How Long Does It Take to Charge a Tesla?

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As an owner of a Tesla Model S for the past six years, I’ve gained a lot of experience with charging and understanding the nuances of charging times. I purchased my Model S just before Tesla discontinued the free Supercharging perk back in 2017, which means I have free Supercharging for life. 

In this post, I’ll dive into the various charging options available for Tesla’s, provide valuable insights based on my firsthand experience, explore the cost savings compared to gas-powered cars, and also highlight the additional benefit of purchasing a used Tesla with free Supercharging for life.


Superchargers are Tesla’s high-speed charging stations strategically placed across the country. Having lifetime Supercharging, I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy this convenient and fast charging option at no additional cost. On average, a Supercharger can provide a range of 170-250 miles within just 30 minutes of charging, depending on your Tesla model and battery’s current state.

Tesla Wall Connectors:

For convenient at-home charging, Tesla offers Wall Connectors, which provide a faster charging rate than a standard electrical outlet. These chargers come in varying power outputs, and the higher the power, the quicker your Tesla will charge. For example, a 48-amp Wall Connector can add around 40 miles of range per hour of charging for a Model S Long Range.

Standard Electrical Outlets (120V):

While it’s not the fastest charging option, a standard 120-volt electrical outlet can still be utilized to charge your Tesla. However, it’s essential to note that charging via a standard outlet is considerably slower, typically adding around 3-4 miles of range per hour of charging. A full charge using this method may take several days.

Level 2 Chargers (240V):

Level 2 chargers offer a faster charging rate and are commonly found in homes and public charging stations. With a Level 2 charger, you can typically expect to add around 20-30 miles of range per hour of charging, depending on the charger’s power output and your specific Tesla model.

Factors Affecting Charging Speed:


Battery Capacity:

The size of your Tesla’s battery plays a significant role in determining charging time. Larger battery packs take longer to charge compared to smaller ones.


Extreme temperatures, both hot and cold, can affect charging speed. Charging may be slower in extremely cold conditions, while higher temperatures may require the battery to be cooled, which can impact charging rates.

Battery Level:

The charging rate may vary depending on the battery’s current state of charge. Charging speeds are typically faster when the battery is at a lower charge level and tend to slow down as it reaches a higher state of charge.

Cost Savings Compared to Gas-Powered Cars:

In addition to having the coolest technology a car can have, a significant advantage is the cost savings over time. Electric vehicles have significantly lower operating costs compared to gas-cars. Let’s briefly compare the cost of charging a Tesla Model S with the expense of refueling a gasoline car.

  • Electricity Costs: The cost of electricity varies depending on your location and utility rates. On average, charging a Tesla Model S Long Range may cost around $0.10 to $0.20 per kilowatt-hour (kWh). Using this estimate, you can calculate the approximate cost per mile or charging session based on the battery capacity of your Tesla.
  • Gasoline Costs: Gas prices fluctuate and vary by region, but let’s assume an average price of $3.00 per gallon. If your gas-powered car achieves an average fuel efficiency of 25 miles per gallon, it would cost you approximately $0.12 per mile.

Now, let’s compare the cost savings of charging a Tesla Model S with a hypothetical scenario. Assuming a driving distance of 15,000 miles per year:

  • Tesla Model S: Charging the Model S with an average electricity cost of $0.15 per kWh, and assuming an energy efficiency of 4 miles per kWh, the annual charging cost would be approximately $937.50 (15,000 miles / 4 miles per kWh * $0.15 per kWh).
  • Gas-Powered Car: With a fuel efficiency of 25 miles per gallon, the annual fuel cost for driving 15,000 miles would be around $1,800 (15,000 miles / 25 miles per gallon * $3.00 per gallon).

So, let’s look at my personal stats and costs.  This is an actual screen shot from my Tesla app that shows the savings over the last year, from June 2022 to May 2023.  I live in Chester County, PA, where the average Cost per kWh is about $0.14.  The app knows where you live and uses the average cost of gas in that area and calculates what you would have spent on gas for a typical car, then calculates the savings over that period.  As you can see, if I drove a gas car over the last 12 months, it would have cost $2,282 more than I paid for electricity to charge the Tesla. 


So, the savings are not insignificant.  My actual savings may be a little higher than average for someone who purchased a Tesla after the Free Supercharging was eliminated, however, most of my charging over the last 12 months was at home.  The red bars on the app chart show supercharging sessions, and as you can see, there weren’t many over the last year.  Over the lifespan of the vehicle, these savings can add up significantly, making electric vehicles a cost-effective choice in the long run, and lower cost models such as the Model 3 have become available over the last few years.

Additionally, if you’re considering purchasing a used Tesla, it’s worth considering an older Tesla that may have been purchased with Free Supercharging.  The technology is always current with over the air software updates, and batteries can be replaced for significantly less than the cost of a new car.   I have 104K miles on my car, and the battery has seen very little degradation.  However, I’ve investigated the cost of a replacement battery, and it looks like it could be about $14K which is much less than buying a new or even a good used car.  Since the body of my car is in excellent condition, and it’s completely up to date from a technology standpoint, my plan is to do a battery replacement when the time comes.   Combine this with the operational savings over time, and a Tesla could be a great option for more people now than it was just a few years ago.


The charging time for a Tesla depends on the charging option you choose, such as Superchargers, Wall Connectors, standard outlets, or Level 2 chargers. As a long-term Tesla Model S owner with lifetime Supercharging, I can attest to the convenience and efficiency of Superchargers.  There is no doubt that driving an EV such as a Tesla is not as efficient as a gas car in terms of actual time to get to a destination if you are on a long trip.  For a trip that might take 5 hours in a gas car, it may take an extra hour in a Tesla.  However, the supercharging network has vastly improved over the last few years and continues to get better.  Battery range is also improving rapidly, so the difference between travel times for an EV vs a gas car is dropping.  You can go virtually anywhere in the US and not have to detour much to reach a supercharger.

Whether you choose Superchargers for long-distance travel, Wall Connectors for at-home convenience, or other charging options, owning a Tesla provides a seamless and enjoyable electric driving experience. And if you’re fortunate enough to purchase a used Tesla with free Supercharging for life, you’ll enjoy even greater benefits.

Whether you like it or not, EV’s are the future of transportation, maximize your cost savings, and enjoy this amazing technology by driving a Tesla. Happy charging and happy driving!

John K

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