The first question Tesla Model X, S, Y, or Model 3 owners frequently ask is how long it takes to charge the vehicle. An electric car requires a bit more planning to find a charger and factor in the time needed to charge than a gas vehicle that you fill up quickly does. Fortunately, Tesla owners have charging networks available that are among the largest and fastest. Tesla put a lot of time into building a charging network that has Destination Chargers and Superchargers, making charging relatively easy and convenient compared to other electric vehicles.
Because owners usually charge a Tesla at home and the vehicle has excellent range, people do not often worry about charging unless planning a road trip. Even so, the sophisticated navigation software calculates the route’s estimated consumption and automatically incorporates charging station stops for the trip. There are many charging options. They, along with the model, impact the length of time it takes to charge a Tesla.
Supercharger vs. Home vs. Non-Residential
A Tesla model comes with four types of chargers. They are Tesla Superchargers, NEMA 14-50, NEMA 5-15, and wall connectors. The fastest is the Tesla Supercharger, and the slowest is the NEMA 5-15. It takes approximately 10 hours to fully charge a Tesla with NEMA 14-50 plugs using a 240v outlet. Wall connectors are for charging cars at home.
The most common Supercharger is the V2 Supercharger. A frustrating thing about the V2 Supercharger is the power splitting between two stalls, especially in busy areas. Try to pick stalls where A and B are both open. The V3 Supercharger is the successor to the V2. It looks the same as a V2 Supercharger but has a thinner, water-cooled cable.
Tesla also created Urban Superchargers for drivers who might not be able to charge at home, such as people who live in apartments. Urban Superchargers charge more slowly than classic Superchargers.
The system you have and how full the battery is when you start charging determines the time it takes to charge your Tesla at home. Besides Superchargers, Tesla owners have Destination Chargers available to them. They are beefed-up home chargers that provide a service for businesses wanting to attract Tesla owners, such as wineries, Airbnbs, and hotels.
There is usually no charge to customers of a business. It is a good idea to check to be sure, though. Depending on how depleted the battery, it is possible to take several hours or overnight to charge. Charging at a Supercharger typically takes 30 minutes to an hour, sometimes more depending on the vehicle and the charger.
When power output is low, home charging typically takes from a couple of hours to top off the battery after a daily commute to overnight to fully charge an empty battery. Most people plug in the vehicle when they arrive home.
Public charges vary widely in power rates. They can be as fast as a Supercharger or as slow as a home charger. Tesla also includes a Mobile Connector portable charger used as a backup to charge from a 110v wall socket in a pinch. It is the slowest method and meant for emergencies. A 15-amp circuit provides only 3 miles of charge per hour spent on the charger.
Breakdown by Voltage
There is a shift taking place in electrical engineering that sets the norm for newer-generation models at higher voltages. Tesla cars run on 300 to 400 volts, mainly to achieve greater efficiency throughout the electric vehicle powertrain. High voltage is safe. By design, all components work well at high voltage.
Diesel and gasoline cars have electrical systems also, typically powered by a 12v lead-acid battery. You are familiar with the technology. It charges as you drive, helps start the engine, runs components such as air conditioning and lights, and more.
Hybrid cars introduced electrical systems that are more advanced. They are capable of powering the propulsion with electric motors. The system uses 48v battery systems. That voltage is four times more than a diesel or gasoline vehicle. A hybrid still has a 12v battery also.
Over the last 20 years, the newer all-electric cars became more viable and applied increasing automotive technology. Amperage and volts are important factors in the Tesla specification.
The analogy of a hose and the water that runs through it describes the difference between the two. Voltage is like the water pressure in a hose. The more voltage there is, the more power moves through the system. Amperage increases the flow with an increase in the diameter of the cable.
Tesla car voltage differs by model:
• Tesla Model S runs on 375 volts.
• Tesla Model 3 runs on 350 volts.
• Tesla Model Y runs on 400 volts.
• Tesla Model X runs on 300 volts.
• Tesla Roadster runs on 375 volts.
• Tesla Semi runs on 1,500 volts.
The charging time of the four Tesla all-electric cars compares differently for a variety of reasons. Charging times depend on the charger you use. There are three levels. Level 1 chargers use standard 120v electric outlets that generate as many as 20 amps of current. They are not efficient and take a long time to produce a full charge.
Level 1 chargers provide about 2 miles per hour charged, while a Level 2 charger delivers a full charge overnight. It uses 240v electric outlets that generate as much as 80 amps. They are primarily for home charging and Destination Chargers at hotels, restaurants, and malls. A Level 2 charger takes more time to recharge than a Level 3 charger.
Level 3 chargers use high-power 480v circuits that generate 300 amps of current. They are Superchargers. It is not as fast to charge an electric car as it is to refill a gas tank, yet there is some efficiency packed into the charging process with the Supercharger that significantly reduces Tesla vehicles’ charge.
Tesla models have different charge times. The Tesla Model 3 requires approximately seven hours to charge with a Level 2 charger. A full charge provides 263 miles for standard range models and 353 miles for long-range performance models.
The Tesla Model S that uses a Supercharger for 15 minutes gets 136 miles. For the Model S, it takes eight hours on a Level 2 charger to get a full charge if the battery is almost empty. It charges slower than a Model 3.
The Model X is a bit slower than the Model S. Charging the Model X with a Supercharger produces 120 miles with a 15-minute charge. It gets an 80% charge in an hour.
All models take several days to get a full charge with a Level 1 charger.
A NEMA 5-15 socket charges the Model Y in nearly 31 hours. With a NEMA 14-50 socket, the Model Y can be charged in just over seven hours.
How Pre-Charging Mode Can Impact Your Charge Time
High-voltage systems exposed to high electric current are susceptible to damage or stress to their components. Pre-charging increases the reliability of a high voltage system and the lifespan of electronic components. The principle of preconditioning is to warm the battery before charging or driving based on your driving habits.