Can I make my garage a Supercharger?

Can I make my garage a Supercharger?

I'm just thinking...since a Supercharger uses exactly the same cable as the HPWC, is it possible to have an electrician send enough current into the HPWC to turn it into a Supercharger? If there is circuitry inside the HPWC to prevent that, does that mean that only Tesla can make a SC?

Webcrawler | February 3, 2014

Short answer is no.... It is a DC charging system not an AC charging system...

Panoz | February 3, 2014

So how could I put an SC in my garage? Is it only technology that Tesla will allow at company locations?

DJung | February 3, 2014

A Supercharger supplies a voltage of 120 kWh. It is an incredibly high voltage system and it is considered industrial grade. It would not be possible for installation at home.

negarholger | February 3, 2014

How much electricity does your house have? (the feed from the utility)

PBEndo | February 3, 2014

I don't think they use the same cable. The supercharger cable is thicker.

sule | February 3, 2014

Short answer is, actually, "yes". I'd Superchargers can be made and installed anywhere at all, they can also be installed at home. Say you buy an existing Supercharger and then build a home around it :)

The issue is not AC vs. DC but the cost of this. DC can be made from AC easily. It just costs a lot at these amperages. You'd need a supply that can handle at least 120 kW, which would be equal to 500 Amps at 240V. And that kind of service is usually not available for homes unless we're talking palaces...

negarholger | February 3, 2014

No it is not the same cable and wires are connected to different pins.

DallasTXModelS | February 3, 2014

Just watched the lecture from the head engineer of Tesla that answered that exact question from one of the students listening to the lecture. He said it would not be possible to supercharge at home because of the large amount of electricity needed to charge at the speed that the supercharger loads the Tesla battery.

It's the thread that says something about battery swapping and FUD.

DJung | February 3, 2014

Yes, the cable itself is different as well. There is a lot of equipment that has to be put in. It is not possible, well at least for any reasonable sum of money.

Panoz | February 3, 2014

I'm curious about putting a SC outside available for other users at my place. If I *could* get the wiring, I am wondering if the same connector can be used. I'm getting the idea that a SC is a different animal than a home charger (HPWC). More wiring isn't enough, apparently.

Panoz | February 3, 2014

So will Tesla sell me a Supercharger?

Obsoletion | February 3, 2014

From what I have seen, the supercharger has an input voltage of 480v AC and there is almost no chance of getting that voltage installed at a home. My business has 480 volt service, but have never heard of a home that would be able to get that kind of power. There are exceptions such as farms/ranches that will have that level of power for equipment, etc and then step down for the home use. I would also guess that a single supercharger would cost in the range of $100,000...

Dramsey | February 3, 2014

"I'm getting the idea that a SC is a different animal than a home charger (HPWC). More wiring isn't enough, apparently."

Uh, yeah. Have you ever been to a Supercharger? Did you happen to notice the giant transformers at one end or the other of the row of chargers (often they're in green metal cabinets, or surrounded by a fence)?

Those svelte little pylons with "Tesla" on them are just the distribution points; the "supercharging" is done with large industrial transformers. I'm pretty sure that even if you had that kind of power (400-700kV) coming into your neighborhood, there's no way your building codes would allow something like that.

So if you wanted your own Supercharger, not only would you need a hundred grand or so (Tesla says it's $100K-$175K), you'd need a building or lot in an industrial area of town to house it.

tesla.mahedy | February 3, 2014

I actually had the pleasure of talking to JB and Josh about this on Sunday. I asked about licensing the supercharging technology to other people. Essential JB said no. The reason being, they don't want to have superchargers out there that confuse the customer. The best example he gave was, an owner drives to a supercharger that isn't owned or operated by Tesla, the charger doesn't work. Now, the customer is upset because he/she can't charge his car. Tesla is controlling, which in the case of infrastructure is a good quality to have. I would rather Tesla build every charger and always have every charger working, than not know who owns this specific supercharger and have to figure out who to complain to when I have a problem.

Panoz | February 3, 2014

@tesla.mahedy: that's my ultimate goal and purpose of this thread: I'm interested in non-Tesla Superchargers at locations that Tesla wouldn't be interested in. Could independent companies put for-pay SCs in alternate places?

Tâm | February 3, 2014

Technically, yes. There is no scientific reason that supercharger cannot work at home.

But practically, due legal, financial, codings, politics, then it's a no.

Your garage needs:

1) Big well ventilated space for those bigger than 4 x refrigerator size noisy electric wonder cabinets and transformers.

They usually occupy at least a size of 2 parking spaces, behind a 6 foot wall, and hidden from your sight so you don't notice them.

2) Deadly high voltage feed.

3) Building code for residential (which is a non-starter.)

4) Negotiate a financial and legal deal with Tesla for usage of its technology.

5) About $200,000 more or less for construction which is in addition to the money you spend on #4 licensing deal.

Good luck!

Tâm | February 3, 2014


However, as long as can persuade that your property is a good location for owners to stop by, suggest that to Tesla and it would build a supercharger station on your property for free.

as @tesla.mahedy said, as long as the technology belongs to them, and they have full control to it, then your property is good to go to receive a supercharger :)

Tesla would take care of all the construction, maintenance and electricity costs.

Good luck!

wolfpet | February 3, 2014

I came across this pic a while ago. I wonder whose house this is :-)

sagebrushnw | February 3, 2014

Think that picture is from one of the California Tesla stores.

Tâm | February 3, 2014


I wonder whose nice car this is :)

It is a commercial building "Subway Sandwich" that fools us as if if it's a home :)

It's part of Harris Ranch, CA.

tesla.mahedy | February 3, 2014

I'm sure you could pay to have it installed in your garage but you would have to have contracts and all sorts of legal documents in place that say its not actually yours and that tesla maintains full rights. I asked Josh (one of the leading engineers and the designer of the charging system) and JB about this for racing applications. It is clearly something that they've thought about.

I wonder, why not build a ChaDeMo (or wherever the caps are) charger and get the adapter? You could probably fix the adapter permanently onto the charging station. Almost a supercharger?

Tâm | February 3, 2014

Thanks @tesla.mahedy

Great consolation prize that I never thought of.

Just pay for about $17,000 (bulk price, single unit price higher).

If you can't get 120 kW, just get your own 50kW station!

Pungoteague_Dave | February 3, 2014

There are already portable SC units deployed in the wild that aren't very big. There's one currently installed on a temporary basis in the Montgomery Mall parking garage in Bethesda, MD. It is on a big metal pallet and can be moved around with a heavy duty forklift. Apparently a single charging unit can be fairly compact. With that said, no regular house has enough on site base electrical power to come close to driving the SC's needs.

Mark Z | February 3, 2014

The HPWC is an excellent alternative. It uses 50% of a 200 amp home AC supply panel with a 100 amp circuit breaker. It requires dual chargers in the Model S and current flows at a maximum of 58 mph.

Now if a "home version" of the SuperCharger were allowed, perhaps 4 chargers (like the ones inside the vehicle) could be housed in an electrical cabinet. The entire 200 amps for the home would flow into the 4 AC to DC chargers for Model S. it could provide as much as 116 miles per hour into the vehicle.

Some homes have 400 amp AC supply panels, so I assume it might be possible to have more powerful home versions. But buying a second Model S to charge while driving the first one may be a less costly proposition.

Panoz | February 3, 2014

Forget my house, folks. I'm really interested in putting one in a place that Tesla probably won't consider, so it would be a for-pay commercial Supercharger. It can't be a HPWC, that's not fast enough to give you trip continuance. I'm thinking about an SC that MS owners pay to use because they couldn't get a fast charge any other way.

graphite | February 3, 2014

I think another obstacle to rolling your own supercharger is the whole handshaking procedure when you first connect the cable.

"Hi, I'm Model A with Battery Z, can you give me XXX Voltage?"

"Hi yourself, I'm a supercharger, please give me direct DC access to the battery."

"Sure thing, here you go..."

jbunn | February 3, 2014


I assumed that was your agenda. Best to just state it up front, and not waste time.

On one hand, Tesla may decide to keep a closed system like Apple.

On the other, there IS a market for third party pay per use chargers.

I think at some point, several years down the road, Tesla may license the technology. I assume you might want to be in the modern "filling station business" complete with burritos and blue slurpies. Personaly, if there were no supercharger in range, I WOULD pay for a third party supercharger. I think it's a viable business model. Once we have a million Teslae on the road by 2020, we're going to need as many charging options as possible.

my .02 c

dglauz | February 3, 2014

@wolfpet, That car looks like e.musk's.

DTsea | February 3, 2014

The picture is obviously a dealer plate... so a Tesla store.

danej | February 3, 2014


Just put in a Chademo direct DC unit or a Clipper Creek 100A AC. For-fee charging is very common. Chargepoint, etc.

Brian H | February 4, 2014

In one of his recent European talks, Elon said they were open to eventually having private for-profit SCs installed, but at present were dancing as fast as they can building out the network.

WhisperingCJ | February 4, 2014

FWIW (unless it's a stock photo, just used for the article,) that first picture appears to be of the supercharger in St. Joseph, MI.

tes-s | February 4, 2014

Yes, I think Tesla would sell you a supercharger. You would need to be able to supply 3p 208v/280a or 480v/160a to power it.

ChristianG | February 4, 2014


Why so much? The superchargers normaly are working in pairs, if both are in use you only get half of the energy. I'm from europe, I'd have a 63A 240V 3 Phase outlet in my garage that would be 44KWH per houre. throu type 2 I only get half of the energy into the car. So even a 'small' supercharger would be cool. If the charger can talk to the car there shouldn't be a problem with installing a superchargerlike enviroment even if you don't have the maximal possible power available.

tes-s | February 4, 2014

That is the power requirement for a 120kW supercharger.

Yes, you could get a 40kW "supercharger" and charge at twice the rate of HPWC with that amount of power. Many people question the need for dual chargers (20kw vs 10kW) for a home; seems hard to justify the cost of a DC charger to double the charge rate for home when most charging is overnight.

When the CHAdeMO adapter is available for the MS, a CHAdeMO charger would be perfect for that application.

ChristianG | February 4, 2014

I don't know about prices but if it would have been nice to have a choice. I now have a portable box to change the european CEE 32A to a Type 2 plug and that wasn't cheap either.

Would I pay over $ 1000 now to get 44KWh instead of 22? probably not. would I payd a few hundred more in the initial installation? probably yes. Because more is more. Faster is more convinient. It's true 99.9% of your charges are probably fast enough with 11kwh/h, so we don't really need it. but the 0.01 will be responsible for you or your friends to miss a flight or something.

And the chademo adapter isn't exactly cheap either ^^

Panoz | February 4, 2014

Well, my partial agenda is out in the open. Until I discovered how much infrastructure is required, a home SC might've worked. I was thinking "If a HPWC works in 4 hours, then a 1 hour charge from a SC should be possible at home...".

Yes, my goal is to sell burritos and blue slurppies to Tesla owners. And a HPWC isn't going to cut it. It *must* be an SC or it's not worth it to pay for a charge. Already Tesla owners have RV parks mapped into their systems to stop in for 220v charging. It's an SC or nothing, IMHO.

In retrospect, there are already for-pay companies that will charge your car (but not at SC rates, however). It would be a simple decision on their part to install a SC port.

I still think that Tesla will stop installing SCs soon. The purpose of an SC (at least *I* think so) is NOT to provide free driving for its's to allay the range anxiety of future customers. Once that is done, Tesla will just make vehicles. There is a market for third-party charging at SC rates and I want to start selling jerky and hot dogs to Tesla owners.

Panoz | February 4, 2014

Oh and my business model, in order to recoup my investment early, will require a $1,000 fee per charge. WiFi extra, the toilets will be metered and there's a parking fee. I'm looking for investors, leave message.

redacted | February 4, 2014

@kribensa - very few palm trees in St. Joseph. I suspect it's stock. Plus, I hope they didn't put 90kW chargers in St. Jo.

Mathew98 | February 4, 2014

@Panoz - Interesting. It's the exact same model that NYC has for "public" restrooms.

Panoz | February 4, 2014

@Matthew98 - so what do you think? Would an EV-centric line of charging stations be viable, or (more likely) an existing chain (like Valero/Loaf & Jug) just install a SC station?

Interesting thought is that such a place would NOT sell gasoline, only power. Otherwise, the business model is the same (a mini-mart, restrooms, tables/chairs).

Panoz | February 4, 2014

And ya know, I may, in fact, have the cabling for an SC at my home. I live on a flag lot where 4 houses are supposed to be, but only 3 will be built. It is possible that I could acquire the wiring already in the ground for the other home and use it for charging. Hmmmmm.....

tes-s | February 4, 2014

If it is 1p/240v/400a service, you could probably get a 80kW DC charger running on it. 200a service, you are down to about 40kW (double HPWC and no dual charger option needed).

Mr Odd Job | February 4, 2014

Just to though something in to this discussion I live in the UK and have a normal house but it does have a 3 phase electric supply which I think is what your all talking about, I need this power to run my welding equipment which if turned right up to maximum pulls around 200 amps and the 3 phase supply comes in at 440 volts so if the SC's can run on this sort of supply then in the UK you can get the power but not sure if other regulations here would stop you from having the other equipment necessary for the SC, the welder is basicly a big transformer and I have no regulations preventing me from using it at home, it is and industrial welder. Not sure even if I could have an SC at home I would, as the standard home charger seems to do a good enough job from what I've read. Unfortunately I don't own a Model S :( and not in a position to get one any time soon but maybe one day.

Mathew98 | February 4, 2014

@Panoz - It may work for a Metro Charger concept as proposed by @Mark K.

Taxi or limo fleet operators or city dwellers with no access to private charging would be your ideal customers in major cities. I'm sure when Gen3 is in mass production phase (>200K units/year), there would be plenty of demand for rapid city charging.

There may be a huge market for these G3/MS owners to pay $20 for a full fill up instead of $60 for a tank of gas.

In the grand scheme of things, a $150K private investment for a 6 stalls SC to charge city customers $20 per charge (200% margin) may prove to be viable. You would only need 1100 charges to break even.

If you can build a 7/11 next to a private SC then you're in business.

Panoz | February 4, 2014

@Matthew98 - the estimates coming out of this discussion are way above $150K, I'm afraid. It's looking like (ballpark) $250K. And Tesla still has to decide to license the hardware since it's not a question of just pumping more current to an HPWC in order to use the connector.

It's still a thought for me. I could swing the investment, but knowing the exact model (charging feature only for existing service stations or separate station altogether) and pricing is difficult. And, btw, I was thinking about $25 per 1/2 hour for a Supercharge, $50 p/hour. That was for locations where a rapid charge would never be possible without the service. If it avoids an overnight stay in a hotel or hours delay on a trip, it would be worth it. The price would come down as more cars exist and the market flattens out.

All things to think about...

Mathew98 | February 4, 2014

@Panoz - TM's estimate for basic SC installation is $150K each. What would add another $100K to the cost (aside from licensing fee)?

If the private SC is not in a densely populated area with wide EV acceptance, it would be difficult to recoup the cost of investment.

Blink / Charge Point charging rate is $2-$3 per hour (17 mph refill). So there's definitely existing competition in this space.

Panoz | February 4, 2014

@Matthew98 - Several things cause me to add more to the $150K estimate. They include a fudge factor for such a round number for an SC, construction of some support structure (7-11/MiniMart) if possible, and a general skepticism as to what starting a venture will likely cost. My little city in Colorado would not justify even a $150K investment (SC only, no other business investment), but perhaps Denver would. And yes, there is already competition in this area, so that's why it would need to be more than an HPWC.

Realize I'm just thinking about a business opportunity relatively unknown to me at this time. In other businesses, I've doubled my initial estimates on cost and not been too surprised. Things always cost more than you think and always take longer than you think to accomplish.

DonS | February 4, 2014

Regarding the picture posted by wolfpet, this is the first Harris Ranch Supercharger located at the Shell station . A Roadster charger is on the other side of the wall. There are also 8 more chargers across the street in the restaurant lot. The Michigan news article just used the photo.

Alex K | February 4, 2014

@Panoz | FEBRUARY 4, 2014: still think that Tesla will stop installing SCs soon. The purpose of an SC (at least *I* think so) is NOT to provide free driving for its's to allay the range anxiety of future customers. Once that is done, Tesla will just make vehicles. There is a market for third-party charging at SC rates and I want to start selling jerky and hot dogs to Tesla owners.

This is not true. Superchargers will continue to be rolled out for a long time. This was reiterated by Elon and JB at the recent Oslo Marketing Tour.