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Can You Charge A Tesla With An Extension Cord?

Can You Charge A Tesla With An Extension Cord?

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could use an extension cord to charge your Tesla? 

You’ve probably even seen them lying around your garage next to where you park and charge your Tesla in the evening anyway.

If you haven’t thought about it, you may be curious as to whether you can use extension cords to charge your Tesla. 

If you’re eager to plug everything in and give it a try, here’s what you should know before you try to charge your Tesla using an extension cord.

While you can use an extension cord to charge your Tesla, the company advises against doing so, citing a possible fire hazard. However, there are extension cords available specifically designed to be used with Tesla chargers.

Tesla vehicles are quite adaptable when it comes to charging. You can even use a generator to charge up your Tesla when you’re out on the road.

If you’re considering trying to charge your Tesla with an extension cord, you should definitely pay close attention to the following information.

Can I Use an Extension Cord to Charge My Tesla?

Since the answer to this question at times can appear to be both yes and no, let’s begin by discussing the type of extension cord required to charge your Tesla. 

Remember, most standard extension cords are designed to be used with electronic gadgets and appliances that require very low currents. Unfortunately, electric vehicles are not in this category. 

Due to the several hours it can take for your Tesla to charge up using this method, some argue this puts unnecessary stress on the extension cord, making it more likely that they will overheat and sustain damage to the insulation for the cord’s wiring. 

To avoid this danger, we recommend you purchase a set of adapters sold by Tesla. 

The kits, which come with many different adapters, are made to fit many types of standard outlets. 

Once installed, the adapters can adjust the charging rate to whatever is being charged, in this case, your Tesla.

By plugging one end of the cord into your Tesla, the other end of the cord into the charging station, and the charging station into an outlet, you should be fine.

Safety Considerations and Upgrades to Extension Cord Charging

Even if you are very careful when using an extension cord to charge your Tesla, you still need to keep various safety considerations in mind any time that you use an accessory with your Tesla.

First, there is the gauge of your extension cord. 

For the best results and maximum safety, we suggest you use an extension cord that has a 12-gauge for wiring and a higher gauge for insulation.

 By doing so, you’ll have a cord that is powerful enough to carry the current safely without overheating.

Next, don’t opt for the longest extension cord you can find. Instead, look for a cord that is no more than 25-30 feet long. 

This is important, since longer cords increase voltage drop and resistance, increasing the chances overheating could develop. 

Finally, it is best if you opt for an extension cord that is made to be used both indoors and outdoors

Since Tesla’s charging components are made to be all-weather, your extension cord should be as well. 

Extension Cord Charging Timelines

If you decide to use an extension cord to charge your Tesla, the timelines will vary as to how long it will take. 

When using Level 1 Charging, this relies on using a 120V outlet and is the default option for all electric vehicles on the road today, including Tesla. 

If you rely on this option, expect your Tesla to be charged at the rate of 2-6 miles of range for every hour it is plugged up. 

Depending on your car’s range, this could take several days before 100% charging is attained.

If you have a 240V outlet in your home, you can use your extension cord to move up to Level 2 Charging. 

By doing so, you can get anywhere from as little as 14 to as much as 35 miles of range per hour of charging. 

However, always make sure your extension cord is compatible with a 240V outlet before trying this at home. 

If you do, your Tesla could be charged up within less than eight hours.

Does the Extension Cord Affect Charging?

Yes, the extension cord you use to charge your Tesla most definitely affects how your vehicle will charge up. 

Because this is so important to getting your Tesla charged up properly while keeping the situation as safe as possible, certain extension cords are recommended for use with Tesla and other electric vehicles.

The most widely-used extension cord with Tesla and other EV owners is the Camco Power Grip Heavy Duty Outdoor 55195. 

Containing 100% pure copper wiring, this cord is one-inch thick and 30 feet long. 

Consisting of a coating that is flame-retardant and a sheath made from PVC, it can make charging up your Tesla much safer.

Along with the extension cord itself affecting the charging of your Tesla, so too do the wall sockets where the cord will be plugged in. 

Whether you are at home or elsewhere, always pay close attention to the wall socket you plan to use. 

If discoloration or burn marks are present, the outlet is likely defective. 

In addition, make sure the contacts are firm and not loose, since this can also create a potential hazard.

When selecting an extension cord, you should also ensure you get one that has a plug-in that is easy for you to handle, can be plugged in and out of a socket easily and quickly, and is an easy fit for the types of outlets you will be using. 

If you overlook this detail and get an extension cord that is too bulky, the plug-in and perhaps your Tesla may get damaged if you find yourself in a struggle when plugging or unplugging.

As an example of just how choosing the right extension cord will impact how well your Tesla gets 100% charged, think of it as if you were trying to fill a car’s gas tank with an eyedropper. 

If you use an extension cord that is limited in the amount of current it can safely transfer back and forth, you may be limited to using only a 110V outlet, meaning it could take as long as 100 hours to get a full charge. 

However, if you have a cord that is heavy-duty and can handle more of a workload with its electricity, your Tesla can be charged up in only a half-day or less. 

Is Waiting for a Full Charge My Only Option When Using an Extension Cord?

Absolutely not. Even though your Tesla may have a maximum range of around 300 miles or so, most people rarely drive that many miles in a single day. 

In fact, research shows most people only drive about 30 miles per day, roughly one-tenth of Tesla’s maximum range.

Because of this, even if you need to use a 110V outlet and a less powerful extension cord, chances are your car will be charged up enough for you to go to work, run errands, and complete other tasks in a matter of hours. 

Should you use your Tesla to take business trips, vacations, camping trips, or other excursions, it is always recommended you have the highest-quality extension cord with you to use for recharging. 

Thus, whether your car is outside at a campground or at a hotel parking lot, you will have the capability to get your Tesla charged in a short period of time.

While you will need to decide for yourself if you are comfortable with using an extension cord to recharge your Tesla, having the correct type of cord and any necessary adapters can make the process safer and easier.

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Zach Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! Having owned a wide variety of vehicles in my life, I was astounded at how hard it can be to find answers to common automotive questions. Rather than sit idly, I decided to create this website to help others!