Tesla is the most recognizable electric car on the market. With the release of the Model 3, they are now more affordable, which means you may be thinking about owning one. Knowing how you will charge your Tesla is important.
Can you get a Tesla without a garage? You can own a Tesla without a garage. At home, you can have a charging station without a garage, or even plug it into an existing outlet. If you rent or own in a place where the installation of charging stations is not allowed, you can charge your car at other times, like at work or while running errands. Not having a garage is not a barrier to owning a Tesla.
Tesla models get between 200 and 300 miles to each charge. A Tesla driver with an average commute of 30 miles a day may only need to charge the Tesla once a week. While the easiest way to charge a Tesla is overnight while you are sleeping, it doesn’t mean you need a garage with a charging station to own a Tesla. You just need a plan.
How to Charge a Tesla
There are several ways to charge a Tesla. How you charge your Tesla will determine how long it will take to recharge the battery. You will want to pick a charging method that works with your schedule, so you do not stress yourself out about keeping your Tesla charged.
Charging Your Tesla at Home
A garage is not necessary to charge your Tesla at home. You may not need a charging station. Also, you may be able to have a charging station (aka electric vehicle service equipment “EVSE”) installed at your house even though you do not have a garage.
- Level 1 Charging – If you are cost-conscious and have time, you can use a standard wall outlet to charge your Tesla. Tesla provides a NEMA 5-15 charger that will plug into a standard wall outlet (120-volt), but it only provides about 3 miles of charge per hour. This option is not optimal for people with long commutes or busy schedules.
- Level 2 Charging– You can have a level 2 charging station (240-volt) installed even if you do not have a garage. All you need is access to electrical wires, and an electrician can install an EVSE on an exterior wall or a free-standing pole. A level 2 charging station can charge your Tesla in 4-6 hours.
A charging station can be placed outdoors and can be used in all weather conditions, so you do not need to worry about rain or snow affecting your ability to charge your Tesla.
You can also check with your state or local power company to see if you qualify for any credits or other incentives for installing an EVSE.
Charging Your Tesla in Public
Charging your Tesla while you are sleeping is convenient, but it is not the only way to keep your Tesla running. As electric vehicles are becoming more popular, there are more places to charge your vehicle while you are out and about.
- At Work– Many workplaces have charging stations for employees to use while at work. If you can charge your Tesla while you are at work, you will not need to charge it once you get home.
- While Running Errands– Many grocery stores, shopping malls, and stores now have at least one or two spaces with charging stations. You can charge your car while you do your weekly grocery shopping and other errands. Tesla provides a map to help you locate charging stations.
- Share with a Friend– If you have a friend or family member with an electric vehicle, it might be possible to use their charging station. If you share in the cost of the charging station and electricity bill, it can be a win-win.
- Tesla Level 3 Charging a Stations– Tesla has fast-charging stations all over the country that can charge your Tesla in under an hour. If you live near these charging stations, keeping your Tesla charged will not disrupt your day to day schedule. You can find the supercharger stations on the locator map Tesla provides.
Wireless Tesla Chargers
If you do not have a garage, wireless charging may be the answer. A company called Plugless has developed a wireless charging pad for the Model S Tesla. You still need a power source, but the Model S can be upgraded to have wireless charging capabilities.
There is a wireless charger base that is connected to a 240-volt circuit that is placed in your parking spot or on a parking pad. To charge your Model S, you just drive onto the pad. When you are ready to go, just start the Tesla to disengage the charger.
Plugless is also working to integrate its wireless charging with Summon, Tesla’s autonomous parking feature, so you can tell your Tesla to go charge itself.
The charging pad can be installed outdoors, and charging works in any weather, including rain and snow. You can also still schedule when you want to charge your Tesla with your Tesla app.
How Often Should You Charge Your Tesla?
Many people might think keeping a Tesla charged at 100% is the best option. But, take heed: according to Tesla, it should only be charged up to 70% to 90%. According to Elon Musk, Tesla has a regenerative braking technology that extends the life of the battery, and this technology is less effective when the Tesla is fully charged.
If you are nervous about having enough charge, you can keep your Tesla plugged in when you have an opportunity, but set the maximum charge, so you do not overcharge it. Once your Tesla reaches the maximum charge you have set, it will stop charging.
Are Tesla Charging Stations Better than Other Electric Vehicle Charging Stations?
It is possible to charge your Tesla at any electric vehicle charging station (although you may need an adapter), but there are differences to consider between a Tesla charging station and other charging stations.
- Tesla has supercharger stations that can charge your car in about an hour. While this option is more expensive, the convenience of getting on your way quicker may be worth the expense.
- Tesla charging stations save you money. When you buy a Tesla, Tesla gives you free miles every year at Superchargers.
- Tesla has also partnered with hotels and businesses to have destination chargers installed all over the world. These are level-2 charging stations (charge your Tesla in 4-6 hours), and they are free to use.
- Tesla charging stations can be found using the navigation feature in the car or the Tesla app. The app can notify you when the vehicle reaches a full charge. The app has other features, such as starting the vehicles and adjusting climate control.
- Non-Tesla charging stations can also be used but may cost more depending on where they are located. Also, some non-Tesla charging stations may require adaptors to be able to plug in. Tesla is starting to partner with other charging networks, so it may be easier in the future to charge your Tesla at a non-Tesla charging station.
- If you need to find a third-party charging station, there are apps such as Open Charge Map or PlugShare that you can download that can help you locate charging stations and even let you know if the chargers are working.
Not having a garage is not a barrier to owning a Tesla at all. Just as with gasoline-powered cars, keeping your car in a garage is a nice perk, but it’s not necessary to owning, operating or powering your vehicle.