The Tesla Charging Experience

This is part of a series that covers my experience with a Tesla Model Y.

It’s been a little over two weeks, and the odometer shows about 600 miles. Quite a bit, since we were gone for 5 days out of town without the car. We’ve driven most days, but not all of them, and the charging experience has been interesting.

This was a capture recently of the main screen after a trip to town:


If you look closely, this is plugged into a 110/120V circuit, pulling 12A, and charging at 5mi/hr. Since a trip to town is 25 miles for me (roundtrip), this means it takes about 5 hours to recharge.

That’s slightly deceiving as I still have over 250mi of range after a trip to town. These trips usually use about 6% of my battery, but that means I could drive this without charging for over a week back and forth each day without issue.

Well, the car would be fine. I might be a little concerned.

Catching Up After Delivery

We definitely had range anxiety after the first day of driving. We picked up the car and went over 100 miles. When I plugged in at home, the car said it would be over 24 hours to recharge.

That’s disconcerting, but unlike a quick fill up at a gas station, I can keep recharging each day. While we hadn’t recovered back to a 90% charge before I drove it to the gym the next day, across 3-4 days, we did recover while also driving the car. Each overnight charging session got us a little closer to 90%, with some loss during the day from driving.

It’s a weird feeling, but I’m getting used to relaxing about the charging.

Maintaining 88%

For most of these 2 weeks, I’ve had the max charge set to 88%. Tesla doesn’t recommend going to 100% unless you have a long trip the next day. I see all sorts of recommendations from 70-90, and I ended up at 88%, mostly because the granularity on the slider in the app isn’t great and I got close enough and decided to stop there.

Almost every night I catch back up 88% after a trip or two each day to town. My wife takes it to do a few errands and some friends have wanted rides, so we sometimes get 50-80 miles of usage in a day, but rarely multiple days in a row.

If the car hasn’t recharged to 88% before I drive it one morning, it usually does by the next day.

Better Charging

I was worried about recharging before I started tracking my mileage. Since then I’ve relaxed a bit, but mostly for the next month or so. In November the weather changes, and since I’ll be coaching again, there will be more trips during the week, and some longer ones to tournaments. Plus, ski season will start and I wouldn’t be surprised if we drove 100-150 miles one day for coaching and then wanted to go 200 to ski the next.

I purchased a Tesla Wall Charger in August, but have been waiting for an electrician to come out to install it. This is a small job, and ultimately, it only took the team of 2 about 15 minutes to get it hooked up.

I went from this:


to this:


Charging went up as well:


At this rate, a completely empty battery, which I wouldn’t want, could go from 0-80 in about 6 hours. That’s likely an overnight charge any day of the year for me, since I’m rarely out late.

I don’t know that we need it, but the US$500 for the charger is worth some piece of mind. The install was $250, but with the 30% tax credit, we would likely get most of that back, so really it’s a $500 investment for me.

The Bottom Line

As I noted in the charging post, I think a 110V charging solution would work most of the time. At least, after tracking my mileage I think that. However, that’s summer, and I know that my pattern of driving is different in the winter.

The Tesla charger seems like a good investment to me, but I had a setup that made this a relatively cheap install. If your breaker box isn’t close to the garage, this could cost more and a few people have said their cost was closer to $500-1000 for an install on top of the charger cost.

We’ll see how I feel about the investment over time as I track our trips and mileage, but so far, charging hasn’t been an issue. Hopefully my range anxiety will lesson.

The other bottom line is the cost of driving. Using a few apps (I’m testing them), it seems that I use about 3.5kW to get to town and back. With my current power rates, that’s about $0.45 for the trip. In the BMW, it’s about a $3.80-$4.00 trip right now. If we still had the Prius, this would still be about a $2.00 trip.

It takes a long time to get a payback for that on a $50,000 car, but it certainly is a dramatic savings over what I was paying in the BMW to go to the gym.

A video of this post is available as well.

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3 Responses to The Tesla Charging Experience

  1. Glenn Berry says:

    I’m guessing you have the 3rd Gen Tesla Wall Connector that has Wi-Fi for firmware updates and usage data tracking capability (which would be another thing for you to measure and track)


  2. way0utwest says:

    I’m assuming I do. Mine did connect to wifi, but I haven’t tried to get data from it. I am experimenting with Teslamate, so we’ll see what I think after using that a bit.


  3. Pingback: Range Anxiety is Easing | Voice of the DBA

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