocking of the max speed of a single vehicle charging on a shared pair.
The new faster stations, the logic improvements, and the increase in speed on the V2 Supercharging network translates to less time spent charging and higher throughput at the new V3 Superchargers. That’s a meaningful improvement that will help relieve the increasing tension and lines at Superchargers around the world.
Tesla shared news of the next-generation V3 Superchargers in a rare official blog post and the über quick video below. Tesla plans to expand beyond the first beta charger next month, when it will break ground on the first public V3 Supercharger. More stations will follow, with North American sites ramping up in Q2 and Q3 ahead of the launch in Europe and Asia-Pacific in Q4.
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