Home Diagnosis and TroubleshootingElectric Vehicles How Much Does It Cost To Charge A Tesla – Is It An Economical Option?

How Much Does It Cost To Charge A Tesla – Is It An Economical Option?

by Jordan Harris
How Much Does It Cost To Charge A Tesla

Electric cars are the new generation of cars. With the harm that fossil fuels are doing to the Earth and the contribution they make towards global warming, electric cars might be the future. But for now, we have to think economically as well. We have been using gas-powered vehicles for so long, it’s time we adapt to electric vehicles. Tesla has taken that step. So for a user, are electric cars cheaper to use. How much does it cost to charge a Tesla?

Tesla has now become the face of all-electric vehicles. Just looking at the technology, cars have come a long way. The evolution is unimaginable. From the simple battery that powered the car’s electronic devices, the battery evolved to co-power the car, in the form of a hybrid. From a hybrid now we have the fully electric car.

If it is about cost, the cost to charge the car doesn’t give the whole picture. You have compared the cost of maintenance as well. Choosing a fully electric car like a Tesla over a gas-powered car is a big step to take. And before making such a commitment, you should take a look at the bigger picture. You might have heard someone saying that a Tesla is a much better choice economically. But is it true?

The Evolution Of Tesla

It is not wrong to say that Tesla changed the world. The success of Tesla was a surprise to many. Nobody believed that we could go all-electric with a car. Especially one that is usable. Tesla proved the masses wrong by manufacturing compelling, standout cars. Instead of going with the norm and creating cars that the common person could afford, they wanted to create something new and innovative.

The invention of sports cars was even shocking. Even if building a normal sedan and making full electric is possible, making a car that could go from 0-60 mph in under 2 seconds, that is extraordinary. Even if they did produce simple everyday cars, they would have made a name for themselves in the long run. But by producing supercars they blasted their way into the headlines.

The Technology Behind Tesla

Until Tesla arrive the market of EVs was boring. While many companies tried their hand at producing PHEVs and BEVs no one saw the success of Tesla. Emission-free and economical vehicles started to gain popularity with the introduction and the rise of Tesla. So what made Tesla better than others. For more insight, check out our overview on how reliable are Teslas.

The simple way to put it is Lithium-ion batteries. Yes, the same batteries in your cell phone. What makes Lithium-ion batteries special is that they can holder a greater charge in a confined space. This allowed the car to hold a more powerful charge. There is more to the story.

The 1000s of small Lithium-ion cells pack to power the AC induction motor exceedingly well. The highly conductive copper cylinder with a high magnetic casing spins the rear wheels. This is 3 times more efficient than the regular gasoline engine. The entire drive unit is less than a meter and simple moving parts don’t require a transmission. This made model S, go from 0-60 mph in 5.6 seconds, which is great.

Regenerative braking saves more power and when your foot is off the pedal it slows down. The battery pack sends the weight to the ground. This allows the user to drive the vehicle smoothly (to learn more, check out our guide on how to drive a Tesla), due to the low center of gravity.

This technology was so innovative, that a fully electric car that also performs well, was no longer a dream.

How To Charge A Tesla

Tesla has one of the most robust charging capabilities for any electric vehicle. you can charge it at the convenience of your home. Or you could use the massive Tesla Supercharger network or any other public EV charging station across the US, Canada, and Europe.

All-electric cars have a charging port. The charging port of the Tesla is located in the left rear of the vehicle, near the tail light. It is integrated in such a way that the charging port is hidden and neatly fits into the design.

Where Can You Charge A Tesla

A Tesla can be charged anywhere there is power. Since Tesla provides adapters for standard power outlets, even a 110V outlet can be used to charge a Tesla. So here are the options for charging a Tesla (and considering other factors like how long does it take to fully charge a Tesla).

At Your House

The standard power outlet in your house will pump out 110V to 120V. This is more of a universal option. Any wall socket can be used to charge a Tesla, it doesn’t necessarily need to be your house. The 110V amount is the bare minimum for a Tesla. So realistically speaking, charging will take a while. To get a full charge, it is a matter of days not hours.

To get a faster charge at home, you could use a Tesla wall connector. By installing this device, you would be able to tap directly into the circuit of your house. This way you could get double the output at 240V. You can double the charging speed of using a regular wall socket.

Most people connect the wall charger to a 60 amp circuit (for more insight, check out our write-up on how to charge Tesla at home and how to charge a Tesla at home), which provides 11.5 kW of charging power. At this rate, you should be able to get around 30 miles of charge per hour. The exact amount will change according to the model of your Tesla. But it should be around the 30-mile mark. You should be able to fully charge your Tesla within 8 to 12 hours.

If you use a standard 110V socket to charge your car, the rate is much slower. You will get less than half the power you get by using a Tela wall connector. At this rate, to full charge, a Tesla could take more than a day.

Supercharging Station

Tesla provides its owners with ample fast charging options while charging on the road. Other than the fact that you can get your car charged in one of the many public charging stations, Tesla owners can also charge quickly and cost-effectively in one of the Tesla Supercharging stations. The number of these charging stations is increasing every day.

These high-speed charges are also known as either “DC Fast chargers” or “Level 3 chargers” in the world of electric vehicles. For Tesla owners, these are simply superchargers.

Supercharging stations make life easy for a Tesla user. It is simply a pull-up and plugin process. There is no need to log into these stations every time you arrive. The car is automatically identified and the owner is recognized. Tesla provides its owners with ample fast charging options while charging on the road.

Each Supercharging station has multiple stalls. Often ranging between 8 and 12. So you do not have to wait till one person is done. There is ample room for multiple vehicles.

Finding Supercharging Stations

Finding Supercharging stations is not as hard as many people think. All you have to do is click the charging icon on the map. And it will display all the nearby charging stations and all the available stalls.  You can click on any charger for more information and to navigate directly to it.

The same process can also be conducted through the Tesla app. There are over 25,000 Supercharging sites around the world owned by Tesla. They are located on major routes near convenient amenities.

The time taken to charge your car at a Supercharging station varies depending on many factors. The output of superchargers ranges from charging speeds of 90 kW to 250 kW. So depending on the station you end up at, your waiting time could change. Most Tesla Superchargers can now recharge up to 200 miles of range in only 15 minutes. So it is not a bad deal.

Although it is not recommended to constantly charge at these Supercharging stations. This is because the high DC current output can end up damaging your battery. Superchargers are supposed to be used during emergencies and long trips. It is advised that whenever possible, to use the domestic charging output.

How Much Does It Cost To Charge A Tesla

The answer to this question is what most people depend on before switching to an EV. So, how much does it cost to charge a Tesla? Before moving deeper into the cost of charging a Tesla, for comparisons, we need to know how much people spend on fuel. According to the Federal Highway Administration, an average American drives  13,476 miles per year.

The average American driver spends about $3,000 per year on gas, according to the American Automobile Association. So that adds up to around $22 per 100 miles. Now that we know how much is spent on fuel, we can find out whether a Tesla is cheaper.

Cost To Charge A Tesla At Home

The price of electricity is calculated using kilo watt-hours. according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), the average cost for 1 kWh in a US household is $0.138. Now that we know the cost of electricity, we can use this number to calculate the price for charging a Tesla. The charging cost differs with different models of Tesla. time to find out how much does it cost to charge a Tesla?

Model S

The model S is equipped with 100 kWh batteries (for a comparison, check out our write-up of how many kWh to charge a Tesla). So it would need 100 such units to fully charge the car. At this rate, you are looking at a cost of $13.8.

But here is the catch, the AC chargers at your house are not 100% efficient. The efficiency is more in the range of 85% to 90%. Let us calculate the cost keeping it at 85%.

So with the additional 15% of electricity, the total cost adds up to $15.87. Let’s round it up to $16.

Now, the Model S Long Range currently has an EPA estimated range of 405 miles. At this rate, you will be paying $0.04 per mile. Or $4 per 100 miles.

Model X

The Tesla Model X is equipped with the same battery as the model S. This means it has a 100kWh capacity. And it will cost the exact same amount to charge. That is $15.87.

This car is slightly heavier than model S. This means the power efficiency is slightly lower. Still, you can drive 360 miles on a full charge.

Applying the same simple math you are looking at $0.044 per mile. And somewhere in the neighborhood of $4.5 for 100 miles.

Model 3

The Tesla Model 3 is by far the cheapest Tesla in the market. This comes with 2 different battery trims. The standard Model 3 is equipped with a smaller 50kWh battery. The long-range Model 3 comes with a larger 82kWh battery.

For the 50 kWh battery, it costs half the amount of the 100kWh battery. That puts us at $8 for a full charge. And it runs 263 miles on a full charge. So that puts us at $0.03 per mile and $3 for 100 miles.

On the other hand, the Model 3 long-range is equipped with an 82kWh battery. The added range comes at the charge of a slight extra cost. For a full charge, it will cost $13. For a full charge, it can go a distance of 353 miles, costing $0.037 per mile and $3.7 for a00 miles.

Model Y

For now, the newest Tesla to hit roads in the US remains the Model Y. It comes with 2 different versions. The long-range version and the performance version. The name itself describes the features of the different versions.

Both versions are equipped with a 75 kWh battery. This means for an average US household it will cost close to $12 for a full charge.

The long-range version of the Model Y is capable of delivering 326 miles on a full charge. That puts the cost per mile at $0.036 and for 100 miles $3.6.

The performance versions deliver a slightly lower range at 303 miles. The cost per mile slightly increases putting it at $0.04 per mile. And for 100 miles it will cost just $4.

Charging At A Station

The price of a kWh at charging stations is not constant. Especially at public charging stations. While most charging stations charge per kWh that you consume, some charge per minute connected. The diversity in billing methods can give an idea of how the pricing might differ.

So, how much does it cost to charge a Tesla at a charging station? Tesla charging stations do not have a regular price either. But there are some perks that you might get. If you bought your car after 2017 you would get free 400 kWh at a Supercharging station. That would get you around 1400 miles, depending on the model that you drive. But other than that one-time quota, every year you would get some free credit as well. After that quota is exceeded you will be charged a fee.

According to the Tesla website, by charging at their station you can get 1500 miles for $90 for a Model S. For a Model X it will cost $102, for 1500 miles. This puts the price of a kWh at $o.2.

When looking at the efficiency of a Supercharging station, it is much better than a household socket. It ranges between 90% to 99%. Let us keep our expectations at the average point at 95%, while calculating the cost.

Model S

Since the Model S comes with a 100kWh battery, to charge from 0 to 100% you would need 105 kWh, considering the efficiency. At this rate, it’ll cost $21 to charge.

A long-range model S which can use this charge to go 405 miles, will cost $0.052 per mile. For 100 miles that puts us at $5.20.

Model S Plaid has an estimated range of 390 miles. This will cost $0.054 per mile and $5.40 for a 100.

Model X

With a similar battery at 100kWh, the Model X will also cost $21 to charge. But this has a lower range, so the cost per mile would be higher.

The long-range can get 360 miles out of a full charge. So the cost per mile is $0.058 and for 100 miles $5.80.

While the standard quicker car can pull 340 miles, it will also cost slightly higher. Thus the math leads us to $0.062 per mile. And $6.20 for 100 miles.

Model 3

The least expensive Tesla is equipped with the smallest battery at 50 kWh. This would offer a cheaper and faster charge. The cost to get this to 100% is $11.50. And for the long-range model with the 82kWh battery, the cost is $17.22.

Since the standard range gives 263 miles out of that charge the cost per mile is at $0.044 and for 100 miles $4.40.

The long-range Model 3. with the bigger battery can travel 353 miles. SO the cost per mile is $0.049. And for 100 miles $4.90.

Model Y

Finally the latest Model Y. As mentioned earlier this comes in 2 versions, the long-range version, and the performance version. Both are equipped with a 75 kWh battery. So for the full charge, it will cost $15.75.

Since the performance model can only get 303 miles out of this charge the price for a mile is at $0.052. For 100 miles the cost is $5.20.

The Model Y long range and its EPA estimated 326-mile range. That puts the cost for a mile at $0.49 and $4.90 for 100 miles.

Charging Cost Verdict

Time to answer the question, how much does it cost to charge a Tesla? Charging your Tesla at home is slightly cheaper than charging it at a charging station. Even though it takes more time, it is cheaper and better for your battery.

The average price for the mile that a Tesla would cost regardless of the model is $0.038.  And the average cost per mile if you charge your Tesla at a Supercharging station is $0.053. So you can save $0.015 per mile by charging your Tesla at home.

Comparing the cost of charging a Tesla with the average cost of gasoline per mile which is $0.22, the difference cannot be more convincing. If you charge your car at home that is almost 7 times cheaper than running a combustion engine.

Maintainance Cost For A Tesla

Ultimately even if the cost per mile is cheaper in a Tesla than any other gasoline-powered car, the cost maintenance should also be looked at before judging that a Tesla is cheaper. It doesn’t matter how much does it cost to charge a Tesla if it costs a lot to maintain. So how much does it cost to maintain a Tesla?

While comparing a Tesla with other cars a Tesla is significantly cheaper to maintain. The average maintenance cost for a Tesla is under $300 per year. Comparing it to other cars the average is at $792 per year. A Tesla doesn’t even require oil changes. So maintaining a Tesla is much cheaper and easier.

Have you ever heard of the cost of a Tesla battery (and how much is a Tesla battery)? If you did that, it might make you doubt whether a Tesla is worth it. A lot of people are discouraged by this. Yes, a Tesla battery is costly. A replacement would cost between $5000 to $7500 depending on the model.

Unless there’s actual damage or a defective battery assembly a Tesla battery will last much more than the 8 year warranty period. A Tesla Model S battery lasts about 450,000 miles or longer. That is a whopping amount. Even if your battery was defective, you will be able to identify that before the warranty period runs out.

On the other hand, a combustion engine rarely survives over 200,000 miles. Even if it did it will be bombarded with constant problems. And if you think about it, if your engine fails or seizes you would need to pay over $5000 for a repair or a replacement.

Facts about Charging a Tesla and EV Cost Savings:

  1. Tesla charging costs depend on the model of electric vehicle and usage patterns.
  2. Tesla Model X and Model X Plaid have 100 kWh batteries, while older models may have battery capacities as low as 60 kWh.
  3. Tesla Model 3 comes with a 62.3 kWh battery for standard Rear-Wheel Drive and 82 kWh batteries for Performance and Long Range models.
  4. Tesla Model S comes in two versions: Standard Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive and Plaid, both with a 100 kWh battery.
  5. Charging efficiency of 85% is standard for Level 2 home charging stations.
  6. Charging a Tesla Model X fully with the national average cost of electricity in the US costs around $15.29, while a Model 3 standard costs $10.94.
  7. Charging a Tesla with a home solar power system can be cheaper, costing between $3.78 and $6.07 depending on the model.
  8. The average cost to operate an ICE vehicle is $1,117 per year, while EVs cost an average of $485 per year.
  9. There are different types of vehicles to compare, including ICE, battery electric, plug-in hybrids, and mild hybrids.
  10. The best EV for an individual depends on their budget, driving needs, and access to charging infrastructure.

Final Words – How Much Does It Cost To Charge A Tesla?

A Tesla costs significantly less to use and maintain than a standard combustion engine. Charging a Tesla at home is cheaper and better than charging at a Supercharging station. Though a Supercharging station can charge your car in a few minutes it is not that healthy for your battery. Charging a Tesla at your own house might be slower and could sometimes take days, but is much safer for the life span of your battery.

And if you think about it if you charge your Tesla overnight, it is more than enough to keep you mobilized for the next day. And there is no need to worry about your Tesla giving out on you prematurely. The battery is known to last upwards of 450,000 miles. That is more than twice the amount of a gasoline engine. And you have an 8 year warranty period as well.

You don’t need to worry about running out of charge if you take a long road trip either. Tesla has installed over 25,000 Supercharging stations around the globe. And there are just as many public charging stations. And the number of stations available is increasing every day. So there is always a charging station nearby.

This should answer your question, how much does it cost to charge a Tesla

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