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, four-wheel drive, and multiple battery options for varying driving ranges.

Official WLTP Range

Tesla Model S Long Range
375 miles

Tesla Model S Performance
365 miles

Real-world Range

Tesla Model S Long Range
356 miles

Tesla Model S Performance
347 miles

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
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 Long Range. 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
40 mins
6 hours
14 hours
33 hours


The Tesla Model S is fitted with a 16.5 kW on-board charger as standard which covers all applications apart from rapid DC charging. This means that even when connected to a fast charger with a rated output above 16.5 kW, the Model S will only be able to charge at up to 16.5 kW. Models built before May 2016 will have an 11 kW or 22 kW on-board charger depending on specification.

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 Long Range’s 100 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
Home16 p/kWh£16.004.5 p/mile
Public Rapid30 p/kWh to 80% charge£24.008.4 p/mile
Supercharger24 p/kWh to 80% charge£19.206.7 p/mile


Based on these figures, the Tesla Model S Long Range’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. Model S drivers get a free allocation per year, and then typically pay 24p/kWh, other than those early customers who benefit from free Supercharging.

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. Major charging networks include bp pulse, GeniePoint, GRIDSERVE, InstaVolt, Osprey, Pod Point and ubitricity.

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 some 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.