How to open the charge port on Tesla Model S

2 min read

Tesla charging port

The Tesla charge port on the Model S can be found at the rear of the car. It’s part of the tail light assembly.
Of course, opening the charge port door is crucial. Without this, you can’t charge the high-voltage batteries, and you won’t go anywhere.
This article walks you through the steps involved.
As always, read your owner’s manual before operating your Tesla Model S!

Opening the Tesla charge port

First, you must park near a charger at your home, workplace, or a charging station.
There are many ways to open the charge port on the Tesla Model S. The exact method you’ll use (and those your car has available) will depend on your vehicle’s age and specification.
Below, you’ll find all the possible options.

  • Press the open button on the charging cable.
    • To use this method, you must meet the following conditions (unless the charge cable is right next to the charging port):
      • The Model S must be in Park.
      • The car should be unlocked, or you should have the key with you.
  • Use the touchscreen.
    • There are two ways to go about this, as follows:
      • Choose Controls.
      • Press the Charge Port icon to open the door.
        • It looks like a lightning bolt.
    • The other method of using the touchscreen also comes through the Controls menu.
      • Select Controls.
      • Tap Charging.
      • Choose Open Charge Port.
  • Press the charge port door.
    • You must unlock your Model S first.
    • This is the only
  • Use voice commands to open the Tesla charge port door.
    • Say, “Open charge port door.”
  • Hold the rear trunk button on your key for 2 seconds.
  • Open the charge port door from the app.

After using any one of the available methods, the charging port door should open. The charge port light will illuminate white.
You can plug in the charge connector and begin the charging process.
Don’t force the door if it’s stuck! There will be a way to open it – don’t worry! But breaking it will result in extra problems and repair costs.

Closing the Tesla charging port

The Tesla charging port must be closed once you finish charging the batteries.

  • Under most circumstances, the Tesla charge port automatically closes after you remove the charging cable.
    • Officially, this can take up to 10 seconds after removing the charging cable. Owners report cases of up to a 20-second wait.

If you open the charge port door without plugging a charge connector in (for example, by accident or if there are no cables available), you can manually close it.
Follow any of the below methods:

  • Use voice commands.
    • Say, “Close charge port door.”
  • Hold down the rear trunk button on the key fob.
    • You’ll need to hold this button for up to 2 seconds.
    • Pressing the roof button should also lock the car and force the charge port door to close.

In the end, these methods aren’t usually necessary. The charge port door will automatically close. If it’s stuck open, you should go to a Tesla dealership and get it fixed under warranty.
Of course, if you have a pre-December 2014 (or early 2015) Tesla, the charging port isn’t motorized. You’ll need to do the following:

  • Manually close the charge port door.

Troubleshooting the Tesla charge port

It’s not uncommon to find Tesla owners struggling to open their charge port doors.
As mentioned, you should never force the charging port open! You’ll find a way.
First, try all the opening methods detailed above. These are explained in the Model S owner’s manual, and you’ll probably find at least one of them works.
The charge port latch can freeze in harsh winter conditions. This could be worsened by moisture ingression, such as when washing your car (although this is worse on older, pre-2015 models).
In this case, follow these instructions:

  1. Open the Tesla app.
  2. Activate Preconditioning on the HI setting.
    • You can’t use the touchscreen this time.
  3. Wait for 45 minutes.

This should thaw the frozen latch, allowing the charge port door to open.

Before operating the Tesla charging port and plugging your Model S in, read your owner’s manual! This crucial step is neglected by many motorists, but it often holds all the answers you need.
You’ll find a copy of the Model S owner’s manual below.

owners manual

By Ben Kitchen Ben is a qualified car mechanic with experience working in the industry. He now works as an automotive author, writing about all things vehicle-related. He’s excited about the potential held by electric cars of all shapes, sizes, and types.

Ben Kitchen Ben is a qualified car mechanic with experience working in the industry. He now works as an automotive author, writing about all things vehicle-related. He’s excited about the potential held by electric cars of all shapes, sizes, and types.

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