Tesla first launched the supercharger network back in September 2012 with 6 stations located throughout California. And since then, the supercharger network has become Tesla’s biggest advantage in the EV world. As of the end of Q1 2022, Tesla announced that the EV maker’s supercharger locations have grown to 3,724 sites and 33,657 supercharger connectors.
This makes Tesla’s supercharger by far the biggest and most extensive DC fast-charging network in the world. Not only that, Tesla places supercharger locations strategically along major highways, meaning, beyond sheer numbers, this makes superchargers even more useful for long-distance travel.
When Tesla first unveiled the supercharger V1, it had a maximum output of 100KW. And later on, Tesla increased this number to 145KW with V2 superchargers. And in 2019, Tesla made another leap in charging technology.
In 2019 the EV maker not only announced it increased the max charging rate to 250KW with V3 superchargers but also introduced On-route Battery Warmup. This enabled Tesla vehicles that are en route to supercharger stations to warm up their batteries so that the vehicle arrives at the optimal temperature for charging. This decreased supercharging times by a further 25%.
All these factors added together have made Tesla’s superchargers the fastest and most convenient means of charging an electric vehicle for a while. To this day, the latter still holds, however, with the emergence of new charging networks and EVs that can charge at more than 250KW, Tesla has lost its number 1 spot both for the fastest charging EVs and the highest-powered DC fast charger.
Currently, Electrify America & Ionity, both competing charging networks to Tesla’s superchargers, have DC fast chargers that can output as much as 350KW. And vehicles like the Lucid Air and the Porsche Taycan have max charging speeds as high as 300KW & 270KW respectively.
More important than the max charging speed is the charging curve. This shows how quickly charging speeds fall as the battery starts to fill up. And when you take the charging curve into consideration, Tesla vehicles start to fall even further behind the competition.
However, the world’s most valuable carmaker doesn’t seem like it will accept being seconds to anyone. Tesla and CEO Elon Musk had previously hinted at an upcoming max charging increase for Tesla vehicles.
For instance, speaking at the Cybertruck unveiling event back in 2019, Musk, even though held off from revealing the actual charging speed for the futuristic truck, has still unequivocally stated that the Cybertruck will have over 250KW charging capability.
Elon Musk was also asked if Tesla plans to go beyond Porche Taycan’s claimed 350KW peak (later lowered to 270KW) charging at Tesla’s earnings call in 2020. And during his answer, Musk said, for its next supercharger iteration, Tesla is looking at around 350KW.
Increasing the supercharger speed to 350KW is exciting on its own but, what we learned about Tesla’s next-generation supercharger during the Tesla Semi delivery event is way more impressive than even our wildest dreams.
At yesterday’s Semi delivery event, Tesla officially announced the next-generation V4 supercharger. According to Tesla, the new supercharger has 4 times the capacity of the V3 superchargers with a charging speed of 1000KW (1MW).
This was on its own a big deal given the fact that 1000KW capability makes the V4 superchargers by far the most powerful chargers in the world. However, Tesla decided to up the ante and announced despite outputting 4 times the power, the V4 superchargers will have a similar-sized charging cable and connector to that of the V3 supercharger.
Tesla said it was able to achieve this feat by increasing the current density of the chargers by 3 times and using immersive liquid cooling to decrease the size of the charging cable.
This is beyond impressive on Tesla’s part, however, given the fact that currently, the fastest-charging passenger vehicle has a max charging speed of 300KW, we assumed the only vehicle that will be able to utilize the V4 superchargers’ 1000KW capability was the Tesla Semi with its gigantic 900KWh battery.
However, before we were done digesting this incredible engineering feat, Elon Musk dropped a “one more thing” and said the V4 supercharger will “be used for the Cybertruck.”
This piece of information might have been the most exciting part of the Semi delivery event. And if the Cybertruck indeed has a charging speed of 1000KW, that means the all-electric truck, which will most likely come with a battery pack equivalent in size to the Model S & X, will have 4 times the charging speed.
Even if we assume the Cybertruck will have a battery pack twice the size of the Model S & X, it will still mean Tesla’s futuristic truck has improved charging capability by two folds.
This will make the Cybertruck an even more incredible vehicle than it’s already shaping up to be.
Having said that, even though it’s exciting to imagine the Cybertruck charging at 1000KW, it’s still difficult to definitively say that will be the case as we currently only have a single vaguely worded statement to go by.
However, we will be sure to keep you posted when we learn more about Tesla’s V4 superchargers and the Cybertruck’s charging capability. Until then, make sure to visit our site torquenews.com/Tesla regularly for the latest updates.
So what do you think? Excited to see the first glimpse of Tesla’s next-generation V4 superchargers? Also, given Musk’s statement that “it’s going to be used for Cybertruck,” do you think Tesla’s upcoming truck will be able to charge at 1000KW? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.
Image: Courtesy of Tesla, Inc.
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Tinsae Aregay has been following Tesla and The evolution of the EV space on a daily basis for several years. He covers everything about Tesla from the cars to Elon Musk, the energy business, and autonomy. Follow Tinsae on Twitter at @TinsaeAregay for daily Tesla news.