How Long Does it Take to Charge a Tesla?

Written by Lydia Noyes

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Lydia Noyes

Climate Journalist

Lydia Noyes is an organic farmer and climate journalist. She is a member of the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism.

Updated:

It takes a lot longer to charge a Tesla than it does to fill up the gas tank on a conventional gas guzzler. How long does it take? Let’s have a look at how long it takes to charge a Tesla at home, or at a Supercharger.

Owning a Tesla can feel empowering. You’re free from the gas pump at last! However, these cars still need a source of power to run properly. You’ll need to change your miles-per-gallon mentality to miles-until-a-recharge. And unlike the gas pump, the time it takes to get an electric vehicle back on the road can vary by hours, even days, depending on the charging method you choose. 

Here’s a closer look at the time you can expect it to take to get each Tesla model fully charged again.  

About Charging Your Tesla

One caveat before we jump in; it’s essentially impossible to give exact numbers for how long it takes to charge an EV. That’s because numerous variables will affect the timing, from outside temperatures to the age of the battery—not to mention the quality of the charger in question. 

Likewise, EVs don’t charge at a consistent rate. They tend to charge more quickly when the battery is at its lowest and will slow down the closer it gets to a full charge. This makes it hard to predict the overall charging time, as the last few minutes to go from 85% to 95% can take disproportionately long. 

The average Tesla owner can expect their car to reach a full charge within 1-8 hours, depending on the method used. That’s not nearly as quick as running to the pump, so you’ll need to plan out your charging timing accordingly. For most people, that means plugging in at home for an overnight charge. 

Tesla model s parked in CA
A fleet of Tesla Model S vehicles parked at a rich person’s house in SoCal.

Understanding Tesla Battery Capacity

EV batteries are made to be very difficult to drain completely. Most won’t dip below 3-5% left to prevent damage to the battery. This means that the total battery capacity is higher than the net, though only the net matters from a functionality standpoint. 

While the overall lifespan of a Tesla battery will vary based on how you treat it, most are rated to last for 300,000-500,000 miles in normal driving conditions. Based on the average number of miles Americans drive, this could last 21-35 years (probably longer than you’d want the car itself). 

To optimize battery health, it’s best to keep levels between 20% and 80%. Overcharging is also known to weaken batteries long term. 

Tesla Home Charging Options

There are four types of home chargers available for Teslas: 

NEMA 5-15 chargers (Level 1)

All Teslas come with NEMA 5-15 chargers, which work with standard household 120-volt outlets. Most will add about three miles to the battery per hour of charging, making it only practical for overnight use. Expect it to take 30+ hours to reach a full charge. 

NEMA 14-50 chargers (Level 2)

These chargers require a 240-volt outlet, the type used for washing machines and dryers. They are five to seven times faster than the level I chargers, and most will add 20+ miles per hour of charging. 

DC Fast Chargers (Level 3)

Using DC and 480-volt capacity, these chargers can fully recharge your vehicle within half an hour. They require special permits for home installation and an upgrade of your electric circuit. Expect costs over $50k to get one. 

Wall Connectors 

It’s possible to install high-speed charging units within your home, known as Wall Connectors. They can add 44 miles of range per hour of charge.  All Wall Connectors must be installed by Tesla-qualified electricians. 

What About Superchargers?

Tesla Supercharger in Jackson, WY
A Tesla Supercharger in Jackson, WY.

Superchargers are Tesla’s worldwide network of high-speed charging stations. They work similarly to gas stations in that you can pull up, plug in, and relax while you top up your car and pay at the end for the convenience of doing so. Since Superchargers utilize ultra-fast DC currents, they aren’t recommended for daily use. Instead, they make sense for recharging on road trips when it’s inconvenient to plug in overnight. 

While each Tesla model has a different total charge time with a home setup, the charging time with a Supercharger is relatively consistent between models. 

Average Charging Times Per Tesla Model

A Tesla model X charging in La Jolla.
A Tesla Model X charging in La Jolla, CA.

With these caveats out of the way, here’s a look at the estimated charging times to go from about 5% to 80% charge per Tesla Model and charging style. Any number provided here should be considered as an estimated range in ideal conditions.

Model S Charging Times

Model S Standard (100 kWh battery)

  • NEMA 5-15: 3.4 days
  • NEMA 14-50: 15 hours
  • Wall Connector: 9.9 hours
  • Supercharger to 80%: 30 minutes

Model S Plaid (100 kWh battery)

  • NEMA 5-15: 3.3 days
  • NEMA 14-50: 10 hours
  • Wall Connector: 9.7 hours
  • Supercharger to 80%: 30 minutes

Model X Charging Times

Model X Standard (100 kWh battery)

  • NEMA 5-15: 3.6 days
  • NEMA 14-50: 15.2 hours
  • Wall Connector: 10 hours
  • Supercharger to 80%: 30 minutes

Model X Plaid (100 kWh battery)

  • NEMA 5-15: 3.5 days
  • NEMA 14-50: 10 hours
  • Wall Connector: 9.5 hours
  • Supercharger to 80%: 30 minutes

Model Y Charging Times

Model Y Long Range (81 kWh battery)

  • NEMA 5-15: 2.75 days
  • NEMA 14-50: 12.2 hours
  • Wall Connector: 7.5 hours
  • Supercharger to 80%: 30 minutes

Model Y Performance (81 kWh battery)

  • NEMA 5-15: 2.5 days
  • NEMA 14-50: 7.5 hours
  • Wall Connector: 6.8 hours
  • Supercharger to 80%: 30 minutes

Model 3 Charging Times

Model 3 Standard (58 kWh battery)

  • NEMA 5-15: 1.8 days
  • NEMA 14-50: 9.1 hours
  • Wall Connector: 9.1 hours
  • Supercharger to 80%: 25 minutes

Model 3 Long Range (75 kWh battery)

  • NEMA 5-15: 
  • NEMA 14-50: up to 12 hours
  • Wall Connector: 8 hours
  • Supercharger to 80%: 30 minutes

Model 3 Performance (82 kWh battery)

  • NEMA 5-15: 2.2 days
  • NEMA 14-50: 10.5 hours
  • Wall Connector: 7.2 hours
  • Supercharger to 80%: 25 minutes

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