In a surprising move, Tesla has suddenly discontinued its longstanding practice of including charging equipment with its vehicles. Tesla CEO Elon Musk replied to comments on Twitter about the new policy by saying "Usage statistics were super low, so seemed wasteful".
Every electric vehicle produced up until 2022 has included as standard equipment some sort of charging equipment. In the early days of EVs, most vehicles came with a simple 120-v portable charging cord. More recently though, many manufacturers are including dual-voltage portable charging equipment that allows the user to toggle between 120-volt and 240-v charging by switching an adapter on the unit.
However, the Kia EV6 that was just recently launched does not come with any charging equipment either, making it the first EV sold in North America that didn't come with any form of charging equipment.
Tesla has always provided a dual-voltage mobile connector, and as they are in many ways, has been a leader in providing exceptional portable charging equipment as standard equipment with all of its vehicles.
However, that practice is over. Tesla no longer includes charging equipment with its cars. New owners will need to purchase charging equipment before they take delivery of their vehicle or they won't have a way to charge it when they get it home. They could, of course, use Tesla Superchargers, but one of the best aspects of electric vehicles is the ability to plug in at home and charge the car up overnight while you're sleeping.
Quite often, first-time EV buyers will use the 120-v charging cord when they first take delivery of their EV until they figure out what equipment they want to buy and install in their garage. Since the 120-v charging equipment can plug into a simple household outlet, the owners have a way to charge their EVs right from day one, albeit in a slow way.
That's because while charging on a 120-v source, the vehicles will only replenish about 3-5 miles of range for every hour of charging. But that will work for most people in the short term until they decide on a permanent solution.
Many Tesla owners chose to install a NEMA 14-50 outlet and use the Mobile connector with the NEMA 14-50 adapter for all of their daily charging needs. They did, however, need to purchase the NEMA 14-50 adapter from the Tesla website for $35.00. Tesla used to include the NEMA 14-50 adapter with the mobile connector but discontinued that practice in 2019. Since then, only the 120-v NEMA 5-15 adapter came standard with eh mobile connector.
Besides using the portable charging equipment for daily charging, many EV owners like to have some kind of portable EVSE in the vehicle at all times just in case they find themselves in need of a boost somewhere. Even if they never use it (which is most likely what Elon was referring to when he said usage statistics were very low) having it there just in case provided peace of mind for many.
In concert with discontinuing the practice of including the mobile connector with its vehicles, Tesla now offers two versions of the unit. Customers can purchase a 120-v version with a NEMA 5-15 plug for $275.00, or a higher-powered 240-v unit with NEMA 14-50 plug for $400.
Can't even currently buy one
But here's the kicker: Both units are currently out of stock. Therefore, you cannot even buy one now if you're about to take delivery of your new Tesla. We're also not sure if customers that ordered their Tesla's when the policy was to include the mobile connector with the vehicle, will still receive it when their order is filled. We'd love to ask the automaker for clarification, but Tesla doesn't respond to questions from journalists. Therefore, we're left to speculate.
I've started a poll on my Twitter account for Tesla owners to chime in on whether or not they currently use their Mobile Connector:
The fact that these units are out of stock leads us to assume Tesla is experiencing supply chain issues regarding parts for the mobile connector. That may have actually been the impetus behind the decision to discontinue including it with the vehicle. Perhaps Tesla simply cannot keep up with the supply and decided it would be easier (and cost-effective at the same time) to just drop it from the standard equipment.
Whatever the reason, could this be a sign of things to come for the entire industry? We mentioned earlier that Kia isn't including charging equipment with the EV6. Maybe that's going to be the trend moving forward.
We do believe that there will come a time when it won't be necessary to include charging equipment with every vehicle, perhaps once the majority of the population is on their 2nd or 3rd EV. But that's probably more than a decade away. For now, we believe it's still good policy to supply new owners with a way to recharge their vehicles on day one of ownership, without requiring them to have purchased and installed charging equipment beforehand.
UPDATE 4/17/22: Last night Musk tweeted that, based on feedback, Tesla will reduce the price of the mobile connector to $200. We checked the Tesla website and the price was still listed as $275.00. However, it is Easter Sunday today, so we wouldn't expect the new price to be updated until tomorrow anyway. He also recommended installing a Tesla Wall Connector before customers take delivery.