One of the nice things about owning an electric vehicle is that you no longer have to worry about gas prices. But don’t think for a second that EVs are free to drive.
Instead of paying at the pump, you pay at the charging port, whether you’re charging your electric vehicle at home, leading to an additional cost on your electric bill, or at a public charging station while on a road trip. And while the cost to charge a Tesla is typically much lower than fuel costs for most gas cars, it still adds up over the year.
If buying a Tesla electric vehicle is on your mind today, you’re likely thinking, “how much does it cost to charge a Tesla?” Below, we outline Tesla’s various charging options and the average cost for each.
Like many electric cars, Tesla models have various charging options, ranging from super-slow to lightning-fast, making it harder to answer the question, “how much does it cost to charge a Tesla?”
Let’s review each type of charger from slowest to fastest to get a better idea of what costs you can expect.
Tesla sells a $315 mobile connector with a NEMA 5-15 electrical adaptor you can plug into any normal 120-Volt household outlet. You can also purchase an aftermarket one online. This is the slowest charging option at up to 4.8 km per hour. Tesla says you should get 48 to 64 km of range per day of charging.
If you have a short commute and don’t drive daily, this could be a great option and doesn’t require a professional electrician to install a new outlet.
Tesla’s mobile charging cable includes a NEMA 14-50 208- to 240-Volt plug adapter. Suppose you have a spare 208- to 240-Volt outlet — like the one that runs your clothes dryer — in your garage or don’t mind plugging and unplugging your appliance when charging your Tesla. In that case, you can use this option and get up to 48.2 kilometres per hour charged without hiring an electrician. The exact charging rate will vary by the current flowing from your 208- to 240-Volt power outlet.
You can also buy these adaptors in the aftermarket and use them on a 240-Volt-compatible aftermarket charging cable.
If you don’t have a 240-Volt outlet in your garage, you can contact an electrician to install one.
A Level 2 home charger is a 240-Volt household charger that runs at a higher amperage than the typical 240-Volt household outlet, so it charges faster. Tesla offers its $575 Wall Connector, which it claims will charge 70 km of range per hour. You can also buy a range of wall-mounted charges on the aftermarket, but the charging rate will vary by amperage.
Because these chargers are high voltage, you must hire an electrician to install them.
Level 2 public chargers are available in the wild, too, and will add power at about the same rate as the standard wall-mounted box. However, some of these boxes have only an SAE J1772 charging outlet, so you’ll need the $65 charging adapter from Tesla.
As electric cars continue to grow in popularity, DC fast charging stations become more plentiful as well. These stations start at 50 kW and go up to 350 kW — the higher the kW rating, the shorter the charging time.
Tesla models are compatible with many of these third-party chargers, as many now include Tesla charging connectors. However, some charging stations only have CHAdeMO connectors, so you must order an adapter (purchasable online) to connect your Tesla to a CHAdeMO plug.
When connected to a DC fast charger via a CHAdeMO adapter, Tesla models can receive up to a 50 kW charge and receive 160.9 km of range in 30 minutes. If you find a DC fast charger with a Tesla connector, the charging speed depends on the charger’s maximum kW output. The fastest rate would be 321.8 km of charge in 15 minutes.
The Tesla Supercharger network is the fastest way to charge any Tesla model. These proprietary chargers can deliver up to 321.8 km of range in just 15 minutes. Tesla once had free supercharging for select Tesla cars, but that is no longer available.
The cost to charge a Tesla at home in Canada will greatly depend on the Tesla model and battery size. Another variable to consider is the average per-kilowatt hour (kWh) cost of electricity in your province. These are the most recent per-kWh costs for electricity by province — Note: some provinces have sliding scales based on hours and wattage used:
With the average electricity rate by province determined, we can now calculate the cost to charge each Tesla model and variant.
The latest Tesla Model 3 has two battery pack variants, the 60-kWh version in the base model and the 84-kWh tesla battery pack in the Dual Motor All-Wheel-Drive (AWD) (Long Range and Performance) models.
Naturally, the smallest battery pack will be the least expensive to charge. By province, the average cost to charge the 60-kWh battery from empty to full charge is as follows:
With the larger 82-kWh battery capacity, the Model 3’s charging cost will rise because it takes additional power to recharge it fully. The average charging cost by province is as follows:
The Tesla Model Y has only one battery pack option, the same 82-kWh unit as the Model 3, so it has the same charging costs by province.
While the Model S had a wide range of battery packs throughout its lifespan, the latest models — the base model and Plaid trim — share a 100-kWh unit. The average cost to charge this high-capacity lithium-ion battery pack in each province is as follows.
Like the Model 3 and Model Y, the flagship Tesla Model X SUV has the same 100-kWh battery pack as the Model S flagship sedan. This means their average full charge cost is the same by province.
While these average charging costs are great for estimating how much it’ll cost you to drive and charge your Tesla, these are only averages. Some provinces have a sliding rate that increases with demand. The charging cost during peak hours may be higher, while charging outside peak hours — typically overnight — will lower your home charging costs.
For the most part, charging Tesla vehicles at home is less than the typical fill-up for a gas-powered car, but some of the peak-hour electricity rates in certain provinces could result in higher costs. However, you can offset this extra cost with solar panels.
While calculating how much it costs to charge a Tesla at home is relatively easy, doing the same for public charging stations is extremely difficult. These EV charging stations are free to charge whatever fees they like, and they often vary with the time of day and demand.
That said, if your charging session is on a DC fast charger, you can expect to pay an average of $15 per hour, while a Level 2 charger will run $1 per hour or $2.50 per charge.
Tesla owners can also use the Tesla Supercharger stations. Like public EV chargers, Supercharger fees will vary by location and time of day. The Tesla charging network charges by the minute based on four charging speed tiers. The tiers are as follows:
The rates vary by area and time of day, but DriveTeslaCanada found rates ranged from $0.19 per minute for up to 60 kW to $1.65 per minute for 180 to 250 kW.
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