Tesla No Longer Includes a Charger with New Vehicles
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If you’ve purchased a new, high-end smartphone lately, you might have noticed that it didn’t come with a charger. That’s increasingly common after Apple set the standard with the iPhone 12. Now, Tesla is doing the same with its electric vehicles. If you purchase a new Tesla vehicle, it won’t come with the bundled level 1 charger. You can buy one, but it’s probably better to spend that money on a faster charger. 

Tesla’s high-capacity lithium-ion batteries have made its cars into the most popular EVs in the US. The company sold almost one million vehicles in 2021, which is nearly every unit it was able to produce. Everyone who bought one of those cars got the “mobile connector” charging kit for free with the car. That kit includes a standard NEMA plug with a 20-foot cord, plus a handy storage bag. This level 1 charger connects to a standard 120v outlet and can add 2-3 miles of capacity per hour connected. It’s now listed for $400 on Tesla’s site, but it will apparently drop to $200 soon. 

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Tesla has boosted prices several times in the past year, and keen watchers of the company noted over the weekend that the mobile connector was no longer listed as an included accessory. CEO Elon Musk took to Twitter to confirm the EV maker would no longer provide the kit for free. That means your new battery-powered car will not come with a way to charge the battery. Yes, that does seem like a raw deal for buyers, even more so than with smartphones — you almost certainly have old phone chargers that will usually work with a new model — but Musk does have a rationale here. 

According to Musk’s tweets, usage statistics for the bundled charger were extremely low. It’s easy to see why when you get such a meager amount of power from a level 1 plug. Stepping up to a level 2 charger, which operates at 240 volts, increases your charging speed tenfold. You might be able to do that with an existing outlet at home, but many people have additional outlets installed in a more convenient location. Musk recommends getting the Tesla wall connector, which is more expensive at $500. It can add 30-44 miles to the battery per hour, but it requires a dedicated 60A breaker and probably a visit from an electrician to install it. 

This move might push Tesla buyers to pay for the more expensive charging option. One minor upshot of the change is that Tesla plans to include more adapters with the $200 kit. Still, if you’re looking at paying a few hundred for a cord that barely trickle charges the car, why not spend a little more to get reliable, faster charging? If you really don’t want to pay for a charger, you can get by using public stations like the ones in Tesla’s Supercharger network.

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