How Teslas charge in US and UK: similarities and differences

It's well-known that electrical outlets in the United States and elsewhere vary, but it also makes for somewhat different charging experiences with the Tesla Model S.

In Europe, the standard voltage is higher than the United States, which means more power can be drawn from a standard wall outlet.

However, higher-rated charging connectors, such as a NEMA 14-50 in the United States, don't translate to Europe.

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A video from a user named "Like Tesla" highlights the major differences (and similarities) between charging a Tesla Model S in the United States and in the United Kingdom.

The US 240-volt NEMA 14-50 outlet, at 50 amps, provides about 27 miles of range for every hour the car is plugged into a Tesla home charging station (depending on the rating of the car's onboard charger).

The UK counterpart is called a "Blue adapter," and features a different prong design than Americans are used to seeing.

Tesla Model S at Supercharger site in Ventura, CA, with just one slot open [photo: David Noland]

Tesla Model S at Supercharger site in Ventura, CA, with just one slot open [photo: David Noland]

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It draws 32 amps, which means it doesn't provide as much range while plugged in: about 20 miles added per hour.

Back in the United States, any Tesla can be plugged into a standard 120-volt outlet, which provides only about 3 miles of range per hour—hardly an useful amount of range if the car is plugged in for 10 hours.

Over in the UK, the standard outlet provides 230 volts, which means about 8 miles of range per hour from a wall socket.

READ THIS: Tesla extends free Supercharger use to all current owners (updated)

For public charging, the Tesla adapter in the U.S. provides around 16 miles of range per hour of charging at typical public stations using the standard "J-1772" adapter that fits every plug-in car on sale except Teslas.

Europe's equivalent adapter is again more powerful and provides around 31 miles of range per hour charged.

Of course, Tesla's home charger in the U.S. provides 50 miles or range per hour charged as well, which is also sold in Europe.

Tesla Supercharger network, North American coverage map, Feb 2017 [graphic: Isaac Bowser]

Tesla Supercharger network, North American coverage map, Feb 2017 [graphic: Isaac Bowser]

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Finally, Supercharger DC fast-charging stations are present in both the new and old world. All of them provide about 170 miles of range in 30 minutes.

In the U.S., Supercharger station use is free for all current owners of Tesla vehicles; newer owners get a certain amount free, then pay for usage above that.

(The rates include various exceptions and qualifications.)

CHECK OUT: Tesla plans major U.S. expansion of Supercharger fast-charging

Tesla has expressed interest in not only expanding the number of Supercharger stations across the U.S., but in increasing power levels for faster charging yet.

It has suggested that one day its vehicles might gain the ability to charge up to 90 percent of the battery in just 8 minutes.

Thus far, Porsche's plans for 350-kilowatt charging by 2020—which could provide 200 miles in just 15 minutes—seem to be the fastest planned.

[hat tip: George Betak]


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