Tesla changed its long-running policy to connect each vehicle with a portable charging cable and instead began selling them separately for $400 for Level 2 charging and $275 for Level 1 charging.
This step reminds us of Apple removing the USB charging brick included with the iPhone.
With charging being one of electric car buyers’ biggest concerns, it makes sense for Tesla to include a mobile phone charging cable with every car sold.
The included charging kit has evolved over the years.
Tesla used to include a charging cable with a NEMA 14-50 connector (level 2) and a connector for a normal outlet (level 1).
The automaker later decided to drop the NEMA 14-50 connector from the included package and only included a NEMA 5-15 adapter, which is a regular port. You can purchase the Level 2 Connector separately.
With a maximum power output of 1.3 kW, the included connector enabled charging speeds between 2-3 miles of range per hour. It’s not much, but it’s still better than nothing and good for overnight charging.
For anything better, Tesla owners will have to install a Level 2 charging station at home.
Now Tesla has gone a step further and decided not to include any charging cable with its new vehicles.
CEO Elon Musk said Tesla believes usage among owners has been too low to justify supplying the cable with each new vehicle delivery:
“Usage stats were pretty low, so it seemed like a waste. On the (small) plus side, we will be including more plug adapters with our portable connector set.”
The move is reminiscent of Apple’s decision to stop supplying new iPhones with USB charging bricks a few years ago, and the company also referred to the extravagance at the time.
However, the similarities stopped there. Apple can count on the fact that most customers already have several USB/Lightning bricks, but that’s unlikely to be the case for Tesla buyers, especially those new to EVs.
Also, even if most users don’t use mobile phone cables much, it can be extremely beneficial to stay in the car for a worst-case scenario or early in the ownership experience before you can install a home charging station.
Adding to the concern is that both Tesla’s mobile phone connectors are listed as “not available” on its website:
So for people receiving new Tesla cars without an included connector, they will have to find a replacement elsewhere.
I am not a fan of this move. I know everyone has a different situation, but I know a lot of owners who use the included mobile phone charger in the first place – and obviously more so when Tesla included the NEMA 14-50.
Personally, I probably did over 80% of my charging on my Tesla Model 3 with the charger included.
I think it makes sense to sell an electric car with a charger – even if it’s not ultimately your primary charging product.
For what it’s worth, Tesla isn’t the first company to do so. We learned earlier this year that Kia’s EV6 won’t come with a charging cable and at the time we said:
The EV6 doesn’t come with a Level 1 or 2 charging cable, for better or worse. Speaking to the team, I think the thinking is, why add the $1000 part and the complexity associated with it when people already have a charging station at home, they might not have a garage, and/or maybe they can pick one that’s better designed for them at a price Cheaper at an online retailer. For someone like me who already has five different electric chargers at home, that makes sense, but as a first-time electric vehicle buyer, it adds a significant complexity to getting an EV. Throwing in a $200 charging cable would make a lot of sense
I know a lot of owners like to just carry the mobile phone connector in the car at all times for a small charge somewhere if needed.
What do you think? Is Tesla greedy here or is it a good move? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.
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