Tesla is moving fast in many directions. Model 3 production numbers are up, the $35,000 Model 3 standard is available for order, all model prices are down, and the Model Y introductory announcement is coming up on March 14. Now we hear via Tesla’s blog that the long-range Model 3 will soon be capable of charging at rates of up to 1,000 miles per hour, thanks to new-generation V3 Superchargers.
As Tesla continues to ramp up production and sell cars worldwide, the demand for conveniently located charging stations grows as well. There are more than 1,200 Superchargers in North America, Europe, and Asia. Tesla says that more than 99 percent of Americans and 90 percent of Chinese are covered by the existing Supercharger network. The company expects 90 percent of Europeans will be accommodated by the end of 2019.
In addition to building more Supercharger stations, Tesla is also taking steps to speed charging so each Supercharger will be able to repower more cars. Tesla announced three initiatives that support faster charging: V3 Superchargers, the end of Supercharger station power splitting, and a software upgrade to enable On-route Battery Warmup.
The V3 Supercharger architecture uses a new 1-megawatt power cabinet similar to those used by Tesla’s utility power installations. The V3 units will be able to charge up to 250 kilowatts per car. With a Model 3 Long Range variant, for example, at peak efficiency, a V3 Supercharger will be capable of recharging up to 75 miles in five minutes at a rate of up to 1,000 miles per hour.
Currently, Tesla owners who recharge their cars at Superchargers split the charging power per two-car station with a vehicle in an adjacent stall. Under the new policy, owners will be able to charge their cars at the maximum rate. Combined with the added power with V3 Superchargers, average charge times should drop to about 15 minutes, Tesla says.
To further speed up the charging process, Tesla will start updating cars with a new software feature called On-route Battery Warmup. By automatically preheating a battery when the vehicle navigates to a Supercharger station, the battery will be at the peak temperature to receive a charge when it gets to the station. The software update should cut average charging times by 25 percent, Tesla says.
A V3 Supercharger public beta site will open this week in the San Francisco Bay Area. While the V3 units rollout, Tesla is unlocking 145kW charging rates for the existing 12,000 V2 Superchargers. Compared to the V2’s current 120kW rate, the new capability plus On-route Battery Warming should mean charging with the existing chargers will be about 25 percent faster. Once the 250kW V3 Superchargers are in place, charging with those units should take about half the time it takes now.
Tesla will begin access for V3 Supercharging with new Model 3s and will upgrade all other Teslas via a software update. Thanks to the new charger capabilities and new vehicle software, Tesla expects to be able to charge twice as many vehicles as it can service with Superchargers today by the end of 2019.