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Tesla Supercharging Network: One Owner’s Perspective

Image via Tesla Motors

By: Jeremy J. Zacharias

There are many benefits of owning an EV, including environmental, economic and performance factors. However, what sets a company such as Tesla apart from the rest of the EV manufacturers currently is daily practicality. Tesla, a company that revolutionized EV transport for the modern era, showed the world that an EV can be used practically without the fear of recharging. Tesla was able to accomplish this by investing in its supercharging network. 

A Brief Introduction into Tesla’s Supercharger Network:

Tesla’s supercharging network offers a global charging infrastructure that grows daily to offer Tesla drivers endless possibilities for travel. According to Tesla’s website, there are currently 1,971 supercharging stations with 17,467 superchargers on network currently. Tesla’s superchargersdeliver energy rapidly to the battery pack, gradually decreasing the charging rate as the battery fills. Tesla will automatically alert its driver when it has enough energy to continue the trip. Supercharger stations are located near desirable amenities like restaurants, shops and Wi-Fi hot spots.

Expenses Behind Supercharging:

When using the supercharging network, Tesla owners are either billed per kWh (kilowatt-hour) or billed for the service usage per minute. When billing per minute, there are two tiers to account for changes in charging speeds, called “tier 1” and “tier 2.” Tier 1 applies while cars are charging at or below 60 kW and tier 2 applies while cars are charging above 60 kW. Tier 1 is half the cost of tier 2. Tier 1 also applies anytime your vehicle is sharing supercharger power with another car.

Pricing to use a supercharger may vary by location, and prices may change from time to time. All prices include taxes and fees.Additionally, certain supercharger stations offer on-peak and off-peak rates. 

The Future of Tesla Supercharging:

Tesla has now invested more resources in expanding and perfecting its supercharging network with its V3 Supercharging network. Tesla introduced its V3 Supercharging network in a March 2019 press release. V3 will enable Tesla vehicles to charge faster than any other EV on the market today.

According to Tesla’s website, V3 is a completely new architecture for supercharging. A new 1MW power cabinet supports peak rates of up to 250kW per car. At this rate, a Model 3 Long Range operating at peak efficiency can recover up to 75 miles of charge in 5 minutes and charge at rates of up to 1,000 miles per hour. V3 Supercharging will ultimately cut the amount of time customers spend charging by an average of 50%. 

Supercharger stations with V3’s new power electronics are designed to enable charging at the full power a Tesla battery can withstand. This means that supercharging will no longer require splitting power with a Tesla simultaneously supercharging at the same station. With these significant technical improvements, Tesla’s supercharging time will drop to around 15 minutes.

Final Thoughts:

My experience of owning a Tesla is enhanced with the ever growing supercharger network. Range anxiety became a thing of the past and cross-state travel, with the rapid charging offered with the rollout of V3, is similar to travel with an ICE vehicle. The biggest downfall I experienced in the past with supercharging was the shared energy usage with other V2 concurrent users. However, V3 solves this issue and will increase charging capacity in less time. This translates into quicker and more efficient charging times to get your Tesla on the road faster. 

More companies are coming to market with various EV offerings. However, Tesla still holds the reigns of the EV market with no small part owed to its growing and evolving supercharger network. With the dawn of the mass EV market upon us, a universal charging infrastructure is needed. But for now, Tesla has a market advantage because the company has not only focused on developing an exceptional car but has also developed the means to use it.



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