As a Tesla owner of all S3XY Models over past 5 years, I get a lot of questions from new owners. So, here are the most common ones I hear in regards to charging.
How do I charge at home?
So to charge at home, there are actually several ways you can do that.
The first and most common way is to get a Wall Connector from Tesla and you would get it installed in your garage or outside of your house if you don’t have one. It runs on 220 volt and it’s a 60 amp breaker that you need in order to install this by a certified electrician. That means that it charges roughly about 40 miles per hour. You charge it overnight and by the morning, it’ll be completely full at your set percentage.
The second option would be to use a Mobile Connector. It comes with this NEMA 14-50 plug (Think of a US dryer outlet) and you can get 20-30 miles per hour. Keep in mind that Model S and X charges a little bit slower than Model 3 and Y. It also comes with a NEMA 5-15, which is your standard wall outlet that you would use to charge your phone or laptop. You’ll get about 3-5 miles an hour with this one.
These aren’t necessarily your only options, but for Tesla, these are going to be your most common ones. If you’re going on a trip where you can leave your car at your destination, I would recommend getting a mobile connector. So at the very least you can get some trickle charging at three miles an hour overnight or while you’re enjoying time at your destination.
Cost of charging at home?
It’s significantly cheaper to pay a little more on an electric bill rather than pay for gas. In the Tesla app, if you go to charge stats, you can actually see what your gas savings are. In the video above, there’s a screengrab of what mine looks like in the past 30 days when this video was shot. There’s a breakdown of how much you’re charging where and how much everything costs. All in all my cost was about $20 at home over the last month. The other thing that you should keep in mind is that there’s a setting where you can choose your state and electric company and find out when off peak hours are so you can schedule your charge at those times, getting a cheaper rate of electricity.
So, I would say it’s roughly 1/4, maybe 1/3 of what you would pay for gas. It’s relative too, because you can’t compare a Model 3 to a Hummer. You have to compare a Model 3 to like a Corolla.
Can I use an extension cord when charging?
You can definitely use a normal outlet, like the NEMA 5-15 talked about above, but the main thing that you have to worry about is the kind of extension cord. You can’t use the same extension cord that you use for your laptop. That’s very different from charging an 82 kw battery size; A lot more current is flowing through that cable. So in order to be safe, when you’re using an extension cord for a 110 outlet, I would typically recommend a 10 AWG cord.
The other thing about extension cords is that if you were to use it, monitor it and don’t leave for days. Like if you’re going on the airport, don’t leave it like that. And don’t put it on multiple splitters and extension of an extension and stuff like that. As far as the length, try to keep it as short as possible. The longer the length, the higher the risk of a voltage drop. So, I’d not go over 50 feet.
Can I install a wall connector outside in the elements?
Yeah, the Tesla wall connector is perfect for indoors and outdoors. My personal one at home is actually installed outdoors with no cover, and it has no issues whatsoever. It’s definitely weatherproof, because even with heavy downpour, I haven’t had any issues. If you’re really worried about it and want some peace of mind, some people make a little house for it or covering.
Can I charge in the elements?
Yeah, for sure. I mean, still be smart. I think if you’re in a terrible thunderstorm and it’s there’s lightning everywhere, maybe hold off for a minute. But even in that, like if you really have to charge, that’s most likely okay. If the car is done charging, the car itself has a safety mechanism built in so there’s not actually electricity flowing in anymore, and so there’s low risk there. A lightning bolt would really have to hit that car just right to fry it.
As far as charging in the rain or snow, you can definitely charge. The newer Models have heating elements built into that charging area, so you shouldn’t have a problem with the charge port freezing shut.
Should I charge to 100%? Why not?
If you don’t have an LFP battery, Tesla says to charge up to 80% OR go to 100% if you’re going on trips. If you do have an LFP battery, the battery is a lot more stable and Tesla recommends you charge you 100%. So, if you go into your Tesla touchscreen, go to controls, software, and additional information, it’ll actually say what kind of battery you have. If it says high voltage battery: lithium iron phosphate, that means you have LFP.
How do you use a Supercharger?
So supercharging is super easy. You just need to go to your app once you have your Tesla, and then set up your credit card information. You go to a supercharger, you click on the charger button when it’s next to your charge port, your charge port opens, and then you plug it in, look for the T to flash green, and then that means it’s charging. You’ll automatically get charged, and then you can go on your way to your trip.
They just installed their 50,000 Supercharger around the world. There are so many out there, and I love how they strategize where they’re going to be putting it. It’s always right off the highway and/or around a mall or food areas.
Supercharger charge time?
The mobile connector is level 1 charging, the wall connector is level two, and Supercharger is level three. What that means is it’s really freaking fast. Tesla right now is on version 3 (V3) of their supercharger, but you’ll still see V2 around. In your touchscreen when searching for a Supercharger, if you see 150 kwh, that’s V2, and 250 kwh is V3.
So if you’re on a version 2, it can charge about 500-600 miles per hour and with version 3, it can go higher than a thousand miles per hour. Both of these are at peak charging. What that means is that when you’re going from 20% to 60%, it’s around that peak point and charging incredibly fast. And then after that or before that, it’s not as fast, and you’ll see it drop as it gets closer to 80%.
So, when you’re asking about how long it takes, you can charge in as little as 15 minutes all the way to 30 minutes depending on your charge level, but timewise, it doesn’t make sense for you to try to go from like 5% to 100%. I like to stay between that 20%-80% and find another Supercharger along the way to charge another 15-20 min and keep going.
Best advice for supercharger etiquette?
For Supercharger etiquette, these are my top three pointers.
- When arriving at a Supercharger, there will usually be one that you can pull into (not back into). It’s typically on the end or kind of isolated. Keep that one free for Tesla drivers that are hauling a trailer or RV. Only take it if it’s the only option.
- If you’re on a V2, only if there’s room to do this, skip spaces and don’t park right next to the other person. This is because most of the time the transformers are shared. So, if a Tesla is in 1A and 1B, then your power will go down for both cars and charging will take longer.
- Don’t be trashy. There’s not always a trash can around like there are at gas station. So, please be mindful and lets try to take care of our Supercharging areas.
Can I use other non-Tesla chargers? How?
There’s other charges out there that are available to you as long as you have an adapter. Tesla cars come with a J1772 adapter that really comes in handy for me, as there are a lot of non-Tesla chargers that use it. I probably use ChargePoint the most.
There’s Electrify America, which is level 3 charging, that uses a CCS adapter. There’s lots of level 2 chargers out there like Blink, EVgo, Volta and Charge Point. Apps called PlugShare and A Better Route Planner are helpful in finding non-Tesla chargers when planning your trips.
I recommend booking a hotel that has a destination charger. That makes it really easy and seamless.
Always feel free to reach out to us on social @teslabros or YouTube if you have any questions. We’re happy to help!