The Real Cost of Charging a Tesla: What You Need to Know in 2023

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Electric vehicles (EVs), particularly Teslas, have revolutionized the way we think about driving and fuel costs. But one question lingers in the minds of potential EV owners and enthusiasts alike: How much does it cost to charge a Tesla?

At-Home Charging: A Wallet-Friendly Option

Charging at home is often seen as the most economical choice. Depending on your location and the Tesla model, the cost for a full charge varies. Let’s break it down:

  • Cost Variability: A full home charge can cost anywhere between $7 and $39. This range is influenced by your location and the specific Tesla model you own​​​​.
  • Energy Cost Per Mile: It ranges from $0.03 to $0.13. This means driving a Tesla can cost just a few pennies per mile​​​​.
  • Model Specifics: For instance, a Tesla Model 3 RWD costs between $7 and $24 to fully charge at home, leading to an annual energy cost of $405 to $1,215 if you drive 13,500 miles per year​​. Here is a detailed tablo of Tesla charging cost at home.
Model Cost for Full Charge
at Home
Energy Cost
Per Mile
Annual Energy Cost
(13,500 miles/year)
Tesla Model 3 RWD $7 – $24 $0.03 – $0.09 $405 – $1,215
Tesla Model Y AWD $8 – $26 $0.03 – $0.09 $405 – $1,215
Tesla Model 3 Long Range AWD $9 – $32 $0.03 – $0.09 $405 – $1,215
Tesla Model Y Long Range AWD $9 – $32 $0.03 – $0.10 $405 – $1,350
Tesla Model S AWD $11 – $39 $0.03 – $0.10 $405 – $1,350
Tesla Model X AWD $11 – $39 $0.03 – $0.11 $405 – $1,485
Tesla Model 3 Performance $9 – $32 $0.03 – $0.10 $405 – $1,350
Tesla Model Y Performance $9 – $32 $0.03 – $0.11 $405 – $1,485
Tesla Model S Plaid $11 – $39 $0.03 – $0.11 $405 – $1,485
Tesla Model X Plaid $11 – $39 $0.03 – $0.13 $405 – $1,755

Note: These costs are estimated based on average electricity rates and may vary based on location, energy provider, and individual driving habits.

Supercharging: Fast but Pricier

Tesla’s network of over 17,000 Superchargers offers a quick charging solution, but at a higher cost:

  • Supercharger Costs: Electricity costs about twice as much at Superchargers compared to home charging, with prices ranging from $0.25 to $0.50 per kilowatt-hour​​.
  • Time Efficiency: A Supercharger can charge a Tesla from nearly empty to 80% in just 15 to 30 minutes​​​​.
  • Annual Cost Analysis: For a Tesla Model 3 Performance, using only Superchargers can lead to an annual energy cost of $945.00 to $2,025.00​​.

Supercharging Costs for Popular Tesla Models

Model Cost to Full Charge
at Supercharger
Energy Cost
Per Mile
Annual Energy Cost
(13,500 miles/year)
Tesla Model 3 RWD $17 – $35 $0.06 – $0.13 $810 – $1,755
Tesla Model Y AWD $19 – $38 $0.07 – $0.14 $945 – $1,890
Tesla Model 3 Long Range AWD $23 – $46 $0.06 – $0.13 $810 – $1,755
Tesla Model Y Long Range AWD $23 – $46 $0.07 – $0.14 $945 – $1,890
Tesla Model S AWD $29 – $58 $0.07 – $0.14 $945 – $1,890
Tesla Model X AWD $29 – $58 $0.08 – $0.17 $1,080 – $2,295
Tesla Model 3 Performance $23 – $46 $0.07 – $0.15 $945 – $2,025
Tesla Model Y Performance $23 – $46 $0.08 – $0.15 $1,080 – $2,025
Tesla Model S Plaid $29 – $58 $0.07 – $0.17 $945 – $2,295
Tesla Model X Plaid $29 – $58 $0.09 – $0.18 $1,215 – $2,430

Note: The costs indicated are based on average Supercharger prices ranging from $0.25 to $0.50 per kilowatt-hour. These figures may vary based on location and are calculated with an assumption of exclusively using Superchargers for a year.

Comparing Costs: EVs vs. Gas Cars – A Deeper Dive

When weighing the costs between electric vehicles (EVs) like Teslas and traditional gas cars, it’s essential to look beyond just the upfront fueling or charging expenses. We’re talking about the real bang for your buck over time. Here’s a closer, expert look at what really matters:

1. Cost-Per-Mile Efficiency: The Long Run Matters

  • Not Just Pennies, But Dollars Saved: While Supercharging a Tesla might seem pricey, when you crunch the numbers, the cost-per-mile efficiency of a Tesla is a game-changer. Despite the higher Supercharger costs, Teslas still manage to outperform gas vehicles in terms of miles per dollar. This isn’t just about saving pennies; it’s about stacking dollars in the long run.
  • Energy Efficiency: Electric motors in vehicles like Tesla are far more efficient than internal combustion engines. This means more of your energy spend is converted directly into movement rather than wasted as heat, as is common with gas vehicles.

2. Annual Savings: Seeing the Bigger Picture

  • Home Charging – A Sweet Spot: Take, for instance, a Tesla Model X Plaid. When charged at home, the cost for a full charge varies between $11 and $39, depending on your local electricity rates. Annually, for someone driving the U.S. average of 13,400 miles, this translates to an expense range of $405 to $1,755​​.
  • Gas Cars – The Hidden Costs: Now, contrast this with a gas vehicle. The average cost per mile for gas cars can be approximately 13.73 cents, which significantly adds up over time. The frequent trips to the gas station, the fluctuating gas prices, and the less efficient use of energy all contribute to a higher annual cost compared to EVs.

3. The Environmental Dividend

  • Cleaner Miles, Clearer Conscience: Beyond the pocketbook, there’s an environmental dividend to consider. Each mile driven in an EV like Tesla is cleaner compared to a gas car. This isn’t just about saving money; it’s about contributing less to pollution and carbon emissions.
  • Sustainable Driving: With the world moving towards renewable energy, the long-term cost and environmental benefits of driving an EV become even more significant. Imagine powering your Tesla with solar energy from your home – it’s the epitome of sustainable driving! Understanding the cost of charging a Tesla is crucial, but it’s just one piece of the EV puzzle. For a broader perspective, check out our article on “Are Electric Cars Good for the Environment?”, which provides insights into the environmental impact of electric vehicles, complementing your knowledge about the cost aspect.

4. Maintenance Costs – Often Overlooked

  • Less is More with EVs: Gas cars have more moving parts – which means more potential for things to go wrong. Oil changes, transmission fluids, exhaust system repairs – these are costs that EV owners simply don’t have to worry about.
  • Predictability and Peace of Mind: With fewer maintenance requirements, EV owners enjoy not just cost savings but also the peace of mind that comes with a more predictable, lower maintenance vehicle.

As we move forward, the case for EVs, especially Teslas, becomes increasingly compelling. It’s not just about the environmental benefits or the cool factor (though those are significant). It’s a smart financial decision that pays dividends in the long run – both for your wallet and the planet. Next time you pass a gas station, remember: as a Tesla driver, you’re not just bypassing the pump; you’re driving towards a more sustainable and cost-efficient future. And that, my friends, is what we call a win-win!

While the cost of charging a Tesla varies based on several factors, it remains an economically sound choice for many. Whether you’re charging at home or using Superchargers, owning a Tesla can offer cost efficiencies and environmental benefits, making it a worthy consideration for the future of personal transportation.

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