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Tesla: Model S to have fast-charging battery

Telsa Motor's Model S sedan -- set to debut March 26 -- will have be 440-volt fast-charging capability, wrote Rachel Konrad, spokesperson for Tesla Motors in an email.

A peek at the Model S sedan. The all-electric car will have 440-volt fast charging battery capability.
A sneak-peak at the Model S sedan. The all-electric car will have 440-volt fast charging capability Tesla Motors

Telsa Motor's Model S sedan--set to debut March 26--will have 440-volt fast-charging battery capability, wrote Rachel Konrad, spokesperson for Tesla Motors, to CNET in an e-mail.

Although Konrad could not say how long it would take to charge the Model S sedan using either a 440-volt charger or the standard 220-volt charger, the Tesla Roadster's battery can be fully charged in about 3.5 hours using a 220V/70A system, she wrote.

The Model S is expected to have a driving range of 225 miles on a full charge. It's not a fair comparison, but Nissan's TBD all-electric car will have a driving range of 100 miles and can be recharged in 26 minutes using a fast-charging station.

The more important question is the market will see the proliferation of fast-charging stations. There are no public 440-volt fast charging stations. ECOtality, a clean-electric transportation and technology company, has implemented 5100 of these stations in 13 airports across the country, but none is public, said Colin Read, marketing directory for ECOtality.

The Scottsdale, Ariz.-based company may implement a couple of fast-charging stations in the Tuscon area in the next few years for its partnership with Nissan and the Pima Association of Governments, but there isn't yet a huge market, said Read.

Read was surprised to learn that the Model S will be 440-volt capable, but said ECOtality fully-supports Tesla's fast-charging capability and would love to work with them to make this technology as successful as possible.

But the kind of impact that thousands of cars plugging in at the same time at this rate will have on an electrical grid is anyone's guess. ECOtatilty is currently researching this unknown for the Department of Energy.

For the moment, Tesla is the only company with highway-speed capable all-electric cars in production in North America. Tesla is also the only company with a navigation system that will be able to find the nearest charging station.

"Model S likely will have this capacity," said Konrad while qualifying that she could not confirm specifications.