The Crazy Reason Why 800-Volt EVs Would Not Be Able to Fast Charge at Tesla Superchargers

800-volt EVs would not be able to fast charge at Tesla Superchargers 6 photos
Photo: Out of Spec Reviews via YouTube | Edited
A Lucid Air at a Supercharger stationSlow charging at the SuperchargerSupercharger access for non-Tesla EVs goes live in the U.S.Supercharger access for non-Tesla EVs goes live in the U.S.Supercharger access for non-Tesla EVs goes live in the U.S.
People cheered when Tesla installed Magic Docks at several Supercharger stations in the U.S., allowing owners of non-Tesla EVs to charge. In a short while, drama ensued when owners of Lucid and other 800-volt EVs discovered the charging speed was severely limited. As it turns out, this is not Tesla’s thought, but the Government should have known better when it started the NEVI program.
Tesla and Biden Administration have recently announced an agreement to open the Supercharger network to all other EVs. In exchange, Tesla could access money from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law via the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program (NEVI Formula). The program will hand $7.5 billion to companies building EV charging stations, with the condition that all EVs can use them. Tesla jumped on board and said it would offer 3,500 fast-charging stations (Superchargers) and 4,000 Level 2 chargers as part of the program.

To enable other electric vehicles to use the Supercharger network in the U.S., Tesla needed to provide an adapter from its NACS to the CCS plug that almost all other EVs use. That’s how we ended up with the Magic Dock, an intelligent dispenser that deploys the NACS-CCS adapter as required for non-Tesla EVs. However, other problems exist when a non-Tesla tries to charge at a Supercharger. Some are related to the charge port position and the short charging cord, which pose challenges for non-Tesla EV owners.

But other issues came into focus after Tesla started the pilot in the U.S. Soon, it became obvious that owners of EVs equipped with an 800-volt architecture were out of luck. These include Lucid Air, Hyundai Ioniq 6/Kia EV6 and other E-GMP-based EVs, and Porsche Taycan/Audi e-tron GT, among others. Lucid Air EVs are the most impacted, with owners complaining that they could only reach 50 kW at a Supercharger, which is unacceptable for a modern EV.

There’s a spat between Tesla fans and Lucid owners going on right now on social media, each side claiming the other makes bad EVs and, of course, bad charging stations. The problem is not Tesla’s fault, and there isn’t much Tesla can do to accommodate those higher-voltage cars. As Kyle Conner from Out of Spec Reviews explained, the problem resides with the DC-to-DC boosters inside those vehicles.

In the case of the Lucid Air, the car is equipped with two parallel 25-kW DC-DC converters for a total of 50 kW drawn from a legacy 450-volt charger. It will not be able to use more than 50 kW of power at the Supercharger unless Lucid installs a more powerful DC-DC converter or Tesla starts building 900-volt charging stations. Porsche Taycan is also limited to 50 kW in standard, but the German carmaker at least offers a 150-kW DC-DC booster as an option when configuring the car.

As you can see, each non-Tesla EV with an 800-volt or higher electrical system will only be able to charge as fast as its internal DC-DC booster can allow it. The exception is GMC Hummer EV, which handles charging more intelligently. Its huge battery has two packs, which can be charged in series for 800+ volt chargers or in parallel when hooked to a 450-volt charger. We don’t know of any Hummer EV charging at a Supercharger yet, but we’ll probably find out soon.

Although it’s not Tesla’s fault, the charging limitations for 800-volt EVs still mean that some EV owners would be unable to use them. If Tesla takes government money, they should at least build V4 stations, which output 900 volts. That way, all EVs could fully use them (and taxpayers’ money). According to recent reports, Tesla has started to deploy new V4 Superchargers in Europe, and it should do the same in the U.S. before the Cybertruck begins production.

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About the author: Cristian Agatie
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After his childhood dream of becoming a "tractor operator" didn't pan out, Cristian turned to journalism, first in print and later moving to online media. His top interests are electric vehicles and new energy solutions.
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