First high-speed V3 Tesla Supercharging arrives in UK

Published: 20 December 2019

► V3 Supercharging arrives in London
► First high-speed 250kW charger in UK
► Could speed up charging by 50%

The first new V3 Tesla Supercharging bays have arrived in the UK, bringing ultra-fast Tesla charging at up to 250kW for the first time outside of North America.

It's installed at Tesla's Park Royal service centre in London, marking the 500th Supercharger station in Europe. That's an impressive milestone - and those stations have a combined total of 4700 individual connections.

You've got to envy Tesla's native charging infrastructure - one of the big drivers for the brand's popularity in the UK, and indeed globally.

So what is Tesla V3 Supercharging?

V3 Supercharging uses the same principle as Tesla’s current Superchargers, but adds a 1MW power cabinet to the equation. That means 250kW peak charging rates per car, with Tesla saying a Long Range Model 3 can theoretically top up 75 miles of range in just five minutes.

The first Tesla Supercharger V3 is at the Park Royal service centre

What’s more, V3 charging also means no shared power – so charging speed won’t be hindered when two Teslas charge up together. Handy for those peak busy hours.

According to Tesla at the time of global launch, V3 Superchargers would arrive in the UK and Asia in Q4 2019, following a US launch in Q2 and Q3 this year. With the addition of the Park Royal site in London (above), they've hit that timetable remarkably accurately for once.

Why the big Teslas now have free Supercharging for life

All Tesla Model S and Model X electric cars will now come with free Supercharging for life, in the latest offer to stimulate demand. At first, Supercharging was free for all, then it restricted users to 400kWh each year before charging users from November 2018. Current owners will still have to pay as they go.

The news was announced on Twitter in autumn 2019:

Tesla Superchargers are slowly becoming a common sight in service stations and car parks across the UK, and according to the EV maker there are currently more than 12,800 of the charging points worldwide. They're one of the reasons that Tesla electric car ownership has been so viable, even for the early adopters. The company claims that owners of its cars have now driven more than 10 billion all-electric miles since the Model S launched way back in 2013.

Further electric car charging reading 

Tesla Supercharger

You'll probably have seen the banks of futuristic-looking, white Tesla Superchargers at motorway service stations dotted around the UK's main trunk road network. Owners can see where the stations are on their sat-nav, which even indicates which chargers are in use and which are free.

What else is new?

Alongside the infrastructure upgrades with V3, Tesla is also rolling out an OTA update called On-Route Battery Warm-up. Batteries are essentially portable chemical reactions, and their efficiency is sensitive to heat, you see.

Tesla’s new warm-up feature gets the cells at the exact temperature for charging on the way to the charger, and that means when the car is connected the Supercharger, power transfer is as efficient as possible – right from the start. The result? More miles for your time stationary.

Tesla Supercharger

And one more thing, charge rates for the current V2 Superchargers should also be climbing to 145kW in the near future. Stay tuned for more on this development.

How much does Supercharging cost?

It's a bit of a minefield over who pays for Suprcharging, and which models get it for free. All Tesla EVs used to come with free Supercharging, but for the past few years the company has been phasing that out - and then offering tactical sales incentives bundling it in. Check before you buy, is our advice.

Still, you’ll find Supercharging is still considerably cheaper than using petrol. Just like running EVs compared to their ICE counterparts. When running a Tesla Model S long-termer, CAR consumed £294 of power over 5600 miles, the equivalent of just 5p a mile. That's cracking value and the 85D's 200-mile usable range meant we could easily take it on long trips to the other end of the country – so long as we factored in detour time for finding working charging points en route. Normally that's quite easy, but there are still large swathes of rural Britain where charging up is not as easy as it should be.

How to plan a trip with Tesla Superchargers

Tesla has launched a journey planner which helps you map out any route with your EV. And because the tool is specific to Tesla, it’s able to carefully calculate your route based on the range of your car. It’ll also favour Tesla’s own speedier Supercharger network, too. You can try the tool out here.

By Curtis Moldrich

CAR's online editor and racing-sim enthusiast

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