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Charging/Using a US Model S in Europe

Discussion in 'Model S: Battery & Charging' started by letsgored, Aug 4, 2016.

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  1. letsgored

    letsgored Member

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    Hi everyone. I know there are a number of threads on this board and others that tangentially deal with this topic, but most are old and don't come to a full conclusion.

    I own a US spec Model S that I have shipped to France. I have three questions I'd welcome answers to:

    1. CHARGING:
    -The electric car rental and charging company, Autolib, has plenty of stalls with a mix of Type 2 and J1772 connectors. Obviously I have to use the J1772 connector with the adapter that came with my US universal mobile charger. Has anyone done this yet with a US spec vehicle and if so what was the charging rate?
    -Relatedly, if I can find a parking garage with a normal European outlet, I could also charge the vehicle using a universal mobile connector. The US version of the UMC can obviously take 220V and higher current, but it comes with either a Nema 14-50 or a 5-15 adapter, both of which are removable. Tesla did not advise using the 5-15 adapter with an ordinary US-to-EU (Schuko) adapter attached, for safety reasons, and I get that. But US Tesla sells the 14-50 and 5-15 adapters separately, leaving me to believe that EU Tesla must sell something like a removable Schuko adapter on the EU version of the UMC. Any idea if this is true? I can't purchase the EU UMC because, per below, it uses a Type 2 charger which my vehicle doesn't support.

    2. SUPERCHARGING:
    -Unfortunately, I have only recently learned that Tesla EU superchargers all use a Type 2 plug instead of the Tesla US proprietary plug. It would be quite dangerous to convert Type 2 to J1772 to the Tesla US plug. Has anyone designed something that can serve as an adapter between the Tesla US proprietary plug (female) and the Type 2 plug (male)? Has anyone successfully used the European superchargers with a US spec vehicle?

    3. 3G INTERNET:
    -My 3G Internet connection won't work here because it uses a US SIM which is housed in a box behind the touchscreen. Tesla has said they can swap out the SIM (no price quote yet), and the data would presumably be free, although the service will likely be steep. Has anyone been using a dongle (like the Orange Airbox Auto, which plugs into the cigarette lighter for 50 EUR and provides a 4G hotspot from 2 gigs/mo (10 EUR) to 20 gigs/mo (55 EUR)? If so, will it provide a faster/more reliable connection than the SIM provided by Tesla in EU? Any issue with Google Maps? I have been able to connect the Tesla to my iphone as a hotspot, but it doesn't power the maps or the Slacker service fast enough to run. If I go with the dongle, has anyone determined how much data they use each month between things like the Slacker music service and navigation?

    Thanks so much!
     
  2. AndreSF

    AndreSF Member

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    No first hand experience with this, but I can attempt to provide a few answers based on information I've seen from folks using US spec Teslas in the former USSR territories.

    Not sure about specifics of rate for J1772 or what you would get if you use a EU 220v adapter, but I think most of the folks with US specs cars simply have electrician install NEMA 14-50 single phase outlet at where they park typically (home parking space or work).
    You can also use CHAdeMO US adapter, as far as I know, for fast DC charging, but not the Supercharger network.

    For the internet connectivity, I've seen (read about) some ppl change SIMs (not trivial), but I believe many use an external device and connect the car to it via WiFi. Maps work (somewhat), BUT I don't think actual NAV works (you see your position on the map, etc., but can't use NAV to plot your routes).

    Good luck!
     
  3. miimura

    miimura Active Member

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    Charging:
    1. Buy a Type-2 to Type-1 cable so you can use socketed Type-2 public stations. Charging cord Type 1 to Type 2, 32A 230V | Type 1 Electric Vehicle ...
    This is the same thing Leaf drivers use. Charging speed should be 0.230kV * 30A * 85% * 3mi/kWh = ~17 mph

    2. Since you're going to be using the car in France, you may also encounter public stations that use Type-3C. You would need a cable like this one to use a station like that. Charging cord Type 1 to Type 3C, 32A 230V | Type 1 Electric Vehicle...

    3. You can make a Schuko adapter to 5-15 (for 12A charging) or to 5-20 (for 16A charging) if you use high quality cable and connectors. Just don't use a drug-store Schuko to 5-15 adapter because it will likely melt after hours of continuous current. You could do the same for the Blue industrial sockets.

    Supercharging: Forget about it.

    Internet: I think a hotspot device or mobile phone tethering is your best bet unless you will have the car there long enough that paying the labor fee for Tesla to put a local sim is worthwhile.
     
    • Helpful x 2
  4. letsgored

    letsgored Member

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    thank you both for your posts. quick update with some more related ?s

    -tesla does sell a schuko adapter for the universal mobile connector, but it won't fit the US version so that's useless. you're right that i could probably rig a high quality schuko adapter to the UMC, but that would presuppose that i could even find a power outlet that is producing sufficient power to make it worthwhile, which is unlikely

    -so far the consensus is that there is absolutely no way to use the european superchargers because there is no tesla to type 2 connector available. looks like chademo is going to be my only option for faster speed charging on road trips

    -regarding in-city charging, you have autolib (estimated 7kw max) which has both the type 3 to type 2 plug, or the type 3 to type 1 plug. using the j1772 adapter that came with the vehicle, i'm guessing this is going to charge at about 10mph. you also have belib which has the chademo charger at 22kw which could charge significantly faster i hope.

    -i'll be in france for the next 3 years with this vehicle. while i'm pending a quote from tesla on the labor to swap out the SIM, it would be good to know:
    1) does anyone have any idea how much data an average user requires each month for streaming music and nav?
    2) presumably if tesla is installing the SIM, my nav system will work properly and the streaming audio will also? can people confirm that the maps and music won't work with a hotspot device?
    3) tesla claims they'll offer 4 years of free data from 2014 on. any update on that policy?

    thanks!

    -mike
     
  5. GSP

    GSP Member

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    I suggest pursuing a heavy duty schuko to NEMA 5-15 adapter. Even at 120 V, charging at 12 A can really add up over time. Many people in the US, who don't drive a lot, get by just fine. Since the schuko has 220 V, and is umbiquidous, it can be very helpful. I would not go three years without it.

    Good Luck,

    GSP
     
  6. mspohr

    mspohr Active Member

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    You might ask Tesla how much it would cost to change your charging port to a Euro style so you can use the Superchargers. I can't imagine that it would be more than a different charge port connector.
     
  7. Lerxt

    Lerxt Member

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    Do you think it might have been a good idea to find this out before importing it?
     
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  8. mspohr

    mspohr Active Member

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    We had a similar situation 10 years ago. Moved to Switzerland for three years. Considered taking a new Audi that we had just bought. In the end we decided against taking it because of cost and regulatory issues.
    Ended up selling the car and buying another in Switzerland.
     
  9. AndreSF

    AndreSF Member

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    OP, Have you asked any of these questions in this section of the forum? Locals will have some useful insight I'm sure.

    France
     
  10. Brass Guy

    Brass Guy Member

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    I suspect NAV won't work at all. The installed maps probably only have North America. Remember the big screen map is real-time Google through the internet, but the NAV map is stored in the car.
    You could ask Tesla if they can change your maps, but just use a phone for NAV; especially if the car will end up in the US again.
     
  11. DustinDep

    DustinDep Member

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    I have been asking the same questions as im taking my model S to the UK early next year, I was looking into a charging port swap and on board charger swap to take full advantage. Let me know what u find, the Sim swap in the US is only $500 so I wouldn't expect it's much more than that
     
  12. sunnyvale

    sunnyvale Member

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    Hey Mike any update on your US Tesla in France?
     
  13. letsgored

    letsgored Member

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    i'm glad you asked. i strongly recommend against doing what i did and bringing a US spec Tesla to Europe due to the charging situation

    as mentioned above, i got about 10 miles/hr from the 7kw autolib charging station, and it cost me about $10 and 8 hours to fill 70 miles. the autolib charger uses a plug that can connect to the J1772 adapter that comes with your tesla, and it takes forever to plug and re-plug to get this to work. also, once you finish the charge, about half the time the station still thinks your car is attached, and continues to charge you for days on end, until you contact the company to complain and they nullify the charge. worth noting, the spaces are on the side of the road, and tesla is super wide (another serious problem here), so you run the risk of getting clipped while parked. no problem with the cord reaching. a yearly membership is around $15.

    i then purchased the chademo adapter for $500 and used the belib charger network in paris. i was getting about 60 miles of charge in one hour (39a, 361v, 21 kw). it was fairly simple to connect the plug, notwithstanding that you have to basically park your car backwards because the cord won't reach, as the tesla port is on the driver's side of a US vehicle, but most european EVs have the port on the passenger's side. the thing with belib is that the first hour is an absolute steal - 1 euro only. every 15 minute increment after that is another euro. so it ended up costing me about $10 to charge half the car in about 2 hours. clearly more economical. but fairly dangerous to park it "backwards." i haven't yet tried chademo on the road outside paris. given that european tesla superchargers won't work on the US spec car, chademo is the only option.

    you can easily use a mobile phone as an internet hot spot which gives you maps and internet, but no nav and no internet radio. the cost of bringing the car in to swap out the sim (and then do it again when i bring the car home, so at least $1000) is way more than it costs to buy a sim card here with 20 gigs of monthly data and run the maps off of that ($30/mo). and that's no guarantee nav will work, as the nav is preloaded for north america.

    also worth mentioning, teslas are extremely expensive to insure here, about $1800-2000/yr, and that is by far the best quote available.

    i hope the above is helpful for anyone considering doing what i did. europe is a wonderful place for an EV, and i see more teslas here in paris than i ever did back home. but a US spec car is just not doable. if the supercharger network could be used, everything else might be doable, but it's just too many issues

    -mike
     
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  14. letsgored

    letsgored Member

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    also on belib, i haven't checked if you physically stop the charge at the hour mark, and restart it a minute later, if that encompasses two charges or if there is some minimum time period that must exist between the two. but then again, who has the time for sit there and go through that every hour, to save a few dollars?
     
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  15. sunnyvale

    sunnyvale Member

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    Wow thanks for explanation!! Crazy. Idk why Tesla did that. They should standardize care for world wide use.
     
  16. Rocky_H

    Rocky_H Member

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    Uh...right. So should they "standardize" the car on the plugs that are available in Europe (Type II) or the plugs that are available in North America (Type I)?o_O
     
  17. sunnyvale

    sunnyvale Member

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    Yes and I am sure they can do that. Since "Superchargers" are made by Tesla Motors Inc.
     
  18. Rocky_H

    Rocky_H Member

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    You seem to forget that there are other public car charging stations out there other than Superchargers. That is the point of why they used the "Type II" outlet for the car's charge port in Europe--because the public charging stations for all electric cars use it. So they made that native, so people can just use a regular cable for it, without having to use other adapters every time they want to use a charging station. If they picked just one kind of outlet for all of the cars, then in either the U.S. or Europe, all of the owners there would constantly have to use another cumbersome adapter for public charging stations.

    In the U.S., the J1772 plug format doesn't work for both AC and high power DC charging, so they did have to use something else no matter what. In Europe, though, the Mennekes plug shape could be used for both, so it was very useful and convenient to put that outlet in the car, and then all of the Superchargers and public charging stations could all be used with no adapters needed. It's quite a brilliant situation there.
     
  19. sunnyvale

    sunnyvale Member

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    I was thinking more like they could just made one SIMPLE travel pack cable so if you move in Europe from US bring it with you.
    Actually I can make cable myself but they have to allow US car to charge in Europe. Also how hard is to make software update for maps to download once you are outside region?
     
  20. davewill

    davewill Member

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    Adapters for type 1 to type 2 AC charging are already a commercially available item, and the OP is using one. Building an adapter for Supercharging is probably impossible to do reasonably. At those voltages and amperages, having an extra connector inline is problematic enough. With the inlet in the car, they can be sure that the cable from the Supercharger is fully inserted and locked into place before starting the charge. Doing the same with an adapter would be anything but "simple"...and the number of people who would use one are minuscule.
     

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