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As Tesla vehicles use proprietary chargers, Tesla drivers are currently limited to the 15,000 Tesla charging stations nationwide, and with Tesla recently opening up part of its Supercharger network to non-Tesla EVs, you can bet that it will soon be tough to find an available fast charger!
Additionally, with incentives being offered to potential EV owners, you can expect the demand for these charging stations to increase, which could mean even more time waiting in line just to charge your vehicle.
The good news is it's now possible for drivers of a Tesla vehicle to charge at non-Tesla charging stations using a compatible Tesla adapter!
What are Tesla Chargers and Adapters?
Tesla chargers are proprietary connectors used to connect vehicles and plug Teslas into a power source either at home or on the road. Tesla has a network of charging stations throughout the country, typically providing up to 250 kW of charging rate at Supercharging stations.
Tesla adapters allow owners of any Tesla model to access non-Tesla EV chargers for Level 1 charging or Level 2 charging. These devices open up 15,000 SAE J1772 chargers to Tesla vehicles, greatly increasing the number of charging destinations, and effectively eliminating excessive vehicle waiting time.
Different Types of Tesla Chargers and Adapters
Tesla Mobile Connector - previously shipped with the purchase of any Tesla model, this charger provides the most basic level of charging - Level 1 or trickle charging. Mobile connectors are very portable and can be plugged into either a NEMA 5-15 or a NEMA 14-50 outlet, making them a good companion on road trips. With the NEMA 5-15 adapter, you can expect up to 3 miles of range per hour, while the NEMA 14-50 adds up to 30 miles of range to your battery in one hour.
Tesla Wall Connector - this connector provides Level 2 AC charging at up to 44 miles of range per hour, making them a good choice for homes, offices, and other public charging stations. The Tesla Wall Connector can be installed as a home charging station, but has to be hardwired into your home's electrical panel. Wall Connectors are the same chargers installed at Destination Chargers.
Tesla Superchargers - the Supercharger is a fast charger capable of adding up to 200 miles of range to your car in just 15 minutes. Much like the CHAdeMO connector and CCS connectors, Superchargers use direct current and bypass any power conversion needed in order to charge vehicles quickly and efficiently.
SAE J1772 to Tesla Charging Adapter - J1772 to Tesla adapters enable Tesla models to charge at any compatible J1772 charging station. This adapter allows Level 1 and Level 2 charging for your Tesla and is capable of up to 60 Amps of charging. With this device, Tesla owners now have access to 15,000 more charging stations around the country in addition to existing home chargers already accessible to them.
CCS Combo 1 Adapters - The CCS Charger adapter for Tesla gives Tesla owners access to over 5,000 CCS fast chargers nationwide. It's capable of up to 250 kWh of charging speeds, depending on the specifications of the charging station, and is compatible with most Tesla models. However, some may require additional hardware. You may sign in to the Tesla app to check your vehicle's compatibility and book any needed service retrofit.
These first launched in Korea in 2020, then in North America in 2022.
Tesla Cable Organizers
Tesla chargers are typically equipped with extra-long charging cables that can reach across most driveways or parking spaces. For reference, the Tesla Mobile Connector has a 20-foot cable, while the Wall Connector has a 24-foot cable. If not stored properly, these cables can get quite messy and become a tripping hazard, especially for kids.
Tesla Cable Organizers not only eliminate any tangled up cable in your garage, they also protect your charger from damage caused by external factors like dust or moisture.
Tesla's own Cable Organizer is a bracket and chassis holder combo that attaches to the wall to keep your Mobile Connector neatly stowed. You can hook your cables onto the sturdy bracket to prevent it from being kinked or tangled. The chassis holder protects the adapter and the plug from wear and tear.
Third-party manufacturers like Lectron offer a Charger Mount and Cable Organizer to keep your charger tangle- and damage-free. The mount securely latches on to any Tesla charger to ensure safe storage, protecting the nozzle from natural elements like rainwater, snow, and dust.
Tesla Extension Cords
If you find the Tesla cables too short, you can always use an extension cord to meet your needs.
Though Tesla charging cables are typically enough to reach across an average garage or parking space, not all garages and parking spaces are made the same. So, it's handy to have an extra 20-foot cable in cases like these. As of writing, Tesla doesn't manufacture its own extension cord, but third-party manufacturers like Lectron have you covered.
The Lectron Tesla Extension cord is rated at 48A and 240V, with a maximum charging capacity of 11.52 kW, making it compatible with the Mobile Connector and Wall Connector. It's not, however, suitable to use with a Supercharger.
What is the Difference Between a Tesla and Non-Tesla Electric Vehicle Charger Adapter?
The difference lies in the type of electric vehicle they work on and to what type of charger they're compatible with. Tesla Charger Adapters enable Tesla vehicles to charge from non-Tesla charging stations more specifically, those that use SAE J1772 connectors.
There's also the CCS Charger Adapter for Tesla which allows Teslas to enjoy CCS fast chargers.
Meanwhile, non-Tesla electric vehicle adapters allow J1772 EVs to charge from Tesla charging stations, with the exception of the Supercharger (but as mentioned above, Tesla recently opened part of its Supercharger network to non-Tesla EVs).