Charging with the UMC
The Universal Mobile Connector, or UMC, is the small portable charge point that comes with the car. It effectively allows you to provide a source of AC power and it will then interface to the car’s charger, converting the AC to DC and charge the batteries.
As of May 2019, there are now two different UMCs Tesla have provided. A “Gen1” which was shipped with all Model S and X cars till around May of 2019, and all future deliveries appear to come with the “Gen2” device, and that includes all Model 3 deliveries.
The Gen1 UMC has a maximum charging power capacity of 11kW when fed with a 16A three-phase power source via the red Tesla industrial plug adaptor. This can be used as an alternative to the 32A single-phase blue adaptor and 13A UK plug adaptor Tesla provide as standard with the car. The small unit manages the charge session and you have approximately 5m cable length to the Type 2 plug which connects to the car.
The Gen2 UMC has a maximum charging power capacity of 7kW when fed with a 32A single-phase supply source via the (optional) blue Tesla industrial plug adaptor – it’s the 16A CEE Commando adaptor that’s supplied with the car, not the 32A one.
Also, please be aware that the Gen1 32A blue adaptor and UMC work in a particular way that is only compatible with Tesla cars: the 32A is presented as three lots of 10.6A to each of what would otherwise be three different phases. Whilst this is fine for Tesla, you must never use the blue adaptor and UMC to charge another car equipped with a Type 2 socket – bad things can happen!!! Renault Zoë cars have been severely damaged this way. This configuration is most certainly not a standard Type 2 charging mode! The Gen2 UMC’s optional 32A adaptor should be OK as it appears to comply to the standard connectivity used in the Type 2 plug.
Going places – charging across Europe
The fact that the UMC supports different adaptors also means you can buy an adaptor to match the domestic power socket of that European country you want to visit. Tesla make a whole range of adaptors for Schuko, France, Italy, Switzerland, etc, ensuring you can plug in at that B&B or hotel even though it doesn’t have a proper Type 2 charging point.
This might be suitable if you’re only going to one country, however, consider that each different Gen1 UMC adaptor costs around £90 from Tesla and you might still have a cable length issue: if the power socket is more than around 5m from where you can park your Tesla, the UMC’s cable won’t be long enough to reach. If you would like more flexibility and know that only a single kind of extension lead would be required regardless of power socket type, then you might want to look at our charging cables solution.