Tesla Model S charging guide

tesla model s ev charging guide
 

Tesla’s Model S has long been the posterboy of the electric vehicle movement, with a high cost but a longer range available than any of the mainstream EVs. The Model S is a flexible model with seating for up to seven, a choice of two- or four-wheel drive, and multiple battery options for varying driving ranges.

Currently, the Model S is available with a choice of 75 or 100 kWh batteries – the former available in both single and dual motor specification, while the latter only comes with dual motors, though is available in Performance trim. Despite its high purchase cost, the Model S is still eligible for the Category 1 PiCG, with up to £3,500 available off the purchase price. Buyers will also likely be able to claim the £500 EVHS home charge point grant.


Official NEDC Range

Tesla Model S 75D
304 miles

Tesla Model S 100D
393 miles

Tesla Model S P100D
381 miles

Real-world Range

Tesla Model S 75D
243 miles

Tesla Model S 100D
314 miles

Tesla Model S P100D
304 miles

Next Green Car verdict: “Fast, flexible, and high tech, the Model S is an ideal executive saloon – with the added bonus that it’s electric.”


How to charge a Tesla Model S

tesla model s charging

The Tesla Model S uses the Type 2 charging standard, which is used for both AC and DC charging. The Type 2 inlet is used when charging at home or at public slow and fast AC points. It is also used to carry high power during rapid DC charging from a Type 2 connector. The Tesla Model S’s Type 2 inlet is found on the near-side rear 3/4 panel, close to where you would expect to find a petrol flap, though the Tesla opening is much smaller.

Tesla Model S is able to be slow, fast, and rapid charged from public points, depending on network and type of charge unit. In most cases, slow charging requires a 3-pin-to-Type 2 cable, and fast charging a Type 2-to-Type 2 cable, both of which are usually supplied with the vehicle. For rapid charging, the Type 2 connector required is tethered to the charging unit.

Type 2 – Slow & FastTesla Supercharger – Rapid
type2-connector
tesla supercharger

 

Charging on AC or DC requires the EV driver to plug the connectors into the correct inlet, after which the car then ‘talks’ to the charging unit to make sure there is a power supply, that there are no faults, and that it is safe to start charging. If charging at private home or workplace charge point, the vehicle then automatically starts charging.

On a public charger, an activation process is required to initiate charging. Depending on the network provider, this may require the use of an RFID card or smartphone app, often linked to an account which has been set up beforehand. Contactless pay-as-you-go units are also becoming more common on newer units. Once activated, the units will conduct further connection and account checks before starting to charge the vehicle.


How long does it take to charge a Tesla Model S?

tesla model s charging times

The following table shows approximate times to charge a Tesla Model S 75. Times are for a 100% charge for all but rapid charging, which is quoted for 0-80% as most rapid chargers reduce or cut power well before 100% charge to protect the battery and maximise efficiency.

Note that the times shown are only a guide, as very rarely will an EV need to be fully charged from 0%. Other factors that might vary the charging time include ambient temperature, in-vehicle energy loads, any upper and lower charge restrictions to extend battery life and protect against potential damage, and charging rates slowing down as the maximum charge is reached.


Rapid 120kW
Supercharger
Fast
22kW
Fast
7kW
Slow
3kW
40 mins
0-80%
3.5 hours
0-100%
11 hours
0-100%
25 hours
0-100%

 

The Tesla Model S is fitted with a 22 kW on-board charger as standard which covers all applications apart from Rapid DC Supercharging. This means that the Tesla will accept the maximum output of any fast charger, since there are no units that have an output greater than 22 kW.

Use Zap-Map’s Home Charging Calculator to estimate charging times for a Tesla Model S. The level of battery charge, connector speed, and on-board charger options can be tailored to your requirements for more accurate results.

 

How much does it cost to charge a Tesla Model S?

The table shown below shows estimates of the cost to charge the Tesla Model S’s 75 kWh battery at home (on a domestic tariff) or using a rapid charge point. Cost estimates are dependent on the charge remaining, usable battery capacity, and age of battery pack. Cost per mile is calculated using an estimate of real-world range.


TypeCost/kWhCost to chargeCost per mile
Home14 p/kWh£10.504.4 p/mile
Public Rapid30 p/kWh to 80% charge£18.007.6 p/mile

 

Based on these figures, the Tesla Model S 75’s fuel costs are 4-8 p/mile based on real-world energy usage, the cost depending on the type of charging. In general, home charging provides the cheapest per mile cost and public rapid charging tends to be around double the cost. These fuel costs compare favourably with 12-15 p/mile for conventional petrol and diesel cars.

Tesla drivers benefit from a bespoke Supercharger network that can only be used by the company’s models. Tesla’s bought before the 15th January 2017 and built by 15th April 2017 have free unlimited use of the network.

TypeCost/kWhCost to chargeCost per mile
SuperchargerFreeFreeN/A
Supercharger20p p/kWh£125.8 p/mile

Those cars bought and/or built from the above dates onward have a free allowance of 400 kWh of Supercharger credits each year, and then will be charged a set fee of 20p per kWh.

To find the cost and times to charge an EV on a public charge point, Zap-Map’s Public Charging Calculator calculates charging costs for any new or used plug-in vehicle. The results can be personalised for different electricity costs and the level of charge required.

Charging a Tesla Model S at home

tesla model s home charging

Charging at home is often the most convenient and cost effective way to recharge an EV. Government grants are available for the installation of home EV charge points, and a large number of companies offer a fully installed charge point for a fixed price.

Most home chargers are either rated at 3 kW or 7 kW. The higher powered wall-mounted units normally cost more than the slower 3 kW option, but halve the time required to fully charge an EV. Many plug-in car manufacturers have deals or partnerships with charge point suppliers, and in some cases provide a free home charge point as part of a new car purchase. Zap-Map recommends shopping about beforehand as there are a number of suitable products on the market.

Charging a Tesla Model S on public networks

tesla model s public charging

The UK has a large number of public EV charging networks, with some offering national coverage and others only found in a specific region. The major UK-wide networks include BP Chargemaster (POLAR), Ecotricity, Pod Point, and Charge Your Car. Tesla’s Supercharger network is also available for Model S drivers, providing ultra-rapid charging.

Payment and access methods across networks vary, with some networks providing an RFID card and others a smartphone app to use their services. While most require an account to be set up before use, some rapid units with contactless PAYG card readers are starting to be installed.

Although many EV charge points are free to use, the majority of fast and rapid chargers require payment. Charging tariffs tend to comprise a flat connection fee, a cost per charging time (pence per hour) and/or a cost per energy consumed (pence per kWh). For more information about network tariffs, visit Zap-Map’s public charge point networks guides.


tesla model s driving

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