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Tesla drop a bomb, UMC replacement options?

Discussion in 'The UK and Ireland' started by phil612, May 8, 2014.

  1. phil612

    phil612 Member

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    Have just heard from my Tesla rep that the UMC will NOT be available for UK cars, at least not at launch, I've no idea what they're thinking.. here's a clip from the email:

    Which means when my Model S is delivered I will HAVE to have a Type 2 outlet in my garage and I will have no other charging option other than Type 2... Thanks Tesla. So, if it is that Tesla are going to let down their earliest owners so badly what options do I have to purchase third party charger / adapter cables from Europe?
     
  2. Alan

    Alan Member

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  3. phil612

    phil612 Member

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  4. arg

    arg Member

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    I'm not so upset about this, as I've always believed that the Telsa UMC was not the ideal solution for the UK - you need to carry a type2 cable and something that plugs into a 13A socket, yet the UMC doesn't solve the type2 need and would have been a bulky and inelegant (and not so safe) option for the 13A need. So a type2 cable plus a lightweight (and longer) 13A EVSE would have been the ideal substitute for the UMC and should have been about the same cost in total. Hence I feel we've been conned out of a few quid here, but ultimately ending up with the right solution.

    This thread over on the Tesla forums has a good summary of the options. http://www.teslamotors.com/forum/forums/alternatives-universal-mobile-connector

    Cheapest appears to be the BMW, though with uncertain specification. Of the off-the-shelf options, this one https://evconnectors.com/electric-vehicle-chargers-and-accessories/Other-Electric-Vehicle-Charging-Products?product_id=167 looks like the best bet at the moment - it's both cheaper and longer than the Mennekes.

    I'm personally holding fire for a bit since there are rumours of Tesla offering a 13A EVSE, and I'm also tempted to make my own as I want a longer cable on it.

    If you actually need what the UMC can do (higher current charging from a 'commando' outlet), then buying one of the available wall-mount EVSEs and putting a trailing cable on it is a straightforward, albeit slightly expensive and clunky option; at least if you get one with type2 socket on it, you get to combine that with your Tesla-supplied type2 cable and so get the length without carrying another 5m of heavy cable as you would if you had the UMC.
     
  5. malcolm

    malcolm Active Member

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    It's the image of a Model S plugged into a 13 amp socket that bothers me.

    I can just imagine Clarkson holding up one of the plugs and giggling. And he would be right to do so.
     
  6. phil612

    phil612 Member

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    So, please tell me, what would you do if you were visiting your elderly parents who live in a remote village and only have a 13 amp outlet?
     
  7. malcolm

    malcolm Active Member

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    #7 malcolm, May 9, 2014
    Last edited: May 9, 2014
    Electrically I don't have a problem with it.

    At 230V, even if you dial back to 10 amps then a 6 hour overnight recharge gives you about 60 miles of range (if you intend to drive around at about 40 i.e 220 Wh/mile) or about 40 miles if you intend to drive at 70mph (350Wh/mile)

    I just think that Tesla needs to distance itself a little more from a product which has such strong associations with the kitchen refridgerator or previous punishment cars.

    Image-wise even the mini-commando 16A camping plug is a bit better.

    The full-size 32A one, better still.

    Provide a range of connector options, rather than just the two. One of which will appear a bit naff to the man in the street.

    And my elderly parents do go around at night switching stuff off at the wall. They don't really understand electricity and leaving things switched on worries them. Except the fridge. They trust the fridge. :smile:
     
  8. arg

    arg Member

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    Well, image-wise the type2 connector and properly installed EVSE are plainly the way to go - tidy, convenient to use, safe, and looks the part. And maybe eventually they will be so widespread it's all we need.

    But in the meantime, the 13A is useful. You can tell Clarkson that it's like a spare can of petrol just-in-case. You don't use it every day, and you don't NEED it - but it makes life more convenient than hanging around at public charging stations.

    Sure, it doesn't charge very fast, but it covers a number of real-life situations. 85kWh Model S already has range for 5 or 6 hours driving on ordinary roads (and if you are bombing down the motorway for that distance, hopefully there will be Superchargers to help out), so most realistic day-trips are within range or nearly so already: that little bit of added charge (say 40 miles) might make the difference between having to stop off on the way back or not, or between driving home comfortably vs. squeeking home with 0 miles left. Overnight, it's more than 40 miles (unless you are doing many hours of driving just to sleep and turn round again?!). Again, I can think of places I go for a weekend that I could manage without charging, but a trickle charge from 13A overnight would give margin to run around locally while I'm there. Or if I've cocked up my planning and don't have the charge to get to a good charging point, the 13A plug is (like my spare tin of petrol) the difference between being able to sort things out myself or having to call for a tow.

    16A or 32A commando plugs are obviously much nicer, but where are you going to find sockets to plug into? If you are going to put something in specially at your favourite destinations, why not just put in a proper EVSE?
     
  9. strider

    strider Active Member

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    In who's world is 6-hours equivalent to "overnight"? Do you hate your family that much that you arrive at midnight and leave at 6am?

    If you show up for dinner at say 6:00pm (18:00) and then depart in the morning, say 8:00, you're looking at 14 hours of charging and ~140 Ideal miles of range added.

    We have to break out of this line of thinking about "how long it takes to charge". When people ask me I tell them I don't know. They then look at me funny and I say that I don't know because I've never waited for it to charge. I plug it in when I get home and it's full in the morning. So while my car is refueling I'm eating dinner, sleeping, having sex, etc. Then if I want to take the pi$$ I'll ask them what they're doing while their car is refueling :p If they ask about trips I talk about the superchargers and how they're building them out, not unlike when the first petrol cars came onto the market you had to plan your route between petrol stations, but look at where we are now.

    Sorry to go OT. It does suck that Tesla isn't including a UMC. I wonder why? Can they not make it work w/ the different frequency (you all are 50Hz?)? Otherwise 240 is 240 right? Just requires the correct plugs.

    We have J1772 EVSE's here in the states for a few hundred dollars. Hopefully you can find a Type-2 EVSE for similar.
     
  10. arg

    arg Member

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    When I used to drive a 1970 Mini with a 5.5 gallon tank, I used to carry a spare can of petrol in the boot. Didn't use it often, but it was good to have it there. I regard the 13A-plug EVSE as the modern equivalent.

    The Tesla European UMC is a bit different from the N.America version, but works just fine here (Tesla are using it for the demo cars at the London store!). So they could sell it here if they wanted to, but apparently they don't. The 13A plug adaptor would be a bit more development to do, but doesn't appear to have anything fundamental stopping it - and they could still offer the UMC without the 13A adaptor if they didn't want to do that development.

    Entirely speculation as to why they aren't offering it at all, but my theory is that the UMC is considered troublesome (for reliability and/or liability issues when people misuse it) and if they don't have to offer it then they won't. In the UK situation with the subsidised EVSE offered under the Government scheme, they don't need to offer the UMC for primary home charging, and so believe they can get away without offering it at all. As I say, just a theory.
     
  11. Cosmacelf

    Cosmacelf Active Member

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    Is there any reason why folks in the UK can't buy a European UMC and then make an adapter with good quality plugs and receptacle to adapt the blue or red plug to a 13a plug?
     
  12. kbekaert

    kbekaert EU P360 vin 17969

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    The problem is that the UMC with the blue Plug will allow to draw 32A out oft a 13A socket -> danger
    Even with the Schuko Plug (offical rated to 16A) the UMC will allow to draw 13A out of the socket witch is probably to much for the BS 1363 if this is done for more then 10h in a row (DANGER), so the UMC should limit it to +/- 10A. With means that it takes longer to charge -> unhappy customers (something that tesla doesn't want) -> tesla don't allow UMC in the UK/HK....
     
  13. malcolm

    malcolm Active Member

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    #13 malcolm, May 9, 2014
    Last edited: May 9, 2014
    Er...nope. I simply picked the figure of six hours as an example. It's the length of time for overnight cheap electricity. Something like 7.7p per kWh IIRC. (runs from about 0:45am to 6:45am during GMT and about 1:45 to 7:45 during BST).

    Obviously you can set the car's timer to start earlier in the evening and charge for longer.

    But the "how long does it take to charge" question isn't going to go away because many people don't have/need to think about the relation between Energy, Power and Time and how to balance them. These are strange, unfamiliar concepts when compared to refuelling and people lack confidence/awareness (Which is why Tesla have limited the range of connectors available, I imagine).

    Let's hope that the Top Gear Roadster event still has Elon pi**ed and we get lots of Superchargers :)
     
  14. 1an

    1an New Member

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    Will the Type 2 cable supplied have the button to open the charge port? If no, any eta on tesla wall box availability in the UK?
     
  15. mgboyes

    mgboyes Member

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    All the photos of Type 2 cables on the Tesla website are of generic Mennekes cables. They're not very long and don't have the Tesla button on them. Even the new photos they've put up on the rewritten UK charging page are all of generic cables.

    However all the photos/videos I've seen of actual Tesla cables in the hands of owners are Tesla branded, have a button to open the charge door, and they're about 7.5m long. See e.g. Tesla Model S Type 2 charge cable + button open charge port. Mennekes - YouTube

    I would be extremely surprised if we don't get that same 7.5m Tesla-branded button-enabled cable bundled with our cars.
     
  16. 1an

    1an New Member

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    Excellent - I'd not seen the Tesla branded ones before!
     
  17. LuckyLuke

    LuckyLuke Model S P85DL

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    The cable in that movie is DIY, it is just a generic Dostar cable (like evconnectors in the UK sells) with a Tesla logo sticker on it and an integrated open charge port pcb with push button mounted. Tesla does not sell this cable, it is a DIY job.
    My guess is that Tesla will only offer the standard 5m 32A (3-phase) Mennekes cable like they do in other European countries. If you want a different length (5m is considered too short by many owners) or color or 16A (single charger) you will have to source that yourself. And the open charge port pcb is another story, that is pure DIY.
     
  18. hiroshiy

    hiroshiy Active Member

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    Tesla seems to drop UMC in Japan and HK, providing (different) wall mount EVSE for each customer. They say it's safety issue. I understand that using outlets would be not recommended anymore.

    For UK isn't it possible to purchase other car's OEM portable EVSE? We in Japan could buy Nissan, Mitsubishi or even Toyota EVSE for Tesla.
     
  19. Cosmacelf

    Cosmacelf Active Member

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    #19 Cosmacelf, May 12, 2014
    Last edited: May 12, 2014
    To be fair to Tesla, here's some history. Every single EV, before the Model S, and I'm including the Tesla Roadster here, required you to buy a wall mount charging station for your home.

    Tesla decided to do something radically different with the Model S. They decided to make a portable EVSE that was relatively high power (40A) and could be plugged into a variety of plugs with appropriate adapters.

    This was ambitious for several reasons. First a 40A charge rate results in potentially twice as much heat resistance than charging at 30A, which is what most of the industry had been capping their mobile chargers at. Second, the plug adapter is yet another connection point that has to be made very reliable under heavy electrical loads.

    It has become apparent in the United States that they made two mistakes with their design. Unlike Mennekes and others, they did not put any temperature sensors in their plugs. This resulted in at least one garage smoke and small fire in the wall that I know of, due to poor garage side wiring, but a temperature sensor would have mitigated or prevented this fire.

    Second, their adapter to UMC mating design was flawed. There have been MANY reported incidences of the adapter melting into the UMC portion. Basically, the adapter to UMC portion needed to be built better, with more contact area, and less likelihood of manufacturing tolerances causing poor connections.

    Tesla is trying to remedy this situation in the US by shipping new 40A adapters that are built with higher temperature materials and better welds, along with the firmware change that drops current draw if the car senses unusual voltage fluctuations. There are two US 40A plugs in use, they are simply discontinuing support for the less commonly used one (NEMA 6-50).

    Tesla has no idea, really, whether this will be adequate protection. They are hoping it will, but it is possible they will have to make further changes. IMHO, it isn't enough - they need to redesign the adapter to UMC mating to make it beefier (a temperature sensor would be nice too).

    At any rate, with such changes going on in the US, I can well understand Tesla's reluctance to use the UMC in other countries. The consensus on forums here in the US is that a wall connector is the way to go for home charging. And while you definitely want a mobile charging solution, Tesla's UMC is but one of many possible products for that issue.
     
  20. Cosmacelf

    Cosmacelf Active Member

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