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Tesla will use solar panels and batteries at Supercharger stations to help supply this extra electricity

Tesla is looking to turn the electric vehicle (EV) industry upside down once again with a new system that could fully charge a Tesla vehicle in just five minutes. 

Tesla Chief Technology Officer JB Straubel recently said that the automaker is working on a charging system that would get drivers out of the Supercharger stations and back on the road with a full charge in just 5 minutes.

“It’s not going to happen in a year from now. It’s going to be hard. But I think we can get down to five to 10 minutes,” Straubel said.

Tesla plans to do this by making sure all parts of the charging process are communicating with one another so that the battery isn't negatively affected by such fast charging speeds. A battery can easily overheat at these speeds, but Tesla's Superchargers work differently from traditional charging methods.

Traditional charging consists of on-board chargers that take AC power from the wall socket and convert it to DC. From there, it can regulate the power given to the battery. 

The Superchargers, on the other hand, skips the use of the onboard charger and converts AC to DC outside the vehicle. The outside charger keeps an eye on battery voltage and temperature and changes rates of charging as needed to keep the battery safe. But in order for the outside charger to monitor these stats, it must communicate with other parts of the vehicle. 

Aside from potential battery issues, charging more quickly can take a toll on the grid and utilities. Tesla's current Superchargers deliver 120 kilowatts of electricity while most other charging systems -- such as General Motors' -- offers a maximum of 100 kilowatts. It's difficult to draw larger amounts of power from the grid without seeing costs rise significantly. 

Tesla plans to fix this by giving its Supercharger stations solar panels and batteries. The solar power would be stored in batteries and lessen the amount of electricity drawn from the grid. Also, the system could help utilities monitor major changes in the grid, and Tesla could charge them for this service -- hence keeping costs down. 

Other automakers have employed solar power for their EVs, too. For instance, General Motors (GM) announced a solar charging canopy called the Tracking Solar Tree, which moves with the sun and helps to charge GM's EVs. It's kept in Michigan, and is able to increase renewable energy production by about 25 percent due to its movable parts. In addition, the tree will produce up to 30,000-kilowatt hours per year and generate enough solar energy to charge six EVs daily.

Deploying charging tech that will allow drivers to charge their vehicles as quickly as it takes to fill up a tank of gas could significantly help push the adoption of Tesla EVs. Convenience and cost are two huge selling points, and it looks like Tesla has tackled both in this case. 

By the time Tesla rolls out the affordable version of the Model S, which is reportedly in the works, more people may consider buying the price-friendly vehicles and using its convenient tech. 

Tesla's Supercharger stations can charge a Model S battery halfway in just 20 minutes today. 

Just last month, Tesla unveiled a convenient alternative to waiting for a Model S to charge -- battery swapping. The idea behind battery swapping is to easily open the car chassis to pull the battery out and replace it with a fully charged one. This saves the driver from having to wait for their battery to charge before traveling.

Tesla is doing everything it can to get Model S' into the hands of customers, too, as it recently ramped up production to over 400 Model S' built per week.

Source: Technology Review

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charge time relating to battery life
By talikarni on 7/17/2013 4:43:44 PM , Rating: 2
So far all mainstream rechargeable battery types fall under this "problem":

slow recharge = long battery life
fast recharge = short battery life

I can see from a business perspective to get fast recharge system going so people need to replace the $5,000-$10,000 battery every few years making the company more money... but after that gets out, people will go back to their overnight slow chargers and get the expected 5-10 years out of their battery instead of the reduced 2-6 years.

Anyone can do this test on a small scale with 2 batteries of any kind, 2 related battery chargers. The ones constantly recharged quickly have 30-60% of the life span of the ones consistently charged slowly. This goes for lead acid, NiCd, NiMH, Li-ion and so on.

By jRaskell on 7/17/2013 5:42:02 PM , Rating: 2
Considering most EV manufacturers (including Tesla) have 8-10 year warranties on their batteries (since battery life is such a huge spotlight issue for EVs anyways), creating battery charging systems that reduces the life of the batteries to 2-6 years would actually be quite bad for business.

RE: charge time relating to battery life
By web2dot0 on 7/18/2013 9:18:00 AM , Rating: 3
Except these are not regular batteries using "regular chargers".
That's why they have top engineers working for them, not people like you ;-D
If it took you 5mins to figure this out, wouldn't you think that they know what you know ... and more?

Before you nay say, why don't we get the full disclosure first before we proclaim that this technology is a no go.

RE: charge time relating to battery life
By talikarni on 7/23/2013 1:07:43 PM , Rating: 2
This is a known issue with all current mainstream battery types... so unless they switch it over to a battery type that is not affected by this, they are indeed shooting themselves in the foot.
On the other hand, if they do not expect to be around another 5 years, why not produce something like this using taxpayer money and go the way of Solyndra and so many others. Take as much money as you can to line the pockets of the owners and go belly up in a few years anyways. Or possibly get a bailout from King Obama to put even more money in your pockets, only to go under a few years after that. This is the system we are now a part of since liberals took over Congress in 2007, why do you think this nations debt has exploded like it has in so few years?

By spaced_ on 7/24/2013 5:52:11 AM , Rating: 2
This is a known issue with all current mainstream battery types... so unless they switch it over to a battery type that is not affected by this

Perhaps you shouldn't assume Tesla just throw in 'mainstream' batteries and chargers into their cars. There's a reason their EVs have so much more range than any other EV on the market.

On the other hand, if they do not expect to be around another 5 years, why not produce something like this using taxpayer money and go the way of Solyndra and so many others

Perhaps you should note that Tesla has paid back their government loan in full - 9 years early - and they're running profitable as of last quarter.

Perhaps the problems with America's economy have nothing to do with Tesla.

Perhaps you should stop posting garbage on the internet.

"You can bet that Sony built a long-term business plan about being successful in Japan and that business plan is crumbling." -- Peter Moore, 24 hours before his Microsoft resignation

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