Tesla Model 3 from 2021 charges more slowly than that of 2020

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Fast charge analysis of the basic version Standard (Range) Plus

Tesla Model 3 from 2021 charges more slowly than that of 2020-2021

The Tesla Model 3 is without a doubt the best-selling electric car in the world. The electric sedan has a long range, a lot of power and also charges quickly. In this fast charge analysis now take a look at the loading results of the entry-level version Standard (Range) Plus, often referred to as SR +. It concerns the version sold in Europe, which is (currently) manufactured in the USA.

The 2021 Tesla Model 3 SR + was recently tested by the Norwegian-Thai Youtuber Bjørn Nyland. Here is his video:

We compare the results with the "SR +" model from 2019 and 2020, using data from the Fastned fast-charging network. These appear to be in line with Nyland’s 2020 Model 3 SR + results.

Both cars are likely to have Panasonic’s NCA battery cells (with a cathode made of nickel, cobalt, and aluminum), which are manufactured at Tesla‘s Gigafactory 1 in Nevada. However, the battery sizes and, as a result, the ranges differ:

  • 2021 Model 3 SR +: 55 kWh (50.9 kWh usable), WLTP range 448 km
  • 2020 Model 3 SR +: 53 kWh (49.0 kWh usable), WLTP range 409 km

A Chinese-made Model 3 SR has recently been launched in Europe+ with a LFP battery from CATL, which probably has different charging properties. Originally there was also an "SR +" version with NCM batteries from LG Energy Solution in China. According to rumors, LG batteries are also used in some US-made Teslas. This mess makes Tesla vehicles difficult to compare. In addition to the differences in the battery hardware, there may be changes due to software updates.

Analysis of the data by Bjørn Nyland and Fastned shows that the new Tesla Model 3 SR + charges more slowly than the 2019 and 2020 versions. This could be related to the switch to a new battery chemistry that results in higher energy densities and lower costs, as well as a lower cobalt content should lead. A side effect of the change is supposed to be a slightly lower charging capacity.

But there are also other options. Maybe Tesla has capped the initial charging power to make sure everything works as it should. Then, at a later date, Tesla could unlock a similar or better charging capacity as in the 2020 model.

Charging curve

Tesla Model 3 from 2021 charges more slowly than that of 2020-slowly

The charging curve of the 2021 model is very smooth, it shows no steps that result from artificial power limits for certain SOC values. The maximum charging power (when charging starts at around 10% SOC) is 159 kW. From 65 percent charge level (SOC), however, the charging power is below 50 kW, which is not particularly high.

We don’t have exact charging times, but the video shows that it took about 30 minutes to load from 20 percent to 80 percent. This graphic shows how the charge level has changed over time:

Tesla Model 3 from 2021 charges more slowly than that of 2020-2021

Average charging power at 20-80% SOC

The average output in the important area of ​​20 to 80 percent SOC is 64 kW – again not a particularly good result. That corresponds to only 40 percent of the maximum charging capacity.

In order to minimize the charging time on a long-distance journey, it is therefore worthwhile to arrive at the fast charging column with a lower SOC level. Because, for example, with 10 percent remaining charge, the car charges significantly faster than with 25 percent.

Tesla Model 3 from 2021 charges more slowly than that of 2020-slowly

C rates over the course of the charging process

The maximum C-rate (i.e. the maximum charging power of 159 kW here, divided by the gross battery capacity of an estimated 55 kWh) is around 2.9C. That is one of the highest values ​​in the industry.

Tesla Model 3 from 2021 charges more slowly than that of 2020-slowly

However, the average C-rate when charging from 20 to 80 percent is below 1.2C, which is just average. For comparison: the Audi e-tron is 1.6C.

As a reminder: The C-rate indicates how the charging power relates to the capacity of the battery. 1C results, for example, if a 55 kWh battery with 55 kW charging power is fully charged in one hour. 2C would be enough to charge the battery in half an hour.

The estimated net battery capacity of 50.9 kWh corresponds to around 93 percent of the total battery capacity. The buffer (i.e. the difference between gross and net capacity) is seven percent. To explain: the larger this buffer, the more resistant a battery is, for example against high loads, against holding at the maximum SOC and against aging.

How fast is the range recharged??

How quickly the range is recharged depends on the power consumption. Here we calculate this from the WLTP range (448 km) and the net battery capacity of 50.9 kWh. This results in 114 watt hours per kilometer (Wh / km) or 11.4 kWh / 100 km.

According to this, the range (on average in the charging range of 20 to 80 percent) is recharged at a rate of 9.4 km / minute. The calculation method: The average charging power when charging from 20 to 80 percent (64 kW for the M3 SR + from 2021, see above) is divided by the power consumption in watt minutes per kilometer (here 114 Wh / km or 6,840 Wmin / km).

Tesla Model 3 from 2021 charges more slowly than that of 2020-2021

As you can see in the diagram above, Tesla shines at the speed of range reloading. The reason for this is the high efficiency of the Model 3 SR+.

Comparison with the Tesla Model 3 SR + from 2020

Charging curve

In the following we compare the Tesla Model 3 SR + from 2021 with the mentioned older version from 2019/2020. The older version had a significantly higher charging capacity in the range of 10-80 percent, as the comparison of the charging curves shows:

Tesla Model 3 from 2021 charges more slowly than that of 2020-slowly

The charging power seems to be capped in the 2020 version to a value of 170 kW. The maximum charging power is therefore higher than with the current version (159 kW).

Duration of the charging process

Now let’s see how long it takes to load (note: the starting points have been adjusted to the lowest common SOC):

Tesla Model 3 from 2021 charges more slowly than that of 2020-tesla

The higher charging capacity of the older model leads to a significantly faster charging process: 80 percent are reached after around 22 minutes, while this takes 30 minutes with the current version.

C rates

The C-rate of the older Model 3 SR + is noticeably higher than that of the new version. At its peak it even exceeds 3.0C.

Tesla Model 3 from 2021 charges more slowly than that of 2020-2020

All in all, the old Model 3 SR + charges around a third faster than the new one, as our comparison table shows:

Fast charging comparison: Tesla Model 3 SR + from 2021 and 2020
model
[Data Source]
Drive /
battery
Charging power
(maximum)
Charging power
(average,
20-80%)

C rate

(maximum)

C rate
(average,
20-80%) Loading time
(20-80%) Tesla Model 3 SR + from 2020
[Fastned] RWD /
53 kWh 170 kW 82 kW 3.2 1.5 22 min Tesla Model 3 SR + from 2021
[Bjørn Nyland] RWD /
55 kWh 159 kW 64 kW 2.9 1.2 30 min

Range reload

Since the newer Model 3 SR + has a longer range, it partially compensates for the lower charging power. In fact, the difference in range reloading is not as great as the difference in charging power:

Tesla Model 3 from 2021 charges more slowly than that of 2020-charges

The new Model 3 has an average charging power of 22 percent lower (in the range of 20-80 percent SOC), while range is recharged 18 percent more slowly. The WLTP range itself is nearly 10 percent higher, so maybe that’s a compromise by design.

Fast charging comparison
model
[Data Source]
Drive /
battery
Charging power
(Average, 20-80%)
Range reload
(Average, 20-80%)
Tesla Model 3 SR + from 2020
[Fastned]
RWD
53 kWh
82 kW 11.4 km / min
Tesla Model 3 SR + from 2021
[Bjørn Nyland]
RWD
55 kWh
64 kW 9.4 km / min

Conclusion

The Tesla Model 3 SR + from 2021 offers very good DC fast charging properties, but they are not as good as the SR + from 2020. The reason for this could be a compromise between the energy density (for a longer range) and the charging performance.

In the case of the Model 3 SR +, it is really worthwhile to run the battery almost empty. Because then the charging power is significantly higher, at least at the beginning, than with a higher charge level.

Tesla Model 3 SR + from 2021: fast charging properties
Drive: RWD; Battery (net / gross): 50.9 / 55.0 kWh
[Data source: Bjørn Nyland]
Maximum charging power
C rate maximum

Charging performance (average, 20-80% SOC)
Average charging power in relation to the maximum
C rate (average, 20-80% SOC)

Charging time (20-80% SOC)

159 kW
2.9

64 kW
40%
1.2

approx. 30 min

Range Replenishing Speed ​​(Average 20-80% SOC):
Range reloading (WLTP, average, 20-80%) 9.4 km / min

More fast charge analytics: Tesla Model 3 from 2021 charges more slowly than that of 2020-2021 Hyundai Ioniq 5: Charging curve confirms fixed range reloading

Tesla Model 3 from 2021 charges more slowly than that of 2020-2020 Ford Mustang Mach-E: Analysis of the charging curve during fast charging

General information:

  • Some values ​​on the charts are estimates based on the data source
  • The temperature of the battery cells can have a very negative effect on the charging capacity. We have no data on the temperatures of the battery at the beginning and during the charging process. At low or high temperatures and after very dynamic driving, the charging power can be significantly lower than indicated in the diagrams. In extreme cases, the charging process can even be completely impossible.

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