KManAuto is a well known chronicler of everything Tesla on his popular YouTube channel. He was on hand at the Tesla Semi extravaganza yesterday (along with our own Kyle Field) and shot some video that includes a first look at the charging port for Tesla’s groundbreaking Class 8 heavy hauler. What he found was that it has room for an 8 pin connector — four times as many as the normal Tesla Supercharger uses for its passenger cars.
Tesla says the Semi will have a range of either 300 or 500 miles, depending on the size battery installed. (Smaller battery equals lower purchase price. Not every tractor needs 500 miles of range.) It also says it can recharge fast enough using one of the company’s new Megachargers to add 400 miles of range in just 30 minutes.
Electrical engineers (something I most definitely am not!) know that there are certain constants in the world of electric power, characteristics that people like Voltá, Ampère, Joule, Watt, and Nikola Tesla spent their lives discovering. Tesla says the Semi will use less than 2 kilowatt-hours of electrical power per mile traveled when fully loaded. That equals under 800 kWh consumed in 400 miles.
According to Teslarati, “Tesla’s Megacharger would need to have a … power output of 1.6 MW, or thirteen times the power level of a standard Supercharger, to be able to replenish 400 miles of battery range in 30 minutes.” KManAuto agrees. He tells Teslarati: “I think they increased the voltage — for simplicity probably doubled it. Keeps the wire size down. Less heat build up. The charge port on the semi also has eight pins for charging. Of course, positive and negative — means it’s like having four normal Superchargers plugged in. So if it was four normal Superchargers through the same size pins it would be approximately 500 kW due to wire size. If they double the voltage, they could run twice the amount of power through the same wires, meaning they would be able to hit 1.6 MW.”
Tesla has not said where its new Megachargers will be located, but it is safe to assume they will be at truck stops located along major transportation routes. None are in operation at this time, but that is not surprising — the Tesla Semi is not expected to go into production until 2019. Where it will be built is something Tesla hasn’t told us yet. Perhaps the company wants to see how many orders it gets first. If early indications are any measure, the factory will need to be a big one, no matter where it’s located.