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Liquid-Cooled Superchargers From Tesla (Video)

Originally published on Gas2.

A thermal imaging video of the new Tesla liquid-cooled Supercharger has found its way onto YouTube, thanks to Tesla forum member KManAuto. The first facility so equipped is found just down the hill from Tesla headquarters in Mountain View, California, and there could be a lot of benefits to using liquid cooling.

The video features thermal imaging that proves the thinner charging cable and the air coming from underneath the liquid-cooled Supercharger are barely above ambient air temperature, even on a warm, 85° day.

Why would Tesla bother to add propylene-glycol-cooled charging cables to its Superchargers? Three reasons come to mind:

1. The thinner cables are lighter, more flexible, and easier to handle. That will be especially important in cold climates.

2. Liquid cooling will allow higher charging rates in the future for shorter charging times. Rates as high as 200 kW may be coming within a few years and Tesla wants to be ready.

3. Faster charging means more cars can be charged in any 24 hour period. More cars being charged means fewer Supercharger stations need to be built.

Tesla has a habit of being at least 2 jumps ahead of the competition. No other carmaker has a dedicated network of charging stations equal to what Tesla has. Upscale merchants, restaurants, and hotels are adding Tesla chargers to attract new business from Tesla drivers. Most of those other companies are hiding their chargers somewhere out behind their service departments.

Tesla is also making its Superchargers locations solar powered. Elon Musk said at the annual meeting recently that any locations that can’t be converted to solar power will soon get their electricity strictly from renewable sources. No other company is even thinking about doing that.

Tesla’s claim to fame is pushing the envelope. Liquid-cooled charging cables are just part of that plan.

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Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. 3000 years ago, Socrates said, "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new." Perhaps it's time we listened?


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