Owning a Tesla is fantastic, but it has specific questions about EVs. Charging is the most pressing issue, and the question is whether you should charge your Tesla slowly. I’m a mechanic and will give you the information you need to charge in the best way possible.
Charging your Tesla slowly will improve your battery life; Tesla recommends charging your car daily at home and only Supercharge when necessary.
In this article, we’ll look at the benefits of charging slowly and some negatives involved.
Charging Your Tesla Slowly
Tesla recommends that your car is charged daily at home. They also suggest that you keep the range between 20 – 80%. But does charging your Tesla slowly actually benefit your car, or does it even matter?
Your Tesla is powered by Lithium-Ion batteries. They perform better if they are charged at a constant temperature. The slower the charge, the lower the temperature.
However, slower charging takes longer, so the battery works harder for the same amount of charge. This is especially true if you are using a 120V Level 1 charger. Although the batteries are not getting hot, they are heating to a specific temperature over a much extended period, so battery degradation is occurring.
|3-4 Days||6 – 25 hours||30 minutes|
|1-2 miles / hour||1-2 miles/hour||170 miles in 30 mins|
For many owners, the 120V is insufficient to charge your car for daily driving. If you are doing a commute of 60-80 miles per day, then Level 1 is not going to give you enough charge overnight.
The better option is the 240V Level 2. This is a better choice for slower charging without generating the heat that a Supercharger creates.
The older your Tesla, the less efficient the battery becomes. This is a pretty standard phenomenon for Li-Ion batteries. (Smartphones work on the same basis).
Over time some of the cells die off. The warranty on your Tesla battery is different for each model.
|Model 3||Model X||Model Y||Model S|
|8 Yrs / 120,000 miles||8 Yrs / 150,000 miles||8 Yrs / 120,000 miles||8 Yrs / 150,000 miles|
However, you might run into battery problems before then because of how you charge. If your battery is still under warranty and no longer charging to the correct capacity, I would advise making an appointment with Tesla Service Center.
They won’t replace the complete battery but will switch out dead cells. But they also can check if you have been neglecting your charging process.
Having charging issues with your Tesla? Check out the following posts:
How Often Do You Use Your Tesla?
Most drivers use their Tesla every day, and the length of their commute will determine the charging schedule.
If you only occasionally use your Tesla, you must keep a regular charge in your battery. Overheating of the battery is damaging but equally damaging, allowing the charge to go below 20%. Even though you’re not using your Tesla, it still needs the power to check the system’s health.
Your Tesla could require 1% per day of battery use depending on climate (very hot or very cold could use more). The most common reason for your Tesla to reach 0% is lack of use because it’s a secondary car or on a prolonged vacation.
If your Tesla use is sporadic, you should have it plugged in permanently with at least a 120V charger. This will preserve the life of your battery.
If you regularly allow the battery to discharge completely and run into problems with your Tesla, that Tesla can easily check your onboard computer. It is, after all, a large computer with wheels, and you will be charged accordingly for the cell damage.
As discussed, the recommended charging schedule from Tesla is to keep your battery level between 20 and 80% and to charge daily from home.
But I know what you’re asking… I have a Tesla with Free Supercharging, so why would I not avail of this? And you’re right to ask because Free Supercharging is not something that is offered widely anymore.
Free Supercharging is not transferable from pre-2017 cars; even the original Model S40 didn’t offer it as standard. Plenty of Teslas are still out there with the original owner who can avail of the free Supercharge.
Free is free. Well, yes, but you must consider how this affects your battery. When Tesla launched in 2012, it also launched the Supercharge Network. Musk didn’t want Tesla owners to be confined to one area. The Supercharge Network spans the length and breadth of the States.
But the truth is that Supercharging your Tesla regularly is not good for your battery life. Home charging uses AC power, but Superchargers use DC power. This is why we can reach 170 miles in just 30 minutes of charging.
But charging using DC produces a lot of heat. And Supercharging regularly, over time, degrades your battery. Your onboard computers have a battery-saving component that will only charge to 90% if conditions are unacceptable.
The less you Supercharge, the longer your battery will retain its ability to hold a full charge. Only so many charging cycles are available in your Tesla life; whether this is achieved through Level 1 or Supercharge doesn’t matter.
On the upside, Tesla is constantly upgrading their systems, and the battery that is in a 2012 S is nowhere near as good as a 2022 model.
Overall, charging your Tesla slowly is better for your battery life, but Supercharging is sometimes necessary if you’re on a trip.
The occasional Supercharge is not going to cause too much damage.
Here are a few common questions folks ask about Teslas:
- Can you charge a Tesla with Jumper Cables?
- Are Tesla tires all season?
- What to do if Tesla has a flat?
I’ve written a ton on common Tesla issues, which hopefully you won’t ever experience, but if you do, we have you covered with these posts:
Check out the Tesla charging page for common Tesla charging problems.
Check out the Tesla troubleshooting page for problem Teslas.
Check out the Tesla category page for a list of popular Tesla posts.
If you are curious about other EV models, check out the EV FAQ category.
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