As the Electric Vehicle (EV) revolution goes into high gear, Tesla is undoubtedly one of the companies ahead of the pack.
The company doesn’t only sell more EVs than any other manufacturer but also manufactures cutting-edge charging technology.
Indeed, one of the defining features of Tesla’s electric cars is the ability to charge quickly at their Supercharger stations. The Superchargers allow drivers pressed for time to add considerable range in as little as 15 minutes, depending on the model.
Tesla Supercharger: Brief Overview
Tesla Superchargers are the company’s proprietary fast-charging stations designed specifically for Tesla electric vehicles.
These Superchargers are capable of delivering up to 250 kilowatts (kW) of power to a Tesla vehicle. This effectively allows for a full charge in as little as 30 minutes.
On average, you can add up to 200 miles of range on a Model S, and 175 miles on a Model 3 in a 15-minute charging session. Similarly, you can add 175 miles and 162 miles on the Model X and Y respectively in the same timeframe.
Superchargers are much faster than regular Level 2 chargers, which typically deliver around 7-10 kW of power. Level 2 chargers typically take several hours to fully charge a Tesla vehicle.
Tesla currently has over 42,000 Superchargers located around the world, with plans to expand this network even further in the coming years.
In the past, Model S and Model 3 vehicles were eligible for free supercharging for life. However, since mid-2020, this option was removed and cars shipped from then onwards either had no supercharging credits or had limited credits.
Things seemed to change, albeit temporarily when the company announced 10,000 free miles on new cars sold in the last 10 days of 2022. This was occasioned by a new EV tax credit by the US government, which was set to begin in 2023. However, only new Model 3 and Model Y cars qualified for this offer.
If you have unlimited charging or some free miles, you will not be charged to use Tesla superchargers regardless of location.
How does the Tesla Supercharger cost calculator work?
The Tesla Supercharger cost calculator is a tool that allows Tesla owners to estimate the cost of charging their vehicle at a Supercharger. The calculator takes into account several variables, such as the distance traveled, and the cost of electricity in the region. The efficiency of the vehicle and the time of day may also factor in your eventual bill.
To use the calculator, go to the Trip Planner menu on your touchscreen and enter your starting location and your destination. The feature will estimate your distance and show you the available superchargers along your route. If you click on the lightning icon next to a station, you will see the estimated charging costs.
Additionally, Trip Planner will also tell you if a station is open, or has limited work hours. Stall availability, parking level, peak hours, exact directions, and access codes are also included in the pop-up menu.
While some sites and apps purport to have up-to-date charging calculators for Teslas, it is highly advisable to use Trip Planner. This is because the information given by the app is personalized to your situation and sourced from the stations themselves.
Factors that Affect the Cost of Charging at a Tesla Supercharger
The cost of using a Tesla Supercharger can vary based on a few different factors, including:
- Model – Charging Model S or Model X is usually more expensive than charging a Model 3 or Model Y. This is because Models S and X have larger battery packs and require more kWh than the other models.
- Time of Day – In most regions, the cost of charging at a Supercharger is higher during peak hours when electricity demand is highest. This means that charging during off-peak hours, such as late at night or early in the morning, maybe less expensive.
- Location: The cost of charging at a Supercharger can vary depending on the region and local electricity rates. For example, the cost of charging at a Supercharger in California can exceed $0.48 per kWh. In the Midwest, the cost can be as low as $0.25.
- Vehicle’s Efficiency – The amount of energy your car’s battery is able to accept from the Supercharger within a minute also matters. If a car can accept a higher charging rate, it can recharge its battery more quickly and spend less time at the Supercharger. This can be beneficial, especially if the Supercharger charges by the minute.
Benefits of using a Tesla Supercharger
While the cost of charging at a Tesla Supercharger is an important consideration, there are also many benefits to using these fast-charging stations.
The high speed of charging is arguably the most important benefit. Tesla Superchargers can deliver up to 250 kW of power, allowing for a full charge in as little as 30 minutes.
Tesla Superchargers are also conveniently located along major travel routes. This means you can take long road trips without having to worry about running out of charge. Moreover, Tesla’s Supercharger network is constantly expanding, with new Supercharger stations being added every year.
Tesla also maintains and services its Supercharger network regularly to ensure they’re always performing at optimal levels.
Although they’re slightly more expensive than Destination chargers, Tesla Superchargers are life savers for many drivers.
This is because you only need around 30 minutes to add enough range to take you to your destination or the next Supercharger.
The best part is that the Tesla Supercharger cost calculator, which is integrated into the Trip Planner app, can help you identify cheap and available Superchargers around you.