Connor HoffmanCar and Driver
- Tesla’s V3 Superchargers provide a maximum of 250 kW of charging power, a rate that equates to replenishing 1000 miles of range per hour.
- We took our long-term 2019 Tesla Model 3 to a 250-kW Supercharger and a 150-kW Supercharger to test the difference.
- The 250-kW unit only saved approximately two minutes on comparable charges from 3 to 100 percent battery.
Tesla claims that its new V3 Superchargers support peak charging rates of up to 250 kW, which would equate to replenishing 1000 miles of range per hour. We didn’t quite hit those numbers when we took our long-term 2019 Model 3 Long Range to a newly opened 250-kW Supercharger in Michigan City, Indiana, where we we saw a peak of 201 kW and around 810 miles per hour of charge. Only the Model 3 and Y can charge at 250 kW, while the S and X are limited to 150 kW.
The 201-kW peak was extremely brief, however, lasting less than a second. After that, we sat at 198 kW for about two minutes. Part of the issue is that we arrived with a 3 percent state of charge, and, to prevent running out of juice, our battery was not preconditioned before our arrival. If the battery isn’t at such a low level, it will warm itself when a Supercharger is entered as a destination in the onboard navigation system to enable immediate maximum charge rates.
As shown in the accompanying graph, the 250-kW charger only beats the lesser one in the range between about 10 percent and 50 percent state of charge, where all of the two-minute gain we saw over the entire charge was realized. Above that, the two closely follow the same path as the power necessarily tapers off as the battery level increases.
Tesla’s 250-kW Superchargers started rolling out about a year ago, but are still relatively rare. As of this writing, the majority of Superchargers supply up to 150 kW of power, such as the one just outside Battle Creek, Michigan, that we used for comparison. There, the conditions were nearly identical, as we arrived with 3 percent battery and without preconditioning. At the 150-kW charger, we saw a peak of 138 kW for a consistent five or so minutes.
Although the total energy expended was 1.1-kWh more at the V3 Supercharger, about 40 percent of that difference was due to more energy being wasted at the higher-output station. The overall charge time at the 250-kW Supercharger was one hour and six minutes, saving us two minutes over the 150-kW charger, which filled our battery from three to 100 percent in one hour and eight minutes.