Tesla Unveils New Super Fast Charging Network

The V3 Supercharger network could reduce charge time to 15 minutes.

Tesla revealed its third generation charging system at a special event at Fremont, California yesterday. The new “V3” supercharging system will allow some of Tesla’s Model 3 vehicles to charge at a rate of 250kW.

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Which, according to a press release about the launch is fast enough to add 75 miles of range in 5 minutes. The first of the V3 station’s is open in Fremont for members of Tesla’s “early access program.”

This small group of Tesla owners is introduced to new features early for final testing. The V3 supercharger network will expand to other parts of the U.S. in April, Tesla states.

Fast chargers to roll out form April

The superfast chargers will hit Europe and the Asia-Pacific markets in Q4. Tesla says the new V3 superchargers are built on an entirely new architecture and are a major step up from the v2 system.

Currently, the V2 chargers have a max output of 150 kW, but are capped at 120 kW. Tesla says that will be dropped in the coming weeks and the V2 supercharger will be updated to allow a peak charge rate of 145 kW.

New features cut charge time

In addition to larger output, Tesla will improve its charging rates with the introduction of a feature called “On-Route Battery Warm Up.” This feature will warm up the car's battery as the driver heads towards a supercharger station so that the car arrives with the optimal temperature to charge.

This small step will reduce average charge times by 25 percent, according to the company. Another change that will see charging times significantly decrease is the removal of “power splitting.” A practice that sees slower charging rates when many of the adjacent stalls are in use.

Tesla says the increased peak power of the V3, in conjunction with dedicated vehicle power allocation and On-Route Battery Warmup will mean customers can charge their cars in half the time.

Charging in less time than drinking a coffee

Typical charging time at a supercharger station would drop to as little as 15 minutes. Fast charging might be one of the key factors for consumer choice in selecting an EV.

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Having a range of charging options is important to owners. Tesla says that 99% of the U.S. population is covered by the Supercharger network.

As well as a fast charging on the road, Tesla recently introduced a new at-home charger that can plug into a standard power outlet. A boon for customers who cannot have their at-home charger wired in.

While the improvements made by Tesla are significant, the V3 system still isn't as fast as Volkswagen's Electrify America charging stations which allows charging up to 350 kW. 

Both Electrify and Tesla are using built-in liquid coolant system to help make sure the higher-capacity stations don’t overheat or catch fire. But there does remain some concern about the Electrify America's cables which caused a shutdown of the network last year.