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Tesla Model CHAdeMO adapter

Tesla Model CHAdeMO adapter

I picked up my new CHAdeMO adapter yesterday from Tesla in London. Only 14 months after I first ordered it, though in fairness I did cancel the order and get dual chargers instead, only to reorder it in January of this year.

The good news is that it works, but there a few things to keep in mind when using it, especially if you are in the UK and planning on using it with the Ecotricity Electric Highway.

Physically it seems like a well put together device, though it is a bit on the heavy side. The cable part is flexible and there is a charge port release button on the end that plugs into the car, though it didn’t open my charge port, it did unlock it after charging.

In theory the CHAdeMO adapter should allow Tesla Model S vehicles to charge at up to 50kW using CHAdeMO rapid chargers, however in the real world there are a few things that need to be remembered.

The CHAdeMO rapid chargers were designed quite a long time ago, at that point the only cars that could use CHAdeMO were Nissan LEAF and Mitsubishi i-MiEV, both fairly small battery EVs. What that meant is that they would only be drawing full power from the charge point for a few minutes before the chargers would start to taper the charge rate, as the battery filled up. The Model S however has a sufficiently large battery that it could take a full 50kW for an hour or more. The problem is that the chargers (some of them) simply aren’t capable of handling that amount of power over time, they break. As a result Tesla have had to limit the rate of charge at affected chargers.

Unfortunately the affected chargers include the ones that Ecotricity has installed in their electric highway in the UK. These are extremely well placed chargers, being at motorway service stations and make driving an electric car anywhere in the UK a practical possiblity.

For the time being however, Tesla Model S drivers are only going to be getting 25kW max out of these chargers. This is not a whole lot more than the 22kW that you can get from an AC type 2 plug/socket, assuming you have the dual chargers.

Good news is that Nissan are in the process of ugrading the chargers, once this is complete, they’ll tell Tesla and then Tesla will enable full power over the air with the cars (which control the charge rate). The bad news is it is anyone’s guess when this process will be complete, my advice, don’t hold your breath.

There are however some chargers around that will allow 40kW+ for the Model S, but they tend to be in less convenient places, like Nissan dealerships, council offices, leisure centres, etc…

Below is a video of my initial test of the CHAdeMO adapter at an Ecotricity charge point. The connecting it up and disconnecting it parts might be of particular interest to those that haven’t used CHAdeMO before.


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