Review: Tesla Model S CHAdeMO Adapter


A little over a year ago, I put my name on the waitlist for the Tesla Model S CHAdeMO adapter. At the time I was still unsure whether I would need it, or want it, but thought it would be good to get the option. Tesla wanted a pricey $1,000 for the adapter during that time but I figured that I could always turn it down when my number came up.

Well… Something happened between then and now. Tesla dropped the price and my number was called. So… We said, “what the heck.”

Tesla Model S CHAdeMO Adapter

Tesla does such a great job with the packaging for their accessories:



Tesla’s instructions are elegantly presented in the following pictograph:


Being a technical person, I found these pictographs to be well done and quite easy to follow. Now, I’m unsure whether they’re great for non-technical people, but between this pictograph and the one provided for the Premium Rear Console, I have to tip my hat off to Tesla for providing very easy to follow instructions.

How do I use it?

Be aware that (at least in the United States) there is a waitlist (as of March 23, 2015) when it comes to placing your order for the the CHAdeMO adapter.  When your number is called, you have to make the decision whether to order it or not.

So, how do we use the CHAdeMO to Model S Adapter? Well, it depends on which CHAdeMO L3 Charger you’re using. I chose to try the adapter with an Eaton CHAdeMO charger and a Nissan CHAdeMO charger because the two locations that I identified provide quick charging without a fee. Many of the Nissan CHAdeMOs have been converted to a pay system and require an RFID and payment to charge. I have not yet used any of those.

STEP 1 is to attach the CHAdeMO cable from the L3 charger to the Adapter. Make sure to align the notches appropriately, it won’t fit otherwise.

Here is the Eaton CHAdeMO pictured


STEP 2 is to mate the CHAdeMO to the Tesla Model S CHAdeMO adapter.

Here is the Eaton CHAdeMO pictured


Seat the Eaton CHAdeMO to the Adapter and make sure that it is secure. Here is the Nissan CHAdeMO pictured.


Be sure to pull the trigger on the Nissan CHAdeMO to secure the piece to the adapter.

STEP 3 is to plug the Adapter to the Model S.


STEP 4 is to press start on the CHAdeMO Charger to initiate the charge.

Tesla-Model-S-CHAdeMO-Adapter-4 Tesla-Model-S-CHAdeMO-Adapter-5 Tesla-Model-S-CHAdeMO-Adapter-3

It’s the blue START button, I forgot to take a picture of me pressing the button. Go back to the car or go about your business, but put a note on the car if you do leave so that anyone who needs to use the charger can contact you.


Notice the charge speed of CHAdeMO

One of the things that you will notice that is different between the Eaton and the Nissan CHAdeMO station is that the Eaton provides an estimate of how long the charge will take to full. The Nissan one that I have found do not do the same.

From the Nissan CHAdeMO’s display:


STEP 5 – Press the STOP button when charging is complete and detach the Adapter from the charger’s CHAdeMO cable.

Side by side comparison of the Eaton CHAdeMO (left) with Nissan’s CHAdeMO (right).

Eaton-CHAdeMO-Charger Eaton-CHAdeMO-Nissan-Charger

Taking a look at how the two charging adapters compare with one another:

Eaton-CHAdeMO-Eaton-Charger Eaton-CHAdeMO-Nissan-Charger-Adapter

[I don’t remember if there was a button on the Eaton (left), but some of them do… press that to release. Nissan’s charger (right) requires to you to slide the grey lock away from the handle to unlock.

STEP 6 – Press the black button on “top” of the CHAdeMO cable. Make sure to be ready to catch the Tesla Model  S CHAdeMO Adapter.


And finally, STEP 7 requires you to return the cable back to its proper charging station and stow away the Tesla Model S CHAdeMO adapter.


If you’re interested in more pictures of the CHAdeMO to Model S Adapter, here’s my flickr stream.

So, is the adapter worth $1,000? I probably wouldn’t have bought it for that much. However, since they dropped the price to $450, it came down to a price that is less than Henry Sharp’s CAN Adapters for the Roadster.

How useful is it? Well, on a recent trip to San Diego, I found a Nissan dealership (Pacific Nissan in Mission Bay) that allowed me to use their CHAdeMO. This is useful as Tesla has not completed the build out of the Supercharger down to San Diego. The nearest one is the San Juan Capistrano, one that is reported to be very busy.


I’m not sure how often I will need to use the adapter, but at $450, it was at a price point that is intriguing. The product is well-built, well documented, and works. Charging adapters are priceless when you need them in an emergency. There’s nothing more embarrassing than running out of charge.

It’s a very useful adapter for folks that have access to many CHAdeMO stations and want the extra insurance of being able to access these charging locations. It’s a critical adapter for those that have limited access to superchargers and need access to travel to areas not covered by superchargers but are covered by CHAdeMO

Elon may think that the recently announced 6.2 firmware will end range anxiety, but I find the ability to charge at any rate is comforting. Even 110V at 3 miles per hour could work, in a pinch. But 130+ miles an hour over CHAdeMO is a bit better than 3 miles per hour.

This post was originally published on Dennis’ blog.

To Top