The topic of today’s fast charging analysis is the top-of-the-line Tesla Model S Plaid. We will take a look at the charging results at V3 Tesla Supercharging stations (250 kW) for a total of three cars.
The first Tesla Model S Plaid (presented above) is the one tested in October by our very own Kyle Conner for Out of Spec Reviews. We will focus solely on this one in the first part of the article.
In the second part, we will compare the numbers with a Model S Plaid test, conducted also in October, by our very own Tom Moloughney (he reported the results here), as well as with an initial MotorTrend‘ test from June.
In other words – three different cars, three different V3 Superchargers, three different users and weather conditions. Let’s crunch some numbers and see the outcome.
Kyle’s test was from 0-100%, but we were able to collect data only from about 2% SOC. Charging started at a relatively high 150 kW level and after a while quickly increased to 249 kW around 8% SOC.
We don’t know why it remained for a while at 150 kW – maybe the battery required an additional temperature increase (despite it being preconditioned before the session).
The Tesla Model S Plaid can charge at V3 Superchargers at a maximum power of 250 kW. In the case of Kyle’s test, it was mostly at 249 kW peak (250 kW number was blinking from time to time as well).
The maximum output was available between about 8% SOC and 33% SOC (25 percentage points or 6 minutes).
Then, the charging output decreases smoothly, below 148 kW at 50% SOC and below 68 kW at 80% SOC. Above 95% SOC it’s less than 28 kW and at around 99-100% it slows to a single-digit kW.
Interesting is that the car remains at 100% SOC – for more than 15 minutes – charging (or maybe balancing the cells) at a few kW (we guess that most of the power is for auxiliary purposes – car electronics and battery temperature management).
The charging curve suggests that the best practice is to arrive at low SOC, when the power level is the highest and for sure do not waste time at a high SOC if it’s not necessary to reach the destination/another charging point.
The total energy dispensed was 97 kWh, according to the car display.
Speaking about the time, charging from 20% to 80% SOC took about 25.5 minutes. 10-80% SOC took a little bit over 28 minutes. Those are very good numbers.
The move from 80% to 90% required an additional 10 minutes for a total of 38 minutes (10-90% SOC).
The entire session from 0-100% took 1 hour and 23 minutes, however the 100% SOC number was reached in 1 hour and 5 minutes. The additional time at 100% SOC is probably the final cell balancing.
The chart below is only for illustrative purposes:
The average power in the very important range from 20% to 80% SOC is 137 kW, which is 55% of the peak value. Between 10% and 90% the average would be 123 kW.
The peak C-rate* – charging power in relation to the total battery capacity of 100 kWh (rough estimation) – is about 2.5C. It’s one of the highest in the industry (the tops are around 3.0C) and maintained for a substantial part of the session: 25 percentage points between 8% and 33% SOC.
The average C-rate when charging from 20% to 80% SOC is 1.37C.
*C-rate tells us how the charging power relates to the battery pack capacity. For example: 1C is 1-hour charging power (current), when the power value in kW is equal to the battery pack capacity in kWh. 2C would be enough to recharge in half an hour.
The net battery capacity of 95 kWh (rough estimation) stands for about 95% of the total battery capacity.
The rate of range replenishing depends on the energy consumption and the energy consumption depends on the use case.
In this article we will use Tesla Model S Plaid range numbers for the 21″ wheel version of the car (the 19″ wheel version has a higher range).
Taking into consideration the WLTP range of 628 km (390 miles) and available battery capacity of 95 kWh, we can assume energy consumption of 151 Wh/km (243 Wh/mile).
The effective average speed of range replenishing when charging from 20% to 80% SOC would be 15.1 km/minute (9.4 miles/minute).
- EPA Combined range
Taking into consideration the EPA Combined range of 348 miles (560 km) and available battery capacity of 95 kWh, we can assume energy consumption of 273 Wh/mile (170 Wh/km).
The effective average speed of range replenishing when charging from 20% to 80% SOC would be 8.4 miles/minute (13.4 km/minute).
- EPA Highway range
Taking into consideration the EPA Highway range of 341 miles (549 km) and available battery capacity of 95 kWh, we can assume energy consumption of 279 Wh/mile (173 Wh/km).
The effective average speed of range replenishing when charging from 20% to 80% SOC would be 8.2 miles/minute (13.2 km/minute).
- IEVs 70 mph range test
Taking into consideration the IEVs 70 mph range test result of 300 miles (483 km) and available battery capacity of 95 kWh, we can assume energy consumption of 317 Wh/mile (197 Wh/km).
The effective average speed of range replenishing when charging from 20% to 80% SOC would be 7.2 miles/minute (11.6 km/minute).
Tesla says that the car should be able to replenish 187 miles (301 km) in 15 minutes – 12.5 miles (20 km) per minute. Assuming the EPA Combined range, Kyle’s test was below that number, but it would be probably easily achievable with 19″ wheels (higher range) or Long Range version. Anyway, assuming the IEVs 70 mph range result, it would be substantially lower (150 miles or so in 15 minutes).
Here is our ultimate charging card for the Tesla Model S Plaid 21″ (2021) that shows an estimated time of charging to add a certain number of SOC percent points, average charging power, added energy and added range for listed SOC ranges. Click here to enlarge the image.
The matrix above, might be helpful from the user perspective, but be aware that it’s just an estimate from a particular test, with measure and calculation uncertainty probably above 5%. On top of that comes variation for individual case – car (version, age/battery state-of-health), charger, ambient and battery temperature, software version and more (including cabin heating/cooling during charging). Another thing is that the charging curve might shift when charging starts at a lower/higher SOC.
Comparisons with other EVs
Now it’s time to compare all three Tesla Model S Plaid Supercharging tests, conducted in the U.S.
- Kyle Conner’s test for Out of Spec Reviews (October 2021)
- Tom Moloughney’s test (October 2021)
The test was conducted after the InsideEVs’ 70 mph range test with a fully depleted battery;
at 80% SOC, the session was interrupted, and required a quick re-connection (see the bump on the black line)
- MotorTrend‘s test (June 2021)
Three different cars, three different Supercharging stations, three different users, three different days and conditions, as well as three slightly different starting points.
Important note: we have adjusted MotorTrend‘s test results to a new rough estimation of net/total battery capacity and WLTP range results for the 21″ Plaid version.
The charging curves of all three cars are surprisingly similar to each other. The main difference is the initial part, but it’s mostly related to a different starting point and battery temperature, we assume. Anyway, once the charging hits its peak value of 250 kW or so, things are very similar.
Tom’s session is the best we have seen so far – as it surges up quicker than in other cases and remains at flat 250 kW for the longest period (between 6% to 33% SOC, so for about 26 percentage points or over 6 minutes). That’s slightly better than in the case of Kyle’s test, but from the perspective of an average user, it’s the same result – most likely, related to the initial temperature of preconditioned car and the cooling capabilities of the pack.
The total energy dispensed was 97 kWh in both – Tom’s and Kyle’s tests, according to the car display. That includes replenished energy and losses, auxiliary loads and battery cooling.
The average power in the 20-80% SOC window is as high as 139 kW, which is a really good number. We don’t know why it’s substantially higher than in the MotorTrend‘s test. There are a lot of factors, including a potential software tweak.
|DC Fast Charging Comparison by InsideEVs|
|2021 Tesla Model S Plaid 21″ (V3 SC)
[Out of Spec Reviews]
|249 kW||137 kW||2.5|
|2021 Tesla Model S Plaid 21″ (V3 SC)