Fast charging isn’t a necessity for mobile devices only. While electric cars offer fewer worries about carbon footprints, they increase worries about charging times and the number of charging stations available. Tesla has already addressed the latter with 12,000 superchargers across the world. Now it is addressing charging speeds with its new V3 Supercharging upgrade that can reduce charging times down to an average of 15 minutes.
There are various factors affecting the charging time of Tesla’s electric vehicles. The most evident one is the power output, which currently peaks at 120 kW. With V3 Supercharging and its 1 MW power cabinets, Tesla can now offer peak charging rates of 250 kW per car. In theory, this can offer up to 75 miles of range with just 5 minutes of charging, or 1,000 miles per hour. And now cars won’t have to split power with those in the next stall and can charge at the full power their batteries can take.
There’s also the small matter of battery efficiency when charging to hit those peak rates. Tesla is rolling out a firmware upgrade to introduce a new feature called On-Route Battery Warmup. As the name says, it will automatically heat up the battery when you navigate towards a Supercharger so that it will be at its best temperature for charging when it arrives. Even without V3 Supercharging, the warmup alone could reduce charging times by 25%.
Even something like the charging cable can affect the efficiency of charging. Along with V3 Supercharging, Tesla is switching to a new liquid cable. Thanks to more efficient cooling, the V3 cable, depicted on the left in the picture below, is able to deliver more power while being lighter and more flexible than the V2 Supercharger cable on the right.
Tesla is starting its V3 Supercharging public beta in the Bay Area and will launch it initially for the Model 3 only. Charging speeds for Model S and Model X will be increased in the coming months and over the coming weeks, Tesla will unlock the V2 Supercharger’s 145 kW rates as well.