Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA) is now offering a CHAdeMO adapter plug for the Model S. This marks a major milestone for the charging technology because now the two largest electric vehicle sellers—with Nissan being the largest—support it. That’s according to Torque News.

Tesla

Tesla launches the adapter quietly

This year Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) has been rapidly expanding its Supercharger network throughout North America and into Europe. The automaker strongly recommends its own network because of how quickly it charges the Model S. In fact, the speed at which Tesla’s Superchargers can charge the Model S actually makes it possible to drive across the country in the vehicle.

However, by adding the CHAdeMo adapter, it’s now possible to drive the Model S in areas where Tesla has not yet expanded its Supercharger network. The only downside is that CHAdeMo charging technology charges nowhere near as quickly as Tesla’s own Supercharger network.

How Tesla’s CHAdeMo charger works

The way the charger works is quite simple. It just plugs right into the Supercharger port and has a CHAdeMO socket on the other end of the adapter. Insider the adapter there’s a computerized control system which translates the Model S Supercharger capability into CHAdeMO technology so that the vehicle can be recharged.

At peak charging rates, it delivers 25 to 50 kilowatts, which is still quite a bit faster than the average six to seven kilowatt maximum charging rates at most level 2 charging stations. But it’s still far slower than Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA)’s 90 kilowatt capabilities, and Tesla is expanding its technology to push out as much as 120 kilowatts, further increasing its lead in charge capabilities over competitors.  Tesla estimates that using one of the CHAdeMO charging stations will recharge the Model S by about 70 miles per hour of charging.

That makes a full recharge of the 85 kilowatt-hour Model S take three to four hours, which is far slower than Tesla’s Supercharger network. Tesla is also in the process of rolling out battery swap stations at its Supercharger stations, making those stations even more attractive to Model S drivers.

Tesla to start offering CHAdeMO adapters soon

Currently the adapter will sell for $1,000, and it will be available this winter. The fact that Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) is supporting the technology is a big deal for the CHAdeMO technology. The Nissan Leaf already supports it, so the battle lines in the charging race are clearly drawn. At this point there aren’t any electric vehicles supporting the Combo Charging System, which is the other charging standard. The Chevy Spark EV is expected to come out this winter as the first vehicle to support Combo.