The Tesla Supercharger may seem like a performance improvement for one of the company’s increasingly popular electric vehicles, but it’s the moniker for the company’s public charging stations. These DC rapid-charging stations are an important component of Tesla’s allure, as they constitute a massive network that enables drivers to travel further and faster than they would with any other electric vehicle. 

Unlike some other EV manufacturers, Tesla has invested as much in charging infrastructure as it has in automobiles, rendering the ownership proposition far more enticing to many people – especially those who are new to electric vehicles. However, what are Superchargers and how do they work? Everything will be explained in this in-depth guide.

Tesla Supercharger

What is the Supercharger network?  

Whereas other companies prefer to just create electric vehicles and leave the charging infrastructure to other companies, Tesla has chosen a more integrated, one-stop-shop strategy by building its own network of chargers to service its customers’ vehicles. Tesla executives were well aware that electric vehicles would struggle to gain traction owing to range anxiety, or the fear of running out of energy while on the road. 

To relieve people’s anxieties, it began constructing numerous own-branded Supercharger outlets with multiple charges along important routes, allowing users to swiftly and conveniently top-up their cars’ batteries and also conduct the types of long excursions that had previously been the domain of ICE automobiles.

The first Superchargers debuted in the United States in 2012, when Tesla announced six locations throughout its home state of California. Ever since, the network has expanded to over 25,000 chargers worldwide, with almost 20,000 in the United States, 6000 in Europe, and over 600 in the United Kingdom. 

Every station has a number of chargers, which in the United Kingdom currently range from four to twelve units. They are all capable of charging two cars. The network’s popularity has been bolstered even more by the addition of useful amenities such as free wi-fi, which allows drivers to stay connected and conduct business while filling up their automobiles. 

Some locations also offer solar panels for lower-emissions charging, as well as on-site batteries to store unused solar energy. Tesla intends to expand the number of solar-powered Superchargers in the years ahead. These superchargers can only be used by Tesla cars, which plays a big part in their appeal. 

Tesla Supercharger

What is a Supercharger? 

Whenever you need to recharge your car’s batteries, simply connect it to an individual Supercharger. Each device comes with two charging cables that use Combined Charging System (CCS) (Tesla Model 3) sockets or Type 2 (Model X and Model S) sockets in the United Kingdom and Europe. 

These were originally V2 devices that provided 120kW charging, however, they have recently been updated to 150kW. The newer V3 variants, which can deliver up to 250kW and use the CCS connector, are becoming increasingly popular.

Unlike competing networks, each Supercharger has the ability to provide DC quick charging. That’s because the network was designed to allow EVs to travel great distances with the same ease of refueling as an ICE car, requiring drivers to simply stop for a short period of time before continuing on their journey.

Nevertheless, there is a catch: if two Teslas are put into the same unit, the charge must be split between the two, resulting in a somewhat longer charging time. It’s unlikely that you’ll have to share with a minimum of four superchargers at a site (eight cables). The majority of sites need to have at least twice this number of charges.                  

Another thing to remember is that all V3 Superchargers in Europe and in the UK use the CCS plug instead of the older Type 2. These can only be accessible by a Model 3, as well as any Model S or Model X built after May 2019. Both of these require a specific adaptor.     

Tesla Supercharger

Where can you find a Supercharger?    

The majority of Supercharger locations in the UK are at existing service stations, both on highways and trunk routes. They’re usually spaced out in such a way that you can cover numerous long-distance travels across the country. Drivers will also have access to services such as restrooms, cafés, and stores at these spots.

Locating a Supercharger is simple since each location is pre-programmed into a Tesla’s onboard navigation system. There are also over-the-air software updates that guarantee you never miss out on new locations. Furthermore, the company’s smartphone app gives route-finding information as well as information on how many chargers are currently in use at each location.

How much does it cost to use a Supercharger? 

In essence, Tesla cars registered after April 2017 spend 28p per kWh to use a Supercharger, but those purchased prior to this date continue receiving free charging, even if the owner changes.

Most Tesla owners were dissatisfied with the changes, so the company provided a referral program that encouraged current owners to recommend one of the company’s cars to a friend. Whenever a potential customer bought a car, they were given a code that allowed them and the individual who referred them to get free Supercharging for the rest of their lives.

Idle fees, which apply when a car reaches its maximum charge but stays parked in a Supercharger bay, are another cost to be mindful of. You’ll be given a five-minute grace period and a notification on your phone when your charging time is over, but if you disregard both of these, you’ll be charged 50p per minute to remain there. This amount rises to £1 per minute if the charging hub is busy.

Tesla Supercharger

What is a destination charger?

Destination Chargers, just as the name implies, are available in areas near the end of your journey and can be used overnight or for a few hours. They are commonly seen in restaurants, hotels, and shopping malls, and enable charging to happen while the car owner is away doing something else.

They are normally free to use for all Tesla cars, unlike Superchargers. However, they provide electricity at a considerably slower rate: generally between 7kW and 22kW.