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Renting an S - Brit in the USA

Discussion in 'Model S' started by douhgboy, Aug 29, 2016.

  1. douhgboy

    douhgboy Member

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    I have arranged to rent an MS for a little over a week in October, driving from NY to Vermont, via New Hampshire with my family on what we call 'holiday' and I think you might call a 'vacation'. I'm a Leaf owner, M3 deposit holder and have good general EV knowledge. I thought it would be great to rent a Tesla and get a feel for it.
    Advice and pointers for a British EV driver in the US would be most welcome. Superchargers are easy, no problem there. But destination charging, both the official Tesla sort and just plugging into a socket in a rented house or hotel ... I know less about that. Can I use an extension lead to charge from a 110V socket? What about 'drier outlets' - are they are higher amperage, or a different voltage too? What about public charging outwith the Supercharger network - what's the best source of information for their location, do I need smart cards to access them?
    Thanks in advance for any help or advice you can offer.
     
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  2. Saghost

    Saghost Active Member

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    Public charging is all over the place - some are free, some belong to one of a few competing networks. Have a look at the areas you'll be in on Plugshare and see if you see a network or two popping up over and over again - might be worth joining.

    In the US, Tesla's plug on the car side is different from everyone else. The car should also come with an adapter to use all of the public EV chargers (called J1772 after the SAE standard that established it.)

    All standard household outlets in the US are 120V, 15A - which makes them fairly safe, but rather poor for EV charging. You can use an extension cord, as long as it is a heavy duty one; if you aren't driving more than ~30 miles per day on average this might be an adequate solution for you.

    The car should come with an EVSE called the UMC (universal mobile connector) that has plugs for the household 120V and for an oven type 240V connection (NEMA 14-50). This is also the connection used at RV parks (what the RV people call 50 amp service. If all they have is 30 Amp service, you don't want it - that's a 120V connection again and requires a different plug (TT-30) you probably won't have.)

    There are three other plugs you'll find fairly often that could be helpful - NEMA 10-50 (oven plugs in older wiring - no ground), NEMA 14-30 (modern dryer plugs) and NEMA 10-30 (older dryer plug.) All of these are 240V, and all have enough power to charge the car in a useful fashion. You can buy adapters to use any of them with the 14-50 plug connected to the UMC - but if you do, make sure that you change the charging current in the car down to 80% of the breaker (some of these outlets are installed with smaller breakers/wiring than the plug's nominal capacity.) Tesla also sells a 14-30 end for the UMC, but I doubt you'll want to invest in that for your vacation.
     
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  3. ApauloThirteen

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    There should be various smart phone apps that help find level 2 charging (a bit quicker than level 1 110v +3-4 miles/hour added). Chargepoint and Plugshare are popular, there might be a few others. There should be threads on this.

    Welcome to the colonies. Remember, if autopilot drives on the right side of the road, it's a feature, not a bug.

    Cheers!
     
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  4. douhgboy

    douhgboy Member

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    Thankyou folks. Most importantly, is it customary to wave at other teslas?
     
  5. Bimbels

    Bimbels GoldMember

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    Yes you can use a heavy duty extension cord for charging - we did it for a regular 110v plug when we rented a house in VT and got about 4mph charge rate. Not ideal, but ended up being enough for the driving we were doing during the day. We just charged full at the closest supercharger to the rental house (70miles.) We had planned on using public charging in a pinch but it ended up not being necessary.

    You might want to download the plugshare app to see what public (and private homes that share their charging) charging is available where you plan on going. Most are either J1772 or Chademo - be sure to know what adaptors, if any, come with your rental car.

    I still wave at other Teslas but some don't wave back. :(
     
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  6. reuted

    reuted Member

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    Suggestion: For long distance driving off the superchargers one needs to find something better than 110V. Plugshare is a good app. Destination chargers also. Other sources: Police, not joking, for public places with public power for PA systems, RV places, small airports. If you get stranded contact private tesla owners in your area via plugshare.
     
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  7. Bimbels

    Bimbels GoldMember

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    FYI the NH superchargers are located at rest areas with NH state liquor stores - good for stocking up on your vacation, if you partake. ;)
     
  8. NicB72

    NicB72 Member

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    Plan your trip with EV Trip Planner (and give the guy a donation as he is saving for college!).
    And as others have said use plugshare for the other charging locations. Sounds like you are probably leaving NY and going up to NH via Boston ? ie. I95, if so there are Superchargers along the NY/CT part of I95, one off the I95 in Rhode Island and a few around Boston. Up in VT hit the Brattleboro one :)
     
  9. douhgboy

    douhgboy Member

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    Do all US houses have both 120V and 240V sockets? Or am I likely to come across places with only 120V?
     
  10. Saghost

    Saghost Active Member

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    Pretty much any house that's on the national grid will have 240V power.

    We call it split phase - the house has two 120V lines running to it with opposite timing; 120V devices connect one of those to a neutral/ground, while 240V power is achieved by connecting from one of them to the other.

    Off grid housing is often only 120V, since those inverters are cheaper and those houses seldom have much power to begin with.
     
  11. Bimbels

    Bimbels GoldMember

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    Houses might have both sockets but the 240V might not be accessible. Most outdoor plugs are regular 110V - unless a house has 240V (14-50) in the garage. We've rented 3 houses during our time with Tesla and were never able to use a 240V to charge. But like I said before, the 110v was adequate for us - we just made sure the car was plugged in at all times when we weren't using it. if you are doing house rentals on your vacation, communicate with the owner in advance so you know. And also, make sure your tesla rental comes with the proper adaptor - if not, get one in advance.
     

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