Tesla Supercharger: Everything you need to know. Written by Daniel and read to you by Cassidy. Subscribe to Electric Vehicle News Bitesize Podcast for FREE to hear more!
Tesla Supercharger Electric Vehicle charging network, one of the UK’s market leading and most comprehensive Electric Vehicle charging network, is the best around.
The latest news is that Tesla is introducing a flexible pricing model for the UK Supercharger network – offering off-peak charging at 54p per kWh for most of the day. Between 4pm and 8pm, the price increases to 67p per kWh.
The company commits to periodically adjusting these prices as energy costs change. Pricing is standardized for owners of Tesla and other brands using the network.
The specialist electric vehicle brand has now installed 1,000 superchargers at more than 100 locations across the UK and Ireland. Eight years after the first Tesla Supercharger ‘stall’ entered service at London’s Royal Victoria Docks in 2014, the 1000th example was installed in 2022 at the London Sidcup Supercharger location at Ruxley Manor near the A20.
Tesla’s bespoke Electric Vehicle charging network spans the UK mainland – as well as Europe and beyond – and is widely regarded as one of the best public charging solutions available. In 2022, 177 charging stations were added, some of which are located at 17 brand new Supercharger locations.
Previously reserved only for Tesla drivers, some Superchargers are already open for any Electric Vehicle owner to try out.
In May 2022, the UK made its first attempt to allow third-party EVs to use the company’s Supercharger network. Previously, owners of other brands of electric vehicles were unable to connect to the US company’s Superchargers, meaning drivers of Model S, Model 3, Model X or Model Y could only benefit.
Elon Musk announced the trial in 2021 and launched it first in the Netherlands — but Tesla has since added Spain, Belgium, Sweden, Austria and the UK.
The company said it was closely monitoring congestion at each location after promising Tesla drivers that the additional stations would only welcome other EVs if capacity is available.
Non-Tesla owners can start charging at select locations by downloading the Tesla app; initially, they are charged more than Tesla owners, paying around 77p per kWh at the time of writing (prices vary by location ), while Tesla drivers enjoy a standard tariff of 67p per kWh – but this reverses in winter 2022/23 as Tesla standardizes the tariff for all customers.
According to the company, the fee cost can be reduced with a membership which costs £10.99 per month in the UK.
Only 15 Tesla Superchargers participated in the UK trial initially. According to the company, there are 158 Superchargers in total, occupying about one of the four locations. Tesla said: We will eventually welcome Tesla and non-Tesla drivers to use every Supercharger station in the world.
Back in 2020, Tesla installed its 500th UK Supercharger on the A12 outside Colchester. By 2021, that number had grown to 624 chargers at 73 locations. At the end of 2022, there were more than 1,000 Supercharger stalls in more than 100 locations.
Tesla chargers are already ubiquitous in forecourts and car parks across the UK, and the company says there are now more than 30,000 charging points and more than 3,000 charging stations around the world. The Supercharger network is one of the main reasons why Tesla’s electric vehicles have been so viable, even for early adopters. It runs smoothly and doesn’t suffer from the reliability issues that some other networks are notorious for.
You’ve probably seen the futuristic rows of white motorway service stalls dotted around the UK’s main road network. Owners can see the locations of charging stations on their sat-nav, and it can also show which chargers are in use and which are not. As energy prices soar, the cost of charging electric vehicles continues to rise, but Tesla has at least shown how to make charging as convenient as possible.
The V3 Supercharging uses the same principle as Tesla’s previous Superchargers, but adds a 1MW power cabinet. That equates to a peak charge rate of 250kW per car, and Tesla says the Long Range Model 3 could theoretically charge 75 miles in just five minutes.
In addition, V3 charging also means that power is not shared – when two Teslas are charging together, the charging speed will not be hindered. Convenient during peak hours.
The UK’s first V3 Supercharger was installed in London’s Royal Parks in 2019, using CCS cables that have become standard on other high-speed charging networks. They plug directly into Model 3 and Model Y, while Model S and Model X come with adapters. As such, the latter pair will only be able to enjoy a maximum charging rate of around 145kW.
In addition to infrastructure upgrades with V3, Tesla also introduced an over-the-air update called On-Route Battery Warm-up. Batteries are essentially portable chemistries, and their efficiency is sensitive to heat.
Tesla’s new warm-up feature brings the battery to the ideal charging temperature on the way to the charger, meaning that when the car is connected to the supercharger, energy transfer is as efficient as possible from the start, result? Charging time is reduced.
In 2019, Tesla announced that its V2 supercharger would be upgraded, unlocking a charging speed of up to 145kW.
Over the years, this has become a minefield. All Tesla EVs used to come with free supercharging, but lately the company has been phasing out that offer…and then reintroducing it at certain times to attract new customers. Our advice is to take a look before you buy, especially when it comes to pre-owned models.
Charging costs vary, especially in the current environment of volatile energy prices. Running a Tesla Model S continuously in 2018, £294 of electricity was used for a range of 5,600 miles, equivalent to just 5p per mile. It’s unbeatable value, and the 85D’s (since discontinued) 200 miles of usable range meant you could easily take it on long cross-country trips – as long as you accounted for the charging time and the occasional detour required to get it working along the way.
However, by September 2022, there is growing evidence that Electric Vehicle charging costs were catching up to petrol and diesel on some public charging networks. So you might have to do some careful calculations to see if a target price of 67p per kWh for Tesla drivers and 77p per kWh for non-Tesla drivers makes economic sense. But EVs are still the cheapest option if you can charge them at home and get special electricity rates to charge them.
Tesla has launched a trip planner that can help you plan any route in an electric car. And because the tool is Tesla-specific, it carefully calculates your route based on your car’s mileage.
This task only gets easier with each new Supercharger station that comes online, and the Model S’s 405 miles of range greatly reduces the need to make stops along the way. But beware: charging is not as easy as it should be in much of the UK’s rural areas.
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