Guide to Charging your Tesla at Home
April 1, 2021
By Henry Farkas
How to Charge
Charging is easy for anyone who has a garage or carport with electric service. I've been driving electrically for four years. My first electric car was a Chevy Volt. I got it in 2017. I could have bought the Bolt EV, but I was chicken so I went with the Volt plug-in hybrid. It was nice getting my first 50 miles on any given day by electricity. I used gas only after the battery ran down. Most days, I didn't use any gasoline. My gas mileage, according to my app was around 200 miles per gallon. I never bothered to get a 220-volt level 2 charger for my garage. An ordinary 110-volt circuit worked fine with the charger that came with the Volt. Even when the battery was fully discharged at the end of the day, it would be full by morning.
When I bought the Tesla, since it was during the pandemic, I did the same thing. I just plug the Tesla into the 110-volt wall socket using the charger that came with the car. You gotta remember that if you don't drive much, you don't have to worry about not having enough time to fill the battery by morning. Once the pandemic ends, I'll get an electrician to put in a 220-volt plug for the Tesla. The Volt can stay with its 110-volt circuit.
People who live in an apartment and who don't have access to an outdoor electric socket probably shouldn't get an electric car yet. Eventually, there will be infrastructure available for you, but not now. Once you start driving electric, you'll never want to go back.
How Long Does it Take to Charge?
The time needed to charge depends on how much you drove during the day and how much you expect to drive the next day. If you didn't drive at all, something that happens often during the pandemic, it doesn't take any time at all to charge. Tesla recommends that you not charge to 100% unless you're about to set out on a long trip. I set my car to charge to 80%. I have my charge cable plugged in to a 15 amp circuit, and the car is set to draw 12 amps. My screen tells me that the battery is gaining 6 miles of range for every hour of charging. So with the 110-volt circuit, the Tesla charges at about the same rate as the Volt. When the pandemic ends, I'll get an electrician to wire up a 60 amp circuit to the circuit breaker box, and I'll install a level 2 charger. That will allow me to gain around 30 miles of range for each hour of charging. The state of Maryland and the electric company will cooperate to give me a tax break that will save me about 30% of the cost of installing the level 2 charger.
What do you need?
What you need depends on what you already have. Remember, we're talking about someone who lives in a house with either a garage or a carport. If you keep an electric dryer in or near the garage or carport, just use the charger that comes with your Tesla. It has the adapter for a 110 volt receptacle, If you have a dryer circuit close to or in your garage, just buy the proper adapter from the Tesla store and you're in.
What does it cost?
Otherwise, you'll need an electrician to install the proper circuit for a 220 volt receptacle near the place where you plan to park the car. Then you can still use the charger that comes with the car, or you can spend about six hundred dollars and buy a wall mounted charger. As far as what the electricity will cost, it's less than gasoline. This website estimates the cost of electricity needed to charge a Tesla.
What it says is that it costs around $3.00 to get 100 miles of electricity for a Model 3 and around $4.24 to put 100 miles of electricity in a Model X. So if you're not getting around a hundred miles to the gallon of gas, electricity is cheaper than gas, and you don't need to go to a gas station. You don't even need to bother with charging stations unless you're on a road trip. You just plug in when you get home, and your car is charged to 80% in the morning.
Henry Farkas is a retired country doctor. He bought his Tesla Model 3 in the middle of the pandemic. If you plan to buy a Tesla, you'll want a referral code. That will get you and the person whose code you use 1,000 miles of free supercharging. If you need one, use this one: https://ts.la/henry80997.