Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA): Possible to Charge a Battery This Fast?

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Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) has certainly not been about just being the best in the electric-car class when it comes to battery power, driving distance on a single charge or even the number of free charging stations. No, it’s not about just being the best in class, it’s about being laps better than everyone else.  Even when it comes to Superchargers and the concept of a quick battery swap. (We’ve been following these ideas.)

Now, as Musk teases the new “Hyperloop” concept of travel (which could be something like this), Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) is looking into a new technological development that just might be the “Hyperloop” of electric cars. Tesla tech chief J.B. Straubel said in an interview with the MIT Technology Review that the California-based automaker is Elon Musklooking very hard into a future where an 85-kilowatt-hour battery pack could be recharged in as little as five minutes.  Straubel did warn that this technology is not there in the next year or two, but he does say the company is working on the idea.

There are challenges in the way that keep this from being a reality now – and for Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) it mainly comes down to physics. The Tesla Supercharger stations are connected to existing electric grids, and  increased charging power would take away electricity from other items on the grid. Plus, the math suggests that a Supercharger station would need 720 kilowatts available to charge a Tesla Model S battery from zero percent to 80 percent charge in five minutes.

The second issue that Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) has to contend with is the immense heat that is generated by such a large amount of electricity. Tesla batteries have a self-regulating temperature technology, but  there is yet no accounting for the heat of an intense electric charging action.

Straubel admits that the company  certainly has the possibility of providing this kind of charging power, but it has to work out the details of monitoring and dissipating the heat of the charge, and figure out how to best develop that much electricity from the grid without causing adverse effects to other parts of the grid. The concept is still a ways away, but to have a second way to drive away from a Supercharger station in about the same time a gas-powered vehicle leaves a gas station after refueling….wow.

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