Last updated 06-Jan-2023
One of the many things that Tesla owners do is drive across continental Europe. There are plenty of Superchargers across most major routes and long journeys are relatively simple, but some still like to charge at their destination. Similar things happen in other countries where a imilar problem is experienced, namely the electricity plug design changes slightly.
In Europe there are variations of the plug with 4 different variations available, some of the them partially compatible with each other, and some not. Tesla sell adaptors for each area although these can often be out of stock. Even if you do have the ability to purchase the right adaptor, a second common issue is there isn't a socket in easy reach and an extension lead is required. In this situation, the adaptor would need to be supplimented with a matching extension lead.
An alternative solution is to use a high quality extension lead and change the plug on this to match the local region, leaving the socket end to match the plug that comes with the UMC. The extenstion lead therefore performs two functions, firstly it extends the UMC range, and secondly it converts the local socket to the one for the UMC.
The UMC1 is also sensitive to the neutral to earth voltage caused by the polarity of live and neutral wiring, and as a result you can buy 2 different polarity adapters. In essence, a socket may be wired with the voltage between earth and neutral very small, or earth and live very small, the second cenario would make the UMC trip unless an alternative cable is used which switches the polarity. Wiring your own plug onto an extension lead also makes it easy to swap the polarity if needed to deal with this problem. The UMC2 is not sensitive to the wiring.
WARNING: THIS GUIDE IS ONLY FOR THOSE COMPETENT AT WIRING A PLUG
What you ideally need is a high quality extension cable that you can use abroad, something that accepts your existing domestic UMC plug as provided by Tesla. Make sure the rating of the extension cable is greater than the intended current draw by 3 amps or more, e.g. 13 amp rating is suitable for up to 10 amp charging. This is important as many extension cables are rated at a lower current for continual use.
Replace the plug with a quality plug for the country being visited. In Europe, a Schuko plug covers most situations. Do not buy a cheap plug, or use a convertor you sometimes see at airports as these will not sustain the continual high current draw and could cause a fire.
In use, ensure the cable is fully unwound.
The use of a drybox may be prudent especially anywhere it may rain while being used.
Reduce the max current in the car to the lowest rating of any component. Charging in the UK the maximum is 10 amps, in Europe it is 13 amps, although the car may restrict the speed lower still. If you are unsure, start lower still and after an hour check to see if anything is getting too warm. If not, the current can be increased slightly up to the max rating of the lowest component.
An alternative option is to use a caravan hookup. This uses a 16amp commando socket and converts to the mains socket for your country. As these sockets are fairly universal across Europe it can be handy to carry one and they are relatively cheap, but you will find them easiest to obtain in your home country. Before using any "caravan" hookup at a camping site, check it is safe to do so as you may blow the fuses for your pitch, or worse, a number of pitches in your zone.
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