Fast AC charging via Type 2 charge points and Tesla Destination Chargers – up to 22kW
The Supercharger and CHAdeMO systems are both DC-based charging – they feed the batteries the direct current required to charge them. When it comes to AC charging, the batteries need to have the alternative current converted to direct current using the on-board chargers in the car. The power these onboard chargers can use varies depending on the specification of the car.
For pre-facelift Model S cars, there were two options:
- Standard charger providing up to 11kW power via 16A three-phase power
- Dual charger providing up to 22kW power via 32A three-phase power
For the more recent facelift cars, there are now two options:
- Standard charger providing up to 11kW power via 16A three-phase power, same as the pre-facelift version
- “High power” charger providing up to 16.5kW via 24A three-phase power
The above determines the maximum the car will be able to charge at. If you plug into a Type 2 charger capable of providing 22kW, you might only charge at 11kW or 16.5kW depending on the specification of the car. If you have a facelift car without the high power charger option, this can be software-enabled by purchasing the option from Tesla. It is, however, relatively expensive, and given the modest gains potential provided – a jump from 11kW to 16.5kW ONLY if the charge point supports it – I would suggest purchasing the CHAdeMO adaptor first as you’ll benefit from it far more frequently and the gain in speed is massive (11kW AC to 50kW DC).
However, as well as the car potentially determining how fast it charges, the power source / charge point can also be a contributing factor to charging speed…
As a side-note, if you come across a charger offering “Rapid AC” at 44kW in addition to the 22kW “Fast AC”, etiquette would suggest taking the slower one, leaving the faster 44kW version to cars which can benefit from it.
Type 2 charge points
These charge points exist in various power outputs, from a very lowly 4kW (16A single-phase) all the way up to 22kW (32A three-phase). Charge points will either be “tethered” where the cable connecting to the car is an integral part of the charge point or “untethered” where they present a socket for which you will need to provide your own charging cable.
Tesla sell a very good 7.5m long 32A three-phase Mennekes branded blue coloured cable for around £180 inc VAT. This would be my personal preferred solution and what I use when charging from untethered charge points. With this cable, you’ll always be able to charge at the maximum speed determined by the charge post and car configuration. Be aware that cheaper cables might only be capable of providing 16A or might only be single-phase which can be a limiting factor regardless of charge point power availability and car configuration!