How to Charge your Phone in a Tesla: Expert Tips
Charging your phone in a Tesla is easy. Just place your phone on Tesla’s charging pad or use one of several USB ports in the vehicle. Thick phone cases and accessories can interfere with wireless charging. Use a phone mount to improve phone screen visibility while wirelessly charging your phone.
Your phone is an important connection to your Tesla vehicle. It unlocks your car and communicates instructions and information – so it needs to stay charged.
There are three ways to charge your phone in a Tesla. Most drivers and front seat passengers charge their phones by placing them directly on the wireless charging pad at the front of the centre console. All occupants also have the convenience of plugging into one of several USB ports located throughout the vehicle. However, there are also some conditions where a phone mount with wireless charging would be preferred, such as when certain phone cases or accessories interfere with wireless charging, or drivers require better visibility when using traffic and navigational phone apps.
Get all the details, plus our EVehiclePro experts give you 6 helpful tips to keep you charged up and ready to blast off!
Charge Your Phone In A Tesla With The Wireless Charging Pad
Tesla vehicles come with a wireless phone charging pad, located below the touchscreen. The pad charges phones when the vehicle is powered (touchscreen is on) and the person is in the car. Simply place your phone on the pad to charge up your phone’s battery.
Tesla’s charging pad is designed with a felt-type material and raised divider that helps phones stay in place while driving. There is room for two phones to charge at the same time.
Although the charging pad is an excellent feature in Tesla vehicles, there are a couple of issues.
The Problem with Tesla’s Charging Pad
Our experts at EVehiclePro have identified two potential problems with using Tesla’s phone charging pad.
Phone Isn’t Fully Visible on the Charging Pad
Tesla makes it easy to charge a phone by simply placing it on the charging pad located below the touchscreen. However, drivers have indicated that the phone’s screen isn’t fully visible when it’s in position on the pad. This can be annoying to drivers who use navigational or traffic apps on their phone.
Some people attempt to solve this issue by flipping their phone around or propping it up on the charging pad, but often these measures can disrupt charging, cause the phone to fall or make viewing awkward.
Expert Tip #1:
For maximal visibility of your phone while charging, add a non-adhesive phone holder in your Tesla Model 3 or Y that allows you to clearly view your phone while charging.
Phone Won’t Charge on the Charging Pad
If your phone isn’t charging on the pad (or is charging very slowly), it’s possible that the phone case is the problem. The phone must be very close to the charging pad in order to touch the “sweet spot” so that inductive charging can occur. Some cases interfere with this. In addition to certain phone cases, many accessories can interfere with wireless charging. Here are the ones to avoid:
Thick phone cases. Heavy-duty cases thicker than 7 mm or 0.3 inches (like Armor phone cases or battery cases) prevent close contact with the charging pad.
Metal phone cases. Metal cases can interfere with the electromagnetic signal from the wireless charging pad. This is one of the main reasons Apple switched from aluminum to glass backs on their iPhones.
Phone accessories. Don’t use phone cases with bulky or metal accessories such as kickstands, rings, magnetic mounts or pop sockets. These accessories may make viewing your phone easier when it’s in your hand, but will interfere with wireless charging using Tesla’s charging pad.
Wallet phone cases. Phone cases designed to hold credit cards can be too thick to properly connect with wireless charging pads. In addition, magnetic fields can damage credit cards, RFID chips, security IDs and other things you may store there.
Expert Tip #2
Use a phone case made from plastic, silicone or rubber – not metal – as long as it’s less than 7 mm (0.3 inches) thick. Better yet, consider a vegan leather phone case that complements Tesla’s sleek vegan leather interior. The best choice for earth-conscious Tesla owners however, may be a plastic-free, non-toxic, biodegradable phone case.
Expert Tip #3
If your phone still isn’t charging after removing it from its case and accessories, try flipping the phone around on the charging pad or plug into a USB port.
Where are the USB Ports in a Tesla?
Tesla vehicles have several USB ports that can be used to charge your phone and connect other USB devices. Here’s where they’re located:
- Front compartment of the centre console. Open the front compartment of the center console. The USB ports are located on the rear wall of the compartment. For some vehicles manufactured after approximately November 1, 2021, the center console USB ports may only support charging devices. Use the USB port inside the glove box for all other functions. Both ports are USB-C compatible.
- Rear of the centre console. Two USB ports are located in the rear of the centre console and are the most convenient ones for rear seat passengers. On vehicles manufactured since approximately June 2020, these ports are USB-C. These ports charge USB-connected devices but do not communicate with the vehicle.
- Glovebox. Two USB-A ports are located at the rear of the glovebox. These are equipped with a pre-formatted flash drive, ready to save videos when using features such as Sentry Mode and Dashcam. Although not its primary purpose, this port can also communicate with the vehicle and can be used to charge a USB-connected device.
- 7 Seat Model Y. On Model Ys that are equipped with 3 rows (seven seats), two USB-C ports are located at the rear of the centre console for the second row passengers. For third row passengers, two USB ports are located at the front of the centre arm rest. These ports charge USB-connected devices but will not communicate with the vehicle.
Expert Tip #4
Do not connect multiple devices using a USB hub. Doing so can prevent those devices from charging or being recognized by applications such as Sentry Mode, Media Player or Dashcam.
Tesla Must Be Powered to Charge Phones
Power is required to charge phones whether you are using the phone charging pad or the USB ports. Power is available whenever the Tesla is “awake” and the touchscreen is on. The vehicle is “awake” when driving, or when these features are active:
- “Keep” Mode (Keep climate on)
- Dog Mode
- Camp Mode
- Sentry Mode
- When communicating with the mobile app
Expert Tip #5
If you want to charge your phone after exiting the vehicle, enable a feature like Sentry Mode which will provide power to the USB ports. If you choose to leave your phone in the car though, make sure you have another way of unlocking your vehicle.
Do Tesla have a 12V cigarette lighter outlet?
Teslas have a 12V power socket located in the rear compartment of the centre console. In the Tesla Model Y, an additional low voltage (12 V) power socket can be found on the left side of the rear trunk. Teslas do not come with a cigarette lighter in the outlet.
Do Teslas have AC outlets?
There are no standard 120v AC outlets in a Tesla. However, there are multiple USB ports and a 12v cigarette lighter plug in every Tesla that can be used for power.
Does the Model Y have wireless charging?
Tesla’s Model Y has wireless phone chargers integrated into both the front and rear consoles. Place phones directly on the charging pad and they will charge whenever the vehicle is powered on and a person is in the vehicle. For best visibility of your phone’s screen, add a phone mount with wireless charging capability.
Why won’t my phone charge on the Tesla charging pad?
Occasionally, a phone may not charge on the pad. This is usually because the phone case is too thick (>7mm or 0.3 inches), or the phone case has accessories that interfere with charging such as kickstands, rings, magnetic mounts, pop sockets or credit card holders. Try removing the case and any accessories. If this still doesn’t work, try flipping the phone upside down to charge. Alternatively, charge your phone using a USB port.
Note: Tesla vehicles will not charge a phone if the vehicle’s battery is discharged.
How fast is the Tesla phone charging pad?
A wireless phone charger is built into the front console and provides up to 15W of power to charge Qi-enabled phones. Although the charging pad provides 15W of power, many phones will only accept a 7.5W charge using a Qi wireless charger, so the charging time for each phone will be different. Generally speaking, it will take between 2 to 3 hours to fully charge a cell phone in a Tesla, depending on the brand of phone, size of phone battery, etc.
Expert Tip #6
If you’re in a hurry to charge your phone, use one of the vehicle’s USB ports instead of the charging pad.
Does Tesla have a phone holder?
Tesla vehicles do not come with a phone holder. Instead, there is a charging pad in front of the centre console where you can place and charge up to two phones at the same time. Many owners complain that the phone placement isn’t ideal, as the phone’s screen is not at a good angle to be completely visible.
Drivers who use navigational or traffic apps, or need to view their phone frequently, benefit from adding a non-adhesive phone mount. Mounts with accessible phone ports can be easily installed on Tesla’s front vent, windshield or touchscreen. If you want a phone mount that also offers wireless charging, consider this one that slides directly onto the touchscreen.
Is it better to charge my phone at home?
Many people prefer to charge their phones quickly at home before getting in their Tesla. This is particularly true in cold temperatures where a short drive won’t charge your phone sufficiently using Tesla’s charging pad.
Don’t be caught relying on a phone that’s not charged, to operate your car – especially if you don’t have another way of unlocking your vehicle.
Charge your phone at home with this super cool desktop replica Tesla Supercharger!
Will Tesla charge my phone while parked?
Charging your phone requires power, whether using Tesla’s phone charging pad or USB ports. Power (therefore charging) is available whenever the Tesla is “awake” and the touchscreen is on.
However, if you want to charge your phone when the vehicle is parked and you are no longer in the vehicle, you can still charge your phone by simply enabling a feature like Sentry Mode which will provide power to the USB ports.
If you choose to leave your phone in the car though, make sure you have another way of unlocking your vehicle.
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