Rare Look Inside Tesla Supercharger


Here’s a rare glimpse of what’s inside a Tesla Supercharger.

On the inside, you’re seeing the 12 charging modules, a pair of similar circuit boards and what’s likely a data connection of some type.

Have we overlooked/missed something found within?

Hat tip to Calvin Klesmith!!!

Category: ChargingTesla

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26 responses to "Rare Look Inside Tesla Supercharger"
  1. muchski says:

    Is it true they basically stack the 10 kW HPW connectors?
    I see 12 here for 120 kW?

    Then how to do they squeeze out 135 kW? Perhaps they can eeek out another 10% or so from each module?

    1. mustang_sallad says:

      Just a note that a HPWC, just like any non-Tesla AC charging station, is just a relay with some control circuitry. By definition, AC charging means the power conversion (from AC to DC) happens onboard the vehicle. A Tesla Supercharger is made up of 12 chargers – meaning the component that is built into the car.

      The interesting approach with the superchargers is how Tesla separated the power electronics from the unit with the charge cord that the user actually interacts with. The actual important bits are tucked away behind their wood screening along with any other necessary transformers.

    2. David Murray says:

      Perhaps it has something to do with the fact the onboard charger must also keep the cooling systems running while charging. Since that is a finite amount of power, when adding more units it doesn’t add up?

  2. Spec9 says:

    Damn . . . I can see why Tesla is eager to get some other companies on board. It is not cheap to develop and deploy all those custom electronics. You can see the Tesla ‘T’ right in the top/middle of the printed circuit boards. I like how they use the door as a big heatsink.

    I’m wondering if there is some storage in another box.

  3. Anon says:

    It’s so clean… Very well laid out.

  4. GeorgeS says:

    So those are 10 HPW units?
    I guess the batteries must be housed in a different box.

    The battery box would be interesting to see inside as well. I’m assuming the batteries would be liquid cooled.

    1. Phil says:

      If those really are rectifiers, and 10KW each, then they have no need for batteries since they seem to have as much AC power coming in as they need.

      1. SeattleTeslaGuy says:

        correct. Each of those units are the same as the charger unit(s) in the Model S. So, the charger units are pretty mass market. I doubt the two boards on the left cost that much to make.

      2. GeorgeS says:

        Ooops thx. I mean when they use solar panels in addition to the grid.

  5. kalle says:

    i like the redundancy in that one 🙂

  6. Earthdog says:

    Its not a HPWC. These are purely batteries (same as battery backups). This is the same method Eaton employs in their DCQC. This allows for dirty power in to be output in a clean controlled method to the car. No spikes or surges.

    1. mustang_sallad says:

      These are definitely not batteries! See Tony’s post below. There are some supercharger sites that use batteries, but those would be upstream of the power conversion units you see here. Haven’t seen any details on the stations with energy storage, but one would assume these would be in places where the total peak demand of all stations operating at once would pose too much of a load for the energy supply from the grid.

      1. The Supercharger at Lebec (Grapevine) has the batteries. Since they are grid connected, the batteries would be charged from AC grid power to DC into the batteries, then come out of the batteries as DC to go through an inverter to go to the AC powered Supercharger.

  7. Those are the same single phase chargers that are in the Model S & X, plus Toyota Rav4 EV and Mercedes B Class ED. There are 4 each on the three phases of 277 volts each to make 480 volts AC.

    When at 200 -250 volts, these chargers pull 40 amps, which is 10kW at 250 volts. But, at 277 volts, the amperage draw drops to 36 amps to maintain 10kW.

    Therefore, 12 is still 120kW. To make 133.5kW, just bump the individual chargers up to 40 amps at 277 volts. Software change only.

    For 150kW, they will have to add three more 10kW individual chargers to the rack.

    1. Spec9 says:

      Interesting. So they use the very same charger units: one for a normal Model S, two for a double-speed AC charging Model S, and twelve of them for their superchargers? That is pretty clever as it reduces parts inventory, makes repairs easy by just swapping them out, helps improve volume in order to hit mass manufacturing efficiencies, etc.

      And when one dies within a supercharger, I presume the supercharger continues to operate just fine albeit at a slightly slower charge rate.

      1. Yep, that sums it up.

        They are all CAN bus controlled, so easy to program and control. Liquid cooled, so they can pump electrons at full speed for a long time.

        They actually might be the ONLY liquid cooled DC charger. The whole architecture is brilliant.

        Somebody mention the Eaton CHAdeMO charger was “the same”, and let me suggest they couldn’t be more different. The Tesla Superchargers will be mostly durable and working when the others are broken and burned up.

  8. Mitch says:

    What’s not shown is the liquid cooling loop/radiator or fans, but the fan/radiator assembly can be seen from the rear of the SuperChargers. The chargers are liquid cooled.

  9. SeattleTeslaGuy says:

    Where are the charger sharing electronics? Each stack of 12 modules supports 2 charge stations. The first car to charge gets the max rate for it’s current SOC and the second car gets the rest.

    1. mustang_sallad says:

      Hadn’t heard that before, thanks for sharing. Any more info on that?

      1. SeattleTeslaGuy says:

        Most superchargers stations are number 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b and so on. The a and b stations share a charger stack. The first car gets the current that it can take. The current ramps off as the SOC rises. Left over current goes to the car on the other station. When the first car leaves, the remaining car gets full current and a subsequent car on the other station gets the left-overs.

        This is smart because full current really only lasts for a relatively small part of the charge cycle and, without sharing, there would be a lot of wasted capacity.

        Some of tesla’s IP has to do with this sharing. I have assumed it is in the pile of patents that Elon opened up recently.

  10. kdawg says:

    What does the front of the door look like? The device on the top looks like the back of a touchscreen, but I don’t think these panels have touchscreens. I see a pilot light on the door, is that just to signal “power on” or is it for faults? Also, I see a plunger style light switch on the door, but the there’s no light glowing in the panel, so it must be completely powered down. No disconnect on this thing?

    1. Spec9 says:

      I suspect nothing on the front except that one switch and the other ends of a few bolts.

      1. kdawg says:

        Shouldn’t be any bolt ends. Those are typically welded.

  11. ModernMarvelFan says:

    Modular design.

  12. Alok says:

    Musk speaks of “ever increasing” power of the SC.
    Does anyone know what’s the max power supported by the standard (plug, …)?
    That is: how many more 10 kW units could be added?

    1. Based on what they’ve done in the past, a 250kW – 300kW charge will likely make the pins longer on both the car and the plug.

      Then, the higher capacity plug won’t fit in a 150kW car, but a 150kW will fit in the 300kW and charge at 150kW.

      In other words, you’ll have to buy the new car to get the double speed.

      Option two is two physical receptacles on each side on the car that can put 300kW in the car today (when the battery is large enough and capable enough to handle it).