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Will I be able to charge my roadster?

Discussion in 'North America' started by calif, Feb 16, 2012.

  1. calif

    calif New Member

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    I'm thinking about buying a used roadster.

    However where I currently live (in Los Altos) I don't have access to a garage where I could charge my car.

    After doing some research I found that I basically have two options

    a) install some sort of extension cord from the dryer room to my car (this would probably be around 60 feet long)
    b) use public charging stations

    What is your experience with extension cords? In the tesla dealership they told me while they can not officially support/recommend it it is usually not a problem with a 220 V plug (but would be with a 110 V!?).

    What is your experience with public charging stations in the bay area? For example could I leave my car overnight at a charge point station? (I would use my toyota to go and pick it up in the morning). Does that work pretty smoothly in terms of time/hassle?

    Also any experience on how easy it is to get landlords to install 220 V plugs / give their renters access to a plug, say in an appartment complex?

    What if you drive down to LA - can you do one stop (how long would that stop be?) and get the whole trip done?

    Overall I'm trying to judge how much hassle it would be for me to own this Roadster. any feedback is greatly appreciated!!
     
  2. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    #2 dsm363, Feb 16, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2012
    I think you'd be much better off trying to get your landlord to install the outlet you need. You could offer to pay for it if they balk. Also, offer to pay some flat energy fee for your charging based on how much you drive if you. Ant get a seperate meter reading on your plug. Good luck.

    The J1772 charger adapter is $750 so you'd have to leave that unattended each night. Not sure about the extension cord though.
     
  3. cinergi

    cinergi Active Member

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    FWIW I've plugged into 120v 12A using a 50 foot extension cord (very heavy gauge) without issue.
     
  4. dhrivnak

    dhrivnak Active Member

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    I too have used 12 guage cord, two of them for 65 ft and have charged at 15 amps. If you average less than 75 miles a day it will work..
     
  5. benji4

    benji4 Roadster 2.5 #0476

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    In Tokyo where I live, many Roadster owners park in lots that have no outlet. What these folks do is just stop by the dealership once per week and charge there which is always free. It's right in the center of town, they get free parking while they charge (saving them $10 per hour on parking!), and is generally a pretty nice experience. But since you are too far away from the closest dealership, that wouldn't make sense for you obviously. Using an extension cord with 110V has worked for me when I needed to do it although I was told that normally it's not a great idea. Especially doing this with 110V can lead the car to stop charging in the middle of the cycle. Just depends on how stable the current is, you really need to test it in order to find out. Leaving your car overnight in another lot and having to drive out everyday just to pick it up would be a major hassle as well. Might work if you are very close, but the farther away it gets the more you won't be liking it very much! Probably your two most realistic options are 1) Get access to an outlet somehow at your garage (110V is fine) or 2) Charging the car while you are at work. Your other option would be similar to what so many folks here in Tokyo do -- find a place to charge up on weekends which will take care of all your charing needs assuming your cummute is not too long. I talked to one guy who has been doing that for about a year now and he said he's had no problems at all. The capacity of his battery pack has stayed the same even though he only ever plugs in on weekends, and since his commute is just a few miles each way, the weekly charge suits him just fine. On the weekends he goes for much longer drives and charges again at the dealership on the way back! Good luck, I hope it works out for you!
     
  6. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    Tip: If you have to use an extension cord, get a really heavy gauge one. Thicker wires = less voltage loss = happier Roadster.
     
  7. smorgasbord

    smorgasbord Active Member

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    #7 smorgasbord, Feb 16, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2012
    1) Not charging at home is going to be a pain in many ways.
    2) Best thing is to ask your landlord if he'd install an RV outlet.
    3) Running a 220volt extension cord is better than running a 110volt extension cord because you can get away with less amperage. How many miles do you expect to drive on a typical day? That'll determine how much aperage you'll need.
    4) You need two stops to get to LA. Each stop will take close to 3 hours. You'll want Tesla's $750 adapter to make maximum use of the Rabbobank high power units. I've done the trip to Santa Barbara - that's about 8 hours with one stop. Add in another 3 hour stop in Goleta and then the distance divided by 60MPH to get to your final destination. I'd plan on watching a movie while the car is charging. There's a new theater across from the Rabbobank in Atascadero.

    Overall, you're really pushing it here with both lack of charging at home and the desire for long trips.
     
  8. calif

    calif New Member

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    wow I'm amazed at how many answers have come in so quickly! thanks so much guys.

    I just found out I live 10min away from Tesla's headquarters off of 280 in Palo Alto that provides free charging. However I am not sure I could leave it there over night. I've emailed them and haven't heard back yet. Anybody knows about how this works? I mean then I could just charge there once or twice a week charge it up there. I don't plan on doing much more than 200 miles per week, mostly driving around Palo Alto/Mountain View. I have a toyota that costs me next to nothing to maintain which I would use as a transition vehicle.

    Ideally the next place I rent would let me do this, that would be ideal. I guess most people who can afford a roadster also own a home... ;-)
     
  9. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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    The extension cord is not a long term solution. Some point in the system with give away (even if it's after year of use). The wall plug may fry or the plug where it goes to the Roadster. Th ecircuit breaker may get tired and keep blowing.
     
  10. strider

    strider Active Member

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    Is there any chance you could charge at work? Maybe you could appeal to their desire to be "green" by installing a charging station or give you access to a 220 or 110 outlet. At the low levels you plan to drive you could easily stay topped up on 110 while at work.
     
  11. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    When is your current lease up? Maybe you could wait until you find a new place that gives you access to a garage or the ability to install a NEMA 14-50 outlet.
     
  12. FANTOM

    FANTOM New Member

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    Calif: Please, try and not charge yout Tesla with extension cords. Can it work with no issues? Yes. But more times than not it causes erroneous charge faults. Extension cords are a cheap, quick, short-term way to get by - but in the end I agree with everyone that you should just get an electrician out to your house and see what your options are. It's like buying a Ferrari and having KMart spinners on it. If you spend the money for a Tesla, spend the money to maintain it properly.
     
  13. dhrivnak

    dhrivnak Active Member

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    I disagree IF you use a high quality cord. I have some 12 guage cords and have not had any issues. But I agree you will have issues if you use a standard 14 or 16 gauge wires.

    You should be able to use a long cord for the dryer but you will need to make a cord with 4 wire 6 gauge available at most electrical shops.
     
  14. FANTOM

    FANTOM New Member

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    I agree to disagree. There is a reason why Tesla and all the engineers that work for them tell you NOT to use an extension cord. I've seen more problems than not with extension cords. Regardless of quality. I would suggest upgrading to a 220v connection if possible. I know this may be time consuming and/or costly. Expecially if you live in a hot climate though. Your Tesla will not kick on the cooling fans for the PEM and motor unless you are charging on a 220v. A 120v does not have the amperage to charge and run these systems simultaneously. So unless you charge off of a 220v, your Tesla is not cooling while charging. However, your AC system will run to keep the battery cool - as most know. just the PEM and motor.
     
  15. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    If the gauge of wire in the cable is the same as that in the wall, then electrically there's really no difference between an extension cord and plugging into an outlet farther from the panel.

    The main problem with extension cords is that most people don't realize they aren't all the same.
     
  16. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    A weak point in the chain is sometimes the plug/socket on the extension cords. A new one might be OK, but if you use an old one that has had a lot of plug/unplug cycles then the blades/spades in the plug might have some arcing and overheating concerns. The same can be said for trying to pull a full 40A from the NEMA14-50 at an RV park where the socket is outdoors, and had a lot of use over the years.

    The actual Tesla connector, and J1772 plug/socket are designed for a lot more plug/unplug cycles than is an extension cord.
     
  17. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    That may be true, but the yellow "Spare Connector" cord would be just as vulnerable to the same problems.
     
  18. augkuo

    augkuo Member

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    The charger plugs are inside the service bay at Menlo Park so unless you are getting your car serviced there once or twice a week, I doubt that they would let you park inside there unless they aren't busy and full (it usually is!). Other alternatives are Santana Row and numerous Palo Alto public parking lots with free 30 amp J1772 chargers (you'll need to get the adapter plug). You can also use the ones close to you in Los Altos but then you'll pay $0.50 an hour. Go to chargepoint.net to find where they are. Good luck!



     
  19. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    He said Tesla HQ (Palo Alto), not the sale / service center (Menlo Park).

    PA HQ has outside EVSEs for visitors:
    evse-pa-tesla-20110604-001-m.jpg

    Not sure what their policy would be with regards to someone using them after hours.
     
  20. ElSupreme

    ElSupreme Model S 03182

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    I'm sure they wouldn't mind too much if they say "Tesla" on them.
     

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