By on March 7, 2019

Tesla Model 3, Image: Tesla

Tesla, the upstart electric automaker who reminds your author of that person you knew in high school who existed in a perpetual cloud of drama, wants Tesla owners to juice up their cars in a hurry. Recharging times are one factor behind the slow adoption of EVs in North America (cost, range, and recharging availability being the others), so the automaker plans to ensure their time at the Supercharger station doesn’t go overlong.

Expect 75 miles in 5 minutes, Tesla claims.

The automaker’s announcement came last night, in advance of a CNBC report on the state of Tesla’s business (more on that in a bit, but one takeaway is that the company still doesn’t know where it will produce the already hyped Model Y).

Back to Supercharging. Up till now, customers could expect a 120kW charge rate at the company’s fill-up stations, but the V3 Supercharging in the process of being rolled out amps up the rate to 250kW. For the owner of a Model 3 Long Range, this means a 75-mile top-up in a scant five minutes — basically, just enough time to take a leak in the surrounding shrubbery and have a smoke.

A full top-up would be a 15-minute proposition, Tesla claims, and the flow of electrons won’t be stemmed by the presence of another Tesla at the neighboring plug. Currently, a pilot station is in operation in the San Francisco Bay area, available to select customers. Regular Tesla drivers will gain the capability in the second quarter of the year, thanks to an an over-the-air firmware update.

Another 250kW station starts construction in April, and more should come online after the midway point of 2019.

To maximize the speed of the recharge, the automaker will also roll out On-Route Battery Warmup, which heats the vehicle’s battery to an optimum temperature before the driver arrives at a Supercharger station. Charge times could improve by 25 percent via this update alone, Tesla claims.

As for Tesla itself, current and former employees tell CNBC that the last week’s decision to cull most of its stores and go to an online-only sales model caused headcount to shrink 8 percent. Many sales staff are still in the dark about whether their jobs have a future, the sources claimed.

With the official unveiling of the company’s Model Y crossover only a week away, sources say Tesla execs haven’t decided where the model can be built.

From CNBC:

 Employees say Tesla executives, including president of automotive Jerome Guillen, are wavering between two options for Model Y production. They are trying to decide whether Tesla should allocate space in the Gigafactory, the company’s massive battery plant outside of Reno, or combine the Model S and Model X body lines at its car plant in Fremont, California to make room to build the crossover SUVs.

Supposedly, volume production of the Model Y (first teased in June, 2017) will occur before the end of next year, likely at Tesla’s Nevada Gigafactory. This tidbit is from the company’s last earnings report.

Two sources who work for Tesla vendors claim they didn’t hear from the automaker about Model Y collaboration until after CEO Elon Musk’s Sunday announcement, lending the impression that the model’s manufacturing process is barely an afterthought at this point.

The Gigafactory, employees claim, in not currently set up to handle vehicle assembly, and probably lacks the necessary room.

Early reservation holders had best take any delivery date with a grain of salt.

[Image: Tesla]

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37 Comments on “As It Sheds Employees, Tesla Promises a Faster Charge...”


  • avatar
    mor2bz

    Instead of cutting employees, or sending them home midsift, cut X,Y, and the I am sure forthcoming Z, models, and concentrate on the 3, which was supposed to be your objective all along.

    Get the 3 right or there will be no
    Teslas, period.

    The 3 is still PLENTY expensive for most folks. It will denote luxury, function, and prestige IF IT IS DONE RIGHT.

    Now, back to my 29 cent bowl of Fruitloops.

    • 0 avatar
      jatz

      But the 3 is just a crampy little penalty box.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        @jatz; Even the base is a fast and smooth rear-wheel-drive sedan. It’s by no stretch of the imagination even close to being a penalty box. More gratuitous Tesla bashing.

      • 0 avatar
        beken

        @jatz: I’ll bet you’ve not actually been in and driven one yet, have you?
        I have a well enough heeled friend who actually went out and got one. Dual motor with extended battery. He let me drive it and I was greatly impressed. Though it was twice as expensive as the most expensive car that I have, I still came away impressed. The future looks good.

        • 0 avatar
          jatz

          Attempting to include a url as proof kills my comments but the Model 3’s interior dimensions are very close to identical with the Kia Forte’s.

          The Kia Forte is a crampy little penalty box and my right temple still remembers the clonk that proved it.

    • 0 avatar

      What you are suggesting is what Detroit automakers do to solve problems killing brands and cars left and right. Successful companies do exactly opposite.

      • 0 avatar
        mor2bz

        ‘;Detroit was not successful because they did not kill brands off soon enough. Chevy , Olds, Pontiac, Buick all the same crappy cars.

        “successful” companies, take note.

  • avatar
    65corvair

    I find it hard to believe that the majority of people are willing to buy something as expensive as a car without seeing it or taking it for a test drive. I wouldn’t.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      I wouldn’t, either, mainly due to my height (6’6″), and questions about ergonomics.

      Then, after driving the Model 3, I got a different EV.

      If the 3 had regular gauge and door handles, I would have liked it much more.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      Carvana is even worse – buying a *used* car without ever having seen or driven it? No. Sure, they have a 7-day return policy, but what kind of hassle is that? Can you put your old car in “escrow”, in case you want it back?

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    …reaching out to dial “Snark” dial down below 11…

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    Tesla seems to be thrashing around like someone who is in the process of drowning.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    On a certain level, this might make sense – when they were in “production hell,” they tossed a lot of hands at the production line to just crank out as many as they could, cost be damned. Presumably they’ve worked out the kinks in the production line now.

    Or maybe they’re getting desperate. Hard to tell with these guys.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    The only reason to build the Model Y in the Gigafactory is to eliminate the cost of transporting battery packs. But they’ll spend money transporting everything else (including many parts common to the Model 3), so it could be a wash.

    I’d prefer hearing that the Y will be built in another abandoned car factory, since neither Fremont nor Sparks seem like good options.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    Call me when it gets to ten minutes for 300 city miles, because it takes that long or less to fill up my vehicles, for 300 around town miles.

  • avatar
    maxxcool7421

    There was ALWAYS going to the a loss of headcount. There was extra heads for the ramp up, the temp ‘oh shit production line’ and the ‘well these states and regions don’t sell well’ factors.

    So i am not surprised one bit.

  • avatar
    incautious

    rearranging the deck chairs.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Build the model Ys on the Fremont tent line as a start.

    Then phase them in to the indoor factory line.

    Somebody said Y has 76% commonality with 3.

    China 3 factory said to be starting production in May, supplement any lost Fremont 3 production from there.

    GM Lordstown used to build Chevy B body (full frame) and Firebird (unibody with front subframe) on the same line at high volume … 50 years ago!

  • avatar
    SPPPP

    Wow, 250 kW of power in the hands of average consumers? Sounds cheap and safe.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      It’s ~750 watts per horsepower (~187HP), and the electricity is less likely to to be released all at once that gasoline.

      If you’re concerned about charging, it’s not like flipping a breaker. The charger sets up a serial data connection with the car and they negotiate a safe power level before turning on the big power. In other words, you need a working computer connection working between the charger and the car while the big power is turned on. This whole system is far more likely to fail-Safe than fail-hot.

      Yes, us EV hippies thought of this. We also know that a large fraction of the baseload electricity comes from coal and nuclear plants and ran the numbers on that — and we liked the results. Yes, we thought of that. It’s all in the EV hippy FAQ

      • 0 avatar
        SPPPP

        Yes, gasoline has its flaws too. Just thinking about how things will shake out if and when EVs hit mass adoption. Two things gasoline has going for it in safety terms are that you can see it and you can smell it. Not so with electricity. I get the sense that people are in general much less attentive than they should be when working with electricity. At 300V and nearly 800 amps, there are some dangers present that people may not be used to.

        I guess Tesla’s superchargers are probably on the safer end of the scale. If and when there are off-brand chargers at every corner gas station, that’s when things may get dicey.

      • 0 avatar
        Alex Mackinnon

        That’s 335 HP actually. You did the conversion backwards.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    250kW charging is pretty impressive. Makes the idea of a road trip much more palatable.

  • avatar
    TimK

    That fast charging claim seems to be a stretch. Even at 440 V, a 250kW circuit requires two copper cables with conductors about an inch in diameter. Throw on an outdoor-rugged insulation jacket and the requisite safety hardware and the whole thing starts to resemble the hose and nozzle on an airport fuel tanker.

    • 0 avatar
      Yurpean

      So the Porsche 800kW chargers must be a yard in diameter, huh?

      Yet they look quite skinny to me. Perhaps you aren’t that smart.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      The charging cable is liquid cooled. I don’t know how the car side is configured, though.

      • 0 avatar
        EGSE

        Yep. I TIG weld as a hobby. Liquid-cooled cables are used for TIG welding at higher amperages; those cables go to the hand-held torch which is also cooled by the same fluid. TIG requires fine motor control to achieve the precision that the process is noted for; to do this the cabling cannot be heavy, bulky or cumbersome. It’s a mature and inexpensive method that’s easy to implement at commercial and higher-end consumer levels.

        Considering those cables survive use in an industrial environment, making them rugged enough is a non-issue.

        What goes on in the car could be a challenge. The NEC specifies a 700 circular-mil conductor for 520 amps at +90 deg. C. For short-term use it probably can be somewhat de-rated.

    • 0 avatar
      chaparral

      The faster the charging time, the lower the duty cycle for the same amount of energy delivered.

      If these are used to use improve charging station throughput, Tesla can’t have their cake and eat it too, but they will get ahead.

  • avatar
    sgeffe

    This production logistics decision is certainly in-tents!

  • avatar
    arthurk45

    More BS from Musk. These announcememnts are misleading those unfamiliar with EV technology. The newest version of the Supercharger is 1) not twice as fast for all TEsla vehicles. 2) is still a lot slower than the CCS chargers used by 98% of the automakers which operate at 350KW and have for months and will shortly go to 500KW, as opposed to the new V3 Supercharger’s 250KW. The Porsche Taycan was the first to demo charging more than three times as fast as the 120KW Superchargers but any automaker is free to use Porsche’s (and VW group’s) protocol algorithm without charge.
    Obviously all CCS EVs will upgrade to 350KW. Every IONITY and Electrify America CCS charger will have the 350KW capability, here and across Europe.


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