With the introduction of Model X and newly updated facia Model S, Tesla decided to change the charging options with a choice of 48 and 72 amp versions. Of course by adding the 72 amp version your car will charge faster but is it worth it? Turns out it depends.
After returning from a trip to Florida and skipping one Super Charger in Macon, Georgia (it is the least popular SC in our state) I arrived at only 4% of battery and decided to clock the difference between 48 amp standard version of the internal charger to the upgraded 72 amp version. To my surprise the time difference was actually significant. A total of 3 and half hours were saved by charging the vehicle with 72 amps.
Since majority of owners charge overnight, the time savings may not be worth it, but there are 3 distinct scenarios where it becomes handy:
*- While on the trip to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania we had to rely on destination charging at a hotel and one restaurant. By having 72A version, we were able to charger quicker compared to a 48A or the legacy 40A versions and continued our trip more expeditiously. If your charging travel strategy includes topping off (not overnight charging) using destination chargers the 72 amp upgrade could be a great time savings benefit.
*- If you find yourself traveling a lot during a day, for example on a long distance business trip and require a quick recharge upon returning to the office or home, it can improve your charge rates if no Super Chargers are available close by.
*- Where I think a 72 amp version is a must, is when you own a Performance Model with either Insane or Ludicrous mode. Driving in those modes even with moderate acceleration, depletes your battery on a more accelerated level. Part of the reason could be that the performance models open up a greater flow of electricity to the motor(s) so that max torque is available if you decided to use it. However, if you drive in a more aggressive style and even engage 'Max Battery' option (why not, it is a ton of fun!), the battery does tend to drain faster. Therefore upon returning to the office or your home, the 72 amps deliver a much faster charge so you can continue to your next destination a significantly quicker.
To experience the 72 amp charging you need 2 things: Order your car with the $1,500 option ($1,900 option after delivery) and order the High Power Wall Charger.
Currently the lowest priced version sells for $500. The charger is eligible for a 30% charging infrastructure credit (consult your tax advisor if you are eligible for the credit), so that will reduce your overall costs.
Now if only the $1,500 72 amp option could be part of that charging infrastructure credit (that would help, right)?