2021 Tesla Model S Plaid Fast Charging Analysis (3 Cars Compared)

The topic of today’s fast charging analysis is the top-of-the-line Tesla Model S Plaid. We will take a look at the charging results at V3 Tesla Supercharging stations (250 kW) for a total of three cars.

The first Tesla Model S Plaid (presented above) is the one tested in October by our very own Kyle Conner for Out of Spec Reviews. We will focus solely on this one in the first part of the article.

In the second part, we will compare the numbers with a Model S Plaid test, conducted also in October, by our very own Tom Moloughney (he reported the results here), as well as with an initial MotorTrend‘ test from June.

In other words – three different cars, three different V3 Superchargers, three different users and weather conditions. Let’s crunch some numbers and see the outcome.

Charging power vs state-of-charge (SOC)

Kyle’s test was from 0-100%, but we were able to collect data only from about 2% SOC. Charging started at a relatively high 150 kW level and after a while quickly increased to 249 kW around 8% SOC.

We don’t know why it remained for a while at 150 kW – maybe the battery required an additional temperature increase (despite it being preconditioned before the session).

The Tesla Model S Plaid can charge at V3 Superchargers at a maximum power of 250 kW. In the case of Kyle’s test, it was mostly at 249 kW peak (250 kW number was blinking from time to time as well).

The maximum output was available between about 8% SOC and 33% SOC (25 percentage points or 6 minutes).

Then, the charging output decreases smoothly, below 148 kW at 50% SOC and below 68 kW at 80% SOC. Above 95% SOC it’s less than 28 kW and at around 99-100% it slows to a single-digit kW.

Interesting is that the car remains at 100% SOC – for more than 15 minutes – charging (or maybe balancing the cells) at a few kW (we guess that most of the power is for auxiliary purposes – car electronics and battery temperature management).

The charging curve suggests that the best practice is to arrive at low SOC, when the power level is the highest and for sure do not waste time at a high SOC if it’s not necessary to reach the destination/another charging point.

The total energy dispensed was 97 kWh, according to the car display.

State-of-charge (SOC) vs time

Speaking about the time, charging from 20% to 80% SOC took about 25.5 minutes. 10-80% SOC took a little bit over 28 minutes. Those are very good numbers.

The move from 80% to 90% required an additional 10 minutes for a total of 38 minutes (10-90% SOC).

The entire session from 0-100% took 1 hour and 23 minutes, however the 100% SOC number was reached in 1 hour and 5 minutes. The additional time at 100% SOC is probably the final cell balancing.

The chart below is only for illustrative purposes:

Average charging power vs state-of-charge (SOC)

The average power in the very important range from 20% to 80% SOC is 137 kW, which is 55% of the peak value. Between 10% and 90% the average would be 123 kW.

C-rate vs state-of-charge (SOC)

The peak C-rate* – charging power in relation to the total battery capacity of 100 kWh (rough estimation) – is about 2.5C. It’s one of the highest in the industry (the tops are around 3.0C) and maintained for a substantial part of the session: 25 percentage points between 8% and 33% SOC.

The average C-rate when charging from 20% to 80% SOC is 1.37C.

*C-rate tells us how the charging power relates to the battery pack capacity. For example: 1C is 1-hour charging power (current), when the power value in kW is equal to the battery pack capacity in kWh. 2C would be enough to recharge in half an hour.

The net battery capacity of 95 kWh (rough estimation) stands for about 95% of the total battery capacity.

Range replenishing speed vs state-of-charge (SOC)

The rate of range replenishing depends on the energy consumption and the energy consumption depends on the use case.

In this article we will use Tesla Model S Plaid range numbers for the 21″ wheel version of the car (the 19″ wheel version has a higher range).

  • WLTP
    Taking into consideration the WLTP range of 628 km (390 miles) and available battery capacity of 95 kWh, we can assume energy consumption of 151 Wh/km (243 Wh/mile).
    The effective average speed of range replenishing when charging from 20% to 80% SOC would be 15.1 km/minute (9.4 miles/minute).
  • EPA Combined range
    Taking into consideration the EPA Combined range of 348 miles (560 km) and available battery capacity of 95 kWh, we can assume energy consumption of 273 Wh/mile (170 Wh/km).
    The effective average speed of range replenishing when charging from 20% to 80% SOC would be 8.4 miles/minute (13.4 km/minute).
  • EPA Highway range
    Taking into consideration the EPA Highway range of 341 miles (549 km) and available battery capacity of 95 kWh, we can assume energy consumption of 279 Wh/mile (173 Wh/km).
    The effective average speed of range replenishing when charging from 20% to 80% SOC would be 8.2 miles/minute (13.2 km/minute).
  • IEVs 70 mph range test
    Taking into consideration the IEVs 70 mph range test result of 300 miles (483 km) and available battery capacity of 95 kWh, we can assume energy consumption of 317 Wh/mile (197 Wh/km).
    The effective average speed of range replenishing when charging from 20% to 80% SOC would be  7.2 miles/minute (11.6 km/minute).

Tesla says that the car should be able to replenish 187 miles (301 km) in 15 minutes – 12.5 miles (20 km) per minute. Assuming the EPA Combined range, Kyle’s test was below that number, but it would be probably easily achievable with 19″ wheels (higher range) or Long Range version. Anyway, assuming the IEVs 70 mph range result, it would be substantially lower (150 miles or so in 15 minutes).

Ultimate DC fast charging card

Here is our ultimate charging card for the Tesla Model S Plaid 21″ (2021) that shows an estimated time of charging to add a certain number of SOC percent points, average charging power, added energy and added range for listed SOC ranges. Click here to enlarge the image.

The matrix above, might be helpful from the user perspective, but be aware that it’s just an estimate from a particular test, with measure and calculation uncertainty probably above 5%. On top of that comes variation for individual case – car (version, age/battery state-of-health), charger, ambient and battery temperature, software version and more (including cabin heating/cooling during charging). Another thing is that the charging curve might shift when charging starts at a lower/higher SOC.

Comparisons with other EVs

Now it’s time to compare all three Tesla Model S Plaid Supercharging tests, conducted in the U.S.

  • Kyle Conner’s test for Out of Spec Reviews (October 2021)
  • Tom Moloughney’s test (October 2021)
    The test was conducted after the InsideEVs’ 70 mph range test with a fully depleted battery;
    at 80% SOC, the session was interrupted, and required a quick re-connection (see the bump on the black line)
  • MotorTrend‘s test (June 2021)

Three different cars, three different Supercharging stations, three different users, three different days and conditions, as well as three slightly different starting points.

Important note: we have adjusted MotorTrend‘s test results to a new rough estimation of net/total battery capacity and WLTP range results for the 21″ Plaid version.

Comparison of charging power

The charging curves of all three cars are surprisingly similar to each other. The main difference is the initial part, but it’s mostly related to a different starting point and battery temperature, we assume. Anyway, once the charging hits its peak value of 250 kW or so, things are very similar.

Tom’s session is the best we have seen so far – as it surges up quicker than in other cases and remains at flat 250 kW for the longest period (between 6% to 33% SOC, so for about 26 percentage points or over 6 minutes). That’s slightly better than in the case of Kyle’s test, but from the perspective of an average user, it’s the same result – most likely, related to the initial temperature of preconditioned car and the cooling capabilities of the pack.

The total energy dispensed was 97 kWh in both – Tom’s and Kyle’s tests, according to the car display. That includes replenished energy and losses, auxiliary loads and battery cooling.

The average power in the 20-80% SOC window is as high as 139 kW, which is a really good number. We don’t know why it’s substantially higher than in the MotorTrend‘s test. There are a lot of factors, including a potential software tweak.

DC Fast Charging Comparison by InsideEVs
Model
[data source]
Drive /
Battery
(kWh)
Max
Power
Avg
Power
(20-80%)
Max
C-Rate
2021 Tesla Model S Plaid 21″ (V3 SC)
[Out of Spec Reviews]
AWD
100 kWh
249 kW 137 kW 2.5
2021 Tesla Model S Plaid 21″ (V3 SC)
[Tom Moloughney]
AWD
100 kWh
250 kW 139 kW 2.5
2021 Tesla Model S Plaid 21″ (V3 SC)
[MotorTrend]
AWD
100 kWh
250 kW 130 kW 2.5

Comparison of State-of-charge (SOC) vs time

There is basically no big difference between Tom’s and Kyle’s charging time. Tom’s session was slightly quicker – 25 minutes between 20% and 80% SOC. It was also about 4 minutes shorter between 0% and 100% SOC – 1 hour and 1 minute.

Including the final balancing – until the session ended – it was 1 hour and 13.5 minutes (10 minutes less than in the case of Kyle’s test).

*The starting points were adjusted to the lowest common SOC.

The chart below is only for illustrative purposes:

Comparison of C-rate

No difference in C-rate, aside from the initial part related to starting power, described above.

A quick look at the results:

DC Fast Charging Comparison by InsideEVs
Model
[data source]
Drive /
Battery
(kWh)
Max
Power
Avg
Power
(20-80%)
Max
C-Rate
Avg
C-Rate
(20-80%)
Time
(20-80%)
2021 Tesla Model S Plaid 21″
(V3 SC)
[Out of Spec Reviews]
AWD
100 kWh
249 kW 137 kW 2.5 1.4 25.5 min
2021 Tesla Model S Plaid 21″
(V3 SC)
[Tom Moloughney]
AWD
100 kWh
250 kW 139 kW 2.5 1.4 25 min
2021 Tesla Model S Plaid 21″
(V3 SC)
[MotorTrend]
AWD
100 kWh
250 kW 130 kW 2.5 1.3 27 min

Comparison of range replenishing speed

The range replenishing rate is above 21 km/min (13 miles/min) at peak level if we assume 300 miles (483 km) of range, achieved in the InsideEVs’ 70 mph range test.

Of course, if someone would like to use WLTP on the more optimistic end of the spectrum, it would be higher – up to 27.4 km/min (17.1 miles/min). The EPA is somewhere in between the WLTP and InsideEVs’ 70 mph range test.

The average range replenishing rate in the 20-80% SOC window, assuming the InsideEVs’ 70 mph range test is:

  • Kyle’s test – 11.6 km/min (7.2 mi/min)
  • Tom’s test – 11.8 km/min (7.3 mi/min)

WLTP’s results would be north of 15 km/min:

  • Kyle’s test – 15.1 km/min (9.4 mi/min)
  • Tom’s test – 15.3 km/min (9.5 mi/min)
DC Fast Charging Comparison by InsideEVs
Model
[data source]
Drive /
Battery
(kWh)
Avg
Power
(20-80%)
WLTP range
rep. rate
(20-80%)
EPA range
rep. rate
(20-80%)
EPA Hgw range
rep. rate
(20-80%)
IEVs 70mph range
rep. rate
(20-80%)
2021 Tesla Model S Plaid 21″
(V3 SC)
[Out of Spec Reviews]
AWD
100
kWh
137
kW
15.1 km/min
9.4 mi/min
13.4 km/min
(8.4 mi/min)
13.2 km/min
(8.2 mi/min)
11.6 km/min
(7.2 mi/min)
2021 Tesla Model S Plaid 21″
(V3 SC)
[Tom Moloughney]
AWD
100
kWh
139
kW
15.3 km/min
9.5 mi/min
13.7 km/min
(8.5 mi/min)
13.4 km/min
(8.3 mi/min)
11.8 km/min
(7.3 mi/min)
2021 Tesla Model S Plaid 21″
(V3 SC)
[MotorTrend]
AWD
100
kWh
130
kW
14.3 km/min
8.9 mi/min
12.8 km/min
(7.9 mi/min)
12.5 km/min
(7.8 mi/min)
11 km/min
(6.8 mi/min)

Conclusions

The conclusion from the DC fast charging test of the Tesla Model S Plaid 21″ (2021) is that the results are quite consistent between different cars.

The maximum output is up to 250 kW at V3 Superchargers and in optimum conditions, it lasts for about 25 percent points (6-33% SOC in Tom’s Test) or roughly 6 minutes. Then, charging power decreases smoothly.

The decrease implies that it’s not optimum to charge Tesla Model S Plaid to a high SOC. The two latest tests have proven that 20-80% can be achieved in just 25-25.5 minutes. Starting at 10% and ending at 70% would take less time (some 20 minutes) and it’s worth some 180 miles (290 km) of driving at 70 mph (113 km/h).

It’s clear to us that the new, completely redesigned battery pack (new modules and pack, with the same 1860-type cylindrical cells) in the Tesla Model S/X are a major improvement compared to the previous versions.

However, the refreshed Tesla Model S/Model X – at least as tested – is not on par with the newer models that can charge at even higher power levels and replenish range faster, like the models based on the Hyundai Motor Group’s E-GMP platform (a third faster WLTP range replenishing rate in the Hyundai Ioniq 5). The top models in terms of fast charging require only 15 minutes to go from 20% to 80% SOC.

We will get into more fast charging analysis and comparisons between particular models soon, including the Lucid Air. Stay tuned for more.

Summary:

2021 Tesla Model S Plaid 21″ (V3 SC) :: DC Fast Charging Summary by InsideEVs
Drive: AWD; Battery pack (net / total): 95 / 100 kWh
[Data source: Out of Spec Reviews]
Peak Power
Peak C-rate

Average Power (20-80% SOC)
Average-to-Peak Power
Average C-rate (20-80% SOC)

Time (20-80% SOC)

249 kW
2.5

137 kW
55%
1.4

25.5 min

Range Replenishing Speed (Average 20-80% SOC):
WLTP
EPA Combined
EPA Highway
InsideEVs 70 mph
15.1 km/min (9.4 mi/min)
13.4 km/min (8.4 mi/min)
13.2 km/min (8.2 mi/min)
11.6 km/min (7.2 mi/min)

 

2021 Tesla Model S Plaid 21″ (V3 SC) :: DC Fast Charging Summary by InsideEVs
Drive: AWD; Battery pack (net / total): 95 / 100 kWh
[Data source: Tom Moloughney]
Peak Power
Peak C-rate

Average Power (20-80% SOC)
Average-to-Peak Power
Average C-rate (20-80% SOC)

Time (20-80% SOC)

250 kW
2.5

139 kW
55%
1.4

25 min

Range Replenishing Speed (Average 20-80% SOC):
WLTP
EPA Combined
EPA Highway
InsideEVs 70 mph
15.3 km/min (9.5 mi/min)
13.7 km/min (8.5 mi/min)
13.4 km/min (8.3 mi/min)
11.8 km/min (7.3 mi/min)

General info:

* Some values on the charts are estimated from the data source.

** Temperature of the battery cells might highly negatively affect charging capabilities. We don’t have data about temperatures of the battery at the beginning and during the charging process. In cold or hot weather, as well as after driving very dynamically, charging power might be significantly lower than shown on the charts (in extreme cases charging might be impossible until the battery temperature will not return to an acceptable level).


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