Charging your Tesla is basically as simple as plugging in where-ever there is electricity – which is just about everywhere.
Of course, electricity comes from lots of different types of socket – from a normal domestic power point, to high-speed dedicated chargers. While there’s basic information below, if you want the lots of technical information, you can delve deeper here.
To get started, there are effectively three things that govern how fast your Tesla will charge:
1) How charged your battery is – When you charge, your battery will charge faster when it has less stored charge and slower as it gets full. This is more noticable at Superchargers, but as a rule, regardless of how fast you charge, once you get towards 100%, your rate of charge will slow dramatically. For this reason, it’s often better to charge up to 80 or 90% and keep driving unless you really need that extra range – also your battery will last much longer if you don’t charge to 100% all the time anyway.
2) AC – If you’re charging on AC, which is most places, your charging rate is limited by:
• The size of the onboard charger in your car – this sets a maximum rate-of-charge. Many Teslas are limited to 11kW, but on older cars, this can be doubled to 22kW, and on newer cars, this can be software updated to 17kW.
• What you’re plugged into – depending on what you’re plugged into, you may charge as slow as 2kW from a domestic socket up to the full rate of your car’s onboard charger on 3-phase chargers and sockets – we’ll cover this in more detail below.
3) DC – If you’re charging on DC, which means you’re using a Supercharger, or a CHAdeMO charger, the rate is governed by the charger. Superchargers max out at about 120kW and CHAdeMO chargers at about 50kW.
What cables do you need?
Your Australian Tesla (unless you have a first-generation roadster) has a chargeport with a “Type-2” connector which we share with much of the world – sometimes called a “Mennekes” connector. This is not the same connector as used in America (or some other markets).
Depending on your car, your chargeport will have either a motorised flap or a manual one, and a single status light like this one, or a set of smaller lights.
Tesla-supplied cables have a button for both opening the flap, and unlocking the charger before removal. Third-party cables don’t have this button, but you can just push on the flap to open the motorised ones once you’ve unlocked the car (or you can open it from the charging screen in the car).
This single connector is able to connect to single or 3-phase AC from standard sockets or various types of dedicated charger, to a Tesla Supercharger, or to a CHAdeMO standard DC charger with an adapter – see below for more detail.
If you only plan to charge at home, from household plugs and from Superchargers, you don’t need to buy anything, as you get cables for those with your Tesla. If you plan to travel further afield, or would like to be able to use the full range of charging infrastructure, you may wish to buy some extras.
TOCWA has a set of loan cables if you are planning a trip and want the peace of mind without spending any extra money, or you’d just like to try them out.
Your Tesla comes with two cables:
1) A High-Power Wall Connector (HPWC) – sometimes also called a destination charger.
The HPWC is designed to be permanently installed in your house or workplace. It’s installed by an electrician and depending on your supply, it can deliver up to the maximum rate that your onboard charger can take. Often, this is limted to around 7-11kW by building wiring, but it is still the perfect charger for using when you’re parked. This is by far the most common way you’re likely to charge. The one pictured above is installed in an outdoor carport, and they are happy in just about any environment. Tesla also give these chargers to “destinations” such as hotels and restaurants and these show up on your car’s charging map automatically. If you would like an additional HPWC for your workplace, they are also available for purchase for $700 from Tesla.
2) A Universal Mobile Connector (UMC)
This cable is actually a chargepoint that you can carry around. It allows you to connect to pretty much any power socket and will deliver up to 11kW. It comes with a standard 10A, 240V plug in Australia, and this will give you 2kW – it’s great for overnight stays where there is no other infrastructure, and will roughly give you 1/3 of your battery back overnight.
The UMC can be fitted with different “ends” – the 10A “tail” is removable and can be replaced with a 3-phase adapter:
Becuase we share our Tesla specifications with Europe, the connector is a standard European 3-Phase one – if you’re in Europe, you can just plug this into the wall, but Australia has a different plug standard, so you need an additional piece or two:
These adapters are simply cables that convert a European 3-phase connector to the two types of common Australian plugs – one will do up to 20A and is a little smaller, one will do up to 32A and is larger. Remember, though, that your UMC can only do 11kW, so that is a maximum of 16A draw on 3-phase anyway – the two connectors just allow you to plug in to the common sockets you’ll find out there. AEVA have installed many 32A, 3-phase sockets in regional areas around Australia, as part of their “round-Australia route“, so if you’re touring, these are a must.
This is what it looks like all plugged together. TOCWA has a set of these tails that members can borrow.
You can also replace the standard mobile charger with third-party ones that can do more than 11kW, such as the JuiceBooster.
There are three other cables you might come across:
CHAdeMO is a clever French/Japanese portmanteau that means both “Charge de move” and “(o)cha de mo ikaga desuka” (“do you want some tea?”). it is also an international standard for DC charging of electric vehicles. Tesla sell an adapter:
This adapter allows the bulky CHAdeMO connector to interface with the Tesla connector and supports high-speed charging at up to 50kW from dedicated chargers, like the RAC chargers in various locations in the south-west and in Perth and also the charger at the UWA Club.
Tesla sell this adapter for $690. TOCWA has a Tesla-CHAdeMO adapter that members can borrow free of charge.
Many chargers, such as the Tesla HPWC and the RAC chargers have a tethered cable with a Type-2 connector that you can use without needing anything else, but in many locations, such as at the Synergy chargers at Home Base, Subiaco, there are chargers with a Type-2 socket.
At these locations, you need a Type-2 to Type-2 cable with you:
TOCWA has two Type-2 to Type-2 cables that members can borrow and we soon hope to have a supply for sale. You can also buy one from Tesla for $305.
In some locations, such as some City of Perth car parks like the Exhibition Centre and Pier St, you will also find older “Type-1” connectors. These are electrically compatible with “Type-2”, but they only supply single-phase. You can get an adapter:
The adapter takes the Type-1 tethered plug and adapts it to the Type-2 chargeport.
So – What cables do you need?
It really depends on your use. For most owners, the standard cables from Tesla will be all you ever need – especially once Tesla add more Superchargers. With the standard cables, you can charge:
• at home
• at Superchargers
• at chargers with tethered Type-2 connectors (such as Tesla’s distination chargers and the RAC ones)
• at any location with a household power socket
If you plan to charge at car parks around Perth, you may well want to get a Type-2 to Type-2 cable, as these are slowly becoming more common, especially as most new EVs coming onto the market also use Type-2 connectors.
There are few sites that still have Type-1 connectors, and they are aften quite slow, so unless you routinely park at the convention centre or Pier St, for example, it’s unlikely you’ll need a Type-1 to Type-2.
If you want to be able to charge at high-speed from the RAC and UWA chargers, you may want to get a CHAdeMO adapter, or you can choose to borrow TOCWA’s one when you go on trips.
If you plan to travel longer distances further out of town, then a set of 3-phase tails are worth investing in – there are many locations that have avalable 3-phase connectors, and the AEVA round-Australia route is mostly made up of these sockets – again, you are welcome to borrow TOCWA’s set when you go on trips.
Please feel free to ask questions via email for more information. If you want more technical detail, go here.