Tesla has long claimed that its Supercharger is ‘The World’s Fastest Charging Station’, but the claim was recently challenged in front of the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) after a long legal battle between the automaker and Ecotricity, a British energy provider.
ASA upheld Tesla’s claim today, but what everyone else missed is that the agency made Tesla confirm that it quietly upgraded its Supercharger capacity by 10 kW to a now top level of 145 kW – making the system even more ‘future-proof’.
Tesla surprised new Model S owners by launching its “free” Supercharger network right after the launch of the vehicle in 2012. At the time, the Supercharger had a capacity of 120 kW, but the first versions of the battery pack could only take 90 kW.
The automaker always had “future-proof” in mind when deploying Superchargers, which is extremely important when talking about costly EV infrastructure.
The capacity was later increased to 135 kW, but Tesla’s battery pack capacity were upgraded to 120 kW. It enables recharging of a Model S up to 80% in about 40 minutes or to add 170 miles of range in about 30 minutes.
As Tesla improves its battery pack technology and increases capacity, the company was expected to take advantage of the 15 kW difference eventually, but we now learn that Tesla actually has even more room to improve with a 25 kW difference instead.
Last year, the company opened a new Supercharger station in Mountain View. The Superchargers at this location are equipped with a liquid-cooled cable, which allows for a thinner and more flexible Tesla Supercharging adapter. According to Tesla CEO Elon Musk, the new cable also has the “potential for increased power of the Supercharger long-term”, which could explain the recent increase.
As previously mentioned, we learned the news through Tesla’s battle with Ecotricity.
The two companies first teamed up to establish Tesla’s Supercharger network in the UK, but the deal fell through, which launched a legal battle that was settled out of court, but not without subsequent false advertising claims from both parties.
In the latest complaint, Ecotricity challenged Tesla’s claim to the Supercharger being “The World’s Fastest Charging Station”.
Ecotricity claimed that other charging standards were able to deliver up to 180 kW, beating Tesla’s 135 kW. ASA ruled that while other charging standards indeed had Tesla beaten on the current theoretical charging capacity, they were not able to actually deliver the capacity to any vehicle currently commercially available – unlike Tesla ‘s Supercharger which can deliver up to 120 kW to the Model S and X.
Tesla had to issue a response backing the claim. In its defense, Tesla confirmed that the theoretical capacity of the Supercharger is now 145 kW and not 135 kW. Here’s the important part from the ASA ruling:
“They provided detailed information on the specifications of the Supercharger and the three compared DC chargers. They said the Supercharger was theoretically capable of delivering 145 kW of power, although the maximum power that could be delivered to the batteries in Tesla vehicles was 120 kW.”
We contacted Tesla to ask for more information about the change and we will update if we get an answer.
ASA’s ruling effectively confirmed that Tesla’s Supercharger retains its ‘World’s Fastest Charging Station’ title.
While the new capacity should allow Tesla to shave some significant minutes on the charging time, the company has much bigger ambitions for charging. After unveiling the Supercharger, CTO JB Straubel said that Tesla aims to bring the charging down to 5 to 10 minutes:
“It’s not going to happen in a year from now. It’s going to be hard. But I think we can get down to five to 10 minutes,”
And he wasn’t talking about the battery swap, which Tesla appears to have pretty much abandoned – at least for now…