Living with a Tesla #1 – Charging for daily use

teslachargingIn this series of short blogs, I’m going to talk of our experiences living with a Tesla Model S P85D for the past 15 months and 40,000km. I’m not going to wrap this in cotton wool. I’ll be honest about the pluses and minuses of being an early adopter.

So let’s deal with the first thing everyone asks – how long does it take to charge? That’s not really the right question so let’s change it ever so slightly… How long do I spend charging the car? For comparison, let’s start with…

How long do you spend filling your fossil-fuelled car?

You see, as a driver of an ICE* one cares about how long it takes to refuel the car. Of course one does, because you have to detour to a service station (which in my experience very few still offer a service) and then you literally stand there with your hand on it, ahem, the pump,  for several minutes whilst you refuel it. In that time one gets to enjoy all manner of delights from burning your hands on the pump from the heat, to freezing your hands because it’s so cold, to getting soaking wet, all the while you’re breathing carcinogenic fumes. You can’t wait for it to end. And finally when one hears that glorious click of the pump turning off, you get to trudge inside and join a queue of unhappy people waiting to pay for the privilege. [EDIT: I am just taking the mickey here!]

Finally, once all done you get to go back on the road, and re-join the route you were travelling. You’ve probably wasted ten to fifteen minutes of your life that you will never get back again. And because the experience is such a bad one, you will do everything possible to delay going back to the servo for as long as possible. But a few days or a week later one must repeat the process.

And you just have to accept this, you have no real alternative.

So how long do I spend charging my car?

About 20 seconds is the honest answer.

I get home. I grab the charger and plug-in the car. I go inside and see my gorgeous wife. In the morning I go out to the car, unplug it and I’m on my way.

It’s a great user experience – don’t you wish you could drink wine in front of an open fire with your significant other whilst you refueled your car (WARNING – Please do not light a fire at the servo – it won’t end well)!

Oh, before you ask, I don’t have any special fast-charging equipment installed – I’m just using a standard power-point which charging when home for the night is enough to cover all my daily driving needs and then some (I drive around 80km/day).

Another way to think about it is that it’s just the same as your mobile phone. You plug it in when you go to bed and in the morning it’s charged and you unplug it. Ready for another day.

You can’t let it go can you?

Okay, you haven’t shifted your paradigm yet and still want to know how long it takes – even though it mostly doesn’t matter.

Only when you’re on a road trip and travelling more than 500 or so kilometres in a day do you need to know, and how long it takes to charge varies greatly depending on how you’re charging; from, Superchargers to destination chargers, to public chargers, to fast home chargers, to an everyday power point.

Today’s blog is about daily driving.  I’ll soon post about road tripping, autopilot, Insane mode and more.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Or if you’ve got specific questions I can answer them in a future blog.


If you like this blog and wish to purchase a Tesla, use this link mark8478 to receive a $1400 (USD1000) credit towards your Tesla purchase.


*ICE (Internal Combustion Engine), an uncomplimentary term for fossil fuel powered vehicles


Filed under Tesla, Uncategorized

19 responses to “Living with a Tesla #1 – Charging for daily use

  1. John

    Looking forward to future blogs. Thanks

  2. Paul

    I’ve never yet burnt my hand or frozen it or got wet putting petrol into car or bike. And the time it takes putting petrol into a bike is negligible while the time standing there gets circulation back into my legs.
    I maintain you’re overstating your case on this.
    Sure, you plug your car in for the night but that’s just it, it’s there for the night. No late night blats out on a whim for you.

    • And why not? Just unplug and go for your late-night drive. Plug-in again when you get back. Yes, the refueling downsides were exaggerated, but the point is that you no longer need to make these trips to the gas station at all. Except for long-distance road trips the car is charged when it would be parked in your garage or driveway anyway. You effectively lose no time whatsoever with everyday charging at home. It is different with the cars that have more limited range, but the blog is about a Tesla.

    • Happy Tesla 'driver'


  3. Ash

    my car cost about £20k gbp and your car cost upwards of £70k gbp….. The benefits you have outlined above does not justify £50 gbp’s

    Ps – nice blog all the same, would like to follow as considering the M3

    • Hey Ash
      Thanks, glad you liked it! This blog wasn’t about comparative costs; rather, convenience when recharging. I’ll add a cost comparison topic to the blog list for later 🙂
      And do pop back. A lot of what I’ll share will apply equally to the Model 3.

    • KD

      It a fair comparison. A Tesla is considered a “Luxury” model. When compared to others of the same category, there are cost savings compared to gasoline expenses.
      When the Model 3 is abailable, it will compare with your wonderful car.

      • Peter T

        I agree with KD’s sentiments here Ash, as Tesla has been reviewed/ compared previously with what is considered an equivalent ICE vehicle in terms of performance and luxury (e.g. Audi A7/A8, or a Mercedes S-Class, or BMW 7 Class). I have just had a quick look at the Audi and BMW indicative pricing in the UK, and it would appear that these cars alone are in about the same price range that you have quoted. When you take into account the longer-term cost of fuel and maintenance, then I suspect there will be no comparison to the long-term value that a Tesla offers up front … not only on the hip pocket … but in the significant cost saving (not easily quantifiable in pounds/pence or dollars/cents) on the environment also. The convenience that Mark has posted about operating his Tesla is just daily icing on the cake. That’s how I see it anyway. Cheers Peter

  4. Rolls

    So how long does it take to charge…. you never actually said.

    • Hi Rolls

      it depends on many factors. The main two being how you are charging (Supercharger to power point and everything in between) and current state of charge (batteries charge fastest when empty and slow down as they ‘fill up’). The other thing to consider is you shouldn’t charge a battery to 100% very often – just when you actually need ALL the range.

      I’ll go into detail in a future blog; however, it’s often easiest to talk about charging at X km of range per hour of charging. On a Supercharger you can charge at up to ~550km/h. On a CHAdeMO about 275km/h. If you’ve got dual chargers onboard you can add ~110km/h at 3ph outlets, single charger cars ~55km/h and your standard power point a paltry 10km/h (which as noted is enough for my daily driving).

      The important thing to note is that when at home your car will be charged sufficiently for the next day and when travelling, around 20-30mins on a Supercharger is enough to get you to the next supercharger a few hours down the road.

      Hope that helps for now. Details to follow in a future blog!


  5. Gaetano

    the main concern about recharging is not how much time it takes in a daily commute scenario but how long it takes to recharge when you are going for a road-trip (i.e. for a full charge when you are not at home) and more importantly, will I find a suitable place to recharge a full charge – hotel car parks don’t necessarily have power plugs available for you to use. The issue is that you need to plan your trip around recharging instead of relying on finding a fuel station which is not usually a concern.

    • Hi Gaetano

      we just finished a totally unplanned, jump in the car and drive, 4500km road trip – although we used the supercharger network between Melbourne and Brisbane – so it was easy.

      At Easter we will head over to Adelaide. We expect Ballarat Supercharger will be open so we’ll drive to Horsham, stay overnight recharging at the Horsham International, and drive in to Adelaide and on to Burra the next day.

      Later this year Superchargers will be also open in Horsham and Keith.

      The serious planning is really only required when travelling way off the Supercharger routes when you’re time limited – but that’s just me – I’m paid to plan at work so when on my time I love just winging it :-).

      • Doni

        How much does it cost to use a supercharger or is that free ?

      • Hi Doni

        Completely free for cars that were ordered their cars before 1 January this year.

        Tesla recently changed this so you new owners get (I think) 1000kw/h free each year. That’s around 4000km. They did this because some owners were using their local Superchargers for all their charging and it was creating long queues at some places. This encourages people to charge at home for daily driving and use the Supercharger network for travels.

  6. tommo224

    I live in an apartment and have street parking only.. so the “how much time does it take to charge” question is still very relevant to me, if I need to source somewhere else to charge..

    Basically, I can’t justify the purchase of a Model S for this reason!

    • Hi Tommo
      I understand your concern and have lived through it. Our first nine months with the Tesla we lived in an apartment in Kirri with a single (unpowered) garage I shared with my wife’s AMG.
      I found a public carpark (Sydney Council, Goulburn St Sydney) that had free charging for electric cars and would charge there each day whilst at work. And when we were going on road trips we would stop off at St. Leonards Supercharger before we left.
      There’s also now plenty of Secure Parking and other carparks that have Tesla chargers installed. Use this link to see where there are Tesla Destination Chargers installed,166.7429167,-51.6633232,100.0911072?search=supercharger,destination%20charger,&name=Australia


      • Doni

        Do other makes and models of battery powered cars use the Tesla Supercharger as well or is it exclusive to Tesla?

      • The Tesla Superchargers are exclusive to Tesla. Most BEVs would not cope with the high charging rates.

        I understand Tesla has offered the network to other manufacturers if they share the cost – so far none have taken it up.

        Kinda like Tesla have said anyone can use their extensive patents to create other EVs but no-one has taken them up (that I’m aware of)

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