How to Choose the Best Home Charging Solution for Your Tesla
A guide to help you make the best decision on how to charge your Tesla at home
Once you have decided that owning a Tesla is right for you, one of the first questions you might have is how you should charge your Tesla at home.
Tesla recommends the Tesla Wall Connector as the primary home charging solution based on faster charging speeds and convenience. The company also positions the Mobile Connector, which is included at no additional charge with every Tesla vehicle, as a capable backup solution if needed.
Residential charging is convenient and inexpensive and most EV owners charge at their home more than 80% of the time. Unfortunately not every home can accommodate an EV charger. For example, if you live in an apartment or you rely on street parking, home charging may not be an option.
In this post we’ll outline criteria to help determine whether you can charge an EV at home, review some of the most popular chargers and highlight what you need to consider before choosing the best home charging solution for your Tesla.
Step 1: Can You Charge an EV at Home?
The first thing you’ll want to do before choosing a home charging solution is to make sure your residence can even accommodate an EV charger.
1. Check Building and Regional Standards
If you live in a multi-dwelling unit such as a condo or apartment, you’ll need to ensure the building has the infrastructure and policies in place to support EV owners. If not, you will need to work with the board or property manager to get approval as there are a number of things to consider before EV chargers are installed such as the building’s electrical infrastructure and how to bill for use.
If you are considering installing a Level 2 charger and live in a house, you’ll want to confirm that your home is eligible for the installation of an EV charger by checking with your local government. Charger installations must comply with regional codes and regulations and may require you to apply for permits.
2. Make Sure You Have Parking Close to the Power Supply
If you don’t have suitable off street parking, charging at home might not be an option. If you do have parking on your property, check that the power outlet or wall-mounted charging station can be located close enough to your Tesla’s Charge Port to accommodate the cable length. Cable lengths typically run between 8 to 25 feet.
3. Check You Have Sufficient Electrical Supply
There needs to be sufficient electricity flowing into your home to support an EV charger. The minimum requirement is a standard 120-volt outlet for a Level 1 charger and 240-volt outlet for a Level 2 charger.
Step 2: Understand your Tesla Home Charger Options
Once you’ve confirmed that you can charge an EV at home, here are some popular charging options to consider.
Tesla Mobile Connector
Charge Type: Comes standard with all new Teslas as a Level 1 charger; can be transformed into a Level 2 charger with a NEMA 14-50 adapter that plugs into a 240 volt outlet.
Installation Requirements: None, can be plugged straight into a standard 120 volt outlet in your home or garage.
Cost: None, now comes standard with all new Teslas. An additional Tesla Mobile Connector can be purchased from Tesla for $275 USD.
Output: 12 amps / 1.3 kW at 120 volts
Charge Speed: Up to 3 miles of range per hour of charge depending on the model; you can purchase additional adapters compatible with 240 volt outlets to increase the rate of charge to up to 30 miles of range per hour of charging depending on the vehicle model and circuit breaker.
Cable Length: 20 feet
Outdoor Use: Can be used in outdoor weather conditions, but it’s advised that the connector be packed away in your car after each use.
Tesla Wall Connector
Charging Type: Level 2
Portable: No, the unit is permanently mounted onto a wall or outdoor pedestal.
Installation Requirements: Yes, it’s recommended that a qualified electrician install the unit for safety, plus the electrician can help with any permits and inspections required to ensure the installation is up to code.
Cost: $500 USD + installation charges. The Tesla Wall Connector can be purchased directly from Tesla Shop. We also advise you to contact a few electricians in your area to compare installation quotes.
Output: Up to 48 amps / 11.5 kW at 240 volts
Charge Speed: Up to 44 miles of range per hour of charge. Keep in mind that the Model 3 Long Range (LR) can achieve the 44 mph charge speed, but the Short Range (SR) maxes out at 30 mph due to its onboard charger capabilities. So, if you have the Model 3 SR, you can achieve the same charge speed with the Mobile Connector + NEMA 14-50 adapter + 240 volt / 50 amp breaker as you would with the Wall Connector.
Cable Length: 8.5 feet or 18 feet lengths available at the same cost.
Outdoor Use: Can be installed and used outdoors.
Other Home EV Chargers
There are a number of Level 2 EV chargers available on the market at a variety of price points. If you are looking for a lower cost alternative or a charger that can work out of the box with other EV charging standards, here are 3 highly rated options. Keep in mind that some chargers will require an adapter to make it compatible with the Tesla Charge Port.
JuiceBox 40 Smart EV Charger $659 USD
Step 3: Review other key considerations before choosing the best option for your Tesla
Now that you understand some EV charging basics and popular options, here are some key things to consider before finalizing your choice for a home charger.
1. Driving Routine
A major consideration when choosing a charger is your lifestyle and personal driving patterns. If you drive less than 40 miles a day and you live close to public charging stations, the Mobile Connector is probably sufficient. A Level 2 charger is a better option if you regularly drive long distances and don’t have the time or opportunity to recharge your car during the day.
In addition rapid acceleration, driving at top speeds and driving in cold weather conditions will also drain the battery more quickly, which is another reason to consider a Level 2 charger.
Many people choose a Level 2 charger for its convenience. You can plug in your car when you get home at the end of the day and you’ll be sure to have a fully charged battery the next morning. Most of the time, a Tesla’s range is enough for all your daily travel, so you won’t have to stop at public chargers. Also, some owners find it annoying to have to unpack and pack the Mobile Connector after each use.
3. Your Space
Where you will park your car at home when charging needs to be factored into your decision making process. Knowing the distance the charging station will be from your Tesla’s charge port and if your car will be parked indoors or outdoors when charging will help you determine the optimal cord length and whether or not you need a unit that is approved to be installed outdoors. If your charging station needs to be mounted outside, make sure the model you choose is rated to work in rain, snow, and cold temperatures and the connector is properly protected when not in use.
4. Electrical Work
While Level 1 chargers don’t require any special equipment besides an outlet, Level 2 chargers require the installation of special equipment as well as a dedicated electrical circuit. All Level 2 chargers require a 240-volt electrical connection and you’ll need to choose a charger with current/amperage levels that works with your Tesla and your home’s available electrical capacity. There also needs to be enough room on your electrical panel to accommodate a circuit breaker for the charger. If your panel is already full, you may need to upgrade your electrical service.
When figuring out the total cost of installing a Level 2 charger, take into account the cost of the equipment, installation and any rebates or tax credits available. A Level 2 charger comes at a higher cost, but you can save money on your utility bill if you choose a solution that lets you schedule charging times to take advantage of time-of-use electricity rates.
What Did ‘Discover Tesla’ Choose?
Overall, based on a number of factors, the preferred Tesla charging solution for our home was the Tesla Wall Connector.
The Tesla Wall Connector was the best solution for us because:
Lots of space was available and installation was straightforward
Most of our charging would be done at home
We have access to TOU pricing in our area for lower electricity rates during off peak hours in the evening
We prefer to start each day with a full charge (80%-90%)
It gives us peace of mind knowing we have the fastest home charging solution available whenever we need it