Supercharging Tesla Model S 60 kWh Versus 85 kWh – Video + Graphs

NOV 13 2014 BY MARK KANE 23

Bjørn Nyland prepared this month another Tesla Model S supercharging timelapse video. The first of this type of video was done a few months ago with 85 kWh Model S at two different locations.

Now we see two cars – 60 and 85 kWh with the same firmware 6.0 at the same site in Lier, Norway.

Both cars starts almost fully depleted (some 10 km range remaining) and charge for 50 minutes.

“This test shows that supercharging Tesla Model S 85 kWh is twice as fast as the 60 kWh variant. Both tests were done at Lier supercharger. Both cars had firmware 6.0.”

We not only checked out this video, but also collected data and prepared graphs for you. As you can see, charging speed as alleged is highest at beginning.  The 60 kWh version is charging significantly slower (in terms of kWh) than 85 kWh version (at least if the experiment conditions presented by Bjørn were similar).

Tesla Supercharger Comparison

Tesla Supercharger Comparison

Interesting is data for power. As it turns out, the 60 kWh version is nowhere close to the 120 kW mark and is falling down fast below 90 kW. Moreover, the 85 kWh version is using full power just for 10 minutes and then drops down too.

Current battery technology is unable to benefit from 120 kW power and the difference to 100 kW is thin.  However, in the future better cells or larger battery packs should be able to utilize more power.

Tesla Supercharger Comparison

Tesla Supercharger Comparison

Charging speed as a percentage value of the pack is almost exactly the same, which is obvious as there are the same type of cells that can accept the same amount of energy.

Tesla Supercharger Comparison

Tesla Supercharger Comparison

Categories: Charging, Tesla

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23 Comments on "Supercharging Tesla Model S 60 kWh Versus 85 kWh – Video + Graphs"

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So 60 kwh isnt even close to 120KW? WTF

So time for class action lawsuit ?

Take a closer look at Tesla’s supercharger page. The only graph that claims to charge a Model S at 120 kW is labeled “MILES OF RATED RANGE (85 KWH)” The other reference to 120 kW is “Many of our stations are capable of delivering up to 120 kW to Model S . . .” which is also true. The other graph is labeled as “STATE OF CHARGE” which will correspond to lower charging power for a 60 kWh battery than an 85 kWh battery.

No matter what the webpage says it’s still a very lousy result.

It shows that Tesla has a long way to go when it comes to battery charging rates.

200 km in 25 minutes is a hard sell. 45-50 minutes is just horrible. And imagine the Model 3 which will be even slower to charge (assuming todays technology, which will hopefully have improved in 3-4 years when the Model 3 gets here)

Faster charging rates is one of the reasons I opted for an 85 kWh Model S instead of a 60 kWh. I find 120 kW chargers make for a very decent road trip experience as long as you can schedule meals, bathroom breaks, coffee breaks, etc. for the charging sessions. Every single time we’ve had a sit-down meal at a supercharger stop, the car was ready to go before we were. And getting more range than needed made the next stop even shorter.

Since I only go on road trips about once a month and charge at home the rest of the time, I’m about even vs. a conventional car when it comes to hands on time spent fueling. And since I enjoy driving the car so much, my wife and I often drive to destinations where we previously would have flown. And I think that is the best single test of how well the superchargers work.

“Current battery technology is unable to benefit from 120 kW power and the difference to 100 kW is thin.”

Many people that own older Model S’s that are limited to 90 kW charging would strongly disagree with that statement. There are lots of angry posts in the 159 page long thread about the subject:

As it turns out, 90 kW vs. 120 kW only makes about a 5 minute different to the length of a supercharger stop starting with a low state of charge (and a smaller difference when starting with higher states of charges). But at least in my experience, this is a pretty noticeable difference for a supercharger stop that doesn’t involve a sit-down meal. Our standard coffee break and restroom stop generally takes about 25 minutes so it’s the difference between no waiting and 5 minutes of waiting. 100 kW vs. 120 kW would take something like 3 minutes longer which would still be noticeable to me.

I logged a bunch of supercharger stops in early 2013 when all superchargers were 90 kW and again after they were upgraded to 120 kW- you can see a comparison of the two here:!/page21

Based upon the last graph, it seems to point towards a 100+ kWh pack being the answer to charging at 120 kW for more than just a couple of minutes.

Maybe an even bigger pack for the 135 to 150 kW superchargers that Tesla is moving towards.

I suppose the other answer would be improved cells, but that is another story completely.

Well, what a hullabaloo about a few minutes!

My (very rudimentary) effort at integrating the red and blue kW vs. time curves shows:

85kWh car charges to 61.5 kWh (~72% of 85 kWh) in 45 minutes.
60kWh car charges to 50.3 kWh (~74% of 60 kWh) in 45 minutes.

The difference in those % numbers is well within the margin of error for my chicken scratchings.
I’m sure the reduced initial charge rate on the 60kWh car reflects a reduced number of parallel strings of cells in the smaller battery.

Nothing to see here folks (really)!

(Disclaimer – Not a Tesla owner, but will be as soon as I can get my hands on a Model 3)

Just realized I more or less replicated the 45 min. point of the final graph in the article.

O.K. – Yawn – Going back to my snooze now.
Wake me when they announce the opening of Model 3 reservations.

Make a graph with charging rate in C and you will notice, that Nissan, Renault and Kia reach higher rates without liquid cooled batteries. Either the small cells aren’t as good as promised, or Tesla is just too conservative with their settings, because they might fear too much warranty cases or bad press about aging batteries.

Tesla uses a different battery chemistry with higher energy density than other manufacturers (250 Wh/kg for the Model S vs. 157 Wh/kg for the LEAF or 200 Wh/Kg for the Kia Soul EV). I imagine the chemistry has more of an effect on charge rate than the physical layout of the battery cells.

(And yes I know technically Wh/Kg is specific energy but no one seems to use that term when referring to EVs)

Tesla’s model is to have large battery packs, so their primary focus is on cost and energy density, with the secondary focus being on having the QC speed fast enough to keep the charge:drive ratio reasonable on longer trips.

Thanks Bjørn and Mark, great data!

Very interesting that the Model S 60 on a “120 kW” charger (or is it “135”? whatever) regains range only slightly faster than an EV with a much smaller battery like a Leaf at 44 or 50 kW: 100 km in ~20 minutes instead of ~25…

It also looks like the Kia Soul at 100 kW might charge about as quickly as the S-60 (again, in km/miles added per minute), despite a battery less than half the capacity.

After comparing the above video to data posted by other 60 kWh Model S owners, I think something is wrong with either the car or the charger in the lower frame of the video. The 85 kWh car holds it initial power until about 22% SOC while the power for the 60 kWh car starts dropping immediately.

Data for 60 kWh cars charging in the US can be seen here:

The 60 kWh car in the video is only pulling about 65 kW at about 23% SOC. At a similar state of charge, viet658’s car is pulling 103 kW according to the thread on teslamotorsclub. Markb1’s car also pulls over 100 kW at the Atascadero supercharger with a similar state of charge. But it has a strange drop in power, and then recovers at the Gilroy supercharger. A similar glitch without the recovery is consistent with what is happening in the video.

This is a fantastic comparison. But based on the data, I don’t think it represents a typical charging session for a 60 kWh Model S.

I’m sitting here at a CHAdeMO quick charger with my Toyota RAV4 EV, reading this in earnest.

THE RAV4 EV has about a 48kWh battery, so a bit smaller than its cousin, the Model S. The pack voltage is somewhere between the 85kWh and 60kWh Tesla, with 386 volts at 4.15v per cell with 92 in series.

Since none of the CHAdeMO have a capability over 125 amps, using my “JdeMO” port, i have been pulling the full 115 amps that this Nissan / Sumitomo charger is capable of for the entire 20 minutes I’ve been sitting here.

So, a consistent 40kW at about 350 volts / 115 amps, and using 3 miles per kWh / 333 wattHours per mile consumption, that’s 120mph charging speed.

Which brings me to the point of chargers built for the 80 mile, small battery EV. The next generation of 200-300 amp quick chargers can’t come fast enough!!!


It’s incredibly awesome that you got a CHAdeMO charger to work with a RAV4 EV! The lack of quick charging was one of the main reasons we didn’t lease a RAV4 EV when we were looking for a second EV to complement our Model S (we ended up with an i3 and have visited three different CCS chargers so far).

Maybe you could offer to help Tesla get their CHAdeMO adapter working. It’s been “coming soon” for a VERY long time . . .

I honestly don’t know exactly what issues they are having.

It’s a small community though, so rumors fly. One issue is overheating chargers that were specified to be 125 amps continuous, but never exercised that way until an 85kWh battery needed filling.

Of course, anything the Blink folks did is garbage. I actually can currently charge at EVERY charge station I’ve tried except Blink. It’s low on my list of things to figure out.

That compatibility problem is the singular issue. With Tesla designed and produced chargers, every one is the same. With CHAdeMO, they build nothing. It’s dozens of companies around the world building the chargers and components like the plug, each with their own subtle differences as to how the process is done.

I know someone with a 60 that Supercharges faster than that. They may be factors in play not making this an even test. For example, the 85’s battery could be 20°C at the start of the test, but the 60’s at 5°C.

Yep, something is holding the 60 kWh car back in this test. The charging speed of the Model S is well known to vary depending on a number of factors. And many people have recorded 120 kW of charging power on their 60 kWh Model S.

More data is needed to make an accurate comparison.

More data is needed is the perfect response to this N=1 charging report.

I agree that the 60 kwh model S is being ‘held back’ as others have said.

The kicker is the incoming voltage is lower on the S, with less current being drawn.

SO its as if the ‘tesla charger’ is charging 2 cars during the 60 kwh test, but only one during the 85 kwh test. So its apples and oranges and not a true comparison.

I don’t know what happened here but I SC last week in Hagerstown MD and I put 200 miles in 20 minutes.

You may want to check those numbers again. 200 miles in 20 minutes is much faster than anyone else has ever reported, and even faster than both Tesla’s marketing and what is physically possible.

both th 60 and 85 beat anything on the planet. I’ll be happy when my GEN III can do even close to that. Tesla is the best and gets better every day.

There are also A and B type batteries, with the newer A able to take 120. The temp and State of charge also are factors. Slow down and enjoy the trip.