Tesla Supercharger site in Rocklin, California, before expansion [photo: George Parrott]
Tesla CEO Elon Musk is tweeting again, this time about expanding and potentially upgrading the company’s Supercharger network.
On Monday, Musk tweeted that the company will start deploying “much faster” Version 3 Superchargers early next year.
The news comes on the heels of Tesla’s announcement that it will ship Model 3s to Europe and Australia with new CCS Combo charge ports in place of the original proprietary charge port in Models S, X, and 3 sold in the U.S.
Supercharger V3, which starts rolling out early next year, will also charge much faster
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 19, 2018
It’s not clear whether such a transition could be underway in the U.S. as well, though U.S. CCS Combo chargers use a different plug design than those in Europe.
Tesla will also offer CHAdeMO adapters for the Model 3 in Europe to allow Tesla drivers to connect to faster chargers being installed by other networks.
Perhaps bigger news from Musk’s tweet are the words “much faster.”
Musk has previously said that the new Version 3 Superchargers will have 350 kw of power like those being installed by Ionity and others in Europe as well as Electrify America, EVgo and others in the U.S. He also said the new Superchargers will include solar power, which would likely mean they would also have battery backups.
He didn’t add anything to those details with the latest announcements. Tesla’s signature Superchargers have been a competitive advantage for the automaker. They are nominally capable of charging at 145 kilowatts, though individual cars only charge at 120 kw, or about 200 miles in half an hour.
New DC fast chargers being installed in Europe (and a few in the U.S.) can charge at much faster rates, replenishing up to 240 miles in less than 10 minutes for cars that can receive such high power. Those chargers use CHAdeMO or CCS Combo charge cords unlike existing Superchargers which have only Tesla’s proprietary cord.
Musk’s tweets indicate that the company plans to address the competitive challenge from European luxury automakers such as Audi and Mercedes-Benz which are behind the push for even faster chargers.
Along with the faster Superchargers, Musk announced that Tesla will double the number of Supercharging stations around the world by the end of next year so that at least 90 percent of the population in the U.S., Europe, China and other places where Tesla sells cars can reach a Supercharger within the battery range of their homes.
It’s likely to take years before other networks reach that state—no matter how fast their DC fast chargers are.