Imagine owning an electric car which can not only charge from any power outlet you happen upon, but can charge at a powerful enough rate that stopping for lunch somewhere and charging from the spare outlet in the kitchen adds a meaningful amount of range before you’re ready to leave. No matter what the plug, or the location, your car lets you charge.
For most electric car owners that remains a dream thanks to conflicting standards, confusing cables and RFID cards, and a mindset which says an electric car needs to plug into a dedicated charging station in order to charge. But thanks to a little common sense on Tesla’s part, the new Model S sedan — rolling out across Europe right now — the luxury sedan comes with enough charging options to ensure you’re never left stranded.
When Tesla first announced it was bringing the Model S to Europe, it was planning to offer the same charging options for the Model S as its U.S. specification cars: single-phase connectivity at home, J1772-compatible (Type 1) charging out and about, and the ability to use Tesla’s own proprietary network of Supercharger stations for ultra-quick refuelling. But as scores of European Tesla fans, shareholders and would-be Model S drivers soon told Tesla, three-phase charging was a must for any European Model S.
Tesla listened and redesigned the charging inlet on its European car to use a high-power modified version of the Type 2 (‘Mennekes’) socket found on every electric car made by a European manufacturer. Three-phase charging, Tesla said, would come as standard.
But it didn’t stop there. Unlike Renault, whose Zoe electric car can charge from 3 kilowatts single phase all the way up to 43 kilowatts three phase, provided it is plugged into a dedicated Type 2 or rapid AC charging station, Tesla has done what each and every EV owner has always wanted: give the owner a way of plugging their car into any conceivable type of wall outlet they can find.
Admittedly, if you’re on the waiting list for a Tesla Model S in Europe, your car will come as standard with a bog-standard mobile charging connector. Like every other mainstream EV charging cable on the market in Europe, one end will plug into a European-standardised Type 2 public charging station, and the other end will plug into your Model S.
But spend a little more money, and Tesla will sell you any number of adaptors, just like it does for U.S. customers. And those adaptors will let you turn any wall outlet you can find into a recharging station.
In the U.S., these adaptors — already popular among U.S. Tesla owners — will connect the Model S to a dizzying array of single-phase domestic and industrial power outlets. In Europe, the adaptors will allow you to charge a Model S with anything from a standard household outlet all the way to the red three-phase ‘commando’ plugs you sometimes see at commercial buildings and in the kitchens of restaurants.
If you’ve specced your Model S to have twin 11kilowatt on-board chargers, it’s possible to add 60 miles of range per hour of charging, not just from any three-phase 22 kW public charging station, but if you have the right adaptor, from any red ‘commando’ three-phase outlet.
Admittedly, that’s not as fast as Tesla’s dedicated Superchargers, but a great deal faster and more versatile than any other plug-in car we’ve seen on sale. Ever.
Tesla hasn’t released pricing information for its mobile charging connectors across the whole of Europe yet, but then we think this kind of versatility is worth paying for.
Do you agree? Let us know in the Comments below.
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