How Much Does It Cost to Charge a Tesla?

Last updated: Jun 2021

Introduction

How Much Does It Cost to Charge a Tesla?

The answer depends on a couple of factors, such as the state of charge, the battery’s usable storage capacity, the battery pack’s age, the car you own, the car’s efficiency, the electricity cost in your area, and even the temperature outside, etc.

Tesla Model 3

As a cost-effective Tesla vehicle, the Tesla Model 3 has some features that attract many people. It has extensive driving ranges while affordable prices. The sleek styling is also one of the highlights.

Since 2018, the Tesla Model 3 has been the top-selling all electric cars on the market in the United States.

According to the EPA test, the Model 3 has an estimated driving range of 263 miles for the Standard Range Plus, 315 miles for the Performance, and 353 miles for the Long Range version.

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Tesla Model S

The Tesla Model S, an electric luxury sedan, has come a long way since its debut in 2012. As of today, the refresh has happened a lot.

In terms of battery and range for 2021, the battery pack lies under the Tesla vehicle’s floor and makes the front and the rear bear an evenly distributed weight.

The Driving Range of the Model S varies from version to version. The Long Range model offers up to 412 miles of range, while the Plaid version can drive up to 390 miles between charges, and the Plaid+ version extends the range to 520 miles of driving per single charge.

The Tesla Model S has become a good alternative to gasoline-powered vehicles when for a long journey because of its long driving range. The range anxiety can be gone.

Tesla Model X

The all-electric Tesla Model X emits zero CO2, and you don’t have to drive your car to a gas station while you need to charge your Model X.

Charging up at home or on the road will incur some costs, much less than the gas costs.

The Model X has two models for 2021, Plaid and Long Range. The Plaid model manages 340 miles of driving range, while the Long Range drives up to 360 miles of range per single charge.

The Model X has a very impressive battery pack capacity which is 100 kWh.

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Tesla Model Y

The Tesla Model Y is a high-performance SUV that is based on the Model 3 platform. It is available in two versions: Long Range and Performance AWD. The Long Range trim offers 326 miles of the EPA estimated driving range, while the Performance model comes with a lower range, 303 miles. 

A cheaper Model Y with 244 miles of driving range was announced to launch, but then it was canceled because of its low driving range. 

The Model Y comes with a 75 kWh battery pack, and you can charge the Model Y both at home and on the road.

This article will walk you through the cost to charge your Tesla Model 3 both at home and when you take a road trip in general as an example. We will also explain the parameters that why we use in the formulas.

To find out more costs of charging other Tesla vehicles, you can use our tesla charging cost calculator to estimate the charging cost for your specific situation.

Charging Options for Tesla Vehicles

Home Charging Stations for Tesla

One of the things that people are really concerned about with Tesla vehicles is how I charge them. We’ll take you through four different options for charging your Tesla vehicles at home.

1. Tesla Mobile Connector – NEMA 5-15 Adapter

Every Tesla comes with a standard Tesla Mobile Connector with a NEMA 5-15 plug included. It connects to a regular 110-volt household outlet, which is the lowest level of charging that you can get with the car.

mobile connector1

It’s just a matter of taking your mobile adapter, plugging one end into the household outlet and the other side into your car.

But what kind of power can we get into the car? It appears that we are getting about five miles per hour of charge for the Tesla Model 3.

2. Tesla Mobile Connector – NEMA 14-50 Adapter

If you want faster charging, the next step up from a 110-volt outlet would be a 240-volt outlet that you might find in your house with a dryer outlet or sometimes called a 14-50 adapter.

It has the same process: after plugging the adapter in the mobile charger, plug one end into the wall and the other end into your car.

The power can ramp up to 32 amps, or about 36 miles per hour, with the NEMA 14-50 adapter.

3. Tesla Wall Connector

The third charging option at home is the Tesla Wall Connector. For some people, the reason why they purchase the wall connector is twofold.

One thing, the state where they live has a rebate available to them from the power company that allows them to get a rebate on installing a Tesla Wall Connector.

The rebate pretty much just pays for the wall connector itself, and all they have to do is pay for an additional installation cost.

The second thing is that they want to keep the mobile connector and cord in the car all the time.

tesla-gen-3-wall-connector ev charger

They don’t want to be able to have to remember to take it with them if they were leaving for a long journey or leaving it in the garage.

How much power you get out of the wall connector really depends on what kind of circuit you have it hooked to.

If you install a 60-amp circuit, you will get the maximum amount of power, 48 amps.

The power ramps up to about 45 miles per hour.

4. Third-party Charging Stations

When you don’t have Tesla chargers nearby, the third-party charging stations can also be used to charge your Tesla.

Third-party Level 2 chargers are compatible with the J1772 plugs. While with a J1772 to Tesla Charging Adapter, you can power your Tesla with any third-party chargers.

The J1772 chargers deliver up to 48 amps or 50 amps, which means the charging speed for a Tesla  may also be up to 45 miles per hour of charging theoretically.

You can use our Tesla charge time calculator or see our article Tesla charge time to get the charge speed.

Public Charging Stations for Tesla

The primary charging option for Tesla vehicles is the Tesla Supercharging network, of course.

So far, the V3 Superchargers are very rare around the country, while the V2 Superchargers which is the most common Superchargers have been distributed in many locations.

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Generally speaking, the public DC fast charging stations have CHAdeMO or CSS ports, while Tesla vehicles have proprietary ports.

If you want to charge your Tesla vehicle on a third-party public charging station, a CHAdeMO to Tesla or CCS 1 to Tesla adapter will be needed while the charging rate will be much slower than on a Tesla Supercharger.

Electricity Rates for Charging

Electricity Rate at Home

Charging your Tesla at home can be one of the cheapest ways, but it’s really dependent on where you live and when you charge your car.

The electricity cost varies widely across the country. As of February 2021, the average domestic electricity rate in the United States is 13 cents per kWh.

The rate can be below 10 cents per kWh in states like Idaho, Louisiana, Washington, and North Dakota, while over $0.20 in California, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and in Hawaii, the rate can be even as high as 31.36 cents per kWh!

Some utilities in many states have tiered electricity rates, which means that you pay more or less beyond some certain threshold amounts of electricity.

In addition, some utilities offer Utility Demand Response Programs, which can help you save a lot of money when you charge your Tesla  during off-peak periods such as at night or on weekends, at which the rates are much lower than at on-peak times.

solar-panels

Besides, it could save a lot of money if you install solar panels at home.

Even if the cost of purchasing and installing solar system is a big upfront investment, EV owner can avoid high energy costs and save a lot in the long run.

Especially if you live in a state where the electricity rate is high, such as California, it can make a big difference.

Electricity Rate on the Road

For Tesla drivers, charging their Tesla vehicles at Superchargers is the major way when traveling long distances.

Every Tesla vehicle purchaser has 1,000 mile free credits when buying a Tesla using a valid Tesla referral code link.

Therefore, these free Supercharging credits can offset some charging costs.

As of March 18, 2021, Tesla has built a total of 986 Supercharger locations across the country.

In general, some charge by kWh, but some by time. That’s because some entities like Tesla and third-party charging stations are required to charge by time (like charge per minute, charge per hour), while utilities charge by kWh in some regions.

In these cases, the charging costs vary dependent on how long you charge your Tesla and the charging speed.

Supercharging rates vary by location. However, the flat rate for most Supercharging locations is $0.28 per kWh.

In some locations, the rate is $0.25 per minute above 60 kW and $0.13 per minute at/below 60 kW.

To a great extent, there are occasions where a Tesla vehicle may be needed to charge at third-party charging stations, such as Electrify America, EVgo and ChargePoint when there are no Superchargers nearby.

Costs vary widely across these third-party stations. The station owner set most of the prices and are sometimes charge by time, by kWh, or a mix of per-time (per-minute or per-hour charging), and per-kWh, etc.

Be sure to check the charging network apps in advance.

Cost to Charge a Tesla

If you’d like to see what your costs to charge your Tesla may look like, be sure to check your electricity bill or the website https://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/ to find out the electricity rate in your state.

Or check the charge rate of the Superchargers and the third-party charging stations.

You can obtain the battery capacity, and the driving range from the vehicle manufacturers’ official website or the user manual, and then use our electric vehicle charging cost calculators.

Let’s take Tesla Model 3 Long Range (2021) as an example to show the calculation.

NOTE: All results are calculated based on the theoretical assumptions, and may vary under different circumstances in real life.

Battery Capacity: 82 kWh | Driving Range: 353 miles (EPA) | The average power efficiency is 0.9 in the calculation

  1. Cost to Charge a Tesla Model 3 Long Range (2021) at Home on average across the United States (National electricity rate = $0.13/kWh)
  • Cost to charge from 10% to 80% of charge level

= [Battery capacity x (80%-10%)] ÷ 0.9 x Electricity rate

= [82 kWh x (80%-10%)] ÷ 0.9 x $0.13/kWh

= $8.29

  • Cost to charge for 30 Miles of desired distance

= Desired distance ÷ Efficiency ÷ 0.9 x Electricity rate

= 30 miles ÷ 4.30 miles/kWh ÷ 0.9 x $0.13/kWh

= $1.01

  • Cost per mile

          = Electricity rate ÷ (Efficiency x 0.9)

= $0.13/kWh ÷ (4.30 miles/kWh x 0.9)

= $0.03

2. Cost to Charge a Tesla Model 3 Long Range (2021) at Home on average across the United States (National electricity rate = $0.28/kWh)

  • Cost to charge from 10% to 80% of charge level

= [Battery capacity x (80%-10%)] ÷ 0.9 x Electricity rate

= [82 kWh x (80%-10%)] ÷ 0.9 x $0.28/kWh

= $17.86

  • Cost to charge for 30 Miles of desired distance

= Desired distance ÷ Efficiency ÷ 0.9 x Electricity rate

= 30 miles ÷ 4.30 miles/kWh ÷ 0.9 x $0.28/kWh

= $2.17

  • Cost per mile

= Electricity rate ÷ (Efficiency x 0.9)

= $0.28/kWh ÷ (4.30 miles/kWh x 0.9)

= $0.07

The costs to charge a Tesla on the road almost double that at home.

Use our Cost to Charge Electric Car Calculator to calculate how much it costs to charge your Tesla at home versus a gas car yearly in your state and see how much savings it could be switching from a gas car to a Tesla.

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