Tesla has finally enabled use of its CHAdeMO adapter with the Model 3, thanks to a new bit of code in the latest vehicle software update.
The update gives owners the ability to purchase Tesla’s adapter, which allows the Tesla Model 3 to charge on CHAdeMO charging stations at up to 50kW. Tesla confirmed to CleanTechnica that the adapter itself has not changed and that all of its existing Tesla-to-CHAdeMO charging adapters sold for the Model S and X will now work with the Tesla Model 3.
Just a few weeks ago, we heard that the adapter was coming soon, and today is the day when it finally becomes official. Adding capability to use the CHAdeMO adapter with the Model 3 gives Tesla owners access to a wide existing network of CHAdeMO charging stations. It’s also worth noting that this will be the first time US-spec Model 3 cars will be able to use non-Tesla DC fast charging stations.
This adapter is only for Tesla vehicles in North America, so drivers shouldn’t expect this to work with a Chinese or European Tesla due to the differences in charging ports. For European users, this will probably not matter as much, as the Model 3 comes standard with a CCS charging port that can be used in many places that have CHAdeMO availability.
As of this writing, the CHAdeMO association lists 25,300 CHAdEMO charging points globally, with 9,200 in Europe, 3,200 in North America, and 7,600 in Japan. Enabling use of these additional charging points gives Tesla Model 3 owners more options to charge up and will likely solve a handful of niche charging problems that made life difficult for a few owners. Every location in the growing Electrify America network comes with at least one CHAdeMO charger, which will only increase the adapter’s usefulness.
Having said that, adding the capability to charge at 50kW speeds is a step down from Tesla’s own Supercharging network. Tesla currently offers 72kW of power for its Urban Superchargers, 120kW for its older version 2 Superchargers, 150kW for unpaired upgraded version 2 stations, and a handful of 250kW version 3 Superchargers in California.
50kW charging has largely been exceeded by modern chargers thanks to the arrival of EVs with ranges of 200+ miles per charge. This diminishes the value added by the new CHAdeMO adapter, especially at its steep price of $450, and begs for a more relevant modern adapter. Yes, CCS, we’re looking at you.
Note that using the new CHAdeMO adapter on your Tesla Model 3 instead of Supercharging, doing the infamous Los Angeles to Las Vegas (and back) trip would require approximately three times the amount of charging time. What would we do without technology?