In which we explore some charging possibilities for your Tesla Model 3.
When purchasing an electric vehicle, the biggest worry for approximately 99% of the would-be owner base is range. Right? Or maybe it's some charging concern. Like charging at home perhaps?
We all live in different areas with different supercharging and/or public charging options available. To most, the readily available power source in your garage warrants the question: can you drive your Tesla Model 3 with charging from just your wall outlet? The short answer is yes. But there's more to it. With different usages and commutes undertaken by owners each day, we'll be concentrating on the median value that represents most Model 3 owners.
The daily commute
Let's say your daily commute is some 50 miles (80 kilometers). This represents a value of a distance from Long Beach to Downtown LA, Yonkers to Brooklyn, or for example, Starnberg to Munich. All of these represent routes that are easily trekked every day, they represent a healthy commute distance for upper-mid-level house incomes and a stable daily commute that doesn't change in mileage or road gradient in any significant way. To most, this will be the maximum daily commute they undertake, while many will not travel nearly as far.
Tesla Model 3 LA to Las Vegas on a single charge (source: Larry Benjamin)
Potential Charging Setup Issues
As witnessed in the video below, the main problem for most users will be the hardware itself. First, the Model 3 comes with a short charging cable. Yes, you can always use a power cord extension line or purchase the longer, Tesla Motors authorized cable, but it's doable even with the short, OEM Model 3 charging cable. We're going by the belief you have your own garage and that you can access your power socket without any issues. While you may have to back up your Model 3 to give it a more accessible charging angle, this shouldn't be a problem thanks to the Model 3's rear parking camera setup.
Once plugged in, the main issue you'll most certainly encounter is the quality of your garage's home wiring setup. For some, finding the right socket will be the first obstacle that they need to overcome. After this is set and you have a stable power source charging your vehicle, the issues are seemingly all gone.
What You "Need To Know" Before Buying A Home Charging Station
While some say that connecting your Tesla Model 3 to a standard 110v plug is as practical as refilling a gas car’s tank with an eye dropper, it is doable. Called "trickle charging", the Level 1 charging uses the standard 110/120V electric outlet. Used by most home electronics, this setup gives you at least 2 miles of Tesla range per hour of charging (and as many as 4 miles) depending on a myriad of variables. This means that on an average, a Tesla Model 3 will get a bare minimum of 25 miles (40 kilometers) of range with a single, 12 hour night charge.
While this is only half of the commute range mentioned above, you're basing your figures off of a fully charged Model 3 to begin with. A full charge for a Model 3 gives you a range of 270+ miles and you're essentially only topping off each night. While it would take you a full four days of charging on a 120V plug to fully charge the car, if divided into a complete work week, that relates to a rather good minimum 125 miles of added range, just based off your overnight home charging - per week.
Will It Be Enough?
As with most things in life, it depends. If you're using your home charger and topping off every possible night, plugging in your vehicle every time you get home, you will easily be able to do your daily commute for an entire week. However, using a home plug solution with at least two visits to a supercharger weekly will make things a lot easier. Naturally, you won't be using your Model 3 just for the daily commute, as that car is fun to drive and you'll definitely want to drive it more. In the end, it all comes down to personal preferences, organization and character. But, you can most certainly pull it off.
The Good, The Bad And The Funny
The best aspect of home charging is that there's no extra cost. After all, every Tesla owner gets the 110/120V home adapter with their vehicle and home outlets, well, they come with your home. That means you can charge your Tesla Model 3 with a standard 120V residential outlet with a trickle charging adapter without any issues. But there's a reason why its nicknamed "trickle charging". On the other hand, for most users, the Time-Of-Use (TOU) rates will mean lower charging costs if their Regulated Price Plan is set up to the 7 PM - 7 AM off-peak hours.
The bad is clearly, the charging time.
The funny is the way we use our appliances. As Model 3 owners, most users will find themselves in a place where they plug in their smartphone, laptop and now, their car, in order to meet the demand for their power usage the next day. With more and more cars going electric, most of us will hit that panic mode where we forgot to plug in one of our devices after a long day and now, that one device may actually be the "appliance" that takes you to work the next day.
Tesla Model 3 at Destination Charging
Yes, charging your Model 3 - as you will see from the video below - is fully doable with just your regular 110/120V (or 220V in Europe) socket. However, the price of installing Level 2 charging is not that high and it allows you a lot faster charge times. Even in the United States, the most electrical in-house wiring is split into two directions: the 110V for lighting, small appliances and similar, followed by 240V for stoves, ovens and similar household items. With a Level 2 charger, you'll easily be able to charge between 9-52 miles of range per hour. The number varies greatly due to the maximum power output of the charger, maximum power intake of your Tesla and the maximum current capacity of your electrical panel.
But, even with the lowest number available, you're still getting close to 120 miles of range with a single overnight charge, almost completely negating the need to visit a Supercharger in most driving situations. If you're a Model 3 owner or a Model S owner that has to pay for Supercharging access and your home/building comes with Time-Of-Use (TOU) rates, the upgrade to Level 2 charging seems like a no-brainer.
What about a Supercharger at home? While there are persistent rumors of a secret home SuperCharger built in San Diego, there aren’t any home Superchargers. Why? The price of installing that much-dedicated electricity to your home equals a purchase of another Tesla Model S for the same amount of money.
Thanks to Ben Sullins from Teslanomics, you can see what a real-life showcase of Model 3 home charging looks like. Press play below and find whether home charging is a feasible solution for your situation.