You may be new to EV ownership or Tesla in particular, or you may be doing a little research before you take that welcomed leap into zero-emission transportation. No matter the reason for your visit, here you are wondering, “how long does it take to charge a Tesla?” The answer is not as simple as you may like to hear, but we have taken a crack at breaking down everything you need to know.
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Tesla charging methods
In order to truly understand how long it may or may not take to charge your Tesla, we want to start with a brief course on the different charging levels and how they differ. This is a huge factor relating to the time it will take to charge your EV, regardless of whether it is, in fact, a Tesla or not.
Level 1 AC Charging
Imagine Level 1 as the universal charging option. If there is a standard wall socket nearby, you will be able to charge your Tesla with that. With that said, 120V is the bare minimum amount of juice you can pull into your EV. So if you’re wondering how long it would take to charge your 2021 Tesla Long Range Model 3, you’re looking at a matter of days, not hours. Not ideal.
Level 2 AC Charging
Level 2 chargers are the most common type found at third-party public charging stations, although DC fast chargers continue to expand their presence (more of them in a minute). At home, 240V plugs usually offer around 40 amps but can go as high as 80 and are usually more specifically placed compared to standard 120V outlets.
Think of this charger as the equivalent to your dryer or other large appliance. Tesla suggests owners install a Level 2 charger in their home or garage if they can. This is fairly easy for an electrician or specialist to come and install.
At Level 2, you’re looking at much quicker speeds compared to Level 1. We’re talking hours, not days.
Tesla Supercharger (DC Fast Charging)
The Tesla Supercharger network s a combined group of proprietary charging stations developed and implemented by Tesla. As a result, the automaker doesn’t have to rely on third-party charging networks like most automakers producing electric vehicles currently do. Although, some third-party chargers do offer an adapter plug for Tesla EVs.
These Level 3 chargers abandon the alternating current (AC) methods above to mainline power directly. While they require a lot more power from the grid (480+ volts and 100+ amps), their output is truly “super.”
Ok, sounds fancy, but how long do Superchargers take to charge a Tesla? Currently, most Tesla Superchargers can now recharge up to 200 miles of range in just 15 minutes, depending on the rate of charge. These DC charging speeds range from 90 kW to 250 kW, depending on which Supercharger pile you’re at.
While 250 kW is the current limit for Superchargers, Tesla has shared plans to increase DCFC charge speeds upwards to 300 kW.
When you’re in the Tesla app or in your vehicle itself, you can search for nearby Supercharger stations, which can tell you what stalls are available and what their current output is. Navigation can help too. Tesla’s built-in trip planner is designed to automatically route you through Superchargers on the way to your destination.
At the end of Q3 in 2021, Tesla reported 29,281 Superchargers across 3,254 locations worldwide, so there’s plenty to choose from. Furthermore, the automaker has announced plans to triple the size of this network over the next two years.
For more information on Tesla Superchargers, we’ve put together an extensive guide here.
How long to charge a Tesla?
To recap, a lot of factors are in play when figuring out precisely how long it may take to charge your shiny Tesla. Battery capacity, charging method, and available power output all have their say in how quickly you can unplug and get back on the open road.
Here’s a breakdown of the charging methods and approximately how long each take to fully charge a Tesla from a low battery:
- Level 1 AC (120V outlet at home): 20-40 hours
- AC Level 2 (Third party chargers/Tesla chargers/Tesla home charger): 8-12 hours
- Level 3 DCFC (Tesla Supercharger): 15-25 minutes
As you may have guessed by now, Tesla’s Supercharger network is the way to go, especially in a pinch. However, due to their massive direct current, Superchargers are not recommended for daily charging.
They are, instead, in place to provide a quick charge for drivers on the go or for those on longer road trips. Tesla recommends Level 2 charging at home whenever possible.
Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of the many factors that control how long it takes to charge a Tesla. Whether it’s a Model Y Long Range or the Model S Plaid, you should have a better idea of what to prioritize as you charge your Tesla depending on how much time you have, where you are, and where you inevitably need to be.
If you’re still new to EVs and/or Tesla and are doing your research, this should be of some help too. Now you simply need to decide which model is best for you.
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