With the opening of its proprietary charge connector, Tesla has confirmed that its Supercharger is much more powerful than we thought.
This points to a potential total output of up to 900 kW.
Yesterday, Tesla surprised many by announcing that it was opening up its EV charge connector in the hopes of making it the new standard in North America.
Like the rest of the industry, we’re still digging into all the documents Tesla released about its proprietary charge connector to persuade people to adopt it.
While we haven’t finished reviewing everything, one thing is clear based on the new documents: Tesla’s superchargers are capable of a lot more capacity than is currently available.
In the documentation, Tesla describes two versions of its charging technology that are capable of operating at 500 volts and 1,000 volts, but they are interoperable.
The two interfaces are shown below, a 500V configuration and a 1,000V configuration. The two interfaces are mechanically interoperable (ie a 1,000V inlet can mechanically receive a 500V connector and a 500V inlet can receive a 1,000V connector).
Here are two designs:
The ability to operate at 1,000v is new information that was not known about Tesla’s charging capability prior to other than the upcoming megawatt charging for the Tesla Semi truck.
Furthermore, Tesla mentions in the documents that it is capable of operating at over 900 amps:
Tesla has successfully operated the North American charging standard consistently above 900A with a non-liquid cooled vehicle inlet.
900A at 1,000v would produce 900 kW of total output, or 3 times the current capacity of Tesla’s most recent supercharger stations.
This would support Tesla’s statement in the blog post in which it announced its charging standard, now named ‘North American Charging Standard (NACS)’, is “twice as powerful” as CCS:
With over a decade of use and 20 billion EV charging miles, the Tesla Charging Connector is the most proven in North America, offering AC charging and 1MW DC charging in a slim package. It has no moving parts, is half the size, and is twice as powerful as the Combined Charging System (CCS) connectors.
It looks like Tesla isn’t kidding about this claim. Now, it’s about the charge connector specifically, but Tesla wouldn’t have designed it with the capability without plans to be able to match the rest of its charging technology.
This points to Tesla future-proofing its supercharging technology for much higher output.
This has some interesting implications. Tesla has not yet adopted 800-volt powertrain technology in its electric vehicles.
Other automakers have, but Tesla future-proofed their charging technology before trying to make it standard.
So, it’s possible that we’re eventually going to see Tesla move to 800v for its upcoming new vehicles like the Cybertruck.
Either way, it looks like Tesla’s charge connector isn’t a bottleneck for high charging output.
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