Tesla Keeps Maverick Role in Electric Car Revolution


Tesla has been known as a non-conformist in its activities in the electric car market. First was its Roadster, a high end all electric car now, it is on the final stages of its sedan, the Model S. It has now decided to keep its own charging system unique away from the standards now being made in the car revolution.

Elon Musk, the CEO of the company, recently unveiled its new combination plug and wall mounted charging unit. The charging plug is of its own designed and took the opportunity to call the J1772 standard plug for other electric vehicles as “absolutely terrible, extremely ugly and low power.”

The J1772 standard plug was designed by SAE International, a consortium of scientists and engineers whose plug design has been deemed standard by other electric car manufacturers. He added, “It looks like it was designed by committee and things designed by committee are not really great.”

With the move, Tesla is hedging its bets. While it declined to provide any price details, the company assured that the charging station would not be super-expensive. The company also has plans to create an adaptor available to connect the Model S to public charging stations that adhere to the J1772 standard. The SAE J1772 standard is an electrical connector protocol that has been generally accepted by many carmakers. The intent for a standardized protocol is to have a common electric vehicle conductive charging system architecture for the differing car designs available in the market.

The Tesla unit is a two toned in a lightweight design that is smaller than the J1772 prototype. The Tesla charger comes in red and may be in colors that match the color of the electric car. The wall-mounted charger can provide 240 volts to the car at up to 80 amperes. The plug has a thin cable that can manage fast charging at 480 volts but there is an option to plug the unit to any 240-volt regular outlet.

According to Musk, the unit is able to provide the charging needs of the Model S. The car is promised to provide 300 miles of range on a single charge. When hooked up to the charger, the battery would be fully charged overnight. For purchasers, the Model S would have would have a standardized 10-kilowatt charger on board the car with an option for a 20 kilowatt unit.

The output may prove to be quite a demand for the electrical supply system of a house. Another issue is its compliance with the standards set forth for onboard chargers with Underwriters Laboratory. This is a non-profit safety and testing organization whose standards have been met by Tesla, according to JB Straubel, Chief Technical Officer for the car company.

Another product offered by Tesla is a direct current fast charger unit able to provide 480 volts, called the Supercharger. Musk announced that the first Supercharger would be installed along Interstate 5 at the Harris Ranch in Coalinga, California in the next few months. The unit is situated halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The Supercharger would be able to charge the battery pack of a Model S from 10 percent to 90 percent within 45 minutes. The focus of the company though remains on charging to 50 percent state of charge in half an hour of charging or 150 miles of driving range in half an hour charging for a 300-mile range car.