Tesla says that its free electricity had no impact on the system’s performance. For example, the company’s “Supercharger” stations could charge a Tesla even “100%, when electricity costs nothing at all outside those Superchargers.”
Tesla says these Tesla “Superchargers” had just “about 1,200 kW worth — just over 2 days’ worth of energy available.”
On the next page, Tesla details the power generated by the superchargers, using a graph that shows that more energy is used to charge an EV than a gas-powered car.
To figure out why we’d need something as expensive as a battery pack, Tesla explained why its cars’ batteries do work. This is where it gets really interesting — as Tesla said that its cars’ “battery is charged by Tesla’s Superchargers.”
If Tesla is saying that its EVs use battery packs, then why couldn’t its cars charge at the same rate with a battery pack as you’d find with a car’s batteries?
Tesla isn’t exactly sure whether it is or isn’t right.
Here’s Tesla’s blog post on the subject. The blog post does not really explain what Tesla says it is. Perhaps the battery that powers its Tesla cars, or just the Supercharger system, is a separate battery pack. So what Tesla is trying to say is that the same charge rate, that is, the same energy used to do it in the Superchargers, can be used for a Supercharger charge as it would be for a gas-powered car as well.
If it is, then we have two different versions of the same story — a version that can use battery packs and a version that can use hydrogen fuel cells.
This is perhaps where Tesla’s claim of being “comparable” with a gas car gets even more fascinating. We know from the Model S that the Tesla’s drivetrain is very different from regular vehicles; in fact the company’s website says that the powertrain is nearly twice as powerful as that of a regular car. In other words, we know that Tesla’s energy sources include hydrogen-powered power (fuel cells) as well as batteries.
We also know that Tesla cars are capable of driving hundreds of miles on a single charge; we have no reason to doubt that these cars can also go hundreds of miles on a single charge. If any one of these claims about the powertrain is correct — Tesla may have provided a powertrain that
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