So, you’re getting a Tesla and you’re thinking now about how you’re going to charge it. Many Tesla owners don’t have the ability to charge at home and will have to rely on public chargers and perhaps workplace charging, but most owners will use some form of home charging. This could be from a dedicated Tesla home charger installation, or you might end up using a dryer outlet to charge your Tesla.
In this article, I’m going to run through a variety of Tesla home charger options and how much it costs to have them installed. This will include:
- Tesla Home Charging Options
- “Trickle charging” on a normal electricity outlet
- Faster charging on a 240V dryer outlet
- Charging two Teslas on one 240V outlet
- Installing a Tesla home charger
- Installing a Tesla Supercharger at your home (just kidding)
- Tesla Home Charging Station Cost
- Rebates & Tax Credits
- Advantages of Charging at Home
Tesla Home Charging Options
Option #1: Tesla Level 1 Home Charging
It seems appropriate to put the most basic “Level 1” charging option at #1. This involves just plugging your car into a normal 120V outlet — the same type you use to plug in your TV, computer, or lamp. There is no need to install anything with this option, so the setup cost is $0. You just plug your home Tesla charger into a wall outlet and then plug in your car when you want to charge.
This is commonly called “trickle charging” because you’re essentially just trickling electricity into the car at a very slow rate — about 3 to 4 miles per hour. For some owners, this is all they need. Others need to charge up more quickly between drives and decide to go with a Tesla-compatible “Level 2” charger installation or at least use a 240V dryer outlet to charge faster than on a 120V outlet.
I personally use a normal Level 1 electricity outlet for my Tesla Model 3 SR+, but I also seem to drive a bit less than the average American, I work from home (or anywhere), and I have free public Level 2 chargers and even a Tesla Supercharging station nearby — so it’s easy for me to get an extra, faster charge from time to time when I could use one. Charging needs depend on an individual’s circumstances, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! That said, data I’ve seen on the topic indicate that most Tesla drivers who have home charging use something stronger than Level 1 trickle charging.
Option #2: Use Dryer Outlet for Tesla
This is nearly as easy as option #1. Naturally, you need access to a 240V outlet (like a dryer outlet), not just a basic 120V electricity outlet. You also need a Tesla dryer adapter. Importantly, there are a variety of different plug types (NEMA 10-30, NEMA 14-30, NEMA 14-50, etc.) — a 240V outlet is not as uniform as a 120V plug. Luckily, you are not one of the first 100 Tesla buyers, and not even one of the first 100,000 Tesla buyers. With around 2 million Teslas now on the road, we’re hitting a scale where even these types of quirks and product needs have been solved and made simple. For example, you can go here to find the exact 240 volt outlet splitter you need to share your dryer outlet for Tesla level 2 charging for your dryer/electricity outlet.
There are a few things that I absolutely love about this option.
First of all, the quicker charging speed relative to 120V charging is notable, and it can be super helpful or even critical for some people’s charging and driving needs. Instead of adding 3 to 4 miles of driving range per hour, you can add 15 to 30 miles per hour. As I noted above, I use 120V trickle charging for my Model 3, but that’s because I don’t have a 240V outlet in my garage or anywhere near it. If I had a 240V outlet, no doubt about it, I’d use that outlet to charge my Model 3 SR+.
Secondly, even if your 240V outlet is already in use, you can add a Tesla charging station to it via the NeoCharge Smart Splitter. Yes, a dryer (or other appliance) and a Tesla Model 3, Model Y, Model S, or Model X can share a dryer plug to get faster charging. In fact, its splitter is smart enough that when both your dryer and Tesla are plugged in, whenever you need to use your dryer, the Smart Splitter will automatically pause your Tesla charging and will resume when the dryer is finished. It’s self-installable in minutes and you can use your Tesla Mobile Connector that your Teslacar comes with.
Cost: $0 if you have a free dryer outlet, $499 for the NeoCharge Smart Splitter.
Option #3: Charge Two Teslas on One Outlet
Continuing on the topic of using a 240V electricity outlet, if the outlet is in use because you already have an electric car and have a Level 2 charging station plugged into it, you can use the 240V NeoCharge Smart Splitter to put another charging station (two in total) on the same outlet. Then you can choose to charge both of your EVs at the same time at half power.
Importantly, there’s no Tesla home charger installation cost with this option! The cost of a Tesla charger installation is not cheap. Additionally, if you get a charger installed, you may need to upgrade your electric panel capacity, which can add a couple thousand more dollars to the cost. If you can pop a Smart Splitter into an existing outlet and avoid both charger installation costs and a potential electricity panel upgrade, then you can potentially save a lot of money.
Cost: The NeoCharge Smart Splitter costs $449.
Option #4: Install Tesla Charger in Garage
As already noted, choosing to install a Level 2 Tesla charger in your garage is the highest cost option of this trio. It is something that many Tesla owners do, though. Tesla charger installation cost can vary greatly depending on the layout of your garage, the existing power capacity of your home, the wiring work that’s needed, and your regional market (the cost of living, and thus of electrician services, is different in Silicon Valley than it is in a small rural town).
Nonetheless, answering the question of how much it costs to install a Tesla charger as broadly and usefully as possible, in general, a Tesla charger installation typically costs somewhere between $1000 and $7000+. That is just the installation cost, not including the cost of the Tesla charger itself. (Of course, in some cases, extra complicated or difficult installs could cost thousands more. There are surely some wild and interesting edge cases out there.)
A $500 Tesla home charger can add up to 44 miles per hour (70 km per hour) to your car’s driving range, but that will again depend on your electricity panel, wiring, and model.
Tesla Home Charging Station Cost
The Cost Of Installing A Tesla Level 2 Charging Station
So, if you want to go all the way and install a Tesla home charging station in your garage, that’s likely to come at a cost of $1000 to $7000. That includes $500 for the Tesla home charger and another $500 to $6500 in installation costs, depending on the home’s existing power capacity and wiring.
Why the big differences in overall cost? First of all, there’s regional variation for these sorts of costs. In some areas, an electrician will cost notably more than in other areas. Also, depending on the location and capacity of your electricity panel and your wiring needs to get from the panel to the electricity outlet location, installation costs will be higher or lower. If you need a lot of wiring, expect a higher cost.
The Cost Of Semi-Fast Charging with 240V Outlet
Being a good middle option on both speed and cost, many Tesla owners will simply use a 240V outlet. By hooking up to a 240V outlet, you can skip expensive wiring and installation costs. If you have a free outlet, no extra charge is needed. If your 240V outlet is already in use, though, and you don’t want to unplug and plug in whatever appliances are using it on a regular basis, you can get a smart splitter for $499. You can also take advantage of the “smart features” to track power usage, energy cost, and charge two electric cars on one outlet.
The Cost Of Trickle Charging
The cost to just trickle charge (not including the electricity itself) is again $0. To repeat, trickle charging is just plugging into the most common electricity outlet. Unless you need to add an electricity outlet at the place where you park (in which case it would probably make more sense to add a 240V outlet anyway), then there is no cost for this option.
Rebates & Tax Credits
One thing to keep in mind, though, is that there are various utility rebates out there (even up to 50% of the cost of the charger as well as installation) and there’s the 30% federal tax credit available for EV charging stations and installation (up to $1000 combined).
What is an EV charging station? An EV charging station is a piece of equipment that connects to an electricity supply (either hardwired into the building or plugged into an outlet) and then also connects to an electric car to send that electricity into the car’s battery.
Do I need an EV charging station to charge a car? If you want to charge your electric car at home then yes. An EV charging station will charge your car faster, you can also just plug into a normal electricity outlet (120V or 240V) and charge that way.
Is a home EV charging station safe, or will it burn down my house? Home EV charging stations are mostly certified by safety regulation bodies to ensure an extremely high standard of safety. Many are Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) or Intertek (ETL) certified. Check a charger’s certification before purchasing to be sure.
Will charging my car at home make my electric bill explode? When you plug an electric car into a 120V electricity outlet or 240V outlet, it can’t pull more power than a computer or fridge or something else plugged into such an outlet. Only so much power can go through at a time. So, you don’t need to worry about a huge spike in electricity usage and something like super expensive peak demand charges. As far as total electricity cost, an electric powertrain is 3-4 times more efficient than a gasoline-based powertrain, so an EV driver uses much less total energy than a gas-car driver. In general, “fuel costs” when driving electric are much lower than fuel costs when driving a gas car.
How long does it take to charge an electric car? The amount of time it takes to charge a car depends on how much electricity you need to add and how quickly the electricity can flow into your car using the outlet or station you’re using. Without getting into the weeds of volts and amps and all that, the short story is that:
- Level 1 charging adds 3–4 miles per hour.
- Level 2 charging adds 15–45 miles per hour.
- Level 3 charging adds 100–300 miles per hour.
How do I install a Tesla charger? If you have a 240V outlet then you can share it with your Tesla Mobile Connector by using a NeoCharge Smart Splitter. Generally speaking, if you’re looking to hardwire a charger you should not try to install this on your own. A licensed electrician should be hired for this job.
This article is supported by NeoCharge.
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