Following months of speculation, it is now certain: Tesla will bring its Model 3 with standard CSS port to the European market. On the 10th CCS Testing Symposium in mid-November in Arnhem, Netherlands, we had the chance to see the new model live and in action.
The decision on CCS-technology enables M3-owners to use the rapidly growing fast charging network of European providers, such as IONITY or Fastned. The proprietary Supercharger network with more than 400 locations and over 3,600 charging points within Europe will be retrofitted with CCS cables even before delivering the first Model 3 to the market. This was confirmed by Tesla’s head of global charging infrastructure, Drew Bennet, speaking to the British AutoExpress:
“There’ll be a significant retro-fit and the goal is to make sure for all the main travel routes, as Model 3 launches, that owners will be able to go anywhere on the Supercharger network.” 1(autoexpress.co.uk)
Having access to both worlds, the European CCS-based fast charging network as well as the Supercharger network, adds immense practicability to the European Model 3 – but even more: is Tesla possibly taking a look beyond their proprietary horizon?
“We’re all about accelerating the advent of sustainable energy and transportation and this is another way to help everybody scale.” 2
Bennet told AutoExpress (autoexpress.co.uk).
In the first place, Tesla is most probably concerned to meet the anticipated high demand when Model 3 is flooding onto the European market.
The Supercharger network offers some comfort to Tesla-drivers by now: in Germany, for example, it covers the entire highway network. The charging stations with eight to 16 charging points are rarely fully loaded and load capacity up to 135 kilowatts considerably reduce the charging time. With the start of 2019, when the first wave of Model 3 is rolling onto the market, things might change though at the red-and-white Superchargers.
The US answer to this challenge was as simple as effective: in contrast to Model S and X, the M3 cannot be charged for free within the SuC-network. This could possibly be a European solution, too – but yet there is another challenge on the continental market: load capacities over 7 kilowatts require three-phase type-2-sockets – and battery chargers as heavy as expensive installed in the car. While the more expensive Model S and X have one integrated already, Tesla’s middle-class model is facing a problem here.
The standard CCS-port for Model 3 is Tesla’s pragmatic answer to this challenge: by accessing to the European fast charging infrastructure the Supercharger network is being relieved, and there’s no pressure for substantial extension to cope with the rush demand.
Retrofitting the existing Superchargers before market launch, as promised, will in addition ensure high availability on the main travel tours within Europe. It is doubtful whether these ambitious plans serve only for the charging comfort of European M3-drivers – or if Tesla is actually opening up for third-party manufacturers.
According to Drew Bennet, Tesla is still very much open for discussions with other manufacturers about them having access to the Tesla-network. However, the Californians see themselves way ahead of the field, which is considered as a main obstacle for cooperations: “They’re still trying to figure out what they would need in a network, but we’re a couple of years ahead of them in terms of embracing the investment required to transition to EVs” 3, said Bennet (autoexpress.co.uk).
Considering the booming sales figures for Tesla’s middle class-EV at home in California, the decision for standard CCS ports might abet the short term EV adoption within Europe. By opening up for European standards the market leader from Silicon Valley has, in any case, made a promising first step.
The next one could even be a step further: partnering with Hubject Tesla would gain immediate reach for their own charging network as well as a customer-friendly alternative for all Tesla drivers – not only throughout Germany and Europe but all over the world.