What should I know about charging my Tesla?

The first thing you should know about charging your Tesla is, be aware of Range Anxiety. It happens to everyone, and it’s usually not an actual problem as long as you follow the car’s recommendations. With that said, let’s talk about how to charge your Tesla.

There are essentially three levels of charging for electric vehicles:

  • Level 1 charging is your basic 110v outlet. It’s available almost anywhere, all Tesla Mobile Connectors that come with the car can connect to it, and it provides roughly 5 miles of extra charge per hour.
  • Level 2 charging is what most public charging stations are, and what most home charging stations beyond Level 1 are. The most common plug is the J1772 (the adapter for which should have come with your car) for public stations and perhaps a NEMA 14-50 outlet for home charging, unless you go with the Tesla Wall Charger, which of course uses the proprietary Tesla connector. Typical charge rates are anywhere from 30-50 miles of range per hour.
  • Level 3 charging is DC fast charging. For Teslas, that means a Supercharger that provides potentially up to 1,000 miles of range per hour. These are placed all over the country (and, well, globe) and are meant for quick charging stops during long distance travel. Other charging networks are coming online with Level 3 charging, typically using CCS (not yet available for Model 3/Y in US) or CHAdeMO (becoming obsolete, but there’s an adapter from Tesla available) plugs.

How much you pay for charging depends on many factors. Home charging is typically about a quarter of equivalent gas prices (which, as gas prices fluctuate wildly, is an average estimate). Level 3 charging is usually about half of what gas would cost or more, depending on what network you’re using and what local electricity rates and rules are.