A few questions when considering a Tesla was how do I charge it and how much does it cost. Honestly, it is easier than I expected; here is my experience (thus far).
Let us start with the very basics.
Once you have a delivery date for your Tesla you set up a payment method in the app for charging. Side note-There can be a separate account/card number for your monthly payment.
When you arrive at the Supercharger back in. Tesla courtesy is to leave a parking space (aka stall) in between cars if possible. This has to do with how much power is distributed, aka how long a charge will take.
Once you are backed in open your charging hatch from the tablet (or the app) lift the plug (simian to a gas nozzle) and insert. The Tesla logo will be blue until it starts charging, then it will appear green.
On the tablet (and in the app) you can set your charge limit and see how much time is remaining. You can also track how much the charge is currently and how much range you have gained.
Now you can go for a walk, shop, grab coffee, etc. Keep in mind Tesla charges an ideal fee if you do not unplug within five (5) minutes of reaching your charge limit. This is outlined in the Supercharger information.
Once the charge limit is reached the amount of the charge will be billed to the payment method you set up in the app.
How often do I charge my M3?
I have had my M3 LR for three (3) weeks and charged five (5) times, this is not because I have needed to charge but because I was being cautious (our mobile charger had not arrived yet).
Depending on where you live there may be free charging available while you shop or paid both usually have universal plugs. The other option is a Tesla Supercharger station.
Note: Sentry and Dog mode do not work if the car has less than 20% battery.
Most people only charge to 80% due to regenerative breaking. I charged to 80% the first two times which was fine but I realized if the features I like/want (e.g., Sentry and Dog mode) do not work under 20% I am losing 40% of the battery/range because I do not drive enough to make up for the loss of battery from Sentry and Dog mode. So, the third time I charged to 93%.
The fourth was simply a test. I knew my grocery store had free charging while I shopped so I took advantage. I needed the adapter to convert the universal plug to Tesla.
Let us talk time and money.
Like I have said, I am not charging at home because I am limited to 120v and the mobile charger was just delivered. So I do not have data on the cost of charging at home. But, there are amazing statistics in the app for you to track all of your charging.
The first time at a Supercharger. I went was about 8am on a week day. It took about 40 minutes for 50 kWh, $20.
The second time at a Supercharger, Austin and I stopped about 9pm on a weekday evening. It took about 45 minutes for 49 kWh, $23.
The third visit to a Supercharger was an early weekday morning. It took 35 minutes for 56 kWh, $12.
The fourth charge was free at a public charger, 3 kWh.
A couple notes:
Most free chargers are going to be slow. When I charged at the grocery store I only gained about 3% but that was enough to run my errands.
Using the 120v mobile connector is slow, ~20 hours for 30%, but if you have electricity constrains and you want to charge at home, it gets the job done.
Obviously there are peak electricity times, this may be just a California thing, but Tesla outlines the price/peak hours in the navigation when you select a specific Supercharger location.
The more cars that are charging the longer it will take at a Supercharger but I have found it is about 40 minutes for 40%. Some may think this is a long time, but really there is so much technology and entertainment built into the Tesla time flies by. Just look at your iPhone screen time. 😊
As I stated, the 3rd time I charged to 93%, one week and about ~100 miles later I was at 56%. Note that I turn on Sentry mode when I am home which does drain the battery about 7% per day.
I have not noticed a significant drain on the battery in Dog Mode but I have also not left Kamea in the car for an extended period of time (no longer than 30 minutes).
You want to precondition the batteries before Supercharging, Tesla covers this on the tablet under ‘Tips’. My understanding is this helps charge the batteries faster. If you are headed to a Supercharger you can precondition the batteries by selecting the Supercharger in the navigation. If you are charging at home, there is an option in the schedule tab.
I know people love Tesla because they do not have to go to the gas station again, if you cannot charge at home a Superstation is similar to a gas station but less annoying to me. Maybe because I can clearly see the price and make a decision of when I want to charge (e.g., $.21 per kWh in the morning vs $.43 kWh at night).
Lastly, we are taking her on a road trip to Northern California this week so I will be sure to let you all know how charging goes; especially over a holiday weekend!
This concludes my experience as a first time Tesla driver, Up next: what I love about Tesla!