Because electric cars are still new and expensive, a lot of people don’t fully understand how they work. Of course, everyone knows that a Tesla runs on batteries and that those batteries have to be charged. When you are considering the possibility of buying a Tesla, you need to consider this factor as well as many others. Let’s discuss the subject in a little more detail.
How Long Does It Take To Charge A Tesla?
There isn’t a simple or universal answer that we can give. Your total charging time will depend on several factors, making it very tricky to try and estimate your exact charging time. For the record, Tesla claims that their batteries will give 2-5 miles of drive time for every hour spent charging. Of course, this is just an estimate based on the standard options.
Here are the main factors that will affect your Tesla’s charging time:
- The current level of the battery
- The size of the battery
- The number of onboard chargers in the vehicle
- The power source being used
Factor 1: Battery Level
This one is very obvious. If your battery is fully depleted (or nearly so), it’s going to take a lot longer to charge. If you are just topping off a battery that is at or above 75%, you are looking at a pretty short charge time. But here’s a question for you: Are you sure you want to charge that battery all the way to 100%?
In most cases, the answer is no. Lithium-ion batteries can become dangerous if overworked, and there is no need to overwork them anyway. Tesla recommends that you only charge your battery to 90% unless you are preparing to go on a long trip. Not only will this promote increased safety, but it will also extend the life of the battery. Considering how expensive these batteries can be, that’s a pretty important factor.
Factor 2: Battery Size
Tesla offers two different battery sizes, with the 60-kilowatt version being the most common. The larger 80-kilowatt batteries are an expensive option, but very handy for those who need a little more range. Of course, that extra range will not be free (or cheap). If you want to get an idea of how much difference you will see, the 60-kilowatt battery gives you 208-232 miles to a full charge. The 80-kilowatt model gives you 265-300 miles per charge. It should be noted that the 60-kilowatt batteries are safer for general usage.
Regardless of battery size, you will be happy to know that it doesn’t cost much to recharge a Tesla. The price of a full charge varies a lot, but it can be as low as $6.50 and will usually stay below $20.00. It’s good to know that there is something cheap about these vehicles!
Factor 3: Onboard Chargers
Depending on what sort of Tesla you own, your car will have either one or two onboard chargers. These are essentially power inverters/converters that convert and amplify the power of a standard 110V outlet. That’s why you can charge these vehicles at home without using a lot of special equipment. Obviously, a car with two onboard chargers will charge about twice as quickly. By combining dual chargers with the best power adapters, you can cut that charging time by a whole lot.
Factor 4: The Power Source
Although these vehicles are designed for home charging, you will get a much faster charge at a power station. These places use equipment that is much more powerful than anything in your house, and that’s why they can give you a full charge in about an hour. These charging stations are also faster because they work in a more direct fashion. They bypass the onboard chargers and send power directly into the battery, eliminating a step. So, how long would it take to get a full charge at home?
Since the standard battery has a range of about 200 miles, and the company claims 2-5 miles per hour of charge, we can calculate this easily. A full charge would require somewhere between 40 and 100 hours when connected to a residential outlet. If you were using the 80-kilowatt battery (with a range of about 280 miles), you would need somewhere between 56 and 140 hours. Of course, this is only the case if your battery is being recharged from zero.
Also, those who are unfamiliar with electric cars should be aware that you will need a special adapter to charge your Tesla at home. You cannot simply plug it into a standard wall outlet, so this adapter is included with all new Tesla vehicles. Our calculations above were conducted with this standard adapter in mind. The standard adapter is called the NEMA 5-15, but you can get a higher-powered version known as the NEMA 14-50. That one uses a 240-volt outlet (such as that used for a dryer or an oven) and can charge the battery from zero in 10-12 hours.
Do You Need To Worry About The “Memory Effect”?
Many batteries suffer from an irritating problem known as the “memory effect.” When these batteries are partially used and then topped off, they will act as if they “remember” the lower charge level. As a result, the maximum charge of the battery will lessen with each incomplete charging. When using these batteries, you cannot recharge them until they are 100% depleted.
Thankfully, Tesla batteries are lithium-ion batteries, which do not suffer from this effect. This is the same kind of battery that is used in mobile phones, although a Tesla battery is obviously much larger and more powerful.
Unfortunately, the battery life and charging time of your Tesla is a difficult thing to estimate. You won’t get a complete answer until you start driving your new car and see its capabilities firsthand. However, we hope that this short article has given you a good introduction to the subject, and a ballpark idea of what you can expect. If so, you can reward our efforts by filling out the contact form below.