It’s well known that when you buy a Tesla Model S with Supercharger capability, you get free access to Tesla’s proprietary Supercharger network, recharging your high-end all-electric sedan with around 200 miles of range in 30 minutes. Now Tesla has opened up access to existing CHAdeMO rapid charging network with the creation of an adapter which lets you plug your Model S into the same charging stations you’d use with a Nissan LEAF.
Looking like an old fashioned petrol (gas) pump handle (or an Chituari scepter as some geeky minds may think) this adapter allows Model S owners to plug right on in and get some of that sweet CHAdeMO power.
Over the past year we have seen the U.S. Supercharger network grow to allow, by the end of this year, journeys both up and down both coasts. In the not too distant future Model S drivers will be able to drive from one coast to the other too, something Elon Musk promises he will prove later this year with his own cross-country ‘family’ road trip in a Model S.
The network is expanding into Europe too, with European-spec Supercharger stations popping up in Northern Europe and plans to go Europe-wide by winter 2014.
Of course, Supercharger networks aren’t the first quick charging network for electric cars. Worldwide, the CHAdeMO standard — originally developed in Japan — allows cars like the Nissan Leaf and the ‘i’ family cars (Mitsubishi iMiEV, Peugeot iOn and Citroen C-Zero) among others to charge from 0 – 80% in about 20 – 30 minutes.
CHAdeMO, while less than half the power of a Supercharger, certainly has its uses. It’s able to kick out around 50kW of power and the protocol can be expanded to offer up to 62.5kW. These charging stations, until now, have been unavailable to Model S drivers.
Not being as powerful as a Supercharger isn’t as bad as it seems though, as the charging stations are unlikely to have to start limiting power supplied to the Model S as soon due to the larger battery pack; for them this technology could potentially add up to 150 miles of range per hour.
With the CHAdeMO network supporting the Supercharger network Model S owners will suddenly find themselves with a lot of freedom to just drive. Even when the Supercharger network is fully up and running, the addition of the CHAdeMO network allows far more flexibility and redundancy.
In Europe, this adapter could arguably be even more useful than in the US when added to the already versatile charging on offer in the European spec Model S. With a full kit of adapters, the European spec Model S can take advantage of electricity in pretty much any form from single and three phase ‘dumb’ sockets to 22kW Type 2 charging stations and now most forms of DC rapid charging.
But with most CHAdeMO users expecting to Rapid Charge cars in 20 – 30 minutes and some sites in the UK already starting to have cars queuing to use them, we wonder if a Model S owner turning up and plugging in for an hour and a half will have anyone experiencing ‘charger rage’.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.
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