No Limits on Supercharge Cycles!

Talked with Supercharger chief engineer tonight at event and definitively confirmed:

1. You can Supercharge as often as you like with NO degradation of battery.

2. TM software manages everything. You just hook up.

3. Charges to 50% at high rate, then tapers. After 80%, it slows more to protect it (but keeps charging)

4. Optimal use is fast (30min) charge from near empty.

The technology and the business model are game changers for EVs.

When you go 1,000 miles on sunlight for free, why would you spend $200 burning gas?

This SuperCharger is a total win.

My understanding is that both the 60KWh and 85KWh packs have the hardware included, but what about the software? I presume the 85KWh is free hardware and software is ENABLED for free charging. What about the 60? Do we need to pay an extra option to "enable" the software for Supercharge? I asked a Tesla rep this question and he couldn't answer this question.

Does anyone know?

@joseph - everything you need for supercharging is included in the 60KWH pack.

No enabling add-ins are needed (software or hardware).

Some confusion arose when Elon was presenting the SC and spoke about a small upgrade for the 60KWH pack, but I believe he mis-spoke. Early on, they had an "optional" spec for that, but they've since decided to include it at no extra charge.

The definitive spec is on the current "options and pricing" page, which makes clear it is explicitly included with the 60KWH pack.

At 59K after rebates, plus free solar fuel, this seems like the sweet spot for many buyers.

For me, it's the P85 because "Dammit Scotty, I need more power!"

@Mark k, thanks for the response. I certainly hope that's the case. I am also still leaning toward the 85, biut still wondering if it'll be wiser to save the extra 10k.

I'm with Mark K - not for power, but just for maximum flexibility. On those infrequent occasions stuff comes up and I have to drive around unexpectedly, I don't ever want to find myself short on available miles. I don't want to have to devote any of my limited brainpower to planning my trips unless they are truly long distance - the kind you have to plan for to some extent even with an ICE. That's why I'm pushing the limits of my budget to get the 85kwh battery.

The 85 also suffers less "stress" from either normal or heavy use. It has more muscle for everything.

I see alot of talk here about the 85kwh vs 60kwh batteries and what is or isn't included. I am getting my S next week with 85kwh so this doesn't impact me. I am curious tho. The Option and Pricing page says up top in the battery section that supercharging hardware is included. In the charging section on the Options and Pricing page it says there is a $1500 charge for the 60kwh battery to get the on-board twin chargers? Are the twin chargers not needed for supercharging? My guess is that the twin chargers only speed up wall charging at home on the 240-100amp wall unit? Can anyone confirm?

mw...that is correct.

That is, the second possibility is correct (you asked about both implicitly, I think). The chargers don't figure into it at all, since DC bypasses them. They share the same plug, using different contacts, but that's it.

Perhaps knowing why will help folks understand. All battereries are DC Direct Current. All wall current is AC Alternating Current, which switches the positive and negative poles about 50 to 60 times per second. The systems are NOT directly compatable. Plug your car into the wall, and AC is converted into DC by the onboard chargers. Having two lets you use higher wattage AC sources. The onboard chargers change (rectify) the AC into DC which the batteries can absorb. The motor in your car is variable vrequency, and a seperate power module converts battery DC into variable frequency to drive, and reverses the process to regen. Whew...

Supercharging is a direct DC to DC dump from the Tesla supercharger to the battery, and bypasses the car's AC to DC converter(s). Having the extra charger will not change your supercharging rate as they (or it) is not used at all.

Hope this helps.

Steven, Brian, and jbunn are all correct.

A little additional color:

At the SC event I played with the cable on the charge bay kiosk. It is massive (in a good way).

The cord is only about 5 feet long, but is nearly 2 inches in diameter. (Compared with about a half inch for the standard 240VAC cable).

This is because it carries so much more current. Here are the numbers:

240VAC at 20KW is 83 amps.

480VDC AT 100KW is 208 amps.

You need 2.5X more copper cross-sectional area, and thicker dielectric (insulation) for the higher voltage. So it needs to be fat and as stubby as possible. Ergo the really big short cable.

Despite this, TM did a very good job with the industrial design, and the cable and plug handle are easy to use and feel very secure. The plug handle is actually quite beautiful, with stainless steel accents.

That power coming through the fat 208 amp cable cannot squirt through the small 83 amp cable inside the 40KWH car, much less squeeze though the 10 or even 20KW on-board chargers.

So they have to bulk up the cables inside the car, bypass the on-board chargers and fan out directly to the cells using direct current. There are definitely significant hardware costs to do this.

The chargers that do the job are actually outside the car, inside the SC monument post. (It can hold 6 chargers). That spire can pass 600KW though it's slender form. That's just shy of a megawatt, which is, uhh ... a lot of power.

The whole experience oozes a feeling of megajoules of energy, and you sort of find yourself looking around for the scintillating core of dilithium crystals.

I like this future. A lot.

Mr. Sulu, bring us home. Two to beam up.

Again, the cable will not carry 480V DC. At least not while charging any know Model S. The Model S has a nominal 360V battery, which should translate to approx. 390-395V max (4,1V per cell).

Thus, to deliver 90kW, the SuperCharger must supply at least 90,000/390=230A. My guess is that it delivers 250A so the full 90kW is available at 360V battery voltage, rising to ~98kW at max battery voltage before ramping down.

Jkirkebo - didn't get a chance to ask SC chief engineer to confirm charger output voltage, (other folks talked about that figure). The actual voltage seen at the car may be less, and can easily reconcile with your assumption due to other factors.

Chargers are at some distance from the car and the ultimate termination at cell. There are nonzero ohmic losses in between, especially at such high current when the current density in the copper conductor is nearer to saturation.

LiIon cells often get 4.2V to drive 1C or higher current input. Generally what you want is a source potential a little higher than needed (to allow margin for losses) and then PWM at high frequency to regulate the average current. This way all the FET switch channels are always operated fully saturated for lowest loss in the source electronics.

So even if the source supply starts at 480 open-circuit, the pack likely sees somewhere between 400 and below 480 VDC. Since it's switched on and off by the PWM, it's probably fair to think of the average integrated voltage over time with the duty factor. So I think your numbers at the cells can still jibe with a source that starts at 480 no-load.

In any case, the current through the "pump nozzle" is well north of 200 Amps, which is pretty remarkable.

Back to the original topic, this guy did three supercharges in a single day, and was obviously advised to do so by Tesla:

That's probably taking it to an extreme, but it does work. It still looks a bit suspicious to me: All these rumors that supercharging would significantly impact the battery, and should only occur like 2% of all charges or twice a year max (depending on whom you asked) was originating from Tesla. And now all of a sudden this is a non-issue?

Not sure what I'm supposed to think of it. If it's true, then why did they do themselves the disservice and gave out the disconcerting preliminary information ahead of time? And if there was something to this information, how did it fundamentally change within weeks?

The only logical resolution of the discrepancy I can see is: don't fully charge (to 90%++) on a supercharger. Short of that, NBD.

It may be that they worked out a new delivery system that works better than as early models. It wouldn't be the first time they leaked information before it was finalized.

I agree with Volker. We have been told all this time to limit the use of superchargers and now all of a sudden it's not a problem??? I hope we get an official statement from Tesla not only stating its a nonissue but explaining what has changed that makes it ok. I would hate to get the car and find out five years from now that I experienced greater battery degradation because of the use of the supercharger.

strangely, it might be a blessing in disguise. You'd have to replace it with a new type at half the price with twice the range and 1/4 the charging time and no heat or cold limitations and ...

Or SLT. ;)

'Charges to 50% at high rate, then tapers. After 80%, it slows more to protect it (but keeps charging)'

that is the key to prevent battery pack degradation. So in the future when SC output increases, there better be a beef up cryogenic system to support it. for now you can't charge to 100% in an hour.

Bummer that they announced the 60kWh supercharger is a $2000 option. And they explained that all cars are built with the hardware, but enabling it will cost money.I really don't qite get how can the software for that be so special that it costs $1000 to install and verify. This is like saying they will charge you money for the shakedown tests of the car in the factory or the water-proofing tests.

Bummer that they announced the 60kWh supercharger is a $2000 option. (Vall)

There are two other threads dealing with this topic in some detail:

Would be nice to stick to the effects of supercharging on battery life in this thread.

@adlink (and maybe @volker), I don't recall TESLA ever saying to limit supercharging. It's charging in range mode that hurts the battery. The fact that they changed a year or two ago to saying "160 miles in half an hour" rather than "full in an hour" is actually pretty interesting.

@ggr i have asked a Tesla Service guy at the DC store a while ago and more recently in September when talking to my product specialist I asked if there were any limitations and he said it's ok 2 or 3 times a year. I then said so what about a trip in which you need to super charge 2 times each way he said that would be OK but that should be limited - he said you would not want to do that once a month and given went as far as to say i could call Tesla and let them know i was going on a trip and would be supercharging more frequently. I think he said if I did that once or twice a year it should not be a problem. When I asked what if the effects are not known until 5, 6, or 7 years down the road and we come to find out that in fact it did cause greater battery degradation he said they would look at the normal battery degradation and try and understand those situations that were outliers and why. He said they would have the data to know how often the car was supercharged.

I guess it makes me uncomfortable not knowing the effects for sure until it is too late and then being told it is not covered under the warranty because that was "normal" degradation given the number of times it was supercharged, yet if I knew from the beginning I would not take the chance. If they told me 4 times a year then I would not do it more because that is an expensive proposition if the battery has to be replaced or if there is so much degradation that five years from now you can no longer travel where you thought you could.

hmmm. interesting. I didn't think of it that way. Supercharge all you like the reduced battery life per supercharge is considered normal use. Still if the C rating stays low it should not hurt the battery.... right?

As far as I know there are four things to damage the battery.
Topping off
high temperature
zero voltage
too cold

Holding all those is an acceptable range just leaves normal degradation. I am no battery expert tho.

I read the warranty and it does not say anything in regard to supercharging. It refers to charging and care of the battery in the owners manual. The owners manual makes no mention of supercharging that I could see. I think Telsa needs to update the owners manual to address SuperCharging. Here are 4 direct quotes from the owners manual:
1)If the Battery’s charge level falls to 0%, you must plug it in. If you fail to do so within a month, you can permanently damage the Battery. This damage is not covered by the warranty. 2)To achieve the maximum driving range, you can change the charge level
to MAX RANGE. Although this setting charges the Battery to full capacity, avoid using it frequently because it reduces the
life of the Battery. 3)The most important way to preserve the Battery is to LEAVE YOUR MODEL S PLUGGED IN when you’re not using it. 4)Do not expose Model S to ambient temperatures above 140° F (60° C) or below -22° F (-30° C) for more than 24 hours at a time.


Topping off and leaving it sit in the topped off state is more accurate. Topping off and driving isn't a problem.

Just confirmed. "####", a field engineer in vehicle charging systems, says that at their remote testing site with numerous vehicles (using a Supercharger on a flatbed) they have found that after hundreds of sequential Supercharges, degradation is undetectable. Exceeds their most optimistic projections.

Brian H

If I read your nearly undecipherable post correctly, I am disappointed in you. I did not think you would stoop to making stuff up. There is NO SUCH THING as a supercharger on a flatbed. It is technically impossible, as there is no power source with enough kWh that could be temporarily hooked up to power through a portable system on a truck. It WOULD be nice, because we could call for battery charges akin to the AAA empty-fuel service...

@PD - that's a bit strong. No technical reason why this can't be done.

Put a 100KW diesel generator (or bigger) on the back of a truck..

and/or stack 5 or 10 Model S battery packs up there.

Either start out in the morning with a completely full set of packs and then dump them into S's via a SC cable as needed, or fire up the generator to provide real time charging for a car or to refill the packs.

Don't think this particular post required quite the beat-down.

Getting back to the original point of this thread which was that a TM Supercharger engineer said supercharging has no negligible effect on battery life (I'm paraphrasing here). That may be well and good but I think we would be wise to follow whatever the "official" TM advice is here. Remember TM may, and probably does, have a complete record of your charging history. Do you really want to take the chance that if (and I realize it may be a long shot) your battery degrades more dramatically than what is forecast by Tesla they tell you, sorry you "over-supercharged" against our recommendation, you are SOL. IMHO the prudent owner should follow TM's stated recommendations on charging.

Well said Nick.

Kevjo - you can use the SC less if you prefer, but I think the SC designer knows his stuff.

Those logs BTW, enable TM servers to enforce any SC protocol to protect your particular car if they need to, but I think it's not necessary.

Hey, how did this old thread get bumped back up? There's a newer one about a Step Change in Supercharging. It's more current.

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