In the world of electric vehicles, Tesla is a bit like Apple in the sense that they just have to be a bit “different” when it comes to their chargers and connectors. In North America, the standard electric vehicle charging connector is the SAE J1772, often shortened simply to “J plug,” but also known as a “Type 1 connector.” It’s used by virtually all brands of EV sold in the US and Canada, except of course for Tesla, who are doing their own thing.
It has been common knowledge for a long time that when you buy a Tesla vehicle, you would get a J1772 adapter with the car to allow you to plug your car into any public charging station. When you use a Tesla charger, of course, you can just plug right in and get on with it.
But what’s the deal with this J1772? Does Tesla still give one to buyers with every Tesla car purchase? With all the things seemingly changing and in flux at Tesla right now, we thought it was worth writing a blog on this subject.
Background: What Is the J1772 Plug?
The SAE J1772 plug is the North American standard for EV connectors, using a 5-pin interface and managing a range of single-phase AC charging rates. It was first produced in 2009, and was later augmented in 2013 by the Combined Charging System (CCS) Combo 1 connector, which added two additional pins for DC fast charging.
The only brands that don’t conform to the J1772 plug are Tesla, and the Japanese brands such as Nissan who use their own CHAdeMO system, but now typically offer connector points for both. Tesla owners could still plug into J1772 devices simply by adding a small adaptor to the end of the charging equipment, which then allowed them to plug in and charge up anywhere.
Does Tesla Provide a J1772 Adapter As Standard?
Despite the great amount of confusion that surrounds this question in 2022, the answer does appear strongly to be yes, Tesla DOES still provide a J1772 adapter as standard with the purchase of any Tesla Model 3, X, S, or Y.
This is usually provided in the frunk (front trunk) of the Tesla, either as a loose cable or as part of a kit (pictured above).
So if this is provided, what confusion are we talking about? Well, in April 2022, Tesla announced that they would no longer be providing the mobile charging kit as standard, which led many to assume that the J1772 adapter would also no longer come with the car.
Elon Musk took to Twitter shortly after the announcement, where he set the record straight, saying that the move had been made based on extensive feedback that the home charger kits were largely not being used since the amount of charge they delivered — about 3-4 miles per hour — was insufficient for Tesla’s large battery capacity.
He said it “seemed wasteful” to offer the kits as standard. The mobile charging kit is now available as a separate purchase when buying your car for $200. You can also buy them in the Tesla store.
So why do we say that the J1772 adapter does still come as standard? Well, the answer to that is also found on Tesla’s most current shop page at the time of writing. The SAE J1772 adapter can be purchased in the Tesla shop for $50, but on the product description, it clearly states:
“This product comes standard with purchase of any Tesla vehicle.”Tesla store, wording correct as of mid-2022
The slightly confusing and even frustrating thing, however, is that even though the J1772 product description says this clear as day, it is absolutely unclear when purchasing your Tesla on the company’s website. When configuring a new Tesla, it asks you if you’d like to add either a Wall Connector home charging station for $400, or a Mobile Connector kit for $200. The latter was the one that previously came as a complimentary item with a car purchase.
However, when you look into the Mobile Connector kit, there’s no mention of a J1772 adapter. It mentions:
- NEMA 5-15 Adapter
- NEMA 14-50 Adapter
These items are all still meant for plugging into home chargers. So, there was some confusion over whether the J1772 was provided, and even debates about it online. One customer confidently took to Reddit to tell people that the adapter was definitely NOT provided, providing an SMS conversation with his Tesla SA (Sales Advisor) as evidence, only shortly afterwards to claim that another SA told him that it WAS provided.
With confirmation from the latter SA, plus many users reporting they did receive one, and Tesla’s own shop saying unequivocally that it does come with the car as standard, it seems buyers needn’t worry about this.
What Should You Do If You Don’t Have an Adapter?
As we’ve mentioned, if for some reason you find yourself without an adapter, or the one you have is broken or defective, then the best solution is to go online and purchase one:
While Amazon do sell them (many with great reviews), the best place to do that would be Tesla’s official shop, where it costs $50. You might find offers on other platforms that are cheaper, but sometimes it’s worth investing in quality assurance even if it costs a little more. When you buy it from Tesla, you can have more confidence that you’re getting the real deal.
In the short term, if you’re in need of charging, then you’ll have to stick with Tesla-based solutions for as long as you go without the adapter. Use the Supercharger search function to find a Tesla charging station close to you and make use of that while you wait for your J1772 to arrive. You could also buy a home charging kit and use that, though it will be slower. The most ideal solution is to buy a Tesla-brand wall charger, which offers the fastest and most convenient home charging solution.
If you’re looking to buy a used Tesla from someone, you should make a point of asking what charging equipment it comes with. In the US or Canada, you will certainly need that J1772 adapter if you can anticipate even one time that you will want to use non-Tesla public charging infrastructure. Therefore, put it in your list of “standard questions” to ask any seller and make sure you get that adapter! It will save you at least $50 in not having to buy one for yourself.
Do Tesla Drivers Everywhere Deal with This Issue?
The J1772 is the North American standard, so drivers in the North American market, in particular the US and Canada, do deal with this problem the most. Over in Europe, they are making use of the newer type 2 plug standard, and all Tesla cars come with a Type 2 Cable product as standard when purchasing. The Type 2 Cable allows them to charge on all public infrastructure.
For older Tesla’s made before 2018, they also came with a Universal Mobile Connector with a domestic adapter and an industrial adapter according to their specific country needs.