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Charging at budget motels

On road trips I like to stay at cheap motels (Why pay a bunch, if you're just going to sleep?) How "charging-friendly" are these motels? I assume that I would need an extension cord (6 Ga wire, I'd guess) to reach wherever the plug is.


Some may have charging or in bigger cities may be in walking distance of chargers. I am a runner so don't mind leaving my car a few miles away and running back to my motel. Check out Plugshare in the city you are going to and plan accordingly.


You should carry extension cords and then adapters from various outlets to 14-50. Then you can charge from say AC outlets in motels. Remember to dial down current to whatever is max on that plug. I recently charged at a friends place drawing from his dryer outlet. If u need more details let me know.


Ask permision before you plug in.

Agreed. When ever u charge from a place, ask person in charge there. It is not same thing as charging your phone. People may accuse us of stealing if permission is not sought.

Lots of cheap motels have laundry facilities on the ground floor, often near the back end of the building(s). If you inquire (especially ahead of time) about usage, you might be able to run a 220 extension cord to one of the dryer outlets. You'd get more range out of an hour of charging that way than out of hours off a 110. Plus, you could take a magazine and baby-sit the cord and connection, and not have to worry about someone unplugging you (from a 110).

Definitely ask permission. A Leaf driver was arrested for plugging into a public plug during 2013.

It is a matter of theft of service. If the front desk person is not the hotel manager, ask if they can contact someone of responsibility. It will be a long time before hotels are really on board with charging. They do not supply gasoline for ICE cars and theoretically do not have to supply fuel for EVs. Nor Hydrogen for Fuel Cell vehicles in the coming years. It is noble for the hotels that do have pay-for charging networks in place but they do have to draw the line of what they give away.

Thank you all. That was helpful.

It varies with the motel. Some budget motels have dodgy wiring and they know it, so get freaked out by charging an EV. Others are there to help, so just call ahead. If your favorite hotel does not offer charging, you might want to inform them that Tesla has a program whereby they will give a commercial business a FREE HPWC if they make it publicly available.

Oh, and splurge and get Tesla's NEMA 5-20 adapter. If all you have is a 120v receptacle, then be aware that most commercial places will have 20a outlets rather than just 15a outlets. You'll get about 42% faster charge from the 5-20 adapter...

(LMB spouse)

@shop - Just curious: why 42%? I would have guessed 16/12 = 133% = 33% faster. Thanks.

When charging at only 12A, 120V (1440 watts), it turns out that running the car electronics and maybe battery cooling consumes a fair amount of that power, like say 400 watts, leaving you with 1040 watts for charging. At 16A, you would get 1920 watts - 400 watts to run computers = 1520 watts of charging. 1520/1040 = 146%. I don't know if that 400 watts of "charging vampire" is accurate, but it is approx. correct based on other folks measurements, and you get the idea. Once you starting charging at 240V, this vampire charging effect starts to become less important in the calculations.

Bottom line, 120V, 12A charging is pretty inefficient. 120V, 16A is much better if you can do it, which is why I bought Tesla's NEMA 5-20 adapter.

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