Why does Tesla use a different charging connector?

Tesla EV Charger Connector North America

Why do Tesla cars in North America use a different charging connector from all the other popular electric cars? Wouldn’t it be easier if all cars used the same universal connector? Yes, and it’s complicated. 

Tesla as we know it today began to mass produce cars starting with the Model S sedan in 2012 for the US market. At the time, there were no good universal connectors available on the market, so Tesla was forced to create their own. In years since, Type 1 (and later Type 2) universal chargers were developed by the industry, and became the de facto connector for EVs outside of North America. The European Union has required the provision of Type 2 connectors on their charging networks since 2014, and all modern EVs (including Teslas) used Type 2 CCS connectors in Europe.  


charging connectors ev north america

In the United States market today, Tesla cars use a proprietary Tesla charging connector. Most other modern EVs use a Type 2 CCS connector, and early cars from Nissan and Mitsubishi used a Japanese connector called CHAdeMO. The CHAdeMO standard is almost dead in 2022, as even Japanese car brands are adopting Type 2 CCS connectors on their new models instead. So that leaves us with just two competing connectors, Tesla Connector vs Type 2 CCS.

Will Tesla switch to Type 2 CCS connectors in North America?

We don’t believe this is likely. Tesla has a very large Supercharger network with their proprietary connector, and a big fleet of cars on the market that is growing by the day.

Tesla includes an adapter with every car that allows North American Tesla vehicles to charge from Type 2 wall chargers and public level 2 chargers. (But not CCS to Tesla adapters as of this writing) In the future we can expect the Tesla company to make a reverse adapter readily available so that EVs from other brands will be able to charge from Tesla’s Superchargers and home wall chargers as well.

But because of Tesla’s commanding market share in the United States, (69%, by some accounts) we are likely to have to deal with the two connector industry for some time to come.

But it’s not all bad! We’ve handled the iPhone vs Android charging situation just fine, right?

tesla superchargers connectors
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