Over the past year, Tesla appeared to be walking away from their announced Supercharger V3 with a faster charge rate, but now the company has clarified their plans and indicated that they will stay away from the 350 kW charging technology that other manufacturers, like Porsche, are bringing to market.
While Tesla has since added solar arrays and Powerpacks to a few stations, the automaker hasn’t updated the charge rate (145 kW capacity capped at 120 kW in vehicles) of its charging stations since the announcement.
In previous comments, Tesla CTO JB Straubel said that he doesn’t like the trade-off of having a higher charge rate on the other aspects of the vehicle’s capacity, like range and durability.
During Tesla’s Q1 2018 conference call yesterday, Straubel stated that Tesla could produce a battery pack that “could charge at faster than 300, 400 kW, but he insisted that “it’s not a very useful trade-off to the customer.”
“The thing about a 350 kW charger is it doesn’t actually make a ton a sense – unless you’ve got a monster battery pack or have like a crazy high C-rate, in which case your energy density is going to be poor.”
Straubel commented that it will result in a range and cost trade-off.
While Tesla doesn’t see a path to a 350 kW charge rate right now for passenger vehicles, Musk said that they are “definitely going to be improving the Supercharger technology” and he sees a path to 200 or 250 kW.
They both clarified that they are talking about passenger cars with relatively small battery packs – right now capped at around 100 kWh.
Tesla unveiled its Megacharger technology for Tesla Semi, which is equipped with a much larger battery pack, and it is estimated to sustain a ~1 MW charger rate.
Interesting clarification on the roadmap for higher charge rate from Tesla. It certainly sounds like they are walking back from Musk’s comment about 350 kW being “a children’s toy” when I asked him about Supercharger V3’s potential charge rate:
Unless the Supercharger V3 has now evolved into the Megacharger, but we were specifically talking about the Supercharger network as it applies to Tesla’s passenger cars at the time.
Now it will be interesting to see if Porsche managed to work around those limitations for their 350 kW charging technology in the Mission E and if they did, how?
We will certainly follow the story a lot closer now.