Tesla’s first known Supercharger V4 station is coming to Arizona, and the plans include a Megapack and solar array – giving us a glimpse at the future of charging.
A few months ago, we reported on Tesla’s Supercharger V4 design being revealed in the plans for a new station. Tesla is believed to be ramping up production of the new charger in order to start deployment across the US soon. The new charger is expected to feature a potential for a higher charge rate (which is currently capped at 250 kW for the Supercharger V3) and a solution to allow CCS charging for non-Tesla electric vehicles.
But it could also come with increased deployment of energy storage and solar power at charging stations. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been promising that Tesla will power all Supercharger stations from solar and batteries for a long time, but the rollout has been significantly delayed.
Back in 2016, Musk told me that Tesla was waiting for the new Supercharger V3 to accelerate the deployment.
In 2017, Musk even added that Tesla planned to add solar and batteries to all Supercharger stations and eventually disconnect most of them from the grid.
Supercharger V3 has since arrived, and Tesla did accelerate the deployment of solar arrays at Superchargers, but the charger is still only deployed at a minority of new stations.
Now we learn of one of the first Tesla Supercharger V4 stations planned for construction, and the plan shows both solar and energy storage:
According to the building permit, Tesla plans for the station to have 40 stalls, including one fit for vehicles towing a trailer.
But the interesting part is that Tesla plans to install two large solar arrays and a Megapack at the Supercharger V4 station.
A single Megapack can hold enough energy to charge 40 Tesla vehicles, and Tesla can use the battery system to cut peak demand at the station to avoid large demand charges, which are responsible for increasing the price of charging electric vehicles.
The company will be able to use the solar array to charge the battery pack and significantly reduce its need to use the grid.
I have a feeling Tesla will finally fulfill its promise of deploying solar and storage at Supercharger stations with the new V4 version. Wider availability of its Megapack is likely going to play a role, but it is also out of necessity.
Demand charges are going through the roof in some important markets for Tesla, including California, and it is badly affecting charging network operators.
While the cost of charging a Tesla at a Supercharger is still cheaper than gas and also not something you do as often as going to a gas station, owners have been complaining about the rising cost.
This is a way for Tesla to take more control over its Supercharger costs.
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