Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA) Ceases Slim, Liquid-Cooled Supercharger Wire Experiment

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Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA)’s Supercharger in Mountain View has been a little different from the others. Not only is it located at the famous Computer History Museum where the electric car maker sometimes holds events, it was also running an experiment utilizing propylene-glycol-cooled supercharging cables (until recently).

More issues than solutions

In comparison to the standard Supercharger cables, which are thick like gas station hoses and sometimes more unwieldy, especially in the cold when they become less flexible, these cables are more flexible and thinner. But now Electrek claims that the EV maker has switched out the experiment cables for the standard thicker cables in Mountain View. Thus, the electric car maker has ended the public experiment.

“We changed the cables to unify service procedures and parts across all current Supercharger sites,” Tesla told Electrek.

This particular Supercharger had been criticized for having offline stalls and slow charging.

A Plugshare user noted late last year, “Early afternoon Tuesday, 9 of 12 stations in use, station 1A being serviced by Tesla personnel. They were working on cable coolant system. Special liquid cooled cable is about 3/4 in diameter. Computer History Museum is quite impressive, including live demo of working Babbage Differential Engine.”

There were more complaints in the thread, but honestly, not more than there are for a typical high traffic Supercharger, says Electrek. It should be noted that the liquid-cooled nature of the cable introduces more points of failure and more complexity.

Will Tesla abandon the liquid-cooled cables?

Tesla CTO JB Straubel said in an interview that battery charging tech is going to get substantially quicker than it is now. In the interview with MIT Technology Review, he said it is not going to happen in year from now, and it is going to be hard, but he thinks they can get down to five to ten minutes for a full charge, which is currently at 20-40 minutes. He noted that the current superchargers, which deliver 120 kilowatts of electricity, seemed crazy even 10 years ago. In comparison, conventional public charging stations deliver well under 10 kilowatts.

At last year’s shareholder meeting, Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk discussed this cable a few hundred feet away in the Computer History Museum, says Electrek. Musk mentioned that not only does this technology allow the cable to carry more lead, but it also thins/lightens the wires and makes them more flexible. The ability of the cable to carry more load was notable, especially because the electric car maker has been raising the amount of power quietly, which is now at 145kW.

The U.S.-based automaker may not abandon the technology, as liquid-cooled cables are a “key” technology for it, says Electrek.

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