If you’ve heard of Tesla, you’ve probably also heard of the company’s high-powered Superchargers. To get technical, Tesla Superchargers are 480-volt direct current (DC) fast chargers. But more simply, Superchargers are just really fast electric vehicle battery chargers.
Thanks to Superchargers, Tesla owners don’t have to worry about running on empty because their EV is programmed to plan routes with Superchargers along the way. And the fact that Superchargers can charge at a rate of up to 11 miles per minute doesn’t hurt either. By having an extensive fast-charging network, Tesla has effectively cured consumers’ biggest fears about electric cars – running out of battery.
Despite there being well over 25,000 Superchargers installed globally, there’s still a bit of confusion about how they work, how much they cost, and who can use them. We’re here to pull back the curtain on Superchargers, so you can get a better understanding of what these fast chargers are all about.
How do Superchargers charge Tesla batteries so fast?
Tesla car batteries have something called an “onboard charger”. Onboard chargers convert alternating current (AC) electricity coming from a charging source to DC energy. DC energy is what the battery needs in order to charge.
Unlike other EV chargers, Tesla’s Superchargers release DC electricity, so the onboard charger is bypassed and the DC energy directly charges the battery. Because the electricity is going straight to the battery and doesn’t have to pass through the onboard charger, the vehicle can be charged faster.
What Percentage Should You Charge Your Tesla Model 3?
The answer to this question, like many others, is: it depends. If you own a 2020 Tesla Model 3 Performance sedan and you commute 310 miles to work every day, you will need to charge your car’s battery to 100% every day. That said, if you have a daily commute of 310 miles, I feel VERY sorry for you.
According to this article posted on itstillruns.com, the average American drives about 16 miles one way to and from work. That seems about right to me. My office is about 20 miles from my home. Like most Americans, I would not have to charge my Model 3 to 100%.
This is a good thing because, as I noted in the linked article above, charging an EV battery to 100% on a regular basis is one of the worst things you can do. That’s because going from “charging mode” to “driving mode” is what causes the ultimate degradation in lithium-ion batteries in the first place. Most electric vehicle manufacturers (including Tesla) recommend that you stop charging the battery when it reaches 90% capacity. Manufacturers also recommend not driving with a battery that is less than 20% charged. This is because lithium-ion batteries work best when they are charged between 20% and 90%. Tough luck for our friends with 310 mile daily commutes!!!
Should I Charge My Tesla Model 3 Every Night?
Again, it depends. If you don’t need to…don’t do it. Take for example my daily commute of 40 miles. If I were lucky enough to own a new Tesla Model 3, I would have to charge my car every week or so to keep it in the 20-90% charge range. This of course all depends on what type of charging system I use. A level 1 charger (plugging your car into a standard 120 volt outlet found in most homes in North America) will yield about 7 miles of charge per hour. This means that it will take 34 to 44 hours to charge your Model 3, depending on whether you own a standard or long-range model.
It is recommended that Tesla owners have a Level 2 charging system installed in their homes, and with this option, Model 3 owners will get about 40 miles of range per hour. If you are lucky enough to live near a Tesla Supercharger station, you will be able to fully charge your vehicle in just one hour. This option basically eliminates the need to charge at home, but again, you need to have one close to your home or office.
How Do You Set the Charge Limit on a Tesla Model 3?
The best part about contributing to the blog is that the answers to questions like these have most likely been answered by someone else.
As it turns out, the “slider” shown in the video above can be a useful way to meet your charging needs AND help you save battery. As forum regular “pdx_m3s” stated in this thread on the Tesla Motors Club forum:
“Although 90% was recommended by Elon (take with a fine grain of salt), the “daily” range slider has a MAX daily range of 90%, going all the way down to 50% (I believe). I think you should choose somewhere in that range that best fits your average daily miles. A lower average state of charge (staying above 50%) is better for Li-ion batteries (it’s established chemistry), but how much so is up for debate. FWIW, I drive 10-20 miles a day and charge to 75% every night.”
The right charge point for the Tesla Model 3
With a regular wall outlet, it can take over 24 hours to charge the Tesla Model 3. However, with the right charge point, the charging time can be significantly reduced.
As shown in the review, the Tesla Model 3 is compatible with 16A 3-phase charging. On a 220/240 volt grid, these amps produce a charging rate of 11 kW.
Charging time is estimated by dividing the battery capacity by the charging capacity of the charging point. Actual times may vary.
Where You Park, Tesla Supercharger locations
We recommend charging at a parking location to meet most charging needs.
The Tesla Wall Connector offers the fastest charging speed for your home or office, extending your range to 44 miles per hour of charging. You can order the wall connector online and have it installed by a Tesla-certified electrician.
Tesla currently has over 25,000 Superchargers in their global charging network and you can find at least one Supercharging station in all 50 U.S. states.
Charging an EV does take a bit longer than getting a tank of gas, but Superchargers are conveniently located near shopping centers and downtown urban areas so there’s plenty to do while you’re plugged in.
Portable connectors and adapters
If you don’t want to install a wall connector, you can use the 20-foot portable connector and NEMA 5-15 adapter that came with your vehicle and plug it into a standard three-wire 120-volt outlet. The 120-volt outlet will provide a range of 2 to 3 miles per hour of charging. If you charge at night and drive less than 30 to 40 miles per day, this option should meet your typical charging needs.
You can also buy an adapter kit and charge using other types of outlets, including a 240-volt outlet. Commonly used in homes to power larger appliances, a 240-volt outlet provides up to 30 miles of range per hour of charging.
Electric vehicle charging is offered as an amenity in many of the top apartment buildings, condominiums and office buildings across the country. If your property manager or HOA does not currently offer shared charging, we provide the resources to begin the process of installing charging.
For property managers and owners, Commercial Charging provides a self-service option to install shared charging stations for tenants and guests.
On the Road
When you’re traveling in your Tesla vehicle or are away from where you normally park, there are three main charging options to keep your vehicle charged on the road.
The Tesla Supercharger is the fastest charging option when you’re away from home, allowing you to charge your car up to 200 miles in 15 minutes. Designed to get your car charged and back on the road as quickly as possible, we own and operate 25,000 global Supercharger stations available 24/7, located along major routes near convenient amenities.
The Destination Charging network consists of popular hotels, restaurants, wineries, resorts and other locations with Wall Connectors outlets that allow customers to charge their devices. There are more than 4,500 Destination Charging outlets in cities and rural areas, making it easy to charge your battery when you arrive at your destination or after a few hours of leisure time.
Third-party charging stations can be found through Plugshare.com. Look for charging stations labeled J1772 or 120 volts, as these will work with the Mobile Connector kit that came with your car. When the Mobile Connector is not in use, we recommend storing it in the trunk for easy access. For maximum travel flexibility and the ability to charge from a 240-volt outlet, keep the adapter kit in the trunk as well.
Charge Speed Comparison
Hardware Charge Speed
||Up to 44 miles of range per hour of charging
|Portable connector + adapter for 120 volt outlet*.
*Provided with vehicle.
|Up to 3 miles of range per hour on a charge
Order in addition
|Portable Connector + 240V Adapter
|Rechargeable battery with up to 30 miles per hour range
||Up to 200 miles in 15 minutes charge time
Find a charger
|Charge at your destination
||Up to 44 miles of range per hour of charging
Find a Charging Destination
Plan Your Trip
Before you even get in your car, use our Go Anywhere tool to plan future trips. Select your vehicle configuration and add a start and end location. The Go Anywhere tool will determine the fastest route, including Supercharger stops and recommended charging times.
When you travel with your Tesla, the in-car Trip Planner will guide you to your destination. Simply enter your end location on the touchscreen and the navigation will pinpoint the fastest route and the most convenient charging stations along the way. We recommend using the in-car Travel Planner when you’re on the road or traveling long distances so it will give you the most accurate recommended stops and charging times based on your driving.
How to charge a Tesla Model 3
The Tesla Model 3 uses the CCS charging standard, which consists of a combined AC and DC inlet. The top portion of the inlet is for the Type 2 connector, which is used when charging at home or at public slow and fast AC outlets. Both the upper and lower portions of the inlet are used to carry high power during fast DC charging.
In this case, the inlet is Tesla CCS specific, meaning it can use the Supercharger and Destination charger networks. When using Superchargers, drivers will need to use a tethered CCS adapter rather than the Type 2 connector from the device. The Model 3 will be able to charge from Tesla Destination units in the same way as Model S and Model X drivers.
The CCS charging inlet on the Tesla Model 3 is located on the rear near side edge, built into the leading part of the rear light cluster. The Model 3 can be slow, fast, and surge charged from public points, depending on the network and type of charger. In most cases, slow charging requires a 3-pin to Type 2 cable and fast charging requires a Type 2 to Type 2 cable, one of which is usually supplied with the vehicle. For fast charging, the vehicle uses a tethered CCS connector that is part of the charging unit.
DC or AC charging requires the driver to plug the plugs into the appropriate outlet, after which the vehicle “talks” to the charging unit to make sure there is power, that there are no faults and that it is safe to start charging. If charging at a private charging point at home or at work, the vehicle automatically begins charging.
If charging at a public charging point, an activation process is required to start charging. Depending on the network provider, this may require the use of an RFID card or a smartphone app, often tied to a pre-established account. Contactless payment devices are also becoming more common in newer devices. Once activated, the devices perform further connection and account checks before charging the vehicle.
How long does it take to charge a Tesla Model 3?
The table below shows the approximate charging time for the Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus. Times are for 100% charge, except for fast charging, which is listed for 0-80% because most fast chargers reduce or cut power well before 100% charge to protect the battery and maximize performance.
Keep in mind that the times given are only a guideline, as it is very rare for a car to need to be fully charged from 0%. Other factors that can affect charging times include ambient temperature, vehicle energy load, upper and lower charging limits to extend battery life and protect against potential damage, and slowing the rate of charging as maximum charge is reached.
The Tesla Model 3 comes standard with an 11 kW on-board charger for Type 2 AC charging, in addition to DC fast charging capability. This means that even when connected to a fast charger rated above 11 kW, the Tesla Model 3 will only be able to charge at 11 kW.
Use Zap-Map’s home charging calculator to estimate how long it will take to charge your Tesla Model 3. The battery level, connector speed, and on-board charger options can be adjusted to your requirements for more accurate results.
How much does it cost to charge a Tesla Model 3?
The table below shows the estimated cost to charge a 60 kWh Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus battery at home (on a national tariff) or at a fast charging point. The estimated costs depend on the amount of charge remaining, the usable capacity of the battery pack, and the age of the battery pack. Cost per mile is calculated based on estimated range under real-world conditions.
|Home||16 p/kWh||£9.60||3.8 p/mile||Public Rapid||30 p/kWh up to 80% charge||£14.40||5.8 p/mile||Tesla Supercharger||24 p/kWh up to 80% charge||£11.50||4.6 p/mile|
Based on these figures, Tesla Model 3 fuel costs are 4-6 p/mile based on actual energy consumption, the cost depends on the type of charging. In general, home charging provides the cheapest cost per mile, while public fast charging tends to be about twice as expensive (per charge and per mile). These fuel costs compare favorably with 12-15 p/mile for conventional gasoline and diesel cars.
To find the cost and time to charge an EV at a public charging point, Zap-Map’s Public Charging Calculator calculates charging costs for any new or used plug-in vehicle. Results can be personalized for different electricity costs and required charging levels.
Charging a Tesla Model 3 at home
Buying a Tesla Model 3 is likely to make you eligible for a grant under the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS). This can give you up to £350 off the cost of a fully installed charging point at home. Certain criteria must be met and off-street parking must be available.
Customers can buy an OLEV approved charging point from any supplier, as long as it is also installed by an OLEV approved installer to qualify for EVHS. There are many different points and prices on the market, so it’s a good idea to shop early to know what’s on offer. Tesla also offers customers their own home EV charging point.
Charging a Tesla Model 3 on public networks
There are a number of public EV charging networks in the UK, some of which offer national coverage, while others can only be found in a specific region. The main UK-wide networks are BP Pulse, Osprey, InstaVolt, GeniePoint, ESB, Ecotricity and Pod Point.
Payment and access methods vary from network to network, with some networks providing an RFID card and others providing a smartphone app to use their services. Most require you to create an account before using their services, but some fast units with contactless PAYG card readers are starting to be installed.
While many electric vehicle charging stations are free, most fast and instant chargers require a fee. Charging tariffs typically include a fixed connection fee, a cost per charging time (pence per hour) and/or a cost per energy consumed (pence per kWh). For more information on network tariffs, visit the Zap-Map Guide to Public Charging Point Networks.
Charging time for a Tesla Model 3
The table below shows the estimated charging time for your Model 3 from empty to fully charged. For fast charging, we list the charging time from 20% to 80%, as charging is slower outside this range to protect the battery.
|3-pin plug||Home||24 – 36 h||9 – 10 m/h|
|3,6kW||Home / Work||15 – 22 h||14 – 17 m/h|
|7kW||Home / Work / Public areas||8 – 12 h||27 – 32 m/h|
|22kW||Work / Work / Public areas||5 – 8 h||42 – 50 m/h|
|50kW||Public areas||40 – 60 min||96 – 113 m/30 min|
|150kW||Public locations||20 – 20 min||288 – 339 m/30 min|
* Based on estimates from Pod, charging time may vary depending on ambient temperature, battery condition (e.g. empty or half full), and charging rate variation. The maximum charging rate may also be limited by the vehicle.
** Range per hour is the number of miles you can get after one hour of charging at a given rate.
Connector type and charging rates
You can charge your Tesla Model 3 using a Type 2 connector at home, at work, or at a public charging station. A CCS connector for fast charging is also available.
|Slow / Fast: Type 2
Max 1-phase AC current: 7.4kWMax 3-phase AC rate: 11kW
|Fast: CCS Supercharger
Max DC power: 170 – 250kW
|Connector location: Left side – rear||Connector location: Left side – rear|
Where you can charge a Tesla Model 3
You can conveniently charge your Tesla Model 3 at home, plug it in when you get to work, or charge it (mostly for free!) when you’re away from home in places like supermarkets and public parking lots.
Chase Bierenkoven has been obsessed with cars his whole life and now finds joy in sharing what he’s learned from his own daily drivers.
Chase earned a Bachelor of Science in Justice with a focus on legal studies from the Metropolitan State University of Denver and quickly became an automotive journalist.
When he isn’t writing, Chase is either driving his passion project, a 2004 BMW M3 in Carbon Schwartz Metallic, or playing around Colorado’s terrain, mainly mountain biking and skiing.
He follows Matt Farah, Henry Catchpole, Kristen Lee, Donut Media, and many others. Chase joined our team in 2020.