2013 Tesla Model S: High Power Wall Connector Is Up and Running
September 13, 2013
As of last week, our Tesla HPWC (High Power Wall Connector) is finally up and running. And it's fast. It can send electricity into our 2013 Tesla Model S's battery some 2.7 times faster than standard Level 2 charging equipment. That's because it's built to draw 80 amps through a 100-amp circuit instead of the usual 30 amps through a 40-amp breaker.
This screen grab from the iPhone app tells the tale. The figure on the left is telling us that power is being delivered at 48 mph, as in 48 miles of driving for every hour on the plug. Our ChargePoint Level 2 station is good for 18 mph.
That works out to 5.5 hours to fill an empty 85 kWh Model S battery instead of 14 or 15 hours. Our typical half-full battery will only take 2 or 3 hours to fill instead of 7 or 8, so now everyone who takes a turn behind the wheel will head home with a full battery, even if they leave early after the car arrives late.
It's worth pointing out the voltage readout, which shows 199 volts instead of the 240 volts you might expect. Our electrician tells me this is due to the natural of electrical service in commercial buildings, which tends to be 208V 3-phase instead of the 240V single-phase that's more typical of residential power panels. A HPWC should deliver 58 mph in a home installation with a full 240 volts (and 100 amps) behind it.
Our main circuit breakers are in a locked electrical closet some distance away, so a comically large power-disconnect panel was needed. And it positively dwarfs the sleek HPWC unit.
The smaller white box was my idea. Home charging equipment like the Tesla HPWC typically lack a readout of the number of kWh dispensed, but I needed to know how much electricity we're really using (read: paying for). After all, a gas pump with no "gallons" readout is pretty much worthless. The little box contains a digital meter I bought from EKM Metering. I'll go into more detail on that nifty little device at a future date.
Yes, it has taken us some time to get here, too much time. But now it's done, and we're ready to make the most of it.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 8,500 miles