Erik Ramsgaard Wognsen

Thoughts & technology

Beware the Tesla Account Region

Picture shows the Tesla "Create Account" webpage and how its language setting affects the Tesla App "Edit Billing Address" page

I created a Tesla account to be able to charge my (non-Tesla) car at Tesla charging stations. When I tried to charge at a Supercharger, I had to add my credit card info, but then the Tesla app also wanted a billing address. The only problem was that the country selector was locked to the United States, where I don’t live.

I was not going to give a fake address, and I’m not even sure it would have worked anyway due to validation between billing address and credit card info. After some googling I found out that a Tesla account is bound to a country, and that you have to get in contact with Tesla to get it changed. There was no telling how long that would take, so I left the Tesla charging station and found another place to get some juice.

Later, I learned that the language selector of the Tesla website is a combined language and country selector, and that the active language/country at the time of the account creation determines the semi-permanent account country.

This is pretty bad usability. The user is not made aware that they are choosing a country, and on top of that, the choice is cumbersome to change later. Good usability involves the user understanding the consequences of their actions as well as an easy way to undo an undesired action.

The first problem would be easy to fix: By simply adding an explicit country selector to the main part of the sign-up form, the user is aware that they are choosing a country. I don’t know why we’re are not allowed to change our own account country, but I did find a quick workaround: I deleted my Tesla account and recreated it in Danish, and then I was allowed to add my Danish address. After confirming the next day on my trip home that I can now charge at Superchargers, I’m happy that I now have access to even more places to charge my car.