2012 Tesla Model S To Get One-Hour Recharging Next Year?

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2012 Tesla Model S

2012 Tesla Model S

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With at least a dozen 2012 Tesla Model S all-electric sport sedans now in the hands of buyers--and, Tesla says, 5,000 more to follow by the end of the year--attention is likely to turn to the car's real-world range.

The high-end Model S that makes up the bulk of early production is rated by the EPA at 265 miles of electric range, with lower-range models to start production by the end of the year, Tesla says.

Reports will start to filter in from early Model S owners that should offer some sense of whether the EPA number is optimistic, pessimistic, or about on target.

As for recharging, though, the 85-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack of the highest-range Model S would take 12 hours or more to recharge fully using a conventional 240-Volt, Level 2 charging station.

Tesla, it says, has a better idea.

The company offers various Model S trim levels with one or two 10-kilowatt onboard chargers.

If both are specified, the car can charge three times as fast as a Ford Focus Electric or any other plug-in electric car with a 6.6-kilowatt charger using the Tesla-supplied home charging station.

Tesla has also designed its own, unique charging connector for the Model S, although the car also comes with an adapter cord to allow owners to recharge at public charging stations--all of which use the round connector known as the J-1772 (after its SAE standard number).

2012 Tesla Model S Charging Connector

2012 Tesla Model S Charging Connector

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The Tesla connector is designed to handle up to 20 kW of Level 2 alternating current and 90 kW of level 3 DC quick-charging through the same plug.

For trips beyond, say, 250 miles, the next step is the much-discussed Tesla "SuperCharger," the company's own, unique quick-charging station.

Tesla chief technology officer J.B. Straubel says the SuperCharger will operate at up to 90 kW and 440 Volts, allowing even the highest-range Model S to get close to a full recharge in just an hour.

Straubel told Automotive News recently that Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] will unveil the SuperCharger technology in less than a year.

He also noted that he likes "range per hour" as a metric by which to judge the usefulness of electric-car charging stations.

Last fall, the company said it planned to roll out its first network of SuperCharger stations between San Francisco and Los Angeles--a trip it feels many of its owners would like to make in their new electric cars.

2012 Tesla Model S Charging Connector

2012 Tesla Model S Charging Connector

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The company thinks relatively few owners will use the network.

“Very few people will ever charge outside of their homes,” said a Tesla engineer at last fall's Model S beta press event. “With even the smallest battery pack providing a 160 mile range most owners won’t need to use a public charging station.”

We suspect that at least some Tesla Model S owners will want to push their cars to their range limits and see how far they can travel purely on electricity.

But whether you believe that or not, the unveiling of the SuperCharger technology next spring (perhaps earlier) promises to be an interesting test of whether Tesla can create its own technology ecosystem, as Apple has done.

Stay tuned for more from Tesla.


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Comments (23)
  1. At 20 KW that would be 83 amps (assuming 240 Volts). I guess that is OK assuming you have a 200 Amp service to your home.

  2. Correct, I think Tesla recommends a 100amp subpanel in the garage if you use the dual charging system.

    Many houses now come standard with a 200amp service. My father recently upgraded his 1950's era house which had a 50amp service to 200amps with a 100amp panel in the garage (for shop tools and a welder) for ~$1,500.

    I think he ran the conduit himself (main panel was in back of the house), but most of the work was done by an electrician. It's a lot cheaper in modern houses because the main panel tends to be in the garage anyways.

  3. They're rounding a little bit. The "20 kW twin chargers" charge at 80 A, and requires a 100 A service.

  4. Amazingly stupid statement it would seem - "Nobody will use public charging stations." That is the same as saying that no owners will ever take a trip in their EV, including their Model S. If so, then why pay $20,000 for a larger battery pack? And exactly what good is a car that cannot be driven past its driving radius (which would be a mere 132 miles for the Model S with the largest battery pack, when new, on a good day). Musk for years was promising 45 minute full recharges of their 300 mile pack. Apparently those were either lies or more instances of ignorance. You'd think these engineers would find it embarrassing to claim that they don't know by now (with the car actually in production!!) how long it takes to recharge their car.

  5. Seems like their statement is clear. One hour for full charge even with the largest battery. That is not far from the 45 minutes promised.

    And where did the quote "nobody will..." come from? I see "very few people will..."

  6. Personally, I'd use it a couple of times a year if I had a MS85, more with the MS60. MS60 charge time is ~40 minutes and the MS40 ~30.

    Taking the MS40 on a roadtrip would be annoying having to stop every 2 hours to recharge (160mile range), but with a 30 minute charge time its doable if you only have to do it rarely.

    Road trips with MS85 hardly seem to be an issue to me at all. Taking an hour break every 4-5 hours isn't much different from what I do now stopping at rest stops. Even MS60 gets me 3-4 hours of drive time between 45 minute breaks.

    Considering I go 6 months to a year between doing those kinds of road trips, thats a lot of time not spent at gas stations filling up for my daily commute.

  7. That sounds about right to me too. There will be very few times a year when I go beyond 265 miles in one day. So infrequent use of public chargers seem like a reasonable statement.

    But infrequent doesn't mean unimportant.

  8. Kent put down the pipe, beer can, brownie, etc. You made up that quote of yours above...there is no such quote in the article nor by any commenter as well. Stick to the facts man.

    And the larger the battery pack the faster the speed...that's another reason to get a larger battery pack for some.

    Seems that John is right below....these supercharging stations will come. However, I agree with your overall thrust that Telsa should have these damn charging stations, at least a few, up n working now if they have cars to customers that can use them.

  9. your article references Level 3 DC charging, but according to SAE J1772 Committee - Charging Configurations and Ratings Terminology - DC Level 2 charging is defined as:
    *DC Level 2 EVSE is an off-board charger
    200-500 V DC, up to 100 kW (200 A).

    DC Level 3 is:

  10. DC Level 3 is TBD (perhaps up to 600 V DC and 400 A), but certainly higher than DC Level 2 referenced above.

  11. Interesting report....90KW "superchargers" are a great improvement to the 50KW CHAdeMO standard. I expect it's just another stepping stone though, because for EVs to have similar highway capability as the ICE someday chargers will have to be able to crank out ~200KW to add ~150 miles of range in about 15 minutes.

  12. Not sure its strictly necessary to have similar highway capability as ICE to be successful. The Tesla system looks pretty practical to me as is. A faster charge time would be nice but not required for me.

    The key is that you save tons of time not having to gas up for weekly commutes. I am spending probably 20 minutes a week gassing up as is. That adds up quickly. Even making 1 road trip per month that requires an hour recharge would put be ahead of the game.

    Certainly some people drive huge miles daily. Anyone who regularly drives more than the max range of their battery in a day needs to do the math themselves. Folks like that probably can't use a Tesla for years anyways, because the charging stations wont be everywhere to start.

  13. Well both are better than bicycling. I am spending a lot of time showering to deal with my transportation method.

  14. What, so you don't shower if you don't ride? Love cycling, actually saves me time as I don't have to spend additional time getting exercise. The shower time is errr a wash :O)

  15. Tesla really did a fantastic job with this, one small connector can handle levels 1, 2, and 3. I wish you didn't need an adapter for j1772 but I can live with that, I'd rather fuss with adapters then pump gas.

  16. Okay, let us do some math here... 85KWh battery at 20KW charging would take about 4.5 hrs. 48KWh battery at 20KW charging would take at least 2.5 hrs. A typical household don't always have spare 85 amps... My A/C is 60Amp, my dryer is 30Amp, my oven is 50amp. Sure those are max load. But assume 75%, they would still account for 105Amps. That is already pretty close to max. And it is NOT that surprising that I am doing laundry, baking a pie and charging my car on a hot day with A/C on...

  17. As others have posted, I have upgraded from 100 AMP to 200 AMP service for about $2000. Clearly a 200 AMP service is a requirement.

    It also makes me wonder about the poor transformer on a cul-de-sac that has three Model S's.

  18. "It also makes me wonder about the poor transformer on a cul-de-sac that has three Model S's."

    Snap, crackle, pop...hey what's that weird smell? Time for a transformer upgrade.

  19. Get solar PV on roof too to offset electricity usage of EV. Charging during the day wouldn't likely be a problem then.

  20. Utilities will be heavily promoting overnight charging (as many already do), so you'll not have all that stuff running at the same time. As these higher power chargers become more common you'll start seeing higher peak hour electricity rates.
    As for transformers, well your paying the utility for electricity so they will make their money back on the upgrade over time.

  21. Looks like 2 systems eventually...1 for ev, 1 for home.

  22. There are more comments in this thread
  23. I like the LA to SF bay area route for supercharging stations. I think Telsa should have LA to Vegas and LA to San Diego routes setup with supercharging stations too. Twould be simple w/ supercharging stations in:
    1) Carlsbad for SD route
    2) Rancho Cucamonga and Bakersfield for Vegas route
    3) South Valencia, North Bakersfield,(before and after the grapevine) and South Los Banos for SF route.

    Put standing only Starbucks and/or Chiptoles w/ those charging stations and they should do well.

    I am looking to buy the Telsa S 60 and one of my reasons for that size battery pack was so that I could use Telsa's supercharging stations for trips. I hope there will be a few of these stations in CA early next year.

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