Model 3 charging
Source: Tesla

It seems a few people have got somewhat confused as to what the change by Tesla to CCS2 DC charging in the Model 3 is all about, going by a recent Twitterstorm!

I have discussed in previous articles the ins and outs of EV charging’s chequered past regarding plug and socket types, and why they have evolved over the last 10 years or so.

Tesla, by starting the modern EV charge had to take the lead in choosing plugs for AC and DC charging before the plug standards were fully settled. (Er, pardon the puns!)

As a consequence, their two first plugs weren’t adopted by anyone and their next one – still used in Australia – the early three phase Type 2 plug with the DC pins incorporated into it was later modified by the rest of the world for DC charging AFTER Tesla adopted it.

It is only with the Model 3 that Tesla caught up with the (more or less) universal standard outside of Japan and the US with the Model 3 using CCS2 as the AC/DC plug of choice.

Consequently, some people have become confused about what chargers Model 3s can/cannot use.

Model 3s in Europe and those coming to Australia are fitted with the CCS2 plug, meaning they can charge (without adaptors) at:

  • any Tesla destination charger;
  • any Type 2 AC charger;
  • any CCS2 DC charger;
  • Tesla Superchargers fitted with CCS2 plugs.

However the Model 3 cannot charge at the old Tesla Superchargers with the proprietary Tesla Type 2 DC plugs (that included DC charging using the same pins) as their socket does not have a special additional notch (in fact, all standard Type 2 AC sockets do not have that notch).

That notch is specific to Tesla Models S and X sockets so they can use the old Supercharger plug that includes it. Somehow managing to directly plug a Model 3 using an old Supercharger DC plug may destroy either the car charger, the Supercharger, or both! Luckily the notch stops that – so all good.

For purchasers of Model 3s, that presents a seeming issue as they supposedly can’t use the old Tesla Supercharger network for DC charging.

However Tesla is addressing this by fitting CCS2 plugs to all its new Superchargers in Europe, as well as retrofitting old Superchargers with CCS2 plugs. In Australia, for the present Tesla Superchargers are being fitted with both.

This means that in Europe (and perhaps later here) Model X and S owners will start to have problems (rather than Model 3 owners) as the old Supercharger plugs become less common.

To address this in Europe, Tesla now supply an adaptor for new Model S and X orders for them to use CCS2 with the older socket still used in the S and X. No word yet on what is happening for Model S and X owners here in Australia regarding a CCS2 to Tesla DC charging adaptor though.

In the meantime – fear not Model 3 buyers: you actually have MORE DC charging options than Model S or X owners, given you will have access to the growing CCS2 DC charging network being rolled out for all EV owners by the likes of ChargeFox, NRMA, Queensland Government etc, etc. Just don’t try to charge it using the old proprietary Tesla DC Supercharger plug – it won’t fit!

In the long-run, it will be interesting to see if Tesla decide to standardise their sockets to CCS2 across the range.

It would make great sense – but there has been no word whatsoever regarding Tesla plans for charging sockets. (Presumably that is not a high priority item given the developments happening there: including the Model Y, Roadster gen 2, Tesla semi-truck, Solar roof tiles, Powerwall, Space X and the Boring Company, to name a ‘few’!)

As a final note (and before someone adds the point via the comments section): yes, there are adaptors available for Model S and X owners to use CHAdeMO 50kW DC chargers, so Model S and X owners do have an advantage there in being able to access the existing Australian network of older 50kW CHAdeMO chargers – but there are fewer CHAdeMO chargers here than CCS2 now, most CCS2 chargers are 100kW or greater, and CCS2 installations are rapidly increasing in number.

Get up to 3 quotes from pre-vetted solar (and battery) installers.