Request for Help from Current Owners!

Request for Help from Current Owners!

Hi...I just got my "time to build" email and have the electrician coming out Monday. I need to know how long the charger cord is so that I know where the 14-50 outlet can/cannot be! I've been told "about 20 feet" which is more than long enough, but can a current owner verify that the cord is at least 15+ feet? Thanks!!

TikiMan | December 11, 2012


Electron | December 11, 2012

The cable is 20 feet counting all parts (connectors, etc.). I've been told the maximum usable
distance is 18 feet.

Mark2131@CA-US | December 11, 2012

In other words, if your outlet is against the front wall, and you pull in nose first, you won't be able to reach the charger port in the back of the car. I've located my nema 15-50 on the garage door wall,
so when I pull in nose first, it's only 3 feet from the rear charging port. Unfortunately, if I want to charge the car in the driveway, I've got to back it in.

Maestrokneer | December 11, 2012

@Mark2131: I don't think you're correct, and for my sake I hope you're not.

The Model S is just over 16' long which should leave a couple of feet to spare from the back wall to the charging port. I don't have a garage that the Model S will fit in (1923 bungalow), and am forced to park it in my driveway with an exterior outlet right next to the left side of my garage door.

At any rate, I don't think it's fair to say that you won't be able to charge the car pulled in nose first, as long as the charge port is located on the left side of the car (so you don't have to cross the car).

riceuguy | December 11, 2012

Mark, thanks, but I think (well, hope) it will work for me...I just need to be able to pull in to the garage (nose first), and pull the charger cord from the front wall of the garage to the charge port, which looks to be about 15 feet from the front of the car, plus 2 feet for the lip of the garage. On the other hand, it probably won't be exactly a straight line. I'll have to cross my fingers, as it sounds like it will be really close.

How close is it when you back in?

iholtzman | December 11, 2012

I know Tesla said no extension cords but does that apply to the nema 14-50 if you plug in a 50amp 14-50 extension cord?

Mark2131@CA-US | December 11, 2012

OK. I stand corrected. I just went out to the garage and stretched the cable from the front to the back.

If you park within a foot or two of the front wall the cable WILL reach. It will be on the floor though.

riceuguy | December 11, 2012

I can get to within a foot or two! :-) What do you mean it will be on the floor?

Mark2131@CA-US | December 11, 2012

Meaning: In my set up, I have the outlet approx 3 feet off the ground. I have a garden hose holder for
the cable slack, and the cable goes from wall to car without touching the ground.

If you're going all the way from front to back , unless you have a series of hooks to support it, your
cable will be on the ground the whole way. Not a big deal unless you have snow/ice/water draining off the car. THen you'll be wiping off the cable every time you put it back in the trunk.

I really wish Tesla had a built in "cable reel" that just dispensed the cable in and out of the frunk.

dahtye | December 11, 2012

Don't you also need to consider how high the outlet is in the garage? If the distance is 15' from wall to car inlet and the wall outlet is 4' from the floor and the car outlet is 4' from the floor, total is 23' (assuming the cable makes a right angle near the wall and near the charge port). You'll need somewhere near 20' to make this work since the cable won't be making right angles and the amount of cable that actually hits the floor is more likely to be 10' or so.

But yes, an extension cord for NEMA 14-50 will work as long as your NEMA 14-50 outlet is not too far from the main electrical service panel (i.e. where the electric service comes into your main panel). If you have a long run from the main panel to the outlet, that will reduce the voltage at the outlet. Then adding the extension cable will reduce it further. It's possible that the car would not allow charging if the voltage is too low (I believe minimum voltage allowed by Tesla is 85V at a 110V outlet). So, it's likely that the charger brick on the Tesla cable senses this voltage on both legs of a NEMA 14-50. If either leg is below 85V, the charger would not operate.

I have verified that a 15' NEMA 14-50 extension cord works as long as the gauge of the wire of the extension cord is sufficiently hefty. I have also verified that a hefty 110V 30' extension cord works. Both verifications were done on outlets that were very close to the main service panel - so likely no voltage drops at the outlet.

jbunn | December 11, 2012

When I installed mine, I set in on the inside wall just to the right of the garage door. Not the long wall on the garage side, but on the two foot wall section to the right of the garage door. I also mounted the plug about 18 inches off the floor, and above it a plastic garden hose hanger.

This will be just a few feet from the charging port when the car is in the garage, but I can still reach the charging port when the car is outside the gargage with the 20 foot cord.

I think what Mark means is some members are interestd in hanging the cord from the ceiling through a variety of means.

If you need an extention cord, make sure it's oversized and as short as possible, even if you have to make one yourself.

riceuguy | December 11, 2012

Can anyone post a link to a short extension cord that would likely work (e.g., from Home Depot or Lowes)?

Robert22 | December 11, 2012

It would be helpful to see some pictures of a variety of setups so others can make the best decision for their own situations. Thanks in advance :)

portia | December 12, 2012

Here is a photo of my charging set up, the outlet is near the right rear side of the car. the cable just lies on the floor when charging.

Brian H | December 12, 2012

The hypotenuse of a 4' x 15' right triangle is about 15½'. No problem, I'd think.

jeanyvest | December 12, 2012

Must be a way to install the outlet or the charging unit on the ceiling with a strong reeling system. This way, you could park either way (rear facing or front) and if double bay, in either spot.

Bonus, no cable on the floor.

space09 | December 12, 2012

@jeanyvest Strong being the key word. A guy in Texas already tried a setup with a reel designed for dental hoses--no go. The cord is heavy.

TikiMan | December 12, 2012

I posted photos of mine on another thread here (regarding issues with outlets on the right side of a garage)...

Either way, I am using a 1lb, 'tool balancer' to hang my charging cable over and above. It takes me less than ten seconds to plug it in, or unplug it. No hand un-coiling, no wasted time.

I also recently sewed on a special cable-cozy cover on the part of the cable that leans against my car when it's charging, so it won't scratch my car.

riceuguy | December 12, 2012

Thanks everyone...I have the electrician coming Monday and will see what my options are--and at what price!

DavidG | December 12, 2012

I had my NEMA 14-50 put in as close the ground as permitted, so that no distance is lost in dangling cords. Being low means less stress on the connector by the dangling cord. The only dangle one cannot control is at the car.

PS. I have a bicycle water bottle holder attached to the wall as a coiled cord holder.

Brian H | December 12, 2012

Also keep in mind it's best not to have any coiled while charging due to heat build-up.

Robert22 | December 12, 2012

Appreciate the pic. A low outlet sounds like a good idea unless a wet or sandy floor are an issue.

@Brian H- Are you saying that the cable should be completely uncoiled before charging? It was my understanding there was adequate insulation for a NEMA 14-50 setup to remain coiled during charging. I can't speak to higher amperages as would be expected with the HPWC.

Brian H | December 13, 2012

Insulation won't dissipate the heat! That just protects against shorts.

Robert22 | December 13, 2012

I regret the wording of my late night question. Rephrase: I was told there is no safety or significant charging efficiency concern if the cable remains coiled during charging with a NEMA 14-50 setup. Agree or disagree? This is relevant for those with an outlet mounted within feet of the left rear of the car who install a bracket for the coil.

vouteb | December 13, 2012


Is that a SIG red (and spoiler in red)?


Timo | December 13, 2012

@Robert, safety depends of the cable. If it is coiled and it gets heated enough it might start melting the insulation against other part of the cable and that's bad. So, safety for non-coiled and coiled is not identical. Check the specs of the cable.