I’m pleased to say that every day we get more calls from future Tesla Model S owners.
Our goal at Drive & Dream is to make buying and using electric cars as easy and fun as possible. We are happy to answer your doubts by phone, email, facebook, twitter or through this blog.
One of the most common questions is:
“What do I need in order to charge the car at home and how long will it take?”
The Model S comes with the standard charge cable called the UMC (Universal Mobile Charger). Here you can see it with it’s travel bag and standard EU adapter (for the very common Schuko socket):
The UMC has various adapters to enable charging from several different common sockets. All UMCs come with the standard socket (Schuko). We bought the adapter for a 3-phase 16A socket too.
Tesla also offer an adapter for 32A single-phase (but we don’t have ours yet). Here you can see this type of socket, common in the South of Europe in campsites and the like:
To connect to more powerful outlets you need a wallbox and mennekes cable. Here you can see our wallbox (which is not mounted on any wall). Ours has a handle and cable fitted with a 3-phase 5-pin 32A plug in order to be able to take it when we go on the road.
The socket in the Model S (in Europe) is a Mennekes (the left connector (female) connects to the car).
We bought the wallbox (€700) and Mennekes cable (€600) online.
Depending upon the type of socket you charge at different rates:
(in the photo from right to left):
- Standard Schuko (13A @ 230V = 3kW) – gives 8kms to 13kms of ideal range per hour
- Single phase 16A (16A @ 230V = 3.6kW) – gives 16kms per hour
- Single phase 32A (32A @ 230V = 7kW) – gives around 40kms per hour
- 3-phase 16A (16A @ 230V x 3 = 11kW) – gives around 60kms per hour
- 3-phase 32A (32A @ 230V x 3 = 22kW) – right now gives 100kms per hour (limited to 26A by the car software) but in the future we should get 130kms per hour
Which to Choose?
There are two determining factors in the decision as to which type of socket;
the maximum charge time you will accept and if you are able to install 3-phase power at home.
Most cars are parked at least 10 hours overnight. The most demanding situation would be, for example, arriving at 10pm and needing a full recharge before 8am.
To recharge in 10 hours you need a 3-phase 16A socket although a single-phase 32A is almost enough for 100% recharge (it may take 11 hours in fact). If you want to use low cost overnight power you won’t start charging until 11pm in winter and midnight in summer so you definitely need to have 3-phase 16A at least.
However, it is far more normal to use 50% or less in a day, and to have the car parked for 12 hours or more. In this case a single phase 16A or even Schuko socket would do. Again, if you want to use low cost overnight power however you will only have 6 or 7 hours to recharge so these low power outlets will probably not be enough
In our case we have a 3-phase 32A outlet in order to allow for fast recharging.
This is the socket we recommend all hotels install too because, with simple adapters, it can be used by all electric cars, and if you bring your own wallbox like the one above you can charge pretty fast. The next step up in charge speed would be Chademo (43kW of charging but at a cost of about €20k!) and then after that you’re in Tesla Supercharger terrain (for which you’ll need a 20kV transformer and about €200k in loose change).
I hope this post helps to resolve some home charging doubts for the Tesla Model S (and other cars too).