Tesla Superchargers: incredibly quick and really practical

Tesla’s powerful Superchargers are certainly familiar to everyone who has heard of the firm. Technically speaking, Tesla Superchargers are 480-volt DC fast chargers. Superchargers are basically extremely quick battery chargers for electric vehicles, to put it another way.

Tesla owners no longer have to worry about running out of gas because their EV is designed to create routes that include Superchargers along the way. Additionally, the fact that Superchargers can provide a charge at a speed of up to 11 miles per minute is helpful. Tesla has successfully allayed one of consumer’s main concerns about electric vehicles – running out of battery – by establishing a vast fast-charging network.

Although there are well over 25,000 Superchargers built worldwide, there is still some ambiguity around how they operate, how much they cost, and who is permitted to use them. To help you better grasp what Superchargers are all about, we’re here to lift the lid on these rapid chargers.

How do Superchargers charge Tesla batteries so fast?

An “onboard charger” is something that Tesla automobile batteries have. Alternating current (AC) electricity from a charging source is converted to direct current (DC) electricity via onboard chargers. The battery can only be charged using DC energy.

Tesla’s Superchargers, in contrast to conventional EV chargers, discharge DC current; as a result, the onboard charger is disregarded and the battery is charged directly by the DC energy. The vehicle can be charged more quickly because the electricity is going directly to the battery and does not need to go through the onboard charger.

Tesla Supercharger locations

Tesla Supercharger locations

There is presently at least one Supercharging station available in each of the 50 U.S. states, and Tesla has more than 25,000 Superchargers in its global charging network.

Although filling up with gas takes a little less time than charging an EV, there is much to do while you’re plugged in thanks to Superchargers’ ideal locations close to malls and metropolitan cores.

Tesla’s charging infrastructure is not limited to superchargers. Additionally, Tesla offers Destination Chargers, which require more time to charge. As it can take many hours to fully charge your battery, destination charging is especially helpful for overnight or extended stays during long-distance travel.

As long as you have your charging adapter—which is included with your Tesla—on hand, you can also use non-Tesla charging stations, such as ChargePoint stations.

How can I find Superchargers near me?

A Tesla’s built-in trip planner is one of its nicest features. Trip Planner works much like a conventional GPS system, but it plots your route so you pass by Supercharger stations along the way to your destination.

Additionally, it provides instructions on how long to pause and charge for at each station in order to reach your destination as soon as possible without running out of battery power.

Trip Planner makes it exceedingly easy to keep your EV fueled up on any road trip.

How long does it take to charge a Tesla with a Supercharger?

A battery may be charged from empty to 80% in around 40 minutes using a supercharger. The charging pace lowers when 80% charge is attained in order to safeguard the battery’s health until 100% charge is reached. For the majority of trips, you won’t need your Tesla’s battery to be fully charged.

Overall, it should take roughly 70 minutes to charge a vehicle at a Tesla Supercharger from 0% to 100%. Although it takes longer to charge a device than it does to fill up a tank of gas, you can schedule charging periods to match with any meals or scenic stops you wish to make along the trip.

How much you want to charge your battery, how empty it is, and even how many Superchargers are in use at a station will all affect how long it really takes to charge your car using a Supercharger.

Can I charge with a Tesla Supercharger for free?

There is a lot of misunderstanding regarding whether Supercharging is free or not. Most Tesla car owners must pay to use the supercharging station.

Tesla has previously run a number of campaigns that offered select customers unlimited free Supercharging. The business hasn’t run a campaign like this in a while. However, it was a really great offer for those who were able to enroll in one of these programs.

The following Tesla automobiles may be eligible for free Supercharging in some capacity:

  • Model S’s released between 2012 and 2020, except for the Model S 40
  • The Model 3 Performance versions released between 2018 and 2019 may have free unlimited Supercharging, but they can only be used by the original owner. If bought used, the free Supercharging offer is voided
  • Some 2020 Model Y purchases may qualify for one year of free Supercharging 

Through your Tesla account, you may check to see if your Tesla is eligible for any free Supercharging promotions. To check if “Free Unlimited Supercharging” is shown, simply log in, select Manage, then View Details on your Tesla vehicle. Also available is a direct line to Tesla’s customer support.

How much does it cost to charge with a Supercharger?

While the cost to charge your Tesla varies between Supercharging locations, you can typically anticipate to pay around $25 to fully charge your battery using a Supercharger from 0% to 100%. This is not just less expensive and cleaner than a tank of gas!

At a Supercharger, you can choose between being charged per minute or per kilowatt-hour (kWh). With the Trip Planner, you may choose a Supercharging station and check in advance what costs the station charges as well as the billing structure it employs.

Per-kWh Supercharging 

You will be charged for each kWh of electricity needed to charge your battery because the majority of Superchargers employ per-kWh billing.

Each Supercharging facility has a variable per-kWh price, although it is normally approximately $0.25 per kWh.

Per-minute Supercharging 

Less frequently found than per-kWh charging are per-minute Superchargers. Per-minute fees are often only available in states with laws prohibiting the sale of power by the kWh to anybody other than a utility.

Two distinct prices are offered by per-minute charging stations:

  • Tier 1 rates are applied when cars are charging at or below 60 kilowatts (kW)
  • Tier 2 rates are applied when cars are charging above 60 kW, and are double the cost of Tier 1 rates 

Idle fees can drive up your costs 

If a Supercharger is more than 50% occupied, Tesla will levy idle costs to users who park there after their car has finished charging. Since the idle price is calculated per minute, the longer you stay at the station, the more you’ll pay. The cost of being idle varies by place.

Fortunately, the Tesla app notifies you when your car has finished charging so you may move it immediately. The idle cost is eliminated if you relocate your car within five minutes of being informed that your charge is finished.

Who can use a Tesla Supercharger?

Tesla Superchargers are only accessible to owners of Tesla vehicles, and they come with a charging cable designed specifically for Tesla vehicles.

But that’s about to change. Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, stated in July 2021 that all electric vehicles, even those not made by Tesla, will be able to utilize the Supercharging network by the end of the year.

Who can use a Tesla Supercharger

To be very honest with you, we are treating this announcement with skepticism. Has anyone received their Cybertruck yet? How about a Tuscan Tile version of the Tesla Solar Roof? Mr. Musk loves to make announcements but never follows through with them.

Granted, launching the Supercharging network is a lot simpler than creating entirely new products, so there is a slight increase in the likelihood that Tesla will fulfill this promise. We wouldn’t, however, hold our breath.

Is it cheaper to charge with a Supercharger or charge at home?

Since Superchargers typically charge more per kWh than your utility, charging your Tesla at home will almost always result in a greater financial savings.

Your Tesla will cost between $7.65 and $15.29 to fully charge at home, depending on the model you have. If you’re interested in learning more, we have a detailed guide on how much it costs to charge each Tesla model here.

Regardless of cost savings, you should usually use your house as your primary charging location. Why? It benefits your car more. Superchargers deliver a massive amount of high voltage power directly to your battery, which, if done frequently, might harm the battery.

Therefore, by charging at home, you’ll not only save money but also extend the life of your batteries.

The cheapest way to charge a Tesla is with solar

Whatever you do, charging your Tesla will always be less expensive than filling up a tank of gas. However, it is significantly less expensive to charge your Tesla with solar energy. On your roof, you may put enough solar panels to supply all of the electricity you need for your home as well as to charge your EV.

Yes, installing solar panels requires a sizable initial expenditure, but after that, that’s essentially all you have to pay for. Each kWh of electricity will only cost roughly $0.11 when you split the installation cost by how much electricity it will generate over the course of the system’s lifetime (25 years).

If you want to lock in your savings, installing solar sooner rather than later is your best option as grid electricity is predicted to cost an average of $0.29 per kWh in 25 years. As a result, using solar energy to charge your Tesla over time results in significantly lower electricity costs than using electricity from the grid.

Additionally, there are other incentives and rebates available at the federal, state, and utility levels; explore which ones you might be eligible for in our guide to solar incentives.

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