How long does it take to charge a Tesla?

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Fastest Charging Electric Cars in 2...
Fastest Charging Electric Cars in 2022
Grisha Bruev / Shutterstock.com

Teslas are among the most popular models in the electric vehicle (EV) industry, and people who buy one understandably want to know how long it takes to charge the battery. Improvements in technology have made charging more efficient, but it’s still not the same as refueling.

How long does it take to charge a Tesla?

The charging time depends on several factors:

  • Where are you charging (at home or at a public station)
  • What Tesla model are you driving?
  • How full the battery is when charging

Certain Tesla models have larger batteries and therefore take longer to charge, just like a larger gas tank takes longer to fill up. It’s also helpful to note that most EV charging isn’t done from an empty battery: drivers typically plug in at home after a normal day of driving, or recharge at public charging stations throughout the day.

RELATED: How much does a home EV charger really cost?

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You can see the amount of time it takes to charge a Tesla (or any other electric vehicle) in two different ways: the time it takes for the battery to return to almost full on a single charge, or the number of kilometers driven. . average you get per charging hour.

Charging stations deliver different amounts of power depending on the station level (1-3) you are using. That affects charging time as stations with a higher voltage charge the battery faster. Tesla’s website estimates that drivers get 2 to 3 miles or power per hour of charging time on a normal 120V (Level 1) wall outlet and 30 miles of power after one hour on a 240 station. V (level 2). At a DC fast-charging (DCFC) supercharger station, Tesla says you can get enough power for up to 200 miles in about 15 minutes.

Most people charge at home with a 240V connection. That much power can recharge a nearly depleted battery in a few hours, but most EV drivers don’t wait until the battery is 10% down before charging. to plug it in, so it often takes even less time than that.

Those without home electric vehicle charging infrastructure (people who live in apartments, for example) can usually find free or cheap level 2 public charging stations nearby. More public parking lots and workplaces are also installing charging stations, making it easier for more people to access. Tesla calls this type of infrastructure “destination charging” and claims that around 35,000 stations are installed in North America at the time of this writing.

Tesla models have (slightly) different charging times

Most Tesla vehicles at the time of this writing have a range of more than 200 miles, with performance models like the Model S exceeding 300 miles. To get that longer range, an EV needs a bigger battery with more capacity, which takes longer to charge.

Interesting Engineering broke down charge times for each Tesla model, with the longest-range Model S having the longest charge time due to its largest battery. That said, it was only for a couple of hours and most other models took a nearly identical amount of time to charge from near empty; what affected the charging time the most was the charging station used.

The age of the battery also matters when it comes to charging time. Older Tesla models tend to have smaller batteries with less capacity, and will likely have experienced some degree of charge loss due to calendar aging as all lithium-ion batteries do.

Battery half empty or half full?

Like a tank of gas, the amount of charge in the battery when plugged in is a determining factor in charge time. It takes much less time to fill a gas tank that’s already two-thirds full, and the same goes for a battery with, say, 75% charge. That’s why most EV owners choose to plug in their vehicles multiple times throughout the day, to keep the total average charge higher.

Charging instead of filling with gas is something to get used to, especially if you just switched gas. It means moving from the one-and-done mentality we know from five-minute gas fills to an adaptive approach, one that relies more on how you drive and what charging infrastructure you can access.

RELATED: How to find an EV charging station near you