Supercharger unveiling event
by, 09-24-2012 at 07:54 PM (14614 Views)
Updated. Elon Musk unveiled the Tesla Supercharger tonight near the Tesla design studio in Hawthorne, CA. Showing footage of existing stations already installed secretly in California, Elon briefly described how Tesla plans to role out a nationwide network at various rest stops along interstates throughout the country. [Click through to watch the uncut video.]
The function of the rather large and phallic looking device which Elon dropped the curtain on wasn't quite explained. However, the implication was that it is a large bank of batteries which are charged by the solar panels and then is used to provide up to 120 kW of power to charging Tesla vehicles. According to Musk, these Superchargers will allow Model S owners to drive for three hours, charge for free during a 30 minute rest stop, and continue on their way. "Travel for free, forever, on sunlight," Mr. Musk said.
Update: TMC member spatterso911 who attended the event reports the following:
1. The superchargers will produce more energy than can be used by charging the car. They are connected to the grid, thus will contribute energy to the grid. Solar City is providing the installation of the PV panels.
2. The large monolith IS functional and contains the hardware and components used by the supercharging system. In some locations, due to local ordinances, they cannot build the monolith, so it will be placed in non-descript boxes near the charging station. It may not be the final design, and looked significantly different 3 days ago. Apparently Elon's space alien idea got shot down in favor of the "rocket ship".
3. Batteries are used to store energy (same or similar to Model S) and are also located near the charging stations. They are NOT located in the roof of the station due to weight.
4. There will be 2+ stalls per station. They will calculate based upon population density of Model S/X/Gen III units sold in that area, increase the number in areas with greater population.
5. The superchargers do not affect battery life according to one of the supercharger engineers. They will charge in standard mode, ramping the charge down as the battery exceeds 50% charge so that the battery is protected.
6. The supercharging stations have a single on/off button on them, which, when pressed, reveals the charging cable (same Tesla connector). Pressing the charger handle button opens the charge door on the car exactly like the standard charging cable. Once you dock the cable after charging, there is a pause, and then the door closes, hiding the charging cable. I have video and pictures of this in action.
7. 100-150 miles is a reasonable separation distance. This is how they plan to distribute the supercharging stations.
8. It is a DC supercharger.
9. Roadster owners will not be able to use the superchargers. Some owners were very upset to learn this and requested that 70 A charging stations be installed at the supercharging stations. They suggested placing inverters with the charging stations so that the DC current can be converted for the roadsters. George stated that they will consider this, but made no promises.
10. The superchargers will remain absolutely free to any Tesla vehicle with the appropriate charging hardware. This means that 60 kWh equipped with supercharger hardware, and 85 kWh vehicles will be able to freely charge anywhere within the network of superchargers. The superchargers will not work for vehicles not equipped with the supercharger hardware. I'm sorry I didn't ask if any previously built vehicle can be outfitted later with supercharger hardware for a fee.
Watch the full uncut video below (things get started about the 2 minute mark):
Album: Supercharger Unveiling