Since the official Tesla owners manual does not mention extension cords, you may be wondering what is the best Tesla charger extension cord on the market. First, a background on Tesla charging and why you may want to use an extension cord.
Charging a Tesla
All Tesla vehicles come standard with an on-board charger. That is, the official charger of the car is built-in. The thing you plug in is simply an electric supply. You may have installed a NEMA 14-50 outlet at home, or chosen to go with the Tesla Wall Connector. Tesla Superchargers are another story. That equipment bypasses the car’s on-board charger and dumps electrons directly into the battery at a high rate of speed. Every week, that network expands to be able to take you almost anywhere you want to go. In any case, you may find yourself in a situation where an extension cord would help.
Why you may need an extension cord
Long gone are the days of so few supercharger locations that an extension cord out the window of a second story apartment was your best charging option on a road trip to Maine. However, there is much to be said of the ability to charge at your destination instead of having to stop. This goes for situations where travel time is essential, temps are extremely cold or you just plain to don’t want to wake a sleeping baby or dog by stopping to charge. Here are some instances where an extension cord may be desirable:
- Family or vacation home you frequent has an outlet or a place you can install one that isn’t a driveway or garage
- A home with no driveway or garage
- A business with parking away from the building
- An RV park, especially if you want to charge at an adjacent site or while your RV is parked nearest the outlet
- Your garage or driveway is temporarily blocked or in use
One of the best reasons to use level 2 charging is the speed. With the right source power, such as your standard Mobile Connector paired with a NEMA 14-50, a Tesla can pull up to 32 or 40 amps, depending on model. At 40 amps, a classic Model S 85 adds about 29 miles of rated range per hour while a Model 3 Long Ranges adds up to 37 miles per hour. This makes a substantial difference over using a standard 110 volt household outlet and I contend that it is worth installing even in the absence of an ideal parking space. You simply need a reliable extension cord. I’m here to tell you which one I chose to buy and use.
Best Tesla Charger Extension Cord
Level 2 chargers have a relatively high rate of power. You’ll want to protect your car as well as not pose a fire risk. It is important to use only extension cords that are specifically rated for up to 50 amps. This Camco extension cord for RVs has over 1,000 ratings on Amazon, at an average of 5 stars – the highest available rating. It comes in a 15′ length option for $65.00 and a 30′ length option for just over $100. Both options come equipped equipped with an adjustable cord organizer. The organizer is also a carrying strap handle that makes toting and storing simple after each use. They are specifically designed for outdoor use and offer protection against the elements. The Camco cords are heavy duty but still flexible enough to be reasonably used and plugged in, even in tight spaces.
I tested the 15′ length option for use at my in-laws’ home. There, the NEMA 14-50 outlet is too far from the curb to reach the charge port while parked in the legal direction on the street. (The passenger’s side is nearest the curb.) With the Camco extension cord, we were easily able to get this outlet’s maximum 32 amps of power, at 234 volts. Note: You can safely use a NEMA 14-50 at 40 amps. It must have the right breaker, wire gauge and installation. Ours was installed for 32. At no points during our charging session did the power drop, stop, or vary; it worked as expected the whole time.
Other extension cords
There are other extension cords rated for 50 amps available on the market. Some choices include:
- 15′ Conntek RV/EVSE Extension Cord. $67 and sold by the Home Depot. Currently out of stock.
- 50′ Mighty Cord RV Extension Cord. $209 and sold by the Home Depot.
- 30′ RV Extension Cord. $224 sold by Camping World.
The clear winner here is the Camco. It has the best price per length. It is also easily available; sold by Amazon, Walmart and various Camping retailers. All of these are fairly expensive but quality matters when transferring up to 50 amps. The gauge of the wire, construction of the cord, and durability for outdoor use are important. You’ll want a reliable and well-tested piece of equipment sold by a reliable retailer.