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? Yes, you can own a Tesla without a garage. At home, you can simply plug your Tesla in to charge when it is parked outside. Even if you rent, you can still charge your Tesla as long as you have access to a standard wall outlet within reach of an extension cord. Alternatively, you can solely use Superchargers to recharge when needed.
Tesla models get between low-200 and mid-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 to own, or charge, 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. All you need is a standard wall outlet. Also, you may be able to have an upgraded Level 2 wall charger installed at your house without a garage.
- Level 1 Charging – The most common way to charge a Tesla at home is with a standard wall outlet (120v), also known as “Level 1 Charging”. With every new Tesla, Tesla provides a free charger cable that will plug into a standard wall outlet. The only downside is that it only provides about 3-5 miles of charge per hour. Although this option is easy, it’s not optimal for people with long commutes or busy schedules.
- Level 2 Charging– Optionally, you can have an upgraded wall outlet (240v) installed at your house. This is what’s called “Level 2 Charging”, and it charges at about 30-40 miles per hour. A professional electrician can come install one of these outlets for about $400, and it can be either inside a garage, or on an exterior wall.
A charging outlet can be installed 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.
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 charged up. 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. These are typically Level 2 Chargers, so you can expect to gain 30-40 miles per hour. 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 complimentary charging stations. You can charge your car while you do your weekly grocery shopping and other errands. These are also typically Level 2 Chargers, so 30-40 miles per hour is normal.
- Tesla Superchargers– Tesla has fast-charging stations, called Superchargers, all over the country that can fully charge your Tesla in under an hour! These are 440v and called “Level 3 Chargers”. You can expect to pick up 300-1000 miles per hour from these chargers. If you live near one of these charging stations, you can simply pop in for a few minutes when needed and quickly charge up. You can find the supercharger stations on the locator map Tesla provides.
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% daily. According to Elon Musk, the battery longevity can be extended by only charging to 100% before a long drive, or road trip.
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.
For most Tesla models, an 80% charge is still 250-300 miles of range. I can personally confirm that this is plenty for daily use.
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 under an hour. While this option is more expensive (about $15 per full charge), the convenience of getting on your way quicker may be worth the expense.
- Tesla has also partnered with hotels and businesses to have destination chargers installed all over the world. These are Level 2 Charging stations, and they are free to use.
- Tesla charging stations can be found using the navigation feature in the car or the Tesla app. Tesla navigation will automatically show suggested charging stops along your planned route (if needed).
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.