In the Bag
(Click to enlarge)
Adapters
for Roadtrip Charging

Mark D Larsen



After driving my LEAF for six years, I knew that some of the first accessories that I would need for my Model 3 would be plug adapters to charge from different types of outlets when traveling away from home. The newly designed Mobile Charging Unit (MCU) that Tesla provides with all its vehicles comes with one adapter and two exchangable plugs, as shown in the photo at the top of the page. The adapter toward the top in the above photo accommodates J1772 plugs, which is now the standard connection for all non-Tesla Level 2 charging equipment. The plug on the right is a NEMA 5-15 for common 120V outlets, needed for “emergency” situations, since it will only put a pitiful 3 miles of range in the battery per hour of charging. The other to its left is a NEMA 14-50 for charging from typical 50A 240V outlets at RV parks and marinas —even though the maximum output of the MCU is 32A.

It is possible to purchase from Tesla additional adapters specifically designed for the MCU, and at first I considered ordering several of them. However, when I thought about my experiences when charging the LEAF away from home, I remembered that there were times when I needed an extension cord to reach a plug that was beyond the length of its onboard cableset. Since the cable of Tesla’s new MCU is only 20 feet long, I fully anticipate occasions when an extension cord will again be needed. Unfortunately, Tesla’s adapters only fit in the MCU itself, and there is no extension that I am aware of that has the same male plug on one end and the female outlet equivalent on the other.

I therefore decided to look for an extension cable for the MCU’s provided NEMA 14-50 plug. There are several to choose from at stores like Home Depot and Amazon, but I ultimately ordered a heavy-duty 25" Mighty Cord from eTrailer.com, shown below on the left.


Extended
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Outlet Shopping
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I then ordered three adapters from ACWorks.com, shown above on the right, that I can use with both Tesla’s 240V NEMA 14-50 plug and the extension cord. The first one on the left adapts to a NEMA 14-30 plug, to connect to dryer outlets in all newer homes. The one if the middle adapts to a NEMA 10-30, compatible with dryer outlets in older homes. I frequently used such adapters when visiting family or friends with my LEAF, and am willing to wager that this will also be the case with my Model 3. The last one on the right is a NEMA TT-30, a somewhat odd 120V 30A plug also used in RV Parks, especially if they don’t support 240V connections. I have only used this type of adapter once, as it is hardly much faster than plugging into a regular NEMA 5-15 outlet, but It’s probably wise to have one when we’re visiting the National Park campgrounds in this area.

For those interested, both Tesla and ACWorks.com also sell additional adapters to plug into outlets for welding equipment and air conditioners. I have never needed such power sources, and doubt I ever will, but perhaps other Model 3 owners anticipate such circumstances.

I intend to keep my three adapters in a plastic bin in the Model 3’s cubby hole, along with short bottles of spray washes, cloths, a couple of small umbrellas, and other paraphenalia. The UMC and my Tesla tire repair kit fit nicely next to it, with room the spare:


Holy Cubby Hole!
(Click to enlarge)

It’s always good to be... adaptable.