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Hello from a total Roadster newbie (but not roadster newbie) & fundamental questions

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Hi everyone,

First post – here's a quick introduction... I'm French, just moving from Germany to San Francisco, proud owner of a 1998 Renault Spider, very sad that I am not able to legally import it to the US (yet – 5 more years to wait!)... and since Monday owner (still virtually) of a Tesla Roadster 2.5 bought from a LA based used car dealer. (Yes that's the closest replacement I could imagine for my Spider).

Once small improvements and pending maintenance operations are complete, I'll have to drive the Roadster back from LA to SF. I'm planning a whole weekend for that.

And then all the questions start to surface... The car comes with a yellow cable (see attached picture). On which public charging infrastructure can I use it? (no Superchargers, I know) How long approximately will it take to recharge? Do I need additional adapters? Do I need to register somewhere to use that infrastructure? How do I pay for the charge?

This is my first EV and I know these are very basic, very naive questions. But if you could help me on these, that would be amazing.

Just for pleasure, I attach a pic of my Spider and another one of the Roadster at the LA dealership.

I'm very much looking forward to being a part of the Roadster community. Thank you everyone!



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I wouldn’t attempt a road trip until you become more familiar with the charging needs. Finding a charger can be a major hassle. I recommend paying a few hundred dollars to have the car transported and, if. It already in place, spend the weekend getting your home charger ready.
That yellow cord is just for "trickle charging" at home. It is only 120V @ (12?) amps or like 1.4kW charging rate - very slow to recharge.

The Roadster has no "supercharging". All charging is done with AC. The drive from LA to SF is one of the few places where you can find some higher powered Roadster stations, assuming they are still in operation. Most have been converted to J1772 plug, and may offer 240V @ 60amp ( 14.4kW charging ) but it will still take hours at each stop to refill the battery.
I suggest trying to use highway 101 Freeway to have best chance for quicker charging stations. But still much slower than the Superchargers that Model S/X/3 can use.

PlugShare - Find Electric Vehicle Charging Locations Near You
Can help you find charging places.

You really better make sure that Roadster has a J1772 adapter if you plan to do any sort of longer road trip with it.
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The J1772 charging stations at Rabobank's along US highway 101 tend to have higher current... Like 60amps instead of the usual 30amps you find at most other places.

Tesla sold a cable that converted Roadster socket to J1772 socket so you can plug Roadster into those.
Many people have a 3rd party smaller adapter called "CAN Jr." adapter.
Neither came with the Roadster, so you may have to buy one if the previous Roadster owner didn't buy one and include it with the car.

Many of the J1772s are NOT free, and it varies what kind of membership card you need to activate them. I could be an adventure trying to find working charging if you don't plan your trip carefully.
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Thank you very much for your help TEG!

So it looks like the right way to proceed (assuming I want to try the adventure of bringing the car back to SF by myself) is:
- buying a J1772 adapter right away, which will allow me to charge at the stations PlugShares classifies under "EV Plug" (correct?);
- getting a membership card of a leading charging system in California (any suggestions?);
- locating in advance on a map a number of charging points from that system on the LA-SF road, with plenty of plans B's and C's in case some are not operational.

Tesla doesn't sell that J1772 adapter anymore? Of course I can buy one of those 3rd party adapters.

Yes, correct on all.

Most recommended J1772 membership in California would be Chargepoint.
EVSE | Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Stations - ChargePoint
If you wanted to be thorough / careful you could sign up for Blink & EVgo as well.

I think generally there is no recurring costs unless you charge at their stations.
They may have a charge/deposit to get an account, and provide you with some kind of access card.

You could filter plugshare by one network, and just plan your trip to use those stations.
The Rabobank high current stations tended to be free and no access card required, but I think you want at least one alternative backup plan in case they are broken / occupied.
(They tend to only have one charge station at each location.)

These "CAN adapters" are highly recommended:
The CAN - Roadster to J1772 or Model S/X connector

One is for the public J1772 charging stations, and the other is to plug a Roadster into Model S type charging stations. (But will not work at Supercharing stations.)
If you have the CAN Sr adapter, you can consider using Tesla "Destination Charging" locations:
Destination Charging | Tesla

Many of those are at hotels where they expect you to stay there to use their charging stations.

If you had time, you could stop overnight half way and make sure to start the next morning full again.

There are lots of charging options around the San Luis Obispo area.
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Super helpful again, thank you TEG.
I will buy both CAN Jr. and Sr. adapters in order to be ready for any case. Emailing Henry Sharp now.
Are Tesla's Destination Charging stations free of charge? Or do you have to have some sort of membership with Tesla or another provider? Couldn't see an answer to that question on Destination Charging | Tesla . Or maybe the fact that they are apparently "Available for customers only" shows that the cost is covered by the owners of the hotels or restaurants as a perk for their customers.
Roadster did come with a "UMC" that let you plug into NEMA 14-50 adapters to do 240V @ 40amp type charging at RV parks and campgrounds.
You only showed picture of the yellow slow trickle charger, not the UMC... So maybe theirs broke, or they lost it somehow.
I think these days, may be better to go with just the J1772 adapter, but you could also consider trying to track down a UMC and stopping at campgrounds with NEMA 14-50 plugs.
Personally I think J1772 in a shopping mall would be easier than trying to spend time at a campground, but there is that option.

how to do a roadtrip in a Roadster? | Tesla

Roadster UMC for sale? :
Tesla Roadster Universal Mobile Charger w/ Adapters
(Seems overpriced)
I think the destination chargers are all free, but yes, I think they expect you to be a hotel guest.
Might be able to park there if using a hotel restaurant or something like that.
Here is someone using a CAN Jr with a 3rd party Model S to J1772 adapter, and a Model S UMC2:
JDapter Stub

That would be a different option to the CAN Sr, but I think more clumsy, but could save some $.

So, lots of different options of ways you can hook things up.

I think having a CAN Jr and CAN Sr will probably be all you need, and you could skip the old Roadster UMC.
You might want to look for some kind of NEMA 14-50 to either J1772 or Model S plug as a more permanent thing if you have a house with 240V power available for your ongoing charging needs.
You could use that yellow cord, but you may find that the Roadster isn't yet full in the morning if you do a lot of daily driving.
Do I need the UMC if I get both CAN Jr. and Sr. from Henry? Looks like going from restaurant to hotel to restaurant thanks to the Tesla Destination Charging stations is a realistic way to spend the weekend driving from LA to SF.
Do you know how long it will approximately take to recharge the Roadster with a Destination Charging station?
OK, just saw your previous post, that you sent at the same time as my last question. I guess I'll stick to both CAN adapters which should have me covered in most situations.
Yes and then there's the question of charging at home. My future apartment building (haven't moved in yet) has an underground parking lot with electric sockets for EVs. I have no idea how they look like and which standard they use. That will be the next question to solve once I move in...
Thanks for everything TEG. I'll let the forum know how my first EV miles in California go. :)

And yes my employer in Silicon Valley does have charging stations... but no idea what standard they use. From what you say, probably J1772. I'll check that too!
Contrary to @glight2000's very sensible advice, I think you should make the drive! :) It will be an adventure.

When looking for chargers on Plugshare or Tesla's Destination Charging map, try to find out the amps offered at each location. The Roadster can charge at 70A but most stations are not that high. Destination Chargers are usually between 40 and 80A. So-called EV plugs (J1772) are usually only 30A, which is painful if you have to wait for it, but fine if you're staying overnight.
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Welcome to TMC, @PFLeFaou! I believe that's #696 you acquired, correct (which, BTW, looks great with the exterior CF pkg)? If so, glad to see she's finally going to a good home!

If the dealership's sending the car to the Tesla Service Center in Torrance for maintenance, make sure to request all the prior service records and ask them to pull the car's logs to check the CAC. You'll want to see if the Tesla customer service rep can also assist in transferring the car's ownership into your name. Finally, if it hasn't been performed recently, inquire if the dealership would be willing to cover the cost of an annual service check (approx. $600 / €488) for your peace of mind. If not, I'd still recommend you consider it as it will be money well spent.

As far as driving the car from L.A. > S.F., that will indeed be an adventure if you decide to go for it. Make sure to pack a bag full of patience for the journey to go along with those CANs.