Just how bad is supercharging bad for your Tesla Model 3 battery if you can’t charge at home? Let’s look at the facts.
Is frequent supercharging bad for Tesla battery? Frequent supercharging your Tesla battery is not bad for your model 3, it’s only when you use non-Tesla superchargers like Chademo that you may see some degradation, and here is why.
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For the last two weeks, I have been talking about Tesla Model 3 battery maintenance, care and charging habit after one year of ownership. Some people raised arguments and pushed back at me, especially about supercharging.
You may, or may not have known this but a little over two years ago a Tesla Model S owner posted on the Tesla Motors Club forum telling people that he found out his Model S supercharging rate has been dramatically reduced as superchargers on a recent road trip.
What I want to update on this information is that a lot of people did not read into details on what had happened to this Model S owner and his battery and his charging habits. So here are the facts on what happened to this person.
About two years ago this person has been doing Chademo DC fast charging instead of the Tesla supercharging 99% of the time, so this is the first thing this owner was doing compared to the rest of the Tesla drivers when they supercharged.
Second, according to Tesla engineers, once a vehicle has been DC fast-charged over a specific amount, the battery management system restricts DC charging to prevent degradation of the battery pack.
Which we knew because from the Tesla Model 3 owner’s manual that’s exactly what it was saying.
According to Tesla engineers, this particular vehicle (the older Model S) has seen significant DC fast charging and now has permanently restricted DC charging speeds. Again, according to the manual from Model 3, that’s what it was going to do.
However, a lot of people skip this. They said “Important to note, supercharging will always be available to the vehicle and the battery pack has not yet experienced significant degradation due to the amount of DC fast charging performed on the pack up until this point in time vehicle is operating as designed”.
As you can see Tesla restricted the DC fast charging rate permanently on this particular vehicle because the owner was abusing it, he was using Chatamo chargers rather than the designated Tesla supercharging Network.
And there’s a difference in that because of the Tesla the supercharging network has a built-in battery charging protection algorithm to work in conjunction with a Tesla car battery.
So your battery will not experience constant high heat which is what’s going to damage the battery cell with the current coming into the battery at a sustained rate and time.
But with Chademo mode fast charging he did not have that protection built-in, and therefore Tesla detected this and took a precautionary step to permanently reduce the charging rate for this vehicle so that the battery will have longer life versus the battery being damaged at a higher rate.
The main takeaway from this point is that even with all the significant DC fast charging sessions that this person has done, his Tesla battery did not degrade all that much.
Later on, Tesla put out a statement, it was a whole paragraph and it was pretty much the same as what the Model 3 owner manual has stated except the very last sentence of this paragraph.
It says “this changed due to age and usage of the battery may increase total supercharge time by about five minutes, and less than one percent of our customers experience this”.
For those of you who have argued with me that I supercharged once a week that is bad for my battery, not really because I don’t fall into that one percent of the customer where they supercharge or do DC fast charge several times a day.
The Tesla statement continues where it says “Tesla is not slowing down charge rates to discourage frequent supercharging, quite the opposite.
We encourage our customers to use the supercharger network at their discretion and we are committed to doubling the number of worldwide chargers just this year.
We also want to ensure that our customers have the best experience add those superchargers and preserve as much vehicle range as possible even after a frequent charge”.
So there you have it Tesla does not discourage frequent supercharging, and many of you have made this statement to me in the comments section saying Tesla doesn’t recommend that you supercharge so often, well it’s quite the opposite.
So hopefully this is setting the record straight about the frequency of supercharging with your Tesla car, but just to double-check and confirm what Tesla saying is true against real-world user data.
I reached out to a company called Test Loop. If you didn’t know about Test Loop they were running shuttle services in the Southern California area using a fleet of Tesla Model S and Model X’s.
And recently they acquired a Model three into their fleet, test loop has vehicles that hold the highest mileage usage record out of the entire Tesla cars produced and they do frequent supercharging.
I reach out to Test Loop and asked them if they had seen any supercharging rate reduction from Tesla because you guys supercharged so frequently, and here’s test loops response.
“We have no reason or data to make us believe that Tesla is throttling or reducing supercharging rates based on high usage of superchargers”. So even as much as Test Loop is running their cars than supercharging, Tesla still has not reduced the supercharging rate for their fleet.
So I think for the rest of us that are not using our cars to run shuttles or one-way LA to San Diego trips daily, we can rest assured that it most likely will not happen to us, at least not for a very long time.
Another point that people have been arguing and pushing back at me is
supercharging is bad for your Tesla Model 3 battery because it’s putting in so much heat on the battery cells and lithium-ion batteries do not like heat.
Well, that is true and several of you have shared the battery university articles with me which I have already read many many months ago.
That is true for the generic lithium-ion battery but none of the arguments had included how the Tesla battery management system and the supercharging flow technology are playing into protecting the Tesla Model 3 batteries when they’re being supercharged.
One of our viewers shared an article with me showing that a mechanical engineer and a licensed HVAC engineer in California took apart the new Tesla Model 3 battery back in August of 2018.
That’s when Tesla was coming out with the performance version and track mode which would heat the battery like crazy, and what they found was that the new Model 3 battery module is a completely new design.
It bears very little resemblance to the Model S, it has improved cooling over Model S and Model X modules. The two main differences that Model 3 has improved battery cooling are.
Number 1. Better heat transfer between the cells and the cooling ribbon and number 2. Fewer cells per pass of the cooling tube.
Basically, they are saying is the Tesla Model 3 battery design has an advanced cooling system, so that when you are charging the car or specifically supercharging your car or even running in track mode it is not going to damage the battery cell at all compared to the old Model S or Model X battery design.
Furthermore, they stated that they were speculating even before August of 2018 that the Model 3’s were being shipped with Gen 3 supercharging capability, or now we know as V3 supercharging that goes up to a 250-kilowatt charging rate.
Superchargers are more powerful and better cooling is necessary to keep cell temperatures down, the new Model 3 cooling system should help in that department.
So according to experts and according to scientific studies frequent supercharging for your Model 3 is not going to be bad for your battery.
It is only when you do non-Tesla DC fast supercharging at say Chademo stations, and when you’re doing this several times a day or many times a week that you may start seeing Tesla throttling your supercharging rate. But for the rest of us, we shouldn’t worry about this much at all.
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