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Supercharger Access

At the bottom of the options and pricing page Tesla mentions that the 85kWh vehicles will have access to their Supercharger network. My first question is the time; previously Telsa had stated that the 300 mile battery could be replenished in 45 minutes with a Supercharge. Based on the 30 minute/160 mile number I assume this is still true.

My second question; is there any additional equipment I need to utilize this network, or any other, to receive charge at public stations?

Thanks everyone!


You may need an adapter at certain public stations but you won't need one at the Tesla "supercharger" station.

They couch the 30 minute figure for a reason. Supercharging past the halfway point slows down considerably. This is due to the battery technology. The more full the cells become, the slower the charging has to be, because if you try and charge too fast, then the cells become damaged.

So, if your 300 mile batter is down to 150 miles, you're NOT going to be able to charge up to completely full in 30 minutes. Not gonna happen. You'll only get 160 miles in 30 minutes if the battery is totally empty.

Based on your statement I assume that charging to full from empty will take more than the previously stated 45 minutes. Correct?

Mycroft, I think the fastest charging occurs from 20% to 70%, not 0 to 50%. Maybe it is actually 10% to 60%. I think the problem with going too far down in the state of charge is why they backed away from the 75% in 45 minutes.

IIRC it was 80% in 45 minutes. Never empty to full in 45 minutes. You might get the "full" in standard mode, but not in range mode. Confusing? For some that doesn't know about different modes and battery tech in general I bet it is.

Timo - They pretty much recommend only going to 80% anyway under most conditions, right?

Yes, IIRC.


Anybody knows what the supercharger adapter will be?

I just attended the Montreal Auto show and Hydro-Quebec (electric utility company) is sponsoring charger deployment across Quebec. They have 90 laready built/planned for spring 2012.

They also talked about a 400+ volt DC charger for capable cars. They couldn't specify which cars. But one rep from Nissan mentioned the Leaf will be capable. I don't get it. If the TMS 160 is not able to get the supercharge why would the Leaf 24 KWh battery be capable. I also noticed the second adapted on the Leaf that was bigger than the J1772 one.

So 2 questions:

- What will be the adapters required?
- Will the adapters be standardized for 400+ volts

I'm no expert but, from what I understand, it's more a question of the amperage than the voltage. The Tesla Supercharger may put out simply too much amperage for the 40kWh battery to handle without undue degradation. Maybe the DC J1772 is able to switch to a lower voltage so the Leaf can handle it.

That's just speculation on my part.

It might also be a difference in battery type again. Tesla optimizing for charge amount rather than charge/discharge rate.

Thanks for your answers guys.

Right the battery type thing that delivers less power (that is why the TMS acceleration is modulated based on battery size) but last longer. I guess we'll know more in a couple of months when TM delivers the first cars.

I just hope that the supercharger adapter will be standard across North America. It would be a shame to have different standards. Tesla or any all-electric automakers will hit a wall if they don't align on standards.

According to Stephen Smith of TM.....The TM supercharger is a level 3 charger and it outputs 480 volts at 100 amperes or more. The chemistry of the 40 kWh battery pack is not capable of receiving 90 kW of input power. The 60 kWh and 85 kWh battery packs can be supercharged (level 3 charging) only sparingly for occasional long trips.

Thanks Stephen for your precise answer.

so the question now is, will any of the TMS (160, 230 or 300), be able to be charged using the 400+ volts chargers being developped by the industry as we speak (they seems to go a different way than Tesla Motors's Superchargers). That could be an in between solution.

pbrulott.....According to Stephen Smith of TM, he has no information about access to other brands of level 3 chargers. He thinks that TM will make adapters available as these level 3 chargers pop up. I am guessing that the 40 kWh battery pack will not be capable of level 3 charging because of its chemistry.

Since we live in the same area, it would be interesting to meet each other.

Today's earnings Q&A, Elon Musk said the announcement of the "Super Charger" that is faster than Level 3 should be coming later this summer!

I have reserved the 160 mile battery and I am trying to find good reason to move up to 230 mile.
My question is do I really need access to Tesla’s Supercharging network or will I get similar results with a Public charging station.
They say all Model S cars can use public chargers with the J1772 adaptor so how much slower (or faser) will the public stations be?

The typical 30A J1772 station will give you 7.2kW of power. The Supercharger will deliver 90kW. So the public L2 charger will take 12.5 timer as long to charge a given amount.

Another way to put it: An empty 65kWh battery takes ~8 hours to charge to 80% on 30A L2 (it's not 100% efficient) while you can charge the same battery up to 80% in ~40 minutes on the Supercharger.

If tey deliver CHAdeMO compatability the 80% charge would take a little over an hour on such a charger.

This means I need to come up with another $10K for the 230 mile pack plus the cost of the twin charger. The second half of my decision will be to figure out how long will I be able to travel to work the 100 miles round trip each day if I have a 160 mile battery. If I can do it for 10 years, I figure I can than replace the battery at far less than the current cost, say $20K. Thanks jkirkebo.......

I don't think you need the twin chargers for the Tesla Charger. I THINK the Tesla supercharger is a DC charger all on it own but I could be wrong. I believe am right because the twin charger is only 20kw not 90kw.

You don't need the twin charger option to use the superchargers, which are DC. The on-car charger(s) are used to convert AC to DC. But you do need the bigger battery.

I think reason for this is that small 160 mile battery can't handle constant 90kW power. That's more than 2C rate for it when for 230 mile battery it is about 1.5C and for 300 mile a bit over 1C rate.

Might be chemistry difference too, but I'm not sure if those batteries actually have any chemistry differences.

The second half of my decision will be to figure out how long will I be able to travel to work the 100 miles round trip each day if I have a 160 mile battery. If I can do it for 10 years, I figure I can than replace the battery at far less than the current cost, say $20K. -

The 160 mile range estimate is based on traveling at a constant 55 mph. The range drops off rapidly at greater speeds. You will find that when the new EPA ratings are released that the range may be reduced by as much as 30% because the new testing is done at more realistic speeds.

In addition, you can expect that after 8 years the battery may lose up to another 30%.

If I were you and I traveled a daily 100 miles round trip, I would be very uncomfortable with only a 40 kWH battery pack.


Kinda depends on the nature of the trip. Is it door-to-door highway? Half city driving? It would make a significant difference.

100 mile round trip commute on 160 mile pack seems pretty reasonable to me if you can at least plug into 110 at work. Standard charge, you should have 128 mile range when you start off for work, so in theory, you don't need to charge during the day until the pack starts to degrade. You arrive at work with 78 miles left. Plug in. Leave 7 hours later with 116 miles range. Or 9 hours later with 127 miles.

But YMMV, so:

Start the day with 100 mile range, because your car knows your driving pattern. Arrive at work with exactly 50 miles left. Plug in for 7 hours and you should have 80 miles range. Back home with enough with plenty of range to stop at the dry cleaner, post office, and grocery store.

8 years later: based on scenario 2 with 25% degradation.

Start 75 mi range
Arrive 25 mile range
Charge 7 hours still adds 30 miles for 55 miles. 9 hours gives 39 for 64 miles.

If you have level 2 charging at work by then, life is still good. If not, you're going to eventually start charging in range mode all the time, but that will speed up the degradation of the pack.

Is it 50 mi each way at highway speed?

Let's hope the S will eventually (soon) have CHAdeMO compatability. Even though the S charge port is proprietary, they will be giving us a J1772 adapter for Level 2 public charging so why not a CHAdeMO adapter for Level 3 DC fast chargers like the ones highlighted in this article:

Another puzzler for me is that if Nissan can come up with a way to DC fast charge the 24 kWh battery pack in the Leaf, why can't TM come up with current limiting hardware/software to DC fast charge the 40 kWh battery in the S without damaging it?

Fast charging a 24 kWh pack is at a much lower charge rate than fast charging an 85 kWh pack. True, "fast charging" a 40 kWh pack should be doable, but then they'd have to charge at about 40kW rather than 90kW used with the 85 kWh pack. What is meant by "fast charging" is all relative. For the 40 kWh pack, it would probably be easier to use an adapter for the CHAdeMO charger than let them use the supercharger.

To be honest I don't get the lack of fast charging for the 40kW battery myself. If I plug a 90kW charger into a 40kW battery the 'C' rate will fry the battery..... unless I spend $1500ish extra and buy a step down adapter that will reduce that 90kW charger down to an acceptable level. Tesla just doesn't have the time to create such a beast not to mention it would cancel a bunch of 60kW battery orders. I would imagine that in the future it may become possible. A third party could even create it but Tesla might not honor the warranty if you use it.

I don't see the demand for a fast charge on the 40kW battery but that's just me. That range is definitely not going to work for long road trips.

Remember that if you only think you are going to need the extra range once or twice a year it is FAR cheaper to fly and rent a car (or just rent and drive) for 8 years than it is to upgrade your battery.
If you think you will need to do it more than a couple of times a year then you are seriously reducing the longevity of your 40kW battery (if it were possible to fast charge) and I'd recommend upgrading to the next size battery or flying/renting. That is the real reason I think Tesla doesn't offer fast charging for the 40kW battery.... battery life.

I do see a demand for a DC fast charge on the 40kWh battery. For example, I live in San Diego. Let's say the S with the 40kWh battery is all I can afford. I'd like to make a day trip from San Diego to the Los Angeles area but can't because the nominal 160 mile range of the battery won't get me there and back and I don't have the time it takes for Level 2 charging while I'm there. Bummer! But, if I could DC fast charge while I'm having lunch, attending the sporting event, going to the theater, or parked at LAX waiting on an arrival, the trip works and Tesla sells me a car!

It just seems to me that the wizards at TM could come up with a DC fast charger protocol integration that would limit the charge current (amps) from the DC charger to safely charge the 40kWh battery. Again, if Nissan can come up with a way to safely DC fast charge the Leaf's 24 kWh battery pack in 20 minutes, why can't TM accomplish the same for their 40kWh battery in a reasonably short time? I know TM is focused on getting the S into production so I'm saying they don't have to figure this one out right away, but just as they figured out how to adapt J1772 public access charging to the Roadster long after the Roadster came out and just as they are now figuring out how to adapt the Roadster to the new Tesla Supercharger, they could figure this one out too sometime in the future. The 40kWh battery deliveries won't start until next winter, so they have time.

@steven: I completely agree. Nissan can do it. Why not Tesla? I have that same kind of trip from Phoenixto Tucson or Phoenix to the mountains. A fast charging option on the other side would make these trips possible.

Tesla engineers: Make it happen! :-)

Nissan also claims their battery will never die.

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