April 23, 2022

729 words 4 mins read

Quick Take: Tesla Charger Removal

Once again I’ve been failing on writing and a year has gone by with no further blog entries. Going to challenge myself to write more regularly but in the form of “quick takes”. Like twitter, but in a format that is actually conducive to conveying an idea that is longer than 2 sentences. First up, Tesla removing the mobile charger.

Tesla (or Elon’s) move to remove the mobile connector, aka the thing to charger your car, has a lot of people up in arms. At the time of this decision it was a $275 USD accessory if you needed to buy another, but since Tesla has reduced the cost to $200 USD. It’s probably not the actual cost of the device, more the principal of the change. To buy a Model Y Long Range today, totally standard configuration, is approximately $66,500 USD. If you can afford a $66k car, you can probably afford a $200 charger. But should you have to pay $200 extra for a “required” accessory?

This is where the Apple argument comes in. The change Tesla is making is no different than Apple when they removed the charger from the iPhone 12. Though lets be clear, Elon said that this was being done because it wasn’t used often and Apple did so because of “the environment”. Either way the result is an expensive thing that you “can’t” use without a charger. In the Apple case, it’s true that most people have chargers by now and chargers are easy to get. If you go to a friends house they probably have a USB power adapter (though if they are an all Android home, they might not have a lightening cable for you). A Tesla is a little different…

Probably NOT your friends out. From InsideEV
Tesla like Apple has its own special charger and it’s not super common. There have only been a few million Tesla’s sold to date. Your friends, even if you live in somewhere super EV friendly like California, probably don’t have a Tesla charger for you at their house. In fact, your friends statistically are unlikely to have any sort of EV charger for you at their house… Tesla or otherwise. And unless you’ve already bought an EV yourself, you don’t have an EV charger at home.

But that brings up the biggest difference in the Apple vs Tesla argument. How do you plan on charging your Tesla? If you’ve got a home and a garage, you are probably going to install a high powered wall connector. After all, it’ll charge your new Tesla much faster than the mobile connector (in it’s default configuration) and what’s $500 for that HPWC after the $66k car? If you’re in an apartment you might be lucky enough to have power in the garage or near where you park you car, in which case the mobile connector is your answer. You may also be extremely lucky and your apartment has installed an EVSE - in which case you only will need an adapter.

The last group is those who will treat their Tesla EV like a gas car, they’ll take it to the supercharger (gas station) every week or so to fill up. Provided you live in a suitable area of the US, there are plenty of Superchargers options.

The change sucks because something is being taken away for a seemingly pointless reason. And “nothing” is being given back. Realistically with the current rate of inflation that give back is probably one less price hike this year - but that’s not something consumer visible. So it’s “nothing” to the average person.

Why do I care? Well I’ve got a Tesla Model Y on order. This change won’t actually effect us as the decision was made to remove mobile connectors from orders only after April 17th. Even though I do fully plan on installing the HPWC at home, I still want the mobile connector. In my view having the mobile connector in your car is like carrying around a charging cable or extra battery for your phone. Just in case of emergency. Will you need frequently? No. Possibly not ever. But I’d much rather have it (even if it costs $200) and not need it, then need it and not have it. Because that later option involves a tow truck which is a lot more expensive and inconvenient.