Tesla Model S Charging Inlet In Europe

AUG 18 2013 BY MARK KANE 30

Mennekes charging port specification

Mennekes charging port specification

Tesla Motors recently started selling its Model S in Europe.

As Elon Musk stated at Geneva Motor Show (see video below), the European Model S is equipped with a different charging inlet than in the US, because it needs to handle 3-phase that’s popular in Europe.

Q: Definitive answer on the charge-plug on the EU versions?

A: Mennekes Type 2

In fact, Tesla adopted the Mennekes Type 2 charging port, but reinforced it for higher power needed for Supercharging.

According to Mennekes, the standard Type 2 can handle up to 43 kW AC (3-phase), 70 kW DC and about 100 kW with additional DC pins.

Tesla used a version without additional pins, so 70 kW was too low for DC.

How much current will the European Model S plug and inlet handle now?  We’re still unsure, but we’re assuming it’ll probably be comparable to the Model S in the US.

The same inlet will be of course used for AC charging via an on-board 10 or 20 kW charger. Both three phase.

Model S owners will be able to charge from any Type 2 points without adapters in Europe, and from 1- and 3-phase via adapters.

Sadly, at least for now, Model S owners will not be able to charge from CHAdeMO or CCS.

In other words, in terms of DC charging, Tesla go its own way as it does now in the US.

Categories: Charging, Tesla

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30 Comments on "Tesla Model S Charging Inlet In Europe"

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I wonder how the EU’s recent ruling in favour of the SAE combo standard and against rivalling standards like CHAdeMO will affect Tesla’s possibilities to role out its Supercharger network in the EU. Since they are using a charging port that isn’t SAE combo compatible it seems that they expect to be able to defy the EU ruling on charging standards? If not Tesla’s has a real problem because they need chargers with more output than SAE combo can provide. Without the ability to set up the right infrastructure I expect the European market to be largely lost for them.

They aren’t using the SAE combo in Europe… It’s the Menekkes standard. The GM and SAE folks have so much misinformation out there, it’s hard to understand the subtleties!!! I’ll bet this Frankenplug is the first standard to have a PR firm promoting it !!!

To clarify, the SAE version of Frankenplug is in the USA only.

In Germany (and wherever else in EU they can get it), it is the Menekkes “DC Hi” that is the USA Frankenplug equivalent.

No, they are not interchangeable, nor will a Tesla with EU specification be able to use the Menekkes DC Hi “Frankenplug”.

What is reported on this issue is that the EU is looking to terminate CHAdeMO in favour of the SAE DC Fast Charging System (a.k.a. Combo Charging System or CCS) by 2019. I take that to mean that all other competing standards including the Tesla Supercharger system will meet with administrative resistance when being rolled out because they are not compliant with the standard the EU has agreed upon.

Chris, either you read that wrong, or whoever reported it was wrong.

First, as Tony explained, no such thing as SAE-CCS is expected in Europe. Europe got its own Frankenplug variant, sometimes referred to as Mennekes-CCS, although the proper name is VDE-long-strings-of-numbers-I-can’t-remember.

Next, the EU parliament seeks to make a decision on a single standard in 2019. While it first proposed Mennekes-CCS, the recent amendment explicitly adds CHAdeMO as possible alternative in the meantime.
Se p.45 of http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-%2f%2fEP%2f%2fNONSGML%2bCOMPARL%2bPE-516.591%2b01%2bDOC%2bPDF%2bV0%2f%2fEN

The reports are pretty clear that the EU is proposing SAE Combo and that CHAdeMO is only to be tolerated until 2019 because of the need of a transition period:


1) Again, CCS in Europe will NOT be the SAE variant; it is a very similar protocol, with a different connector. But whatever, only one kind of CCS was ever intended for Europe (with Mennekes connector like pictured above, not J1772) so maybe we’re talking about the same thing anyway.

2) Please read the actual Parliament text, which I linked above, not just the (often faulty IMHO) interpretation done by some:
“As the Combo technology is not fully ready at the moment and as there are more than 650 CHAdeMO chargers already installed in Europe, with more than 1000 to be deployed by the end of 2013, it is important to set a time-limited transitional period where both systems can be deployed, with the final objective to find a single standard as indicated in the Commission proposal.”

Nothing is getting terminated. Either (or both) get installed, and the Commission will pick later, with the deadline set to 1.1.2019.

I think we can agree that EU is moving towards a single standard, the Combo Charging System or CCS which in combination with the Mennekes plug maxes out at 100KW. In practice I fear it will be implemented at the ~50KW of output needed for the current crop of city EVs.

Clearly it’s too soon for EU to determine the one standard to rule them all at this point since EVs are still quickly developing and the CSS standard is already inadequate to service Model S that needs 120KW of output to max out its fast charge potential+it needs chargers with the protocols that suit its batteries. For EVs to get on par with ICE in the future even more powerful chargers, presumably with ~300KW of output will be necessary. In fact Tesla is already working on 80%/5 minute fast charge systems. Way too early for EU to start pinning down the market on a single low output standard that could end up confining EVs to the city and short distance commutes.

If something is declared as a standard, it doesn’t mean that everything else is forbidden. In this case the EU will fund the standardised chargers with some money. No one will stop Nissan or Tesla if they want to build (and fund) their systems parallel to the standard. The EU is not North Corea 😉 CHAdeMO has about 24 chargers in whole Germany if I counted right. They had 3 years to implement their system to a point where it would have been rediculus to install something else. They wasted most of the time hoping for some government funds which they don’t get now.

“No one will stop Nissan or Tesla if they want to build (and fund) their systems parallel to the standard”.

I do believe that an EU directive regarding the official EU charging standard is going to have consequences for those trying to role out a network that isn’t compliant with this standard, for instance if one needs planning permission to build chargers in public spaces.

About the comparison with North Korea: the EU and North Korea aren’t actually that different . In both cases it’s a small group of people that wield tremendous power with democracy playing no role in NK but only a marginal role in the EU.

Are you drunk? Comparing North Korea with EU? haha.. I would say USA is way more close to NK than EU.. President/Dictator…

Surprising they would bother to conform in Europe instead of avoiding the new development work. The two cars are now substantially different. You can’t import between the two.

But it might just work, at least to some limited extend. If they want to do the 30 minute charge thing to 80% that’s still around 340A. Not sure you can get that through a Type 2 plug. Unless you use thick silver pins and diamond for heat transfer.

They had to… The Tesla sold in North America is not equipped to handle three phase AC, which is very common in Europe.

There are a LOT of changes to an Europe delivery Tesla. Obviously, the onboard charger itself is different to handle 3 phase electricity, and even the air bags are different.

So does this mean a Tesla can use a public charging station in Europe without any sort of adapter?

Tesla should be able to plug into any “Type 2” in Europe, AC or DC …except… for the Frankenplug.

Well, as most ‘type 2’ stations in Europe come without the cable, you have to provide your own, and plug both ends… not really different from what Tesla drivers use in the US actually.

Is that right? The medium chargers (22kw) I have used needed my cable, but the fast chargers (43kw) had their own dedicated cable.


The EU has not outlawed any charging standard, nor have they explicitly approved sole use of the Menekkes plug in EU (and huge EV country Norway is not EU). They have PROPOSED that they will decide on a single charge standard in 2018. That’s it. I have little doubt it will be the German Menekkes standard, even if every EU and European continent country has more “other” protocol chargers then. That’s politics and protecting the home turf; it’s as old as humankind. California did this “single standard” mandate almost 15 years ago, away from GM’s inductive protocol (used on the EV1) to the Avcon style conductive plug. Guess who’s back with a new plug in the USA, and they want it to be the “national” standard. The bad news for GM so far is that there is not any official government national standard… yet, like Germany has already done (and California did in the past). The Tesla Menekkes plug is deeper, and that’s how it sends 300 amps DC over the pins (without adding “Frankenplug” pins). Also, a notch has been carved out of the Tesla-Menekkes plug so that either a Type 2 Menekkes will work, or the Tesla-Menekkes will… Read more »

Someone (and I’m thinking InsideEVs) could write up a nice graphic of all the plugs in a sort of venn-diagram fashion, make it a sticky off to the right on the site, and solve all these back and forths and need for people to explain it every time. Basically, a plug wiki. Maybe there already is one, and if there is, it should get referenced each and every time one of these articles about plug compatibility is written. Anyone?

What is with this GM-boogeyman conspiracy theory?

SAE-CCS is approved by GM, Ford, Chrysler, BMW, VW, and Benz. If you you want to cry about it then blame them equally.

With their new plug having the same 7 ports( 5 + 2) like the SAE Combo Charger, it looks like Tesla is preparing for the transition. This new plug also would make it easier to add an adapter for Tesla owners to charge at both Tesla specific and SAE Combo Charging stations.

Er, no, number of pins has nothing to do with compatibility. Furthermore, the European proposed version of CCS is not the same as the US, and it has 9 pins actually (2+5+2).

Oh wait, 9 pins you say?! Does this mean BMW is “preparing for the transition” to CHAdeMO (also 9 pins) too, then?.. 🙂

And nobody preparing for the Chinese 8 pin AC/DC plug that looks like Menekkes and controls like CHAdeMO and can take 300 amps.

Frankly, that should probably be the world standard.

I would vote for the Tesla three pin as the “world” standard. Smallest and the most capable, seems like a good place to start.

Most capable how? It’s single-phase, whereas Mennekes is 3-phase, which is pretty much a prerequisite for AC charging in the EU.
Tesla pushes its US connector beyond spec to 240A peak; the Chinese connector is meant to handle 300A continuous.

Small often contradicts durable.

So question:

With all of the 220v and 3 phase going on in EU, can jaque consumer get better charge times at home than we can in the US?

@Scott Moore

Difficult question you ask. Apparently if you’re willing to pay for ‘excess capacity’ (the term in the states would be “Demand Contracted For”), it is easier to fast charge. This construct is apparently how EU utilities pay for ‘excess’ infrastructure..

In the states most locales do not charge extra for this, although in years past many investor – owned utlities had demand limitations for water heaters and this sort of thing. Others had electric heat limitations (no more than 105% heating to 70 degrees fahrenheit when 0 degrees outside, etc).

So, many places in the States for instance will let you install an 80 amp Tesla EVSE and still pay residential rates. IF too many people start doing this however, utilities will just have to revert to their old policies from decades ago.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

Would it be so bad to offer a redundant charging port with a public standard behind the “grille” as optional equipment? Folks typically park headfirst, with the charging port in the front or on the driver’s side. Leave the standard Tesla charge port where it is, but have an additional one in the car as an option so you don’t have to pull out the adapter all the darned time.

I don’t really see what the problem is. It is not as if one standard uses electricity and another uses steam! Just encourage/allow EVSE makers to install the socket and (very simple) additional electronics for ChaDeMo *and* SAE/VDE (or all 3!) and the non-standard standard issue evaporates. MW