Ingenieur Vol. 74 Ingenieur Vol 72, April-June 2018 - Page 28

INGENIEUR Tesla supercharger charging stations Tesla’s mass production of batteries and cost effective technology have contributed to reducing the cost of battery packs for Electric Vehicles (EVs). When the first mass-market EVs were introduced in 2010, battery packs cost an estimated US$1,000 per kilowatt-hour (kWh). Industry observers estimate that Tesla produces battery packs at about US$150 per kWh as of late 2017. The company is said to be aiming to reduce this further to less than US$100 per kilowatt-hour by 2020. Tesla leads all automakers when it comes to their electric cars’ operating range. Its flagship Model S sedan in its top P100D version is considered the world’s fastest acceleration car, from 0-60 miles per hour (0-96 km) in just 2.5 seconds. This car can run as far as 539 km on a single charge. Elon Musk said that this meant a driver could now travel from San Francisco to Los Angeles in temperate weather without recharging. Supercharging Stations Catering to its EV customers, Tesla has built a network of 480-volt fast-charging Supercharger stations. As of May 2018, 1,229 Supercharger stations operated globally with 9,623 6 26 VOL 2018 VOL 74 55 APRIL-JUNE JUNE 2013 superchargers. The Supercharger is a proprietary direct current (DC) technology that provides up to 120 kW of power, enabling a full charge in around 75 minutes. Tesla cars can recommend the fastest route for long-distance travel, incorporating possible charging delays. Tesla has also launched the “Destination Charging Location” Network by providing chargers to hotels, restaurants, shopping centres, resorts and other full service stations to provide on-site vehicle charging at twice the power of a typical charging location. Autopilot Moving ahead of many automakers, Tesla has revolutionised cars by incorporating more software and AI into cars making them “computers on wheels” and driving almost autonomous. According to Elon Musk, hardware already exists to create full autonomy and the path ahead is to develop relevant software. “We really designed the Model S to be a very sophisticated computer on wheels…….. We view this as the same as updating your phone or your laptop,” he noted. Tesla’s self-driving features packaged under Autopilot using hardware called HW1 made its debut in 2014. The second version HW2