What Is Tesla’s New $250 CCS Adapter & Who Needs to Buy One?
The long-awaited CCS (Combined Charging System) Adapter is now available to North American Tesla owners for $250.
This adapter allows Tesla owners to charge their vehicles on non-Tesla fast-charging networks. While Tesla’s proprietary plug had previously limited owners’ options to at-home stations or Tesla’s Superchargers, this adapter opens up a new vista of charging possibilities.
Should the CCS adapter become part of your charging arsenal?
What Is the Tesla CCS Adapter?
If you’ve ever traveled to a country with different electrical outlets (or have had to research the best adapters for your USB-C Macbook), then you’re familiar with how adapters work.
The CCS adapter is the same idea; only it allows Tesla owners to charge their vehicles at third-party charging stations. While the adapter was previously sold by Tesla in South Korea and available here from aftermarket distributors, it’s now available for purchase on Tesla’s website. They will begin to ship the CCS adapter to the US, Canada, and Mexico within two weeks of placing an order.
North American Tesla owners need this adapter because, unlike in Europe, there is no standardized connector. It’s as if your house was built with Type A electrical outlets, the ungrounded variety that accepts a plug with two flat prongs, but your neighbor has Type C outlets, which only accepts two rounded prongs.
Is My Tesla Compatible With the CCS Adapter?
With the 2021.40 software update, Tesla included access to more vehicle information, including CCS detection. You can go to the main menu, then Controls > Software > Additional Vehicle Information. There, look for CCS Adapter Support. To the right, it may read “Not Installed.” Or, it may not show up at all. Tesla requires owners to log in to their accounts to verify if their vehicles are compatible.
If your Tesla isn’t compatible with the CCS adapter, hope is on the horizon with a retrofit coming out sometime next year. Tesla explains they’ll “be adding retrofit eligibility for Model S and Model X vehicles and older Model 3 and Model Y vehicles.”
How Fast Can a Tesla Charge With the CCS Adapter?
The honest answer is that you won’t know until you plug it in, and your answer on Monday could be different from Tuesday.
Learning about electric car charging speeds helps us to understand why. Many factors, such as temperature and battery level, impact charging time.
Tesla says that speeds up to 250kW can be achieved. However, this is unlikely to be achieved as most third-party stations don’t have the capability. While the video below shows a Tesla CCS adapter charging at over 200kW from a 19% charge state, individual results will vary. Charging speed also varies depending on which Tesla model you own.
When Will You Need the CCS Adapter?
The CCS adapter is great news for Tesla owners who:
Go on Long Road Trips
If you’re planning a cross-country trek, the CCS Adapter provides more options for refills. Sure, you can plan your trip around Tesla Supercharger stations, but you may not want to.
Don’t Have a Home Charging Station
The CCS adapter will give Tesla owners more flexibility regarding where to charge their vehicles. Right now, some city dwellers have to get creative about how they charge their vehicles. The CCS adapter will make their lives easier.
Live in Regions Underserved by the Supercharger Network
The Supercharger network map reveals that broad swaths of Canada and Mexico and parts of US states don’t have Tesla charging stations. For Tesla owners in the white space of the map, the CCS will open up new charging possibilities.
Even for those living in areas smeared with red dots, waiting can be an issue. Some regions with high concentrations of Tesla owners still face congestion at charging stations. With Tesla opening up its Supercharger network to all EVs soon, even if Tesla owners receive preferential treatment, it is uncertain how this will impact wait times. Having other options is a good thing, especially if you’re in a hurry.
Are Concerned About Future Prices
While some Tesla owners have free Supercharger access, many do not. Elon Musk tweeted on April 3rd, 2022, that gross margins on the Supercharger network were around 30%, with a net profit of 10%.
Though these margins suggest that Tesla has not focused on its charging network as a major profit center, it’s impossible to predict what the future holds. Just like with utilities, it’s not difficult to imagine EV charging turning into an oligopolistic marketplace. On the other hand, having the ability to charge on multiple networks should help to keep prices competitive.
Should You Buy the CCS Adapter?
Gaining access to more charging networks for only $250 will make sense for many Tesla owners. It’s a big step forward in the movement to democratize EV charging. Depending on your situation, it could be a small investment that pays off with increased flexibility while traveling and peace of mind. If you’re thinking of taking a road trip, don’t have a home charger, live in a Supercharger desert, or wonder about future pricing, it makes sense to grab one. Better to have it and not need it than vice versa.
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September 23, 2022 at 03:13AM