Charging Your Tesla
Charging your Tesla is basically as simple as plugging in where 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.
PART 1 - HOW FAST CAN I CHARGE?
How fast you charge depends essentially on 3 factors:
- Battery Charge State – When you charge, your battery will charge faster when it has less stored charge and slower as it gets full. This is more noticeable 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.
- Alternating Current – 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 have a maximum AC rate of 11kW, but on older Model Ss, this can be doubled to 22kW, or on newer S and X models, to 17kw
- and also
- 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.
- Direct Current – If you’re charging on DC, which means you’re using a Supercharger, a CCS-Combo2 (CCS2) or a CHAdeMO charger, the rate is governed by the charger. Superchargers and CCS2 max out at about 150-250kW and CHAdeMO adaptors at about 50kW.
PART 2: WHAT CABLES DO I NEED?
Your Australian Tesla (unless you have a first-generation roadster) has a charge port 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). Model 3’s also have a CCS Combo 2 ("CCS2") extension to this socket:
A Model S charge port with cable inserted (left) and a Model 3 charge port showing the additional DC pins below (right)
Depending on your car, your charge port will have either a motorised flap or a manual one, and a single status light, 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, a CCS2 connector (natively for Model 3, or via an adaptor for S/X). Model S and X can connect to a CHAdeMO DC charger with an adaptor. We’ll cover the differences later.
If you only plan to charge at home, from household plugs and from Superchargers, you don’t need to buy anything, as you get a Univeral Mobile Charger ("UMC" see next paragraph) 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.
Your Tesla comes with a Universal Mobile Connector ("UMC")
This cable is actually a chargepoint (referred to as an "EVSE", Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment) that you can carry around. It comes with a standard 10A (and a 15A for Model 3), 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.
There are two versions of the mobile charger, depending on when you purchased your car. The older version (Gen1) is capable of charging up to 11kW and the newer version (Gen2) is capable of charging up to 7kW. Both adaptors are compatible with any Tesla (or other EV that uses Type 2!).
Gen1 UMC (left) with supplied 10A Australian tail and Gen2 MC (right) supplied with 10A and 15A tail (15A tail not shown)
Regardless of the version you have, the UMC can be fitted with different ends, or “tails” – the Gen1 comes with a 10A (2kW) tail only, but the Gen2 comes with both a 10A (2kW) and 15A (3kW) tail. Both of these can be supplemented with additional tails that allow you to connect to Australian 3-phase connectors allowing for up to 7kW on Gen2 (32A/single phase) or 11kW on Gen1 (16A/3-phase).
For Gen1 UMC, you can purchase an adaptor from Tesla that enables you to connect it to 3-phase power