Tesla’s latest generation of charging stations, version 3, brings two major innovations: fast recharging up to 250 kW and an end to power sharing between two stations.
Behind this new electrical architecture is the control cabinet developed by Tesla for its storage batteries for the electrical network. These cabinets are capable of supplying direct current at 400 volts with a power of 1 MW. The version of this power electronics can supply 250 kW to each car connected, allowing a Model 3 Long Range to recharge its battery at a rate of 1,600 km/h and thus regain 100 km of autonomy in less than 5 minutes.
The first v3 supercharger was installed in London at the end of 2019 and France will soon see its first v3s: two sites with 8 v3 stalls are currently under construction in Boulazac Isle Manoire near Périgueux and in Angoulême-Nord.
The v3 superchargers are manufactured in Tesla’s New York plant, which also manufactures solar tiles and a variety of equipment for Tesla’s Energy Division.
It should also be noted that the increase in performance does not translate into an increase in price: the kWh is billed identically on all superchargers, whether v2 or v3.
No more sharing
Whereas conventional superchargers (version 2) share a 150 kW power source on two neighbouring stalls, on a V3 supercharger site, there is no longer any need to try to occupy only one stall out of two. Each stall now has full power. Checking to see if your neighbour does not occupy stall 2b when you have just connected to 2a is a thing of the past!
In order to get the fastest charge, several conditions must be met. Among other things, the battery charge level must be fairly low, in the order of 10 % maximum. Then the battery must be warm. And if you have not just climbed a mountain pass in the Alps in the middle of summer, the battery should be pre-warmed a good quarter of an hour in advance. How do you do that? Nothing could be simpler: just tell the Tesla’s navigation system to stop at the supercharger, and the car’s management software will take care of everything. You’ll get a confirmation message on the screen indicating that the supercharger heater has started. Note that this battery preheating also benefits loads on “old” superchargers limited to 120 kW.
The kW, it heats up…
The new technical cabinets and bollards have had their cooling optimized. Even the cables heat up under high intensity. To avoid replacing them with even thicker cables, they have instead been replaced by lighter cables cooled by liquid circulation. As you can see on the picture of the American cables below, the v3 cables are lighter, more flexible, and therefore easier to handle.
Are we really winning?
The advantage of the v3 supercharger over its predecessors is most pronounced at the beginning of the session, when the battery is under 20% charge level. The advantage then diminishes and the charge curve becomes similar again from 75% when it is the preservation of the battery’s health that becomes the limiting factor. In total, there is a reduction in the total charging time of about 20%.
Will the Network hold out?
The power required by a site equipped with several v3 superchargers is obviously important. To avoid overloading the electrical network, Tesla also reuses its know-how in stationary batteries here too. Each cabinet that controls 4 250 kWh v3 stalls includes a 1 MWh battery, which allows to moderate the instantaneous power demand to the grid while ensuring maximum power to all loads in progress. Thanks to this trick, the average power drawn from the network is barely higher than the consumption of the v2 superchargers.
For which Tesla?
In Europe, v3s are only available with the CCS socket and are therefore reserved for the Model 3 and Model Y. However, S and X manufactured from May 2019 onwards can be connected with a CCS adapter. Older S and X models generally do not have power electronics capable of handling the 250 kW of a V3 terminal. The actual power drained from a supercharger depends on many conditions: state of charge, temperature, battery size, power of the on-board electronics, …
Here are the maximum load ratings for the various models.
- Model 3 (Standard Range Plus) : 170 kW
- Model 3 (Mid Range) : 200 kW
- Model 3 and Y (Long Range and Performance) : 250 kW
- Model S and X (Long Range “Raven”) : 200 kW (in the U.S.)
- Model S and X (Long Range “Raven”) : ? (with CCS adapter)
Where are the v3 superchargers?
Since the beginning of the year, supercharger installations in Europe have been accelerating and more and more are v3s, mainly on busy routes. In addition to the French sites, v3s are being installed in England, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Norway and even Italy.
Here are a few examples:
- Royal Park, Londres (UK) : 16 v3 terminals in use.
- Liertoppen, Oslo (Norvège) : 10 v3 terminals in service, 40 planned for mid-2020.
- Uden (Pays-Bas) : 24 v3 terminals under construction
- Hilden, Düsseldorf (Allemagne) : 40 v3 terminals under construction
- Forli, Bologne (Italie) : 20 v3 terminals under construction.
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