Driver shares nightmare experience with Tesla rental after it malfunctioned on the highway, leaving them stranded BGStock72/Adobe Stock (Licensed)

‘Never again’: Driver shares nightmare experience with Tesla rental after wrong charger left them stranded

‘I legit don’t understand how this could have gone so wrong.’


Jack Alban


If you’re driving an electric vehicle on a road trip, like a Tesla, it’s probably best to use the vehicle’s on-board navigation to populate a list of compatible fast-charging stations along the way.

Otherwise you could end up like TikToker Ki (―scrambling to look for an electric car charging station and left having to get your whip towed to a supercharging station.

“First time driving a Tesla,” a text overlay in the video reads. Ki films herself on the highway, and the EV manufacturer’s trademark massive capacitive touch tablet style display is front and center on the highway.

She documents her less than stellar-EV driving experience that has made her swear off of the technology forever. But, there were a number of folks who said that her lack of planning/failure to use Tesla’s onboard road-trip software appropriately is what did her in.

A sound effect of someone angrily crying plays in the background of the video, and the cut is accompanied by a stark sound and backdrop audio of someone screaming. She records herself at a charging station that appears to contain CCS chargers. These don’t work with Teslas that have the brand’s proprietary charging port, which includes pretty much all North American Tesla vehicles.

In Europe, some Tesla vehicles come packed with the CCS port as the fast-charging protocol has become the standard. Other models must use adapters to be able to use these quick energizing features from brands like Electrify America and Volta.

“Car dropped down to 5% on the highway. Googled the closest charging station and it was the wrong one,” the TikToker wrote in a text overlay of their clip, followed by a sad, moaning emoji.

“Never again. Sticking to gas cars,” Ki added in a caption for the video, expressing how upset she was by the experience. Her clip then cuts to a recording of the Tesla charging at a gas station in a standard 12-volt: “Tried to charge at the gas station before they kicked us out.”

How much energy does a Tesla get from level 1 charging on a standard outlet?

However, level 1 charging with a standard outlet doesn’t provide a significant amount of power to one’s vehicle; it’s more of a way to get a little bit of extra juice in your EV while it’s parked for extended periods of time, not when you’re in the middle of driving on a highway and have somewhere you need to be. What’s more is that you can’t really be sitting inside of a vehicle and utilizing its features like air conditioning during level 1 charging as this will draw power that could be going to the battery.

With a Tesla powered down and plugged into a level 1 charger, one would have to leave it plugged in for about an hour just to get 3.11 miles of driving range.

Ki’s gas station outdoor outlet charging attempt didn’t really work out either. “Waited 4 hours for a charge just for the percent to go back down after unplugging,” she notes as she records the reaction of another woman standing outside of the car, who smiles and shakes her head from side to side.

Ultimately, because they didn’t have enough of a charge to drive the vehicle, they needed to get it towed to a supercharger to quickly restore energy to its battery pack.

Ki records the truck being loaded onto a flatbed tow truck. She and her family sat in the back of the truck, providing a travel update on their electric car driving experience. “Took us 13 hours to get from Orlando to Atlanta,” they wrote in the text overlay.

Several commenters who replied to Ki’s post seemed to think she only had herself to blame for her charging woes, however, as Tesla’s route planner clearly delineates where superchargers are located and makes recommendations on where drivers should stop in order to juice up for their journey. Never again. Sticking to gas cars. 🚫 #teslacar #supercharge #orlando #springbreak #atlanta ♬ original sound – Bossbaby🌈

“Why would you google a charging station when Tesla will plan out your entire trip for you? And why let your car get down to 5%?” one wrote.

Another echoed this thought: “If only that big screen had a map with supercharger locations”

Someone else was seemingly baffled by Ki’s inability to accurately use the vehicle’s route planning option. “How? Literally all you have to do is put in your destination and the car does all the planning for you,” they said.

“You got down to 5% it warns you at 20 lol” one TikToker replied, saying that Ki must have ignored the warning signs given to her by the vehicle.

“I legit don’t understand how this could have gone so wrong,” someone else said.

And another TikToker provided the following suggestion: “Girl, precondition the car with the supercharger function in the maps.” But Ki said she didn’t understand how to do that. “I don’t even know what that mean,” she wrote.

However there were some who sided with Ki, stating that they agreed with her sentiment in sticking with gas vehicles: “All these Tesla owners trying to shame you when the real answer is to drive a gas car where fuel stations are everywhere! Glad you guys made it safe!”

In a follow-up post, she mentions that they were, indeed, using the Tesla navigation map, but were driving in the “backwoods” of Georgia. Ki adds that the percentage dropped faster than anticipated and that they weren’t going to make it to the next supercharger in time, hence the decision to turn to Google for suggestions. Replying to @Country bumpkin and if im on the highway amd the percentage is dropping extremely fast, then WTH you think were supposed to do? 🤦🏾‍♀️ We werent even supposed to be driving this car. We had a truck rented that fell through the say of the trip!! #tesla #supercharge #teslamodel3 #orlando #atlanta #springbreak #teslacar ♬ original sound – Ki

The Daily Dot has reached out to Tesla via email and Ki via TikTok comment for further information.

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