Tesla unveils a CHAdeMO adapter (50kW) for the Model S
No CHAdeMO? No problem!Fast-charging is one of the killer apps, so to speak, for the electric car. Not because you need it all the time; most people will charge at home, overnight, on the vast majority of days. But once in a blue moon, when you need it for a special trip or when an unforeseen circumstance forces you to, it's great to have. That's why the roll out of public charging infrastructure around the world, especially when it's free-to-use, is an important foundation for the electrification of transportation (which is both significantly more energy-efficient than the internal combustion engine and makes it much easier to use clean energy).
Problem is, not all charging stations are on the same connector standard. That's a problem that the tech industry went through, and their solution is the one that Tesla adopted here: Make an adapter that allows one standard to connect into another one...
The CHAdeMO standard was created by was formed by the Tokyo Electric Power Company, Nissan, Mitsubishi and Fuji Heavy Industries (who make Subaru), with Toyota later joining. It can accept 62.5kW of high-voltage direct current, though most stations seem to deliver 50kW.
Tesla's adapter, which looks a bit like the handle of a gasoline fuel pump, will allow the Model S (except for 40kWh models, which aren't Supercharger-compatible and aren't being built anymore anyway because of low demand...) the plug in a CHAdeMO station and recharge about "150 miles of range per hour of charge". That's slow than the 120kW Supercharger, but if that's all you have available, that's better than nothing.
The adapter is "coming soon" and will sell for $1,000, which is pretty steep, but I think it's expensive mostly because they don't expect to make many and at the kind of currents we're talking about (50kW), the electronics in it have to be pretty beefy and foolproof. You don't want a cheap, fragile, plastic adapter to pump that kind of current...
Patience grasshopperUnless you are in a part of the world where there are lots of CHAdeMO fast-charging stations (like Asia, where the majority are located), it might be better to be patient and wait for Tesla to roll out their Superchargers. It might not all happen next month or even next year, but they have really ambitious plans, as you can see in the slide below, which was part of Tesla's initial announcement.
So my recommendation would be to wait for more Superchargers... But if you have cash to burn and live in an area where there are lots of CHAdeMO station, it might not be a bad idea to have one of these in the trunk...