Tesla charging guide

How do you charge a Tesla and how long does it take?

Whether you’re charging your Tesla at home or via the Supercharger network, here’s everything you need to know about the process.

Cazoo Editorial Team Byline Icon

By Cazoo editorial team

Published: 24th June 2022

Tesla builds some of the most desirable electric cars in the world. Its models are famous for their long battery ranges, fast acceleration and high-tech features –  and Tesla is the only car brand to offer its own network of rapid chargers, which it calls Superchargers.

You can choose from four new or used Tesla models: the Model 3, Model S, Model X and Model Y. Check out our guide to the Tesla range to help you decide which one is right for you.

Charging a Tesla is much the same as charging any other electric car, but there are a few things to watch for. Our guide has all the information, whether your Tesla is new or used, and whether you're charging at home or at a public charger.

Courtesy of Tesla, Inc.

Tesla charging cables

Every Tesla comes with either a Tesla Type 2 connector or a Tesla CCS (combined charging system)connector, which allows you to recharge the battery at home or when using the public charging network. 

While other electric cars use a Type 2 cable for slow charging, Tesla models use it for rapid charging via the Supercharger network. You might find that your used Tesla comes with an optional CCS or CHAdeMO (a less common cable for high-speed charging) adapter. These give you the option of using a charging station at, say, a hotel or tourist destination. Charging is slower than a Supercharger, but you might appreciate having access to a wider network of charge points.

In all Tesla models, the charging port is on the passenger side of the car, built into the back light fitting.

Courtesy of Tesla, Inc.

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Charging your Tesla at home

Charging at home is the easiest and most inexpensive way to charge a Tesla. For the quickest, safest and most convenient method of home charging, it makes sense to invest in a Tesla Wall Connector. It costs £425 (as of June 2022), but the fee to install it will vary.

The boxes can be fitted inside or outside but having access to off-street parking would make it ideal. Otherwise, you could fit a Wall Connector on the outside of your house and extend the cable to your parked Tesla but you should consult your local authority before trailing a cable across a pavement.

Another advantage of the Wall Connector is the ability to receive software updates via your home Wi-Fi network. Unlike many other cars, this means you don’t have to visit a dealer to ensure your car is using the latest software – and you won’t miss out on any of the new features Tesla introduces.

Courtesy of Tesla, Inc.

Charging your Tesla using the Supercharger network

Having access to the wide Supercharger network is one of the bonuses of owning a Tesla. There are more than 30,000 charging points at around 3,000 locations across the world, including approximately 800 Supercharger points in the UK.

Locating a Supercharger couldn’t be easier. Simply find a convenient charging point using the car’s infotainment system or Tesla’s smartphone app, then drive to the desired destination. Once there, you’ll find that Superchargers are equipped with Type 2 and CCS cables, both of which support DC rapid charging.

Courtesy of Tesla, Inc.

How long does it take to charge a Tesla

The Wall Connector charging speed varies by Tesla model and your power supply. As a guide, you can expect between 40 and 48 miles of travel for each hour of charging.

A Tesla is also supplied with a Tesla Mobile Connector – a basic charging cable for use with a domestic plug socket. The maximum charge rate of 2.3kW is very slow and it’s not recommended for regular use. It’s handy for emergencies, however, or when you’re staying with friends who don’t have a dedicated charge point. 

With speeds of up to 150kW (or 250kW via the latest V3 Superchargers), the Supercharger is one of the fastest methods of charging a Tesla. Other ultra-rapid chargers in the UK deliver power at 100kW or 150kW or even 350kW via the Ionity charging network. 

With a Supercharger, an 80% charge is possible in around 30 minutes, or you can add up to 172 miles of range in just 15 minutes. Almost all Supercharger stations are open 24 hours a day and many are near local amenities. This means you should be able to grab a bite to eat while you’re waiting for the battery to charge.

Courtesy of Tesla, Inc.

How much does it cost to charge a Tesla at home?

The cost of charging a Tesla at home will depend on your electricity tariff, but you’re likely to pay significantly less than you would at a public charging point. The average UK electricity price (as of June 2022) is 28p per unit, but many companies offer bespoke tariffs for electric car owners that could be more cost-effective.

Courtesy of Tesla, Inc.

How much does it cost to use a Tesla Supercharger?

The cost of using the Supercharger network varies according to location. As a guide, you can expect to pay around 28p per kWh. To encourage good charging etiquette, an idling fee is charged if a car is left at a Supercharger past its full charge being reached. The Tesla app will alert you when charging is complete, but you’ll be charged for every minute your car remains connected to the charger after your battery is full. 

As of June 2022, the idling fee is 50p per minute, rising to £1.00 per minute if the charging station is 100% occupied. The fee is waived if the vehicle is removed within five minutes.

From the start, the Supercharger network was only available to Tesla cars, but in May 2022 Tesla said it would allow owners of non-Tesla electric cars to use some of its UK sites as part of a pilot scheme. The trial covers 15 locations, giving access to a total of 158 Superchargers. Non-Tesla owners pay more for charging, however, at around 60p per kWh, although the cost varies by site. 

Courtesy of Tesla, Inc.

Charging your Tesla at public charging points

You can also charge a Tesla at a public charging point, such as a supermarket, car park or motorway services, using either the Type 2 cable or the CCS connector.

The cost of charging will depend on the charging network and tariff, but an 80% charge is likely to cost between £15 and £25, depending on the Tesla model in question.

How to charge a Tesla

With the car parked, press the button on the Tesla charge cable to open the port door on the passenger side of the car. (The door can also be opened via the touchscreen.) Push the connector into the charge point fully to begin charging. 

You can check the coloured lights for the status of the charge. Here’s what they mean:

  • White (or light blue): the charge port door is open

  • Blue: a connector has been plugged in

  • Blinking blue: the car is communicating with the connector

  • Blinking green: charging is in process

  • Solid green: charging is complete

  • Solid amber: the connector is not fully plugged in

  • Blinking amber: the car is charging at a reduced rate

  • Red: a fault has been detected and charging has stopped

Courtesy of Tesla, Inc.

Charging a used Tesla

If you have a used Tesla, all of the above still applies. Tesla offered free Supercharging on some of its earlier models but there’s no free Supercharging for any of its new cars. The availability and restrictions for free Supercharging changed frequently and are fairly complex. If you’re buying a used Tesla it’s unlikely to come with any free Supercharging – if in doubt there’s a dedicated page on the official Tesla website that gives you more details

Courtesy of Tesla, Inc.

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