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USA: Tesla hints solar powered electric car charging, through proprietary charging connector

The Tesla Model S/X will have a proprietary charging connector with capabilities well beyond the standard charging connectors used today, but by going it alone could create problems down the road.

At Wednesday’s annual shareholders meeting for Tesla Motors, amid talk of Tesla’s business roadmap, Elon Musk dropped some strong hints about the Tesla proprietary supercharger, as well as possible integration with solar panels. While there is a battle raging among automakers over the electric car fast charging standards, Tesla has taken a go-it-alone-approach with a proprietary charging connector that’s left everyone puzzled, but which Musk promised we’d understand once the full system was revealed later this month.

Because the Model S and Model X are sold with massive battery packs, up to 85 kilowatt-hours in capacity, Tesla had to design in a much higher charge rate than is used on other electric cars. For example most of the charging infrastructure being installed supports a 30 amp charge rate, and the highest charge rate on competing electric cars is 6.6 kilowatts. Recharging an 85 kilowatt-hour battery pack at 6.6 kilowatts would take over 12 hours. Rather than having the Model S labeled as “taking forever to recharge”, it was designed with a higher charging rate, supporting a 10 kilowatt or optionally a 20 kilowatt charge rate, corresponding to 31 miles and 62 miles of driving range per hour of charging. Additionally the Model S supports an extremely fast charging rate, that will completely recharge the Model S with a full 300 miles of driving range in an hour. By contrast the CHADEMO standard supported by the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i-MiEV supports only about 120 miles of driving range per hour of fast charging.


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