How Much Does Tesla Charging Cost?

The thought of buying an electric vehicle, let alone a Tesla, may be intimidating at first. The expensive price tag will make you rethink if it’s necessary to buy a model from the said company.

But while a Tesla EV is expensive upfront, its maintenance cost is more affordable than conventional cars. For one, EVs only require efficient electricity (and not gasoline which costs more) so you can hit the road for long hours.

That said, how much does it cost to charge a Tesla?

Average Cost Of Charging A Tesla

To have an idea of the cost of charging a Tesla, you have to know that the average price of electricity in the US is 12 cents per kWh. According to Plug in America, that will translate to a $540 charging expense annually. That is provided that you’re driving an average 15,000 miles per year and you’ll charge the EV at home.

Now, for the cost of charging a Tesla, you have to consider the following factors:

  • The Tesla model
  • Your location
  • Driving habits
  • Number of miles you drive
  • Charging schedule

Based on the above factors, “how much does it cost to charge a Tesla?” is a question with several answers. To address this, the company provided an online calculator to give you an idea of the potential fuel expenses for the said EV.

tesla charging station

Sample Prices

With a base of 12 cents per kWh, Tesla has shown sample prices for 2 EV models. Before looking at the cost, observe that there are conditions that affected the total charging expense.

Tesla Model S

  • Type of travel: Daily
  • Distance traveled: 45 miles
  • COST: $1.81

The said cost applies to the following charging options:

  • NEMA 14-50 at 01:34 charging time
  • Wall Connector (for 75 kWh configured vehicles) at 01:18 charging time
  • Wall Connector (for 100 kWh configured vehicles) at 00:52 charging time

Tesla Model X

  • Type of travel: Daily
  • Distance traveled: 100 miles
  • COST: $4.55

The said cost applies to the following charging options:

  • NEMA 14-50 at 03:57 charging time
  • Wall Connector (for 75 kWh configured vehicles) at 03:17 charging time
  • Wall Connector (for 100 kWh configured vehicles) at 02:11 charging time

Charging your Tesla for road trips will take longer unless you use the company’s Supercharger. The said chargers are available across the US and can fill up your car within 15 to 17 minutes.

As the prices are based on the 12 cents per kWh average, the cost will likely vary if you’re living in a state where electricity has a higher price.

Tesla Supercharger Costs

Tesla had set up Supercharger stations around the US to aid those who are driving long distances. If you ordered the said EV after January 15, 2017, you will receive free Supercharging credits worth 400 kWh (equivalent to 1,000 miles) annually on the anniversary of the vehicle’s delivery. Once you exceed the annual credit, you’d be charged with a small fee.

As for how much Supercharging will cost you, it depends on where you are in the US. Tesla owners in most regions will charge a fee per kWh. However, some areas will charge you per minute due to local regulations.

Exactly how much will you spend if you use Superchargers after using up your credit? According to the Tesla website, you’ll spend about $90 for a Model S to cover 1,500 miles, while a Model X will cost you $102. This is assuming that the Supercharger has a rate of $0.20 per kilowatt hour.

As the above figures are only approximate, the exact cost will still depend on several factors. These include your vehicle’s configuration, battery age, and condition, as well as your location and driving style.

Additional Costs

It’s common for Tesla owners to prefer charging their cars at home. However, you cannot do it as soon as your EV is delivered at your doorstep.

According to Market Watch, you need to make sure that the wiring in your house can handle charging an EV. Hiring an electrician to check and rewire them, if necessary, will cost you about $1,000. Plus, you’ll spend another $1,000 for the Tesla wall charger (including installation).

Potential Savings

It’s not enough knowing the answer to “how much does it cost to charge a Tesla?” More importantly, you might want to know how much you will save if you use a Tesla electric vehicle instead of a gas-powered one.

If you’re using a Model S, you will spend only as much as $600 on home energy costs per year. That’s quite a big saving compared to a $1,105-expense for fueling a car with gas gallons.

You can further leverage the low energy cost potential through following these saving tips:

  • You can use standard 120-volt outlets provided that you’ve purchased the NEMA 5-15. Only, note that this method is slow thus it is not advisable on a regular basis.
  • If a slow charging time is out of the question, you can just install the NEMA 14-50 which is a 240-volt outlet. Installation alone (not including the rewiring necessary for other houses) will only cost about $100. The upgrade will allow you to regain a driving distance of 29 miles for every hour that your EV is plugged.
  • You can also install the Tesla wall connector that charges at a rate 20% faster than the NEMA 14-50. However, there are certain conditions that you should meet before you install the device. That said, you should consult an electrician first and have them perform the installation. Purchasing the unit will cost you about $500 while installing it will depend on how much an expert will charge you and your current electrical infrastructure.
  • You can also opt to purchase the SAE J1772 which you can use to connect to EV chargers made for other vehicle types. While purchasing this device is more expensive (around $600 to $700), it can be practical if you also want to use EVs that are not from Tesla.

Aside from these potential savings, Tesla is looking to utilize solar power to their EVs. Their initial steps include acquiring the rooftop solar installer SolarCity, creating the Powerwall that stores energy generated from your roof at home, and taking orders for solar roof tiles. Currently, the company is working to make the said technology accessible to homeowners as far as costs are concerned.   

Remember to always keep an eye on the market and discover how you can further save on maintenance of your EVs!