This test was scheduled to compare the different supercharging speeds between a US and China built Tesla Model 3 standard range plus electric car. We also took the opportunity to test the energy efficiency of both cars.
The energy efficiency test produced some unexpected results, but nothing that would make one car far superior to the other over its whole life.
Conditions for the day were fine and dry, with the outside air temperature starting at 19°C and creeping up to 26°C over the next 4 hours. The roads had light to moderate traffic allowing for both cars to stay visible to each other, there was no tailgating each other or drafting larger vehicles.
We attempted to drive a combination of suburban and highway routes, although a significant section of the journey was at 110kmh on a fairly coarse road surface that has a negative effect on range.
I’ve driven the same Forest Highway dozens of times in a Model S in the past 6 years and it’s certainly chews up the energy as much as any West Australian road I can think of.
To make the test as tidy as possible, both cars had the same cold tyre pressures (45psi), using the same brand and size tyres, both climate controls were set to 22°C throughout the full test when driving, and there were two occupants in each. Both cars preheated their batteries on approach to the supercharger.
We had the good fortune to have the Eaton V2 Superchargers to ourselves, avoiding shared cabinets.
The Supercharging Speed Test
Not really a groundbreaking surprise here but more of a reminder that the US installed NCA batteries have a slightly different charging profile to the China installed LFP batteries. The good news is both cars had a reasonable good charging speed between 20% and 90% on a V2 Supercharger capped at 135kw, the US build taking 33 minutes, the China build taking 32 minutes.
The Efficiency Test
The Trip A south in temperatures between 19°C and 22°C was a total distance of 129kms via a detour through Pinjarra, this produced a small surprise that we initially put down to a margin of error, the US car had a trip average of 153Wh/km against the China car of 157Wh/km, I didn’t expect the China car to have any advantage on such a mild day, a cold day would have certainly given it a win.
The Trip B north was a more direct 103kms with temperatures between 23°C and 26°C. This did throw up an interesting result, the US car averaged 145Wh/km, the China car 158Wh/km, and that sort of gap wasn’t expected.
So why the difference?
It wasn’t driver behaviour, we swapped passengers at the supercharger and I spent time with both drivers, and there wasn’t any significant difference in accelerating or braking.
As the cars had been matched as close as possible the only difference was the age of the tyres, although the China model 3 had 1200kms on its tyres it appears they need some more age and distance before the tyres produce their best efficiency.
Many thanks to Nigel and Alex for giving up their Saturday morning to conduct this test.
Source: Tesla Owners Club Western Australia. Reproduced with permission.