Why Volkswagen trusts Tesla for fast electric car charging

A few electric car drivers have noticed an amusing presence at an Electrify America station (created by Volkswagen following Dieselgate) in the United States. Tesla Megapacks have been installed in the stations to provide more efficient fast charging. We explain why, and how it works.

Tesla certainly produces cars, with in particular the Tesla Model Y which is now the best-selling car in the world all engines combined, but not only. Tesla Superchargers are another flagship product of Elon Musk’s firm, and to complete their offer, there is energy storage: Megapacks.

These Megapacks allow during fast charging sessions not to depend entirely on the electrical network, since they are large batteries that are discharged at a very high power so that the vehicles in charge can carve the road as quickly as possible. But recently, these Tesla Megapacks were spotted on an Electrify America stationwhich makes some observers smile.

Let’s remember before getting to the heart of the matter that the Electrify America charging network is one of the largest in the country (behind the Tesla Superchargers). It was created by Volkswagen (number 3 in electric cars behind BYD and Tesla) at the request of the American authorities, following the Dieselgate scandal. It is more or less the equivalent of the Ionity network in Europe.

When you don’t charge at Tesla, it’s still thanks to Tesla

Some fans of the American brand openly say that Tesla has a head start on the competition as its offer relating to electric mobility is wide. Vehicles are well known, as are Superchargers, but there is another area where Tesla excels, and that is in production and storage of electricity.

We can cite the famous Tesla Solar tiles, or even the Powerwall, these batteries intended for domestic use. Megapacks are a form of larger energy storage, with many and varied applications. In practice, these are huge lithium-ion batteries. These Megapacks are used in particular in places where the electricity network is regularly cut due to natural disasters, in order to allow the inhabitants to always benefit from electricity.

Each unit can hold 3 MWh (either 3000 kWh, or enough to fully charge 30 Tesla Model S), these Megapacks are very interesting near fast charging stations. We can also see it on the video posted on Twitter below, near an Electrify America station.

The hidden secret Electrify America doesn’t want you to know! Okay, it’s not hidden or a secret, but I found it amusing pic.twitter.com/EDsxcRlna8

—Robert Dunn (@AgingWheels) May 18, 2023

The interests of Megapacks next to charging stations

It’s an open secret to see this Tesla hardware at an Electrify America station, since the announcement dates back to 2019. The interest is obvious: by filling the batteries of the Megapacks when electricity is the cheapest (probably at night), Electrify America can limit its costs, and thus keep aggressive rates for roaming recharges.

Above all, the Megapacks make it possible to avoid having to connect the charging stations to a very high-power electrical network. Electrify America promises a maximum power of 350 kW on its terminals, of which 210 kW comes from Megapacks. All that remains is to draw 140 kW from the electricity grid instead of 350 kW. At some stations, Electrify America even adds 66 kW of power through solar panels.

In France, we haven’t seen any Tesla batteries so far other than at the Superchargers, but it wouldn’t be impossible to see some. After all, Tesla’s offer in this segment is competitive enough for other players like Ionity or Fastned to decide to equip themselves with it.

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