How Much Does it Cost to Charge a Tesla

Georgi Karaivanov
Georgi Karaivanov

Updated · Jun 03, 2022

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Are you thinking about buying a Tesla?

You’re far from the only one.

Nowadays, Tesla is one of the leading car manufacturers in the world. And as the world moves further away from ICE vehicles, we can only expect their prevalence to keep rising.

But, owning a Tesla is not carefree, and charging and maintaining one, still costs money. But how much does it cost to charge a Tesla? Let's take a closer look at various models’ operating expenses. 

How Much Does it Cost to Charge a Tesla?

There are many ways to charge a Tesla.

Many electric car owners utilize specialized plug-in systems installed in their homes. This allows for vehicles to charge when parked in the garage.

Alternatively, you can find Tesla Superchargers along almost every major highway in the US and Canada. These stations can charge your car for up to 200 miles in just 15 minutes.

So what about the price?

The average cost to charge a Tesla varies between models. Generally speaking, it’s around three or four cents per mile - making it significantly less expensive than gas-fueled vehicles.

Here’s What It Costs To Charge A Tesla At Home

Charging a Tesla at home happens through its Wall Connectors.

You can order one from the Tesla website for $495. Wall connectors’ charging speeds are typically 44 miles per hour plugged in. 

But it’s not so simple.

Each Tesla model has a different battery capacity. Therefore, the cost per charge varies depending on which model you own.

So let’s go over each of them, shall we?

Tesla Model S

The Model S has an estimated battery capacity of 100 kWh.

This means the approximate cost to fully charge a Tesla Model S at home is $15.29. Here’s how we determined this.

Based on the US average price of $0.13 per kWh, the Model S battery takes $13. Except electric AC chargers are only about 85% efficient on average, meaning our final estimated cost is $15.29 for a full charge.

And for the Long Range Model S and its 412-mile range, you will pay an estimated $0.037 per mile.

Tesla Model X

Model X battery capacity is similar to the Model S at 100 kWh. However, older models may be lower.

So once again, the estimated cost to charge a Tesla Model X is also $15.29.

But here’s the thing.

The Model X’s range is lower than the S, at 360 miles. This means it costs $0.042 per mile.

Tesla Model 3

The Standard Range Model 3 is currently the most affordable Tesla vehicle, with a 50 kWh battery capacity. 

At $0.13 per kWh and 85% efficiency, the cost to charge a Tesla Model 3 at home is $7.65. That is 3 cents per mile.

But what about the Long Range and Performance models?

Those have battery capacities of 82 kWh and ranges of 353 and 315 miles, respectively. That ends up at $12.54 for a full charge for both models. The Long Range gives you $0.036 per mile, while Performance sits at 4 cents per mile.

Tesla Model Y

Now we get to the newest model, having been in production since only 2020.

The Long Range Tesla Model Y has a battery capacity of 75 kWh and 330 miles of range.

Where does that leave us?

Once again, assuming $0.13 per kWh, the Tesla Model Y charging price is $11.47. For 330 miles of range, you pay $0.035 per mile.

What about the Standard Range?

With 244 miles of range, you pay $0.047 per mile.

What About Charging Tesla With Supercharger/DCFC?

Wall Connectors are not the only way to charge Teslas.

If you’re on the road and need a top-up, you can use Tesla Superchargers. These are stations scattered about North America and the EU with high-speed charging capabilities.

A typical 15-minute Supercharger session provides about 200 miles of driving.

But of course, this also means it’s more expensive. But how much more?

There is no official price for this type of charging, but most estimates put it at $0.25 per kWh. Furthermore, Superchargers use much more efficient technology than AC, at around 95%.

Considering these factors, let’s break down the models’ costs:

Tesla Model Y

Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model X

Tesla Model S
With a 75 kWh capacity, a full charge costs $19.73. This amounts to 6 cents per mile for Long Range and 8 cents for Standard Range. At 50 kWh, the Standard Range takes $13.16 for a full charge or 5 cents per mile. The 82 kWh models need $21.58 for a full charge. Long Range costs 6 cents per mile, while Performance is 7 cents. The Model X has a 100 kWh battery, costing $26.32 to charge fully. With 360 miles of range, that’s $0.073 per mile. This model also takes $26.32 for a full charge. But with a 412-mile range, that’s $0.064 per mile.
       
       

EV Vs. Gas (ICE) Fuel

It’s no secret that the average Tesla charging price is much lower than refueling a vehicle running on gas. This has been true for ages and is one of the main selling points of electric cars.

But what are some pros and cons of the two types of vehicles? And should you consider owning an electric car in the near future?

Charging Price

So, let’s start with the obvious.

Nowadays, the cost of gas is soaring due to a number of market disruptions. But even before this trend began, the average Tesla charging cost was much lower.

How much are we talking?

While the two costs are constantly in flux, an EV charge can be three times cheaper than gas. And EV prices are likely to go even lower as more people adopt the technology.

Availability

Let’s face facts.

The world is not fully ready to make the transition to electric vehicles. Yes, they are becoming more prevalent, but most cars on the road are still ICE. And this is likely to remain for quite some time.

The reason behind this?

Infrastructure.

There are simply more means to drive an ICE car than an EV - especially if living outside the US or using communal parking. So if your living environment has a dearth of charging stations or lacks an opportunity for home charging, then it might be best to wait before purchasing an EV.

Purchase Cost

We’ve established the overall Tesla cost per mile as generally much lower than that of ICE cars. But there’s more to it than that.

Electric vehicles are usually more expensive to purchase than gas-powered cars. An EV can cost an extra $10,000 or more when compared to an ICE car with similar specs.

It doesn’t end there.

The Tesla home charger cost is a reasonable $495, but combined with installation fees of between $800-1500, it gets pricey quickly.

Charge Time

This one is very much dependent on your location.

ICE cars have the undeniable convenience of being able to refuel in a matter of seconds. That’s not the case with electric vehicles. Even Tesla Superchargers, which are top-of-the-line technology, require at least 15 minutes for 200 miles of added range.

Of course, 15 minutes is not much.

But if you rely on slower charging methods, that’s when it potentially becomes problematic. Currently, the US and most western EU countries have an abundance of Superchargers. But if you’re outside of these regions, you might want to hold off for now.

Options for Saving Money when Charging your Tesla EV

Now, the cost to recharge a Tesla may be lower than using gas.

But that doesn’t mean there aren't still ways to save more. Here are several methods to make the most of your Tesla’s battery.

Avoid Charging During Peak Hours

Electric vehicles have Time of Use (TOU) rates. The energy you use to charge your car calculates your TOU rate.

But this is also dependent on when you recharge.

The cost to charge a Tesla during the afternoon is considerably higher than during off-peak hours. But why?

This is when the grid is most in demand, and electricity prices are at their highest. If you want to save money, charge your EV at night and in the early mornings.

Keep Your Battery Between 30% and 80%

First of all, this is good for the battery’s health. Constantly draining or charging your vehicle will wear out the battery life over time.

But that’s not the main reason why.

The first and last 20% of your battery’s capacity take more energy to charge than the rest. To avoid this, make sure your charging switches off after it hits 80%. Not only will your car last longer, but it will cost you less.

Manage the Temperatures

Your car’s range is also affected by the temperatures it operates in. And if living in the extremes, expect your Tesla model’s electricity cost to rise.

If you live in colder climates, you should keep your vehicle plugged in overnight. This ensures the thermal regulation systems within keep it from freezing over.

As for hotter environments - leaving your Tesla in the sun during summer will reduce the range of your vehicle. And if it’s a scorcher outside, make an effort to park in a climate-controlled area.

Does Tesla Still Offer Free Supercharging?

Once upon a time, the Tesla Model S came with free lifetime Supercharging as an incentive.

But that was a decade ago.

Over the years, Tesla has been pretty strategic with its offerings of free Supercharging. Some models come with such perks for limited periods.

How do you know if you’re one of the lucky ones?

First, you’ll need the Tesla app.

After signing up, find your vehicle and click on Manage and View Details. From there, you will see your car’s Supercharging status.

Tesla still offers occasional referral programs which provide free Supercharging. By using the official app, you can see if you are eligible for one.

Wrap Up

As discussed, the average cost to charge a Tesla is much lower than that of gas-fueled cars. 

But it’s not free.

Your Tesla’s charging rate may cost you around 3 or 4 cents per mile, depending on your model. And if you’re using a Supercharger, that amount goes up to 6 and 8 cents per mile.

There are, though, ways to save money.

For example, consider charging your car during off-peak hours, keeping your battery between 30% and 80%, and maintaining a moderate temperature. All those factors will help drive down the overall cost of charging and increase the longevity of your car.

Over time, EVs will only grow more popular. So why not hop in and see what it’s all about?

FAQ.


How much does it cost to charge a Tesla at a station?

Tesla Supercharger stations can cost between 6 and 8 cents per mile, depending on your model. They are a bit more expensive than home charging options, but they make up for it in speed.

Is it cheaper to charge a Tesla at home or at a Supercharger?

The cost to charge a Tesla at home is around half of doing so at a Supercharger. The tradeoff is the time - a Supercharger can recharge your car in about 15 minutes, while Wall Connectors can take hours.

Is Tesla charging free?

It’s not free - charging a Tesla requires electricity. Like the Model X, vehicles with more battery capacity take more energy to recharge than those with smaller ones.

How much does a Tesla raise your charging bill?

Teslas will increase your electricity bill based on how much you drive. But going fully electric will save you money in the long run, as it is significantly cheaper than gas-fueled cars. So, how much does it cost to charge a Tesla? We’ve listed the charging price for most Tesla models in this article.

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Georgi Karaivanov

Georgi Karaivanov

My fascination with technology began from quite an early age thanks to computers and video games. Nowadays, I love anything related to music production and astronomy. Coincidentally (or is it?), both of those have a great deal to do with tech. Honestly, most of the stuff that can be accomplished with modern electronics kind of seems like magic to me. This is why I feel this strong need to constantly learn more about it and talk about it, almost to the detriment of others.

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