How Long Does It Take to Charge a Tesla?

Even though Tesla models are taking the world by storm, there are still several things mainstream consumers are skeptical about. Of course, in the first place is the operating range and controversies about it, but in the close second is the charging times. Everybody knows that electric vehicles will take a while to charge, but nobody is sure just how long and what is affecting them. Even the first adopters of Tesla technology reported inconsistency in charging times, and we feel that we need to explain to you the process of charging and just how long it will take using Tesla models as an example.

Charging a Tesla

The charging of a Tesla is the same as going to the gas station if you own a fossil-fueled vehicle. The electric vehicle is connected to the power source and recharges its battery which provides power for the electric motors. Contrary to the gas-powered cars, which can be refueled only in gas stations due to the fact that you need a particular facility to store fossil fuels, Tesla models can be charged on various places, at home, at the mall, on the street, or on dedicated charging stations. However, the location of the charging is significantly influencing the charging times, and you have to remember that although the electricity itself is the same everywhere, the voltage and the battery capacity aren’t, and that is precisely what makes a world of difference.

What Affects the Charging Times?

As you know, the car battery has a capacity which is marked in kWh. Smaller electric vehicles have smaller capacity batteries, often in 30 to 50 kWh range, which means that they have a shorter range and are not as powerful. However, all Tesla models have batteries ranging from 50 to 100 kWh, which needs more time to charge fully.

The second thing that dramatically affects the charging times is the type of charger of the location you charge your Tesla. If you are using your home charger plugged in the wall socket, you are using an essential 120 volts electricity source, known as Level 1 Charging. Level 2 Charging is also a home device but upgraded for more power and higher voltage. The fastest is the Level 3 Charging (also called DC Fast Charging) which is commonly used on Tesla Supercharging stations. This level provides the customers with a surge of energy so powerful that it can charge up to 80% of the battery in less than an hour.

Third, charging times can be affected by outside temperature, and some users reported slower charging times in extreme cold. This also can be connected to the electric vehicle’s increased power consumption during winter driving and overheating issues in tropical climates.

Level 1 Charging Times

The Level 1 Charging is a home charging system which means you plug your Tesla directly into your wall socket. Although it is most convenient, such charging is least powerful, and it can take up to three whole days to charge 100 kWh battery of your Tesla Model S P100D, for example! Of course, if you are going to fully charge the Tesla model with a base, 50 kWh battery pack, it will take less time, but it will still be painfully slow.

Level 2 Charging Times

The better option is Level 2 Charging, which is also a home charging system that uses a converter and ups the power to 240 volts, resulting in greatly reduced charging times. The most crucial feature of the Level 2 system is its capability of providing you with 7.2 to 11.5 kWh of electric power (per hour). So, by using basic math skills, we can calculate that you need at least 13 hours to fully charge the giant, 100 kWh battery pack of your Tesla.

The amount of kWh your Level 2 charger can provide varies from the local electrical network, so before installing, it would be wise to get exact information, and then you can safely calculate the required time. Most Tesla users opt for this option since it provides fast enough charging inconvenience of your home. That being said, most homes can provide the 11.5 kWh capacity, which reduces charging times to 9 hours for a 100-kWh battery or less in the case of a smaller battery pack.

Level 3 (DC Fast Charging) Times

The Level 3 charging is better known as the DC Fast Charging system or Tesla Supercharger. It uses a direct current (hence the name) rather than an alternate current like your home charging systems (Level 1 and Level 2). This rather industrial system is not available as a home application and requires unique and expensive infrastructure, which is why the Tesla Superchargers are not as common as other types of charging. As you probably know, Superchargers are installed along the major highways and traffic hubs but not in residential areas and malls. Still, there are over 12,000 Tesla Superchargers all over the world, and more are being constructed each day.

The DC Fast Charging uses exceptionally high voltage (800 volts), which is 6.5 times more powerful than Level 1 charging. The plain explanation is that the higher voltage can “put” electricity into the battery much faster, which results in short charging times. The average Tesla model can get up to 80% of the battery recharged in just 30 to 45 minutes using a Supercharging or Level 3 charger.

However, regardless of the power, DC Fast Charger will rapidly charge Tesla’s battery up to 80% and then slow down. This feature is a built-in safety measure to protect the battery, which the sudden surge of electric power could damage. Since lithium-ion batteries are very expensive and complicated to replace, this is the clever and necessary feature all manufacturers accepted. If there wasn’t such a safety trick, the massive, 100 kWh battery of Tesla Model X could be fully charged from 0 to 100% in less than an hour, which would be revolutionary.


Level 1 Charging

Level 2 Charging

Tesla Supercharger

Tesla Model S

49 to 53 hours

12 to 13 hours

1 hour

Tesla Model X

61 to 65 hours

12 to 13 hours

1 hour

Tesla Model 3

22 to 28 hours

 8 hours

40 minutes

Tesla Model Y

40 to 43 hours

 8 to 9 hours

1 hour

Charging Times and Range Extension

Most EV users are not so concentrated on the sheer percentage of their battery but on its physical representation, and that is the range. That is why it is essential when talking about charging times; we mention how it affects the real-life range of Tesla cars. Since the Level 1 and Level 2 chargers are slow, the hour-mile calculation is hard to construct. However, for DC Fast Charger users, there are precise data on which you can rely.

At the moment, Tesla produces four distinctive models (Model S, Model X, Model Y, and Model 3), all of which are powered with 50 to 100 kWh battery packs. When plugged on Tesla Supercharger for 15 minutes, it will up the range from 142 miles (Model X) to 175 miles (Model 3). Comparing to other EVs on the market and their charging times, this is amazing, and 15 minutes of supercharging are guaranteed to get you home.