Musk Tweets – Next-Gen Supercharger Info, Tesla Model X Towing

MAY 23 2018 BY STEVEN LOVEDAY 18

When Tesla CEO Elon Musk gets rolling on Twitter, sometimes it seems he just can’t stop.

As soon as we digest the information related to one of Musk’s Tweets, there are often multiple replies followed by a whole new thread. A few days ago, we were just commenting about how quiet it had been on the CEO’s Twitter account. We figured, with Model 3 pressure continually mounting, a new love interest, and the overall crazy busy life this man leads, he just didn’t have time to be tooling around on social media.White Tesla Model X Supercharging

Read Also: Musk Provides Timeline For $35,000 Model 3

Watch This: Edmunds Tests Tesla Model X Towing

Then, the Model 3 Dual Motor and Performance AWD model announcements seemed to break the seal. Ever since, Musk has been on a pretty steady roll, almost a Tweetstorm if you will.

When the Tweets are flowing, some newsworthy comments get glanced over by other, much bigger announcements. Nonetheless, in the midst of the recent barrage of Tweets and replies, Musk spoke to next-gen Superchargers and Model X towing capacity.

We can’t say we’re surprised about the Supercharger. This has been mentioned several times before and especially more as of late. We know that Tesla is working diligently on Supercharger expansion, and the release of an improved next-gen system was only a matter of time. This is probably especially a heightened priority with the recent announcements from several other companies now upping their charging game.

Tesla Model X

Tesla Model X towing a semi

The second reply is a bit strange and almost troubling. Yes, most vehicles can tow more than their tow rating. However, towing more than a vehicle’s capacity is not a good idea.

First of all, not knowing and just guessing at what it may be able to handle is a recipe for disaster. Second, if you do it and it doesn’t go well, you will likely negate your warranty. Hopefully, people don’t rush out and try to push the towing limits of the Model X due to Musk’s response (as if they haven’t already).

The Model X is currently rated at just shy of 5,000 lbs. in the U.S., and we’re well aware that it can pull more. We’ve shared many videos (generally via Mr. Nyland) revealing amazing towing feats with the electric SUV. It’s torquey as heck and heavy, so it only makes sense.

A few years back, prior to the release of the Model X, Tesla announced that it would offer a Class III towing capacity good for up to 10,000 lbs. or more. This is likely why the Twitter user asked the question.

For comparison, (although it’s arguably difficult to compare the Model X to any other vehicle for a myriad of reasons) the highly-rated Toyota Highlander Hybrid can only pull 3,500 lbs., the Jeep Grand Cherokee tops out at 7,200 lbs., and the class leader for towing – the Dodge Durango – has an 8,700 lb. max towing capacity.

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18 Comments on "Musk Tweets – Next-Gen Supercharger Info, Tesla Model X Towing"

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Wasn’t the supercharger network supposed to be 100% solar powered with on-site battery backup? A step in that direction would almost be preffered to higher power.

That would be nice, however, with the MkII Roadster with it’s 200kWh battery in the pipeline, along with maybe Model S/X battery upgrade(120kWh seems ideal), and a pickup truck(which will surely have a 200kWh battery as well), increasing Supercharger power will no doubt be required in order to keep charge times under an hour… Depending on how they implement it, it would stay 120kW for most cars, it would be 400v 120kW for S/3/X/Y and 800v 240kW for Roadster, Pickup, and anything else Tesla has in the pipeline. Solar and battery would still work most of the time, only when most or all of the stalls are full of 800v/240kW charging vehicles, would they have to draw from the grid. In fact, right now, a 40-stall Supercharger site, with stalls installed in pairs, for a max 145kW per pair needs 2.9MW to run all pairs at full capacity. Powerpack 2 with it’s 50kW output power means you need 60 of them, and that keeps all chargers at full power, and it gives you 12.6MWh of storage, enough to run 100% stall utilization for 4 hours, without solar or grid. Now of course, you want to run for more than 4… Read more »

No, it wasnt.

Perhaps I should have clarified, my comment above is largely speculation(120kWh Model S/X, dynamically switching between 400v/120kW and 800v/240kW, 200kWh pickup truck). But I did try to base most of it on facts, and actual math, in order to come up with what seems like a practical and viable way to have Superchargers run on mostly solar power.

Tesla did originally tout the Supercharger network as being “solar powered”. I don’t recall Tesla ever claiming it would be 100% solar, but one could argue that it was implied in their press releases.

At any rate, if we look at actions and not words, Tesla hasn’t done any more than give a fig leaf toward powering its Supercharger network with solar power. A few solar canopies at a few Supercharger stations does not amount to much. Even if every Supercharger station had one, I think it would still amount to significantly less than 10% of the power coming from solar energy. (My napkin math suggests no more than 1-2%, but it may be more since some can be stored in the buffer batteries at stations which sit idle much of the time.)

Solar on all sites isn’t feasible…but in the hot & sunny states it certainly is. But higher power is more important, EV’s will never beat ICE until they can beat the re-fill times. The new (awesome) standard that has emerge is 350 kW charging. I would put money on Elon beating that. My gut feeling is at least a 400 kW, maybe 500.
Perhaps:
150 kW Supercharger
500 kW Ultracharger
1 mW Megacharger

Of course, they don’t all need to run entirely on solar as well, only the ones where it is possible to do so with current solar technology. All that matters is that they don’t run on coal… In Norway for example, Superchargers get 98% of their energy from hydroelectric, and 2% from imported power from Sweden(which uses lots of nuclear). But in California, Arizona, Nevada, Texas, New Mexico, Utah and Florida, there is lots of solar resource available. And almost all Superchargers could be augmented with solar+batteries, and still *reduce* their dependance on the grid, and even provide service to the grid when there aren’t that many cars charging(12.6MWh, with 4MW output power, multiply that by as many stations as they install and it adds up to a lot of power for grid balancing and renewable storage).

Ultracharger should be higher than Megacharger. Kind of 10MW. No?

Elon should probably check with the lawyers before tacitly encouraging people to tow beyond the rated limits. While I imagine that crashing it is probably harder than any comparable vehicle, all it takes is one bozo to crash while doing so to put a big damper on the party.

I suspect it has more to do with range than mechanical deformation.

Dang….all he said was that it CAN tow more than it’s rated capacity. Everyone has seen it pull semis, trains and planes, but he never said that to go out and do it.

Also the next gen superchargers will need to get the charging rate of the 300 mile pack down to about 5 minutes, so the new 600 mile pack is below 10 minutes, and the semi will need a charger that beats diesel fueling times as well.

Being able to pull something is one thing, but there’s also a bit of geometry involved. Wheelbase matters. Too short and it limits what you can safely pull. That’s why you see higher capacities on longer wheelbase vehicles. It’s not just a matter of power and brakes.

Really, they need the pickup truck as soon as possible. Ideally, has to have 8,500lb rated tow capacity to compete with F-150, Chevy 1500, RAM 1500 and Toyota Tundra. The 200kWh battery from Roadster can probably serve this market quite well, you would get 330 miles of range un-loaded, and probably about 200 while towing.

Couldn’t agree more, but if they design the pickup around the drag coefficient, it will sell like ice in Antarctica.
I would love to buy one if it’s designed good, but who am I kidding, I can’t afford a 80k truck.

I don’t see how you can write much of an article about this. “Major improvements all around” doesn’t necessarily mean any capacity changes whatsoever. Perhaps the packaging is changed, or they will offer more convenience stores.

Musk tweets, IEVs writes an article. It’s nothing new. Didn’t you know that every word from him is gold?

Sometimes Elon posts tweets which seem as though he is not at all the CEO of a large company, and that his public statements will have no effect on Tesla’s market or its customers.

Suggesting that the Model X can tow far more than its rated capacity is definitely one of those!

I’d hate to work in Tesla’s publicity department. Things like this are apt to give those guys a nervous breakdown! And I doubt Tesla’s legal department is happy with that Tweet, either.

Somewhat similar to another notorious Twitter spout and his press department. Sometimes seems like he’s not the leader of a large country and his public statements will have no effect on its citizens or its economy.