Tesla: Model S-to-CHAdeMO Adapter Goes On Sale This Month. We Ask Who Will Use It?

It’s been one of Tesla’s long-promised Model S accessories, designed to make it possible for Tesla Model S owners around the world to charge their cars from the Japanese-designed CHAdeMO quick charge stations used by cars like the Nissan LEAF and Mitsubishi i-Miev.

Tesla's CHAdeMO adapter is expected to go on sale this month. But who will buy it?

Tesla’s CHAdeMO adapter is expected to go on sale this month. But who will buy it?

After years of waiting however, the $450 Tesla Model S to CHAdeMO adapter will be officially going on sale later this month.

That’s according to Tesla’s vice president of worldwide sales and service Jerome Guillen, who told Sylvain Juteau of French-Canadian site Roulezelectrique.com (via InsideEVs) at the end of last year that the Model S to CHAdeMO adapter would officially go on sale some time in January, a fact InsideEVs claims was confirmed again at this week by Tesla at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Squint, and the Tesla Model S-to-CHAdeMO DC quick charge adapter looks a little like a traditional gasoline pump from a filling station. But look a little harder, and you’ll see the narrow end of the strange apparatus carries Tesla’s proprietary charge connector on one end and a CHAdeMO DC quick charge socket on the other.

Ugly but functional: the Tesla CHAdeMO adapter allows Model S owners to use CHAdeMO DC quick charge stations

Ugly but functional: the Tesla CHAdeMO adapter allows Model S owners to use CHAdeMO DC quick charge stations

Given the weight of the CHAdeMO DC quick charge connector and cable, the adapter is designed to hang away from the Model S it is plugged into, raking downwards at a 45-degree angle to avoid any damage to the car’s paintwork from the heavy, usually metallic-bodied CHAdeMO plug.

But while the official Tesla CHAdeMO adapter will allow Tesla Model S owners to use the same CHAdeMO DC quick charging stations that Nissan LEAF owners can use, we’re at a loss to figure out just who will spend $450 on one when Tesla now has its Superchargers within easy reach in most U.S. states.

In Europe — where Tesla’s Supercharger network is a little less mature and many Model S owners find themselves relegated to three-phase, 22 kilowatt charging — the case for the CHAdeMO adapter is a little easier to make. Even then however, it’s still a tough sell, especially since European-market Tesla Model S cars use a modified variation of the Type 2 connector for charging rather than Tesla’s U.S.-market proprietary plug. With a type 2 inlet rather than a Tesla-only inlet, European Model S owners can already make use of far more non-Tesla fast chargers than their U.S. counterparts.

Most Tesla owners will likely  continue to make use of free electricity and faster charging at Superchargers

Most Tesla owners will likely continue to make use of free electricity and faster charging at Superchargers

Juteau has a potential answer to our question: Tesla owners who live off the beaten track or away from existing Supercharger provision. In the part of Quebec where Juteau lives, Tesla Superchargers are few and far between, while DC CHAdeMO quick charge stations are more common. For him and owners like him, buying the CHAdeMO adapter may help speed up charging to 50 kilowatts rather than the far slower J1772 adapter most U.S. Model S owners have to use when there’s no Supercharger around.

In some cases, we’ll admit the CHAdeMO adapter does make sense. However, while there are plenty of places in the U.S. with little or no Supercharger support –including large swathes of the Midwest and Great Plains — they’re generally the same places where there are few or no DC CHAdeMO charging stations either.

Conversely, areas where CHAdeMO DC quick charging provision exists in the U.S. tend to be areas near Supercharger provision too. And while it may be quicker sometimes to visit a CHAdeMO charging station than drive out of the way to reach an off-route Supercharger, the disparity in charging rate — 50 kilowatts versus more than 100 kilowatts — should be enough to make the case for Supercharging. Add in the cost benefits — not all CHAdeMO charging stations are free — and we think few will order the adapter.

How would you feel if Tesla Model S cars suddenly started monopolising CHAdeMO Chargers?

How would you feel if Tesla Model S cars suddenly started monopolising CHAdeMO Chargers?

As for other plug-in owners? We predict a backlash as those who do make the decision to buy a Tesla CHAdeMO adapter make use of it in locations previously frequented by Nissan LEAF, Mitsubishi i-Miev and Kia Soul EV owners. Since Tesla battery packs are larger and will take longer to charge, it won’t be long before someone gets upset, although we think that every plug-in owner deserves equal access to charging infrastructure, regardless of vehicle type or specification.

Do you agree? Do you think people will buy the Tesla CHAdeMO adapter? And if you’re someone who relies on the CHAdeMO DC quick charge network, how would you feel about finding a Tesla Model S charging at it if there’s a supercharger nearby?

Leave your thoughts in the Comments below.


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  • Espen Hugaas Andersen

    The best thing about the CHAdeMO adapter is that Superchargers are generally found *between* cities, while CHAdeMO is generally found *in* cities. CHAdeMO will be a meaningful option for apartment dwellers with no charging where they park for the night, for instance. If not as the primary means of charging, at least as a supplement.nnBut I do think the sales of the CHAdeMO adapter will be low. The CHAdeMO adapter was announced at a time where there wasn’t a single Supercharger in operation, and the market has changed.

  • There are three CHAdeMO chargers in all of Ontario, the same number as Superchargers…woe is us.nnAnyway, I think the CHAdeMO adaptor will find home with folks taking road trips. I foresee a “rent for two weeks for your next road trip” ad placed on the Tesla Motor Club forums…

  • A number of CHAdeMO locations are starting to impose 30 min. charging sessions. This assumes an EV like the LEAF will leave with at least an 80% SOC. I believe this is to limit drivers hogging and dead-blocking fast chargers to gain just 10-15% extra SOC over an additional 30-40 min. eg: The NCTC (No Charge to Charge) program at Nissan and network partners, and at eVgo stations in a number of US regions. (see Plugsgare)

    • leptoquark

      I can speak for the eVgo stations, since I use them in the Washington DC area. There is indeed a 30 minute timer, and after two consecutive charging sessions, I was able to get all my bars on the Leaf, if I recall correctly. The current was dialed way down on the second session, obviously, and I believe it’s not recommended, so I’ve uesd the single 30 minutes session since then. A Model S could make more effective use of the second charge session, though. The Nissan-built eVgo stations are capable of 45 kW.

      • Dennis Pascual

        You do realize that the last 20% of a CHAdeMO session on a Leaf is nearly the same speed as plugging into a Level 2 (J1772) station… Might be better for the next user to leave the CHAdeMO and plug into a J1772 instead.

  • For Tesla (Model S) owners, access to CHAdeMO is just one more option. n1) Superchargers at upto 120 kW (400 MPH), n2) CHAdeMO at 50 kW (175 MPH)n3) Tesla HPWC (Highpower Wall Chargers) at 20 kW (~70 MPH), or n4) Level2 at 3-10 kW (10-30 MPH)

  • Bill Davis

    I thought the main reason Tesla developed this was for their Japanese customers where the CHAdeMo stations are prevalent?

    • oeva.org

      There are 5,000 CHAdeMO stations globally today. They are not just in Japan. Oregon & Washington state have plenty of them too.

      • Bill Davis

        Yes, clearly. However they are so prolific in Japan that Tesla wasn’t go to bother with their own Supercharger network on top of that, hence the adapter. Or so I had read once…

  • vike

    In a largely silly post, this is a particularly glaring howler:nn”. . . how would you feel about finding a Tesla Model S charging at it if thereu2019s a supercharger nearby?”nnI mean, I would order a psych eval for its owner. Superchargers are “free” (or prepaid, depending on how you look at it), CHAdeMO rarely so. The Tesla owner would have to be some sort of jerk or idiot, and I doubt those are all that common. This is a non-problem.nnBut a Tesla owner paying to use a CHAdeMO charger to avoid the hassle of detouring to a Supercharger 20 miles out of her way seems perfectly reasonable to me – I’d have no objection. Even if I were slightly inconvenienced, anybody trying to drive longer distances in an EV these days would have to expect that at the very least.nnAs for the $450 cost being an impediment, who are we kidding? It’s not like Tesla owners are value shoppers.

  • SolarEV

    Once this gadget goes on the market, the free QC at Cisco building Q will become mobbed by Teslas…

  • Jonathan Tracey

    If/when they become available in the UK, I will most certainly buy one, my nearest supercharger is 50 miles away, my nearest Chademo (2 in fact) are 2miles away. Now I normally charger the model S overnight but there are times when I need a top up quickly and having this on my doorstep would be great

  • Here in Vermont, CHAdeMO will make sense for Tesla Model S owners. At present, the nearest Supercharger to the Burlington area (where most Model S vehicles reside) is 150 miles away in Brattleboro. The state and Green Mountain Power have worked with Nissan to install ten CHAdeMO chargers, many on secondary routes. Eventually, Vermont will have two additional Superchargers on Interstate 89, but coverage away from the interstate will be better served by CHAdeMO. If nothing else, CHAdeMO will be a safety net. In rural Vermont with below-zero winter temps, many owners will consider the CHAdeMO adapter a worthwhile investment.

  • Tennessee has just one supercharger in Chattanooga, but over 30 CHAdeMO locations in middle and east Tennessee. Model S users who attended a meeting in Nashville to determined Teslas right to sell direct in Tennessee made good use of the CHAdeMO stations using loaner adapters supplied by Tesla to help them make the trip.nnI believe Model S owners in Tennessee will be happy to but this adapter.

  • liuping

    I would never use a CHAdeMO over a Supercharger, if there is a choice. Even driving 20 minutes out of my way, it would be faster and cheaper to use the SuperCharger. nnMost cities do not have Superchargers, and I still need to charger when I get there. CHAdeMO is preferred to a slow J1772 charger.

    • D. Harrower

      I would also add that there is a decent probability that these single CHAdeMO stations will be offline for some reason (limited hours of operation, neglect).nnNo roadtripper in their right mind would prefer CHAdeMO over a Supercharger if both are available.

  • Danal Estes

    Exactly as Mr. Anderson said: Superchargers primarily between cities, and CHAdeMO primarily within cities.nnnThis applies to me, in the DFW, TX area. I will mostly charge at home. Having one of these adapters in the Frunk will let me access the extensive EVgo network in DFW, should I ever need it (for the EVgo fees, of course). nnnSo, yes, I will have one. nnnAs for the $450 price tag? That is substantially LESS than the ‘extra’ EVSE that I purchased for my Nissan Leaf, just so that I’d have an ’emergency’ one in the car, while being able to leave the EVSE that shipped with the car at home. Anyone who thinks this is expensive for an EV “charge cord” just hasn’t looked at prices.

  • Sylvain Juteau

    I’m the author of the original french article. My last name is u00abJuteauu00bb NOT u00abJeteauu00bb. Please make the correction … thanks!

  • Sylvain Juteau

    I met Ju00e9ru00f4me Guillen again at NAIAS 2015 and of course I asked him about the adaptor and he re-confirmed that it’s still scheduled this MONTH. Within 2 weeks we’ll know for sure! 🙂

  • Michael Thwaite

    I wonder how many owners will be surprised at the re-charge times and/or caught out by the extra time-based cost? CHAdeMO at 50kW is not SuperCharger at up to 135kW.nnFunny thing is that there are are about three times as many SuperChargers in the whole of New Jersey than CHAdeMO units.

    • D. Harrower

      Not as many as you might think. Remember, this is an optional extra.nnI think most people would familiarize themselves with the standard and its capabilities before opting to purchase an adapter.

  • D. Harrower

    I think you’ve hit all the major arguments for and against buying the adapter, Nikki.nnPersonally, I will be getting one (if it’s ever released) just to have one more potential charging option out on the road. Even though we have decent charging networks here in Canada, the distances between them are vast, so you can never have too many charging options.nnOf course, Supercharging is preferred to anything else but Tesla plans to leave large swaths of the country uncovered by Superchargers even beyond 2016, so having a secondary DC option becomes all that much more important.

  • Andrew Gordon

    One place where I think they will be very popular is the UK – even though it seems like we will soon have many more Superchargers than I had originally expected.nnnIt’s all down to trip length.:nnnIf I’m driving 400 miles or more, I will need at least one full charge en-route, and it’s highly desirable to do that charging on Supercharger(s). However, on a 400 mile journey there’s usually several choices of route and picking the one that goes past the supercharger is no great hardship – often not a detour as such, and even if it is a 20 mile detour then that’s not much in comparison to 400 miles. Also, a 400 mile trip means probably 8+ hours of driving, so almost certainly a 1-way trip.nnnIf I’m driving less than 200 miles, I don’t need to charge at all.nnnIt’s the intermediate distances – 250 to 300 miles – where CHAdeMO is potentially a big help. These are much more likely to be out-and-back-in-a-day trips, and on a 150 mile piece of route it’s much less likely to pass a Supercharger or be within a reasonable detour of one. 30 mins on a CHAdeMO should yield 75 miles – just what is needed to make up the difference, so barely worth going out of your way to find a Supercharger,nnnSo the CHAdeMO adapter is particularly favourable for the UK where the geography means that the 250-300 mile trip is particularly common and the wide deployment of CHAdeMO chargers makes them a good alternative.nnnAs regards the cost of the adapter, for new buyers it’s a bargain: I ordered my car with dual chargers to cover just those sort of round trips where it’s just about possible to ‘hide’ an hour of charging time into coffee/lunch stops, but the equivalent with a single-charger car would be painful. Every place I’ve ever made use of my dual chargers to get 22kW I could equally have charged it at 50kW if I had a CHAdeMO adapter (Ecotricity and CYC dual-headed stations). So once the CHAdeMO is available UK buyers can skip the 2nd charger and buy the CHAdeMO instead, saving money and getting faster charging!

    • Larry

      I want a Tesla Supercharger adapter to my Leaf. After all “every plug-in owner deserves equal access to charging infrastructure, regardless of vehicle type or specification.”

      • EVcine

        LOL !! You are kidding right ? A Nissan Leaf plugged into a TESLA SUPERCHARGER so you like your chips charcoal burnt then ?

  • Ed

    I am not likely to use anything but Superchargers to HPWCs, but….wouldn’t it be nice if Teslas came with an addition charging port – perhaps on the right side – for CHAdeMO? Has this been proposed?

    • Espen Hugaas Andersen

      What I would like is if they in Europe added the two DC pins to the Tesla Type 2 plug. This plug would then be compatible with the existing European superchargers with the Tesla Type 2, the standard Type 2 as well as CCS. CHAdeMO is less relevant for Europe as CCS will be the standard going forward. You will more and more often find dual standard rapid chargers offering both CCS and CHAdeMO, where it’s irrelevant which one you can use, as long as you can use at least one of them.nnNo adapters, no fuss.

  • purrdey

    “Europe is still a tough sell, especially since European Model S owners can already maken use of far more non-Tesla fast chargers than their U.S. counterparts.” Eh? It depends what you mean by FAST. The way I look at it, Tesla (120kW DC) Superchargers are fast, CHAdeMO (50kW DC) “rapid” chargers are medium, and everything else is slow. My home chargepoint (7.4kW AC) is glacial and people who continually bang on about how long it takes to charge a Model S from a UK 13A socket (3.3kW) need to get out more, since NO-ONE would ever do this unless they would otherwise be stranded. My next road trip (UK to East Germany) will not be viable without a CHAdeMO adapter – so will we finally see it this month, after years of broken promises?

  • Ed Logan

    I’ll be picking one up for my travels to Pennsylvania. Sheetz has some Chademo stations there. It should make travel to Penn State more convenient.

  • Iain Baker

    Am I being massively naive, or does the number of chargers near your home make no difference.nSurely you’d use your home charger at home.nnChademo networks are far more prevalent, than superchargers, so this isn’t a hard sell, it’s a matter of a back up. Chademo is easier to find therefore an adapter is useful if you intend on doing long journeys, especially to areas you don’t know well.nnThere is of course another side. Superchargers cost Tesla money. Short term they may be covered by the cost of the car, but when the second hand market starts growing there will be a lot of older Teslas that have used up their pre paid allowance in the hands of people that have given no money to the Musk Empire. Giving it’s customers the ability to use chademo Tesla are giving themselves the ability to provide a smaller supercharger network.nnJust my 2p’s worth

  • mgboyes

    In the UK the CHAdeMO adaptor is rumoured to be u00a3450.nThe dual charger option on a Model S (enabling 22kW rather than 11kW 3 phase AC charging) is almost three times that price.nnnOnce the CHAdeMO adaptor ships I struggle to think of a reason to choose the latter over the former.nnnAlso the adaptor is supposedly 100kW capable, so if/when higher powered DC charging points appear the charging speed will be pretty much the same as supercharging.nnnAnd without wanting to sound like an overprivileged twat, u00a3450 is ~u00a30 when you just bought a u00a390k car. This will be the cheapest optional extra you can order for a Model S, bar none. You can buy 10 of these for the price of a set of 21″ Tesla wheels and tyres.

  • ElisaShackelford

    Teslan sold 1,100 Model S in January, as compared to 1,070 Leafs sold by nNissan. The additional sales are not really significant, but it is stilln surprising for many that Tesla has managed to attain more sales in the US by selling a premium EV targeted at a niche segment.

  • Brent

    It seems there are a lot of broad conclusions here which may be true in Nikki’s neck of the woods but just are completely not true elsewhere. e.g. “Conversely, areas where CHAdeMO DC quick charging provision exists in the U.S. tend to be areas near Supercharger provision too” — big NO, not my neck of the woods. Plan to be camping in WA state? Leavenworth? Olympic Peninsula? North Cascades? There are a number of DC fast chargers where there are zero Superchargers. We pretty much got stuck using the 1772 at Walgreeens when we would have happily used the CHAdeMO if the adapter was available…

  • JJ

    Things change over time but this article is still relevant. I am buying a CHAdeMO adapter for my Tesla this week. One of the newer Tesla Superchargers on a long-distance trip I’m planning has been having problems staying up over the last few months (maybe a local power company problem). I’m hedging my bet on that Supercharger and planning ahead for other issues that may come up. As for “bumping” another EV, the probability is low for now and I will be courteous to others.

  • Ian Ringrose

    In the UK if I had a Tesla, the CHAdeMO adapter would allow me to go on holiday with my car…. It lets the car get a reasonable charge while the owner spends 1 or 2 weeks in say Cornwall, or the Lakes etc. Even a drive from Manchester to Cambridge the CHAdeMO adapter allows someone to go the nice way (over the tops to the A1 or M1), rather than having to take the M6.