Tesla Superchargers: super fast and super convenient
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If you are in the market for a Tesla EV or already own one, the locations of Tesla Superchargers and their cost are probably top of mind. Superchargers are known as DC fast chargers; they’re incredibly powerful EV chargers that can fill your battery at a rate of 11 miles per minute.
You can expect to pay at least $25 to charge from 0% to 100% using a Tesla Supercharger. But, the total cost will vary depending on the charging rate at the station and if you incur additional fees.
Thanks to Superchargers, Tesla owners don’t have to worry about running on empty because their EV is programmed to plan routes with charging stops along the way. By having an extensive fast-charging network, Tesla has effectively cured consumers' biggest fear about electric cars - running out of battery.
We’re here to pull back the curtain on Superchargers, so you can get a better understanding of what these fast chargers are all about.
Image source: Tesla
There are nearly 2,000 Tesla Supercharger stations across all 50 states, with over 20,000 charging stalls. Globally, there are over 50,000 Superchargers. Your Tesla can direct you to the nearest station and will plan your route with charging stops built in.
Superchargers are located along major travel routes and are often conveniently located near shopping centers and downtown areas, so there’s plenty to do while you’re plugged in.
Other public Tesla charging stations are available. Tesla also has Destination Chargers as an alternative to Superchargers because they take longer to charge. For instance, Destination Charging is most useful for overnight or prolonged stays during long-distance traveling, as it can take a few hours to completely charge your battery.
One of the best functions of a Tesla is its built-in Trip Planner. Trip Planner works just like a regular GPS system, but it maps your route to pass through Supercharger stations along the way to your destination.
It also tells you how long you should stop and charge for at each station to get to your destination as quickly as possible without running out of charge.
Trip Planner makes it incredibly easy to keep your EV charged up on any road trip.
A Supercharger can charge a battery with up to 200 miles of charge in 15 minutes. The actual charging rate will vary depending on the Tesla model you have, the actual charger you’re using, and how much power is already in your battery. That being said, completely charging your Tesla from 0% to 100% using a Supercharger would take roughly 70 minutes.
The following table outlines Supercharging speeds for the four Tesla models:
|Tesla Model||Supercharger speed|
|Model 3||Up to 175 miles in 15 minutes|
|Model Y||Up to 162 miles in 15 minutes|
|Up to 200 miles in 15 minutes|
|Model X||Up to 175 miles in 15 minutes|
Data source: Tesla
Even with a Supercharger, charging your Tesla is going to take longer than it would be to fill up a tank of gas. But, you can plan charging times and locations to coincide with meals or sightseeing stops you want to make on the way to your destination.
How do Superchargers charge so fast? Tesla car batteries have something called an onboard charger that convert alternating current (AC) electricity coming from a charging source to direct current (DC) electricity. DC electricity is what the battery needs in order to charge. Unlike other EV chargers, Tesla’s Superchargers release DC electricity, bypassing the onboard charger and directly charging the battery. Because the electricity goes straight to the battery and doesn’t have to pass through the onboard charger, the vehicle can be charged faster.
For most Tesla vehicle owners, the answer is no, you can’t Supercharge for free.
Tesla has occasionally run promotions for free Supercharging credits, and at one point even offered free Supercharging for life. None of these promotions have been available since December 31, 2022.
To see if your Tesla qualifies for any sort of free Supercharging promotion, check your Tesla account through the mobile app or call Tesla’s customer service directly.
The true cost of charging a Tesla depends on several variables, which we break down in our video below.
The cost of charging your Tesla varies between Supercharging stations, but generally, you can expect it to cost about $25 to completely charge your battery from 0% to 100% using a Supercharger. Not only is this cleaner than a tank of gas, but it’s cheaper, too!
There are two different ways you can be billed at a Supercharger: per kilowatt-hour (kWh) or per minute. When you select a Supercharging station with the Trip Planner, you can see which billing structure the station uses and what prices they charge ahead of time.
Most Superchargers use per-kWh billing, meaning you will be billed for each kWh of electricity used to charge your battery.
The pricing is different at each Supercharging location, but it’s typically around $0.25 per kWh. Keep in mind that the actual charging rate will vary depending on where you are, so the total cost to fill up your Tesla may be much higher.
Per-minute Superchargers are less common than per-kWh chargers. Typically, you’ll only find per-minute chargers in states where there are regulations in place that prevent any entity besides a utility from selling electricity by the kWh.
Per-minute charging stations offer four different rates:
Tesla charges idle fees to drivers who remain parked at a Supercharger after their vehicle is fully charged, if the station is more than 50% full. The idle fee is charged per minute, so the longer you remain at the station, the higher the fee will be. Idle fees vary between locations.
Luckily, the Tesla app alerts you when your car is done charging so you can move it right when it’s finished. If you move your car within five minutes of being notified that your charge is complete, the idle fee will be waived.
Most Tesla Superchargers are available exclusively to Tesla vehicle owners and are equipped with a Tesla-specific charging connector.
However, Tesla has opened it’s network to other electric vehicles. This isn’t available at all Tesla Supercharging stations, but you can download the Tesla app as a non-Tesla driver to find what Superchargers are available to you.
Alternatives to Superchargers.
If your EV doesn’t pair with a Supercharger, you have a Tesla but aren’t near any Superchargers, there are other fast charging networks available.
In almost all cases, charging your Tesla at home is going to save you the most money since Superchargers tend to bill at a higher rate per kWh than your utility does.
Depending on the model you have and what your utility charges for electricity, charging your Tesla at home will cost between $10 and $18.
Charging at home is cheaper and better for your battery. Cost savings aside, you’ll probably want charging at home to be your main source of charging anyway. Why? It’s better for your vehicle. Superchargers send an incredible amount of high-voltage electricity right to your battery, which can cause damage if it’s done on a regular basis. So, not only will you save money by charging at home, you’ll save your battery life, too.
No matter how you slice it, charging your Tesla is going to be cheaper than filling up a tank of gas. But using solar power to charge your Tesla makes it even cheaper. You can install enough solar panels on your roof to cover your home’s electricity needs and to charge your EV.
Yes, installing solar panels is a pretty substantial upfront investment, but that’s really the only thing you have to pay for once they’re installed. When you divide the cost of the installation by how much electricity it will produce across the lifetime of the system (25 years), each kWh of electricity will only cost about $0.11.
In 25 years, electricity from the grid is projected to cost an average of $0.29 per kWh, so installing solar sooner rather than later is your best bet if you want to lock in your savings. You can end up spending way less to charge your Tesla over time with solar than if you just used electricity from the grid.
Plus, there are various incentives and rebates on the federal, state, and utility levels - check out our solar incentives guide to see which you may qualify for. You can also see how much solar panels cost for your specific roof, and better yet, how much solar can save you, by using our solar panel calculator.