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How Good (or Bad) is the Tesla Wall Charger?

By Aniket Bhor on in Electric Vehicles

How Good (or Bad) is the Tesla Wall Charger?

If you have just bought, or are about to buy an electric vehicle, congratulations! And if you are now wondering if the latest Tesla wall charger is a good choice to charge your beautiful new car with it, you are in the right place. 

Let us explore the Tesla Gen 3 wall connector in detail, and find out if it is the right fit for you.

Tesla Gen 3 Wall Connector Specs and Features

Tesla’s EV Wall Charger has a 32A, 7 kW output for single phase and 22 kW output for three-phase. According to its makers, the unit can add up to 71 km of range for every hour of charging. This means that an hour of charging can typically be enough for a week’s worth of commuting. 

Unlike its U.S. cousin, the NZ connector has a Type 2 plug to make 3-phase charging possible. The Type 2 plug also makes using the charger with other electric vehicles possible. 

The biggest limitation of the connector is its lack of smart charging capability. This is still fine if you have a Tesla, because your car’s smartness compensates for that of the charger - the car can decide, based on the level of charge, at what rate to take power and when to charge.

Moreover, the connector does not support solar power charging, unlike the Enphase Bidirectional Charger or the Fronius Wattpilot. While it is said that an upgrade that brings this smart capability is in the works, the feature will still be limited to those with Tesla cars and a Tesla Powerwall.

That said, if you have an existing solar power system, you can subscribe to ChargeHQ. For a few dollars per month, this allows you to charge your EV with solar.

But all of this doesn’t mean the connector has no tricks up its sleeve. The charger's Wi-Fi capability grants it three notable features for multi-EV setups:

  • Power sharing: Multiple chargers communicate via Wi-Fi to understand how many amps are used at a time, limiting the supply in order to avoid tripping the main breaker.
  • Authorisation: If you own a multi-resident building or a commercial plaza, you can set up the Tesla Wall Connector to charge only Teslas, selected Teslas, or any EV.
  • Property Management (update awaited): In the same, above scenario, you can not only decide who gets to charge through the connector, but also if and how much they will have to pay - all of this just from your app, when the update arrives.

Tesla’s designers have given due consideration to safety. The device has thermal sensors in multiple locations - at the relays, microcontroller, charge handle, and rear of the main unit. Together, the sensors ensure that there is no overheating that can damage the unit or the car. Based on the temperature, the charger can reduce the amount of power flowing through it.

The connector comes with a 4-year warranty, which is longer than the typical warranty of 2-3 years available on EV connectors in NZ.

Tesla Wall Charger's Design

On the design front, the Gen 3 device has a subtle but impressive look, with its alien-faced faceplate and variable colour indicators. More importantly, it has a long, 7.3-metre cable, allowing you to charge a slightly farther car without playing tug of war with the cable.

The unit is compact, with dimensions of 13.6 x 6.1 x 4.3 inches. At less than 7 kg, it is also relatively light. The machine gets an IP44 rating, meaning occasional water splashes won’t ruin it. But we still recommend installing it in a safe, sheltered area.

The Gen 3 adds a nice design feature that most other chargers lack - it comes with a button on the plug that wirelessly opens the charging flap, or releases the plug from the socket. With many other chargers, on the other hand, plugging and unplugging can feel like a forearm workout. 

Tesla owners can also monitor their car’s charging via a smartphone app. For others, however, it is a bit more old-school - they can check the charging status by looking at the colour of the LED blinker on the unit. Here’s what the different colours mean:

Tesla Gen 3 Wall Connector Lights Meaning

Tesla Gen 3 Wall Connector Cost

Thankfully, the price of the latest Tesla charger isn’t as eyebrow-raising as Tesla’s cars themselves. In fact, at $800, it is cheaper than most other EV chargers available in New Zealand. For context, an EV charger can cost anywhere between $1,000 and $3,000, depending on brand, features, etc.

But do not expect $800 to be the total cost of the Tesla wall connector. You will have to shell out some more money for the installation, which requires a certified electrician.  According to Tesla’s website, a straightforward installation can range from $750-$1000.

Besides that, there are more costs if you purchase one of the optional items with the connector. These include a colour-matched or a glass faceplate, costing $160 and $55, respectively. If you don’t have a proper wall area to mount the connector, you can also choose to buy Tesla’s mounting pedestal. 

However, most of us have enough wall space to mount a charger this size. Plus, we honestly think that at $480, the pedestal is just terribly expensive for a stand!

Tesla Gen 3 Wall Connector Add-ons

Should You Buy It?

There’s no general answer to the question of whether the Tesla Gen 3 Connector is a perfect charger. If you own a Tesla car, it is perhaps the best charger to choose, as you can get more out of it than with a different EV. Plus, it is also inexpensive, especially for the brand name it proudly displays.

But if you have an electric car that’s not a Tesla, and maybe also a solar panel system, then the Tesla charger feels too dumb to be of much use. But then again, for those who are fans of the iconic brand, sometimes features matter less, and the company name might be a good enough reason to go buy the machine.

To summarise, buy the Gen 3 connector if you want a cheap but reliable unit, or if you have a Tesla, or if you are too big a fan of the company to overlook everything else!

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