Why is the charge port on the back of the car?

Why is the charge port on the back of the car?

Pulled Into a commercial spot today and got ready to plug in my tesla to the blink charger. Because the charge port is on the back of the car, the blink cord would not reach. So I spent the next 5 minutes dodging I coming cars and trying to back the tesla in so the cord would reach. Why would they put the charge port in such a poor location? To me it makes so much more sense to have the charger right in the front- so that when you pull into a spot, the charger is as close as possible to the port. Scratching my head at this design decision as it's making no sense to me.

johncrab | 2014年8月15日

I like the way they hid the charge port in the tail light rather than cutting a door in the side (Volt) or the front (Leaf). There is also a practical reason. It creates a much shorter cable path to the charger or chargers which are only about two feet away. It saves weight and space along with potential line loss and the expense. It also allows the internal wiring to be completely protected quite easily as opposed to running cables the length of the car. | 2014年8月15日

Actually works better in many situations in Tesla's current position - especially the garage where you don't have to hop (or trip) over the cord if it was in the front. Consider where most (but not all) Model S owners charge:
95% At home
5% At a Supercharger
.1% At low-power chargers

For me, it's ideal. So perhaps the question should be why is the Blink charger configured so poorly?

jordanrichard | 2014年8月15日

I don't know for certain but it may have a lot to do with where the charger is located in the car. Since the charge port is in the back, I wish that the SCs would be positioned at the end of the parking spot. In other words it would be positioned like a gas pump. Here in CT, at the Milford SC Northbound side, they are positioned that way.

The other SC I have used in CT and RI, requires you to back up If you think about it though, it is still the same number of maneuvers to get in and out.

J.T. | 2014年8月15日 | 2014年8月15日

The only reasonable explanation I have heard is to keep the wiring runs as short as possible between the chargers, battery, and drive unit--saves weight, costs, and electrical losses.

My first few attempts at backing into spots with the MS were comical, but once I got the mirror adjusted correctly, and with a bit of practice, I am reasonably competent now.


socalsam | 2014年8月15日

@teslatap- so does this mean that the superchargers are poorly designed as well?

Panoz | 2014年8月15日

The charge port really should be on the front, just like the Chevy Volt.

Mathew98 | 2014年8月15日

Do you mean to hide the charge port behind the nose cone and have a flap cut out from there?

Would it look like a shark's mouth slurping its meal through a straw?

I like the current position of the charge port. It allows me to fixate on the curvaceous lines of the rear end! | 2014年8月15日

@socalsam - Superchargers are installed in different positions depending on the location. Many are positioned so you pull in directly, and others require backing in. Harris Ranch, CA has 4 pull-in and two back in (all installed at the same time).

Don't know what the reasoning is, although I suspect they can fit more cars in when the Supercharger is positioned in the back.

I've found many L1 and L2 chargers that are positioned so you drive in and work best for having the connection on the side (like Tesla/Volt). Many others do require backing in so I've seen no clear standard.

A new DC CHAdeMO charger just went in our local supermarket less than a week ago, and surprise - it's on the side where it is easiest for a Tesla to connect by driving in, even though I expect very few Tesla's will be using it.

Anyway, the side works better for some, the front works better for some. There is no right or wrong way, and it really doesn't matter. Tesla is not going to change, nor is the Leaf. | 2014年8月15日

@Panoz - The Volt has the charger port on the side, not the front.

Mathew98 | 2014年8月15日

That's the gas cap. Volt's charge port is next to the driver side mirror.

mgboyes | 2014年8月15日

Both the front and the back are locations susceptible to damage in collisions, even at low speeds. Given the amount of power you can put through a Model S charge port you really wouldn't want to try using it after even a minor prang if you think it might have been hit and even slightly dislodged/damaged. Putting on the side is much better for this reason.

And once you're considering the side of the car, the cleanest location is the rear light cluster.

Plus shorter internal cabling means less power losses, less cost and less space used up for big orange wires.

In the UK the charge port is still on the left, so the charger is on the passenger side of the door. That means ever so slightly more walking around the car to plug in on arriving home, but equally it means the charge port is next to the pavement (sidewalk!) when parking on street, which is good for inner city charge points in London.

socalsam | 2014年8月15日

Don't care what you guys say, charge port is in the wrong spot. ergonomically it makes sense to pull the car in and have the port closest to where the charging apparatus is. and to say that the port would not look good in the front is just an excuse. The freaking car was designed from the ground up, there is no doubt in my mind that they could have very easily hidden the charge port in the front as they did in the back.

They tried too hard to copy and maintain the look and feel of a regular car. Other than that reason, it makes no sense whatsoever to have the charge port in such a weird position.

Having driven the car now close to 3 weeks, I can definitely say this is a design flaw that I don't like.

DTsea | 2014年8月15日

Yes maathew98. Next to mirror. On the side of the car.

J.T. | 2014年8月15日
DTsea | 2014年8月15日

Socal sam if you don't care what anybody else thinks, it is likely reciprocated.

After 28000 miles... A little more than 3 weeks... I find it perfect where it is. And I back in to my garage every day... Safer to pull out into the alley forward than backward.

socalsam | 2014年8月15日

Yes DTsea- its a fantastic country where one can have opinions of their own. Cheers.

For me, backing in is more work than pulling in head first. Charge port is positioned incorrectly.

have a glorious day.

SeattleSid | 2014年8月15日

Coin toss. Had to choose, or put in two ports. Make some people happy, others not. A decision, not a flaw. I find it just right. I'd have dealt with it were it in front. In the order of things, way down at the bottom of the list. Well below, say, Gaza.

Mathew98 | 2014年8月15日

Did you think of complaining to all the gas cars you ever drove previously? The charge port is in the same location as any other car on the road. Then again some cars have the gas tank on the wrong side on the right.

If this is the biggest complaint you have with the MS then it must be a pretty awesome car for you otherwise...

BrassGuy | 2014年8月15日

Backing out is more work than driving out head first. Charge port is positioned correctly.

hamer | 2014年8月15日

It is located where it is because it would be very difficult to reach if it were under the car

socalsam | 2014年8月15日

"Did you think of complaining to all the gas cars you ever drove previously?"

Did you really just type that? seriously? To answer your question, if there has been a flaw in my previous ICE cars, I have commented on it, just like I commented on the flaw in the Tesla.

"The charge port is in the same location as any other car on the road. Then again some cars have the gas tank on the wrong side on the right."

Except when you go fill up a ICE car, I pull up alongside the gas pump. When I pull up to a charging station, I pull in head first. Makes no sense to try to mimic the gas car with the position of the charge port.

"If this is the biggest complaint you have with the MS then it must be a pretty awesome car for you otherwise..."
Frankly I love driving my Tesla every day but that doesnt mean that I will blindly agree with everything that they did in the car. For the most part the car is superb. But the charge port, the interior, some other minor issues can be improved. ITs a great car, but its far from perfect.

AmpedRealtor | 2014年8月15日

I appreciate socalsam's view because I am not particularly good at backing into parking places. In fact, I'm awful at it. It's one of those things, like whistling with your fingers in your mouth, that I've never been able to do. I have a driving disability.

Mathew98 | 2014年8月15日

@solcalsam - The MS is not going to be perfect for evryone.

My biggest gripe is that it doesn't come with a bimbo in the passenger seat as standard equipment. I have to put some effort to lure them into the car...

Enjoy the ride. Don't sweat the small stuffs that would ruin your day.

jordanrichard | 2014年8月15日

For those having trouble backing up, I recently figure out a way to line things up just right. Tesla places the Tesla Charging signs smack dab in the middle of the parking spot. As you are backing up, line up the center headrest with the sign and you will be good.

AmpedRealtor | 2014年8月15日

Just don't back into the post... lol

tes-s | 2014年8月15日

I'm pretty sure they won't be changing it, with the supercharger infrastructure they have already put in. The only possible place they could move it to would be the front right, and I don't see that happening.

If has worked fine for me where it is - no problems so far.

AmpedRealtor | 2014年8月15日

I couldn't resist...

Red Sage ca us | 2014年8月15日


I think the original intent was that all Superchargers would be installed so that you pulled up beside them.

socalsam | 2014年8月15日

They should have stuck with their original intent.

AlMc | 2014年8月15日

I have no issues where they placed the charge port. No matter where they positioned the port it will not be perfect for someone. Sorry if it is not the most convenient spot for some owners. I do not consider it a design flaw and doubt that we will see S 2.0 with a different placement of the port.

Mathew98 | 2014年8月15日

Ahem. Wouldn't it be a design flaw of the Blink charger network?

Tiebreaker | 2014年8月15日

Real estate issue: at some locations, Tesla can only get a few already defined parking spaces, no room between them for the supercharger units. So they need to go in the back.

Red Sage ca us | 2014年8月15日

Unfortunately, it seems that in shared parking lots, ICE drivers were crashing into the side-mounted Superchargers far too often. I expect that if Tesla sets up their own sites, sort of Tesla Waypoints, in the future, those will feature the side-mounted Superchargers exclusively. That will also make it easier for travelers who are perhaps towing a trailer to use Superchargers as well.

tes-s | 2014年8月15日

The side-mounted nozzles in Milford are pretty banged up.

renwo S alset | 2014年8月15日

They put it there just to piss-off some people and distract them from the fact that it doesn't come with an engine.

wcalvin | 2014年8月16日

For parking spaces at right angles to the road, you have to back up going in or coming out. It's an inseparable pairing. There is no point in talking of one separately.

If you back out, your vision of traffic is often blocked for two-thirds of the car's length and your rear-view mirror doesn't help much. Compare to pulling out.

The other consideration is where you want the steerable end of the car to be. Especially if it is an unfamiliar parking space with hazards (adjacent cars and pillars), you will find that backing in offers more flexibility in positioning your car within the space, plus you get to use the rear camera. Heading in, you often discover that those rear wheels are on the wrong track into the space and must back out to reposition them.

So I just back in whenever I can. Valets do so routinely.

None of this applies to a familiar driveway and garage. But habits learned at home often do not work well in situations where there is traffic crossing your path when backing out.

sule | 2014年8月16日

As someone said - coin toss. Wherever they put it someone would complain. For me it works best where it is. I have to park in reverse in my garage (unrelated reasons). The door to the house comes right next to the port. I put my HPWC there so I don't essentially even have to stop on my way to the house to connect it.

At other places I park I also park in reverse, backing to the wall. Some have power outlets at the wall, working well for this.

With the rear view camera and mirrors MS is easier to park in reverse than forward. So another one...

Most chargers I visited have long cables and are mounted well for any location of the port. I say "most" only based on OP/comment - I have not seen any to the contrary myself.

Haggy | 2014年8月16日

The argument that most people charge at home and they would trip over the cord isn't a valid one. Most people have an electrical panel on the side of the garage closest to the house, or somewhere else in the house, and it would be a matter of running cable from there to install the outlet. In my case, I ended up installing the outlet right under the circuit breaker box. That means if I drive in forward, the port is in the worst place. If I back in, then the port is exactly where it would have been had it been in the front and I had driven in frontwards. That would keep me from tripping over anything.

For many people their cars aren't much shorter than their garages. So if I had an outlet installed on the wall near where the port is currently, and I drove in far enough that I couldn't walk around the front of the car, I'd have to walk right over where the cord would be. I'd also have to park relatively close to the wall if I wanted room to park two cars, meaning I'd have little room to get past the port area.

In real life tripping is probably a moot point because the cable won't be plugged in when I drive into or out of the garage. So it all comes down to the effort of adding an outlet. For me, it was a small effort and cost about $33 not counting inspection fees. It would have been far more time, effort and money to locate the outlet elsewhere. If I find that it turns out to be way too much of an inconvenience, I will move the outlet. But for now, I wish the port had been elsewhere.

Having the port elsewhere would have meant others would have needed to install the outlet elsewhere, so you can't compare where the outlet is now to the inconvenience of charging at home if the charging port were elsewhere.

I also wouldn't advocate changing the port location because that would mean having cars on the road with ports in different places, and until all charging cables were somewhere in the middle, somebody somewhere would be inconvenienced.

If I did move my outlet, I'd probably move it near the front left fender where a port might have been hypothetically. That way it would be easier to install the outlet, the cable from the outlet to the port would fit easily, I'd have enough cable length to charge even if I backed in, and I'd be able to charge any future car with a front charging port.

akikiki | 2014年8月16日

johncrab +1 (more like 4.5 or 5 feet though) +1
SeattleSid +1

Like SeattleSid said, a decision was made.

What I don't understand is why owners that don't like something
about the MS will come and ask other owners why that decision was made.

Any owners here make any of the final decisions or choices on any of the MS designs? Hold that hand up high please.

Maybe someone could save this question and ask EM at the next townhall.

socalsam | 2014年8月16日

What I don't understand is why owners that don't like something about the MS will come and ask other owners why that decision was made.

Ummm, because this is a "discussion forum" which is designed to discuss things. And also I lost Elons number so I figured I would post my question to you guys.

DTsea | 2014年8月16日

No reason to expect a anyone on the forum to know why tesla did anything.

socalsam | 2014年8月16日

Not true. Anyone who purchases a Tesla has insider information and a direct line not only to Elon but the entire engineering team.

Haggy | 2014年8月16日

I live near Fremont. Does anybody have a glass that I can hold up to the wall and put my ear against?

socalsam | 2014年8月16日

You just need a couple of tin cans and a string. No need for glass.

sule | 2014年8月16日

I gave this a bit more thought. Think of narrow garages (either single or double but with little room when filled with cars to capacity). You park in it, forward or reverse, such that you have more space on the driver side so you can exit/reenter easily. If the port was on the opposite side it would be hard to reach. If it were in the middle (thinking Leaf) it would also be harder to reach.

So it should be driver side.

Now, where would you put this on the driver side in the front? Certainly possible, but it would interfere with the wheel well. Front is also more susceptible to rain water coming in since you're driving forward most of the time and at higher speeds (at least I hope so). The car is more maneuverable in reverse when parking in tight spits too. Thus, rear-driver-side makes sense. Did they flip the charger port location for UK/Australia)?

anodyne | 2014年8月16日

Sule, yes the charge port is on the drivers side (right hand drive) in the UK.

Mark E | 2014年8月16日

"Did they flip the charger port location for UK/Australia)?"


sule | 2014年8月16日

@anodyne: thanks, so they did put some thought into this.

Thinking further - it should not be in the middle (say between the front wheel and the door) as that prolongs the minimum charger cable length in both forward and reverse parking situations. So it is really front or back lights kind of a thing. And messing with front lights just to add symmetry with a port may not be a nice and simple thing design-wise.

sule | 2014年8月16日

@Mark E, anodyne: so did they or did they not?