Following 350+ kW Charging Push From Rival Automakers, Elon Musk Hints V3.0 Tesla Superchargers Will Get A Whole Lot Faster

There’s nothing like a bit of friendly competition between rival companies for encouraging technological advancement.

Especially when it involves Tesla CEO Elon Musk and some form of electric vehicle technology.

Tesla’s 350kW Supercharger upgrade is in the works…

Just under a month ago, Daimler, Ford, Volkswagen and BMW announced that they had joined forces to push a new super-fast electric car charging standard to market, funding a new cross-Europe charging network that will include 400+ next-generation charging stations by 2020.

Essentially a super-fast, more powerful version of the SEA-developed CCS standard already favored by the majority of European and U.S. automakers, the new charging standard can operate at power levels of up to 350 kilowatts to charge a 90 kilowatt-hour battery from empty to 80 percent full in as little as fifteen minutes, far faster than the maximum 145 kilowatts offered by Tesla’s Supercharger network.

It’s not clear how soon the upgrade will happen.

At the time it was announced, we speculated that it would be reasonably easy and logical for Tesla to follow suit and upgrade its own Supercharger standard, since it owns and operates its entire Supercharger network and has gradually upgraded Supercharger capabilities since the network’s launch in 2012.

True to our predictions, Tesla CEO Elon Musk took to twitter over the Holiday weekend to confirm that Tesla has indeed been working on evolving its Supercharger network, complete with photovoltaic solar panels, battery storage and super-fast 350 kW charging speeds.

The exchange happened on Christmas eve, when Electrek’s Fred Lambert asked Musk via Twitter if there was any update on Tesla’s plans to install photovoltaic solar arrays at Tesla Supercharger sites around the world. A goal Musk has held from day one of the Supercharger network, only a handful of Supercharger sites around the world currently have on-site photovoltaic solar panel arrays. But that’s about to change, Musk suggested, thanks to the recent merger between Tesla and SolarCity.

Supercharger V3, Musk explained in a subsequent tweet, would be capable of transferring at least 350 kilowatts of power and, when paired with Tesla photovoltaic panels and Tesla PowerBanks, would mean that Tesla’s Superchargers could operate completely off-grid. This means that even if there was a local power outage, Tesla could still provide customers with power and charging, no matter what — not to mention making it possible to install Supercharger sites at more remote locations where it’s currently impractical to install a Supercharger.

Tesla’s Supercharger V3.0 will be close to offering a full-charge in 15 minutes.

There’s another bonus too: if future Supercharger sites offer completely off-grid, Tesla will no-longer have to choose sites for Superchargers based on the available power on site (or the practicalities of bringing high-power grid electricity to the site). And that, we’d guess, should help lower the costs associated with Tesla Supercharger installation.

When will Tesla roll out a Tesla Supercharger upgrade? That’s a hard one to tie down right now, but Musk certainly seemed to imply in his brief Twitter exchange that it was something we’d see in the near future. If we had to guess, we’ll see Tesla push the first high-powered Superchargers by the end of 2017, with the most popular sites getting priority over less popular ones.

As to existing cars? Without significant upgrades, we’re guessing these vehicles will be stuck charging at a slower speed, although it’s possible that Tesla is already rolling out such an upgrade on the vehicle end without telling anyone. After all, Tesla has done something similar in the past with autopilot hardware.

When do you think we can look forward to faster Tesla charging? And will Tesla be able to bring ultra-fast Supercharging (Hypercharging, anyone?) to market before the competition’s 350-kW CCS?

Leave your thoughts in the Comments below.

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  • just someone old

    with such a connected car, tesla could already be testing it’s batterys on all cars
    allowing via an ota update an allowed increased chargingspeed when deamed safe enough

  • Martin Lacey

    More importantly – will the Model 3 include it as standard?

  • Chris O

    looks like the quick charge race is on that will clear one the last hurdles of mainstream EV adoption, with 80% charge time reduced to under 15 minutes. GM needs to pay attention here, it cannot expect to get away with 80% charging in the 70-90 minute range for Bolt for much longer.

    Wonder what sort of output Elon Musk is thinking of that would make 350KW charging look like something for “a children’s toy”. It’s going to be interesting to see if Model 3 is hypercharging capable from the start. Would make it practical even for apartment dwellers without access to home charging which would widely expand its potential clientèle base.

  • j.emerson

    If I remember high school chemistry and thermodynamics right pumping in 350 kW of electrical energy into a battery is going to create a lot of heat. What is the strategy for compensating for this? I know that EV batteries have cooling systems, but were they designed for cooling a 350kW infusion of energy?

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