Last week, Tesla finally released the “CCS Combo 1” adapter for the North American market, which will allow some of the automaker’s latest models to charge up to 250 kW at third-party stations such as those from Electrify America or EVgo.
On compatible models, this will allow owners to take advantage of the extensive network of fast chargers in the US, providing better access to cross-country charging than any other electric vehicle.
For now, compatibility is limited to the new Model 3 and Model Y, as well as the Model S and Model X, starting with their 2021 refresh. According to Tesla, the adapter will require an upgrade to be able to use it in some vehicles, and this upgrade will not be detailed until early 2023; but you can log in to see if your vehicle is compatible.
The company also warns that rates may differ from those advertised by third-party stations, and that Tesla “does not regulate the pricing or charging experience” at them. It is, by and large, an experience that only emphasizes Tesla’s competitive advantage.
“Most third-party stations are not capable of charging Tesla vehicles at 250kW,” it states bluntly, essentially lowering the bar and suggesting that the adapter may not deliver a peak 250kW even at the increasingly common 350kW charging stations .
Tesla CCS1 adapter for North America
Tesla CCS1 adapter for North America
Using the adapter is quite simple. You must first attach the adapter to the connector end of the charging station, then connect the Tesla Adapted Connector to the vehicle, waiting for it to lock the adapter in place, before following the on-screen instructions to start charging.
Tesla cars are of course not compatible with The function of connection and charging allows automatic identification of certain CCS vehicles for billing purposes. This will mean that Tesla owners will need to initiate a charge using on-screen prompts, an app and/or credit card swipe.
Experience at CCS stations may also improve over time. “While the CCS Combo 1 adapter is designed to work with all CCS 1 charging stations, it may not be compatible with some,” Tesla also states, noting that occasional software updates may affect — and possibly improve — charging with the adapter.
2022 Tesla Lineup (Courtesy of Tesla, Inc.)
Since the arrival of the Tesla Model 3 in Europe in early 2019, every Tesla has included a CCS charging port for that market, enabled by another module behind the charging socket. Around the same time, Tesla began offering a CCS adapter for Model S and Model X vehicles.
Tesla has offered the CHAdeMO fast charging adapter for Model S and Model X for nearly a decade, and has opened up access to CHAdeMO charging with adapter for model 3 in 2019, a unit that also still applies to the Model Y.
This is great news for Tesla owners who are less interested in a long drive and just need an extra 100 miles or more to run errands on the weekend. While Tesla’s Supercharger network is unmatched for stability and performance on highway trips, CCS beats it in terms of close metro location. And with the Tesla solution that started earlier this year no longer includes a mobile charger with its vehicles, more owners may look to CCS as a stopgap in some situations.
GM and EVgo are expanding the metro’s fast-charging feature
There are currently 1,496 US Tesla Supercharger networks, including 15,339 fast-charging connectors, according to the US Department of Energy, which is regularly updated. By comparison, CCS fast charging is offered at 4,491 locations, including 8,986 connectors.
Tesla has long suggested that it would make the Supercharger network available to those with other brands of CCS-equipped cars — likely additional fees for slow-charging electric vehicles are not Tesla. While the idea has been tried and implemented through a pilot program in other markets, including Norway, the UK and most of Europe, it has yet to come to the US