How do I charge the Model 3?

How do I charge the Model 3?

Hello, I have not tried Tesla car yet so that rose couple questions in my mind related to the Model 3.

1) How do I charge the Model 3? Is it simple like just plug it into the wall, then that is it?
2) How much monthly electricity bill (average) will be compared to gasoline car?

Thank you so much.

melinda.v | 31 juli 2016

comparing the electrical cost vs gas will depend on your electric utility rate, what you pay for gas locally and the MPG of a ICE car.
in regards to the electricity costs, to get a rough estimate, check the Model S calculator

SCCRENDO | 31 juli 2016

You have multiple options. Best option is a NEMA 14-50 intalled by an electrician. Gives 29 miles per hour. Can also get the HPWC or a charger with J1772 connector as used with other EVs. Some hook up to their dryer outlets. You can charge with a regular wall plug at 110V but it is real slow 3 miles per hour.

Ehninger1212 | 31 juli 2016

With electricity

Badbot | 31 juli 2016

rub wool over nylon and collect power then transfer it to the car

dsvick | 1 august 2016

@Badbot - "rub wool over nylon and collect power then transfer it to the car"

You could also carpet your garage and drive back and forth over it ....

jordanrichard | 1 august 2016

Yes, it is that simple, plug it into any wall outlet. The charger is/will be built into the car. The first night we had our MS, we plugged it into a 110v outlet. I stood there in amazement that I was charging this huge car with a standard wall outlet.

How much your electricity bill will go up depends on how much you charge at home and how many miles you drive per month. In March I drove a total 3028 miles, but only 855 of those miles were charged at home. Based on what I pay for electricity ($.20 kwh) my electric bill only went up $62.

Haggy | 1 august 2016

The car comes with something that plugs into the wall at one end and plugs into the car at the other end. You typically leave it in your garage. It has adapters for different types of outlets, and a 220v outlet is the most practical for most people. It's the same type of outlet that's used for RVs and is similar to a dryer outlet but with higher amperage and for a different plug.

That will take care of normal usage, and plugging in each night will typically mean the car will start to charge itself at 11pm and will finish by 1 am or so. But even if you run your battery way down, it should be charged up to the standard level by morning anyway.

My electric bill when I got the car was about 1/6 what I was paying for gasoline. Prices have changed since then and might go up or down while you own the car, but it's safe to say that it will likely be 1/3 of the cost of gasoline, or maybe less.

Where I live, there are EV rates if I charge at night.

On trips, you can stop at superchargers, and try to do it so you will stop for meals or restroom breaks at the same time. You may find that there's more than enough time to charge on trips when you are stopped for other things, but that's more likely if you start a road trip with a 100% charge. For a return trip, where you might start the day needing a charge, you can expect to add an additional stop to your schedule. I'm talking about trips where you go hundreds of miles a day. Since typical days start off with a complete charge, it's not like a traditional car where on some days you start off with low range and need to look for a gas station.

JeffreyR | 2 august 2016

Or if you read the whole "Charging" page from the top that @melinda.v linked to:

Plenty of information under "Support" section too:

jbunn | 2 august 2016


I am an early S driver, now going on 3-1/2 years. You plug into anything that has power. Wall outlets, public chargers, dryer outlets, RV outlets, superchargers, destination chargers. If it has power, your Tesla will be able to adapt to it and charge off of it.

I've found in these years, that it's pretty easy to find charging. Easier than finding a gas station in the city, for example. The best thing about the Tesla is its onboard chargers with the optional adapters can work with any source.

skygraff | 2 august 2016

I as going to answer "with a high limit credit card" to the OP but figured that would get me booted (to the head).

Instead, for jbunn, do you ever plug in to general outlets not designated for EV charging and, if so, do you do so with or without seeking permission from the owner?

I thought about this after getting off of a gridlocked highway in my ICE car (rode the shoulder to an exit) in order to get food and use a restroom. I didn't need gas but wondered where I would recharge if my Tesla was running low at that point in the trip. The gas stations and fast food joints had exterior outlets but they weren't designated as public use (no RV camp or Walmart in the area). Would I have been given permission or would I have needed to pay more than the price of the food I bought or would I have been turned away because if they let me they'd have to let everyone? The latter being a non-issue now but...

jordanrichard | 3 august 2016

I would always ask the manager or someone in charge of a given business, before plugging in.

darlin | 3 august 2016

My electric bill went up a dollar a day. NOT a lot. Do not believe everything posted on this forum. Many are haters that spew bs with no experience or data to backup what they say. I have a LEAF and an X. My electric bill last month was $91. That was with geothermal and 2 electric vehicles. You can charge from 110VAC wall outlet, but it will take some time doing it that way. Purchase a 240v wall charger and charge up in 3 to 4 hours instead of 8 to12.

Rocky_H | 3 august 2016

@skygraff, I am guessing you are not an electric car owner yet. This statement reflects the gas car mindset:

Quote: "wondered where I would recharge if my Tesla was running low at that point in the trip."

You should not be just going without a plan of a charging destination and then start trying to figure it out when your car is low. That's going to get you in trouble. The prevalence of gas stations has let people get by with this kind of no planning method, but that's going to be bad with an electric car that has fewer options. It doesn't take a ton of planning, but you should know where you are heading to charge as you are driving, not just once you notice you are low on energy.

So as to the question, some people/places would let you in and some others might not like it. Regardless, that's not a very good plan, because regular outlets give only about 3 miles per hour of recharge, so that's only desperate emergency situations. You should really be going to a specific better higher power source, than getting low and then looking at what's around you.

Obviously the map at or the map of Superchargers in the car is the best first source, but also look around on to see what else is available.

skygraff | 3 august 2016


Thanks for your insights.

Yes, I do not currently own a BEV but I am no novice to planning (I'm a pilot which trumps EV driver for pessimistic worst-case-scenario considerations) and the scenario in question was an outlier. Thanks to a blizzard and an accident miles ahead which resulted in I65 becoming a parking lot for more than three hours, I was idling and sipping gas (occasionally shutting off ICE) but keeping my 12v as well as my phone charged and also keeping the heat/defrost/wipers on. Dreaming of my future Tesla, I thought about how that set of circumstances would've impacted range. I even asked on this forum some time later.

That trip from the north side of Chicago to the south side of Indianapolis is half a tank in my Integra but would be right on the edge of M3 base model as designed. My intent is to purchase the max available range for that type of trip but, of course, I would plan my charging needs according to conditions, etc.

That being said, even if I left the house topped off to 100% with contingency plans for recharging en route, the gridlock due to an unexpected accident (who really expects both lanes to shut down for three hours without information even during a blizzard these days?) would've still resulted in me riding the shoulder for food and a bathroom. Once off the highway, I would still have been in an area not (for the time being anyway) EV friendly and would still have been concerned that continued travel toward my destination (or home) would be slow going and potentially exceed my range. Waiting out the traffic jam while plugged in, even at 110v, would allay some of those concerns considering another accident could happen later or the planned charging station could be full or disabled due to weather.

This is why I asked the question. I'm sorry that I didn't provide the full back story for context. I appreciate that you weren't passing judgement when making your assumptions but, without those assumptions, both of us could've said a lot less in our posts.


skygraff | 3 august 2016


Thank you for that answer. Probably what I would do from a golden rule standpoint.

That being said, I wonder which will get built up first: the charging infrastructure even in one-horse locales or the frustration with freeloaders by roadside managers and employees. I'm sure the economics of it all will be self correcting no matter what Tesla decides to do with the SC network.

Red Sage ca us | 3 august 2016

skygraff: +1! Good explanation and backstory. Much appreciated. Communication via a keyboard over the internet is greatly enhanced by such detail.

Rocky_H | 3 august 2016

@skygraff, Oh yeah, pilot planning does trump EV planning. Fallback scenarios have stronger consequences. :)

I think there is one other factor you might not be aware of, which is that you are probably thinking of how getting stuck in a traffic jam and idling continues to suck up gasoline and does become a range/fuel problem. In an electric car, it depends, but that's usually not a problem. Usually the vast majority of the energy goes to moving the car. When it is sitting still, energy usage gets way lower, so you can sit in a traffic jam for hours, and usually not lose much range.

The exception would be if it is really cold, and you are running a lot of heat. Heating does suck a lot of energy from an electric car, even when sitting still, so the blizzard scenario would still be something where you might have to look around to find some kind of fallback charging place.

JeffreyR | 3 august 2016

@skygraff +1 great detail and context. I highly recommend reading TMC: @Doug_G's "Cold Weather Driving" Blog. It's the one I always reference when people ask about dealing with the cold.

For example as @Rocky_H points out cold conditions that require warmth for comfort (and safety!) do reduce range, even if not moving. Using the seat warmers instead of forced-air helps a lot. In a real pinch you could pull over and bundle up to keep warm (3-hour traffic jam seems like "a pinch" maybe).

My most memorable traffic jam was when some [Redacted] jerk tried to pull a u-turn on the Golden Gate Bridge (fatal for them and the people that hit them) and they had to close the bridge while the coroner arrived. This was during rush hour so traffic backed up on the 101 so bad none of us could get off. I needed to cross the bridge anyway. Luckily for me and my neighbors I had just finished grocery shopping so I popped open a case of Calistoga (PDF) and passed them around while I sat on my hood to enjoy the view of Sausalito, The Bay and The City. This was back in the time before smart phones so the radio was the only way for us to figure out what had happened.

The view wasn't this good, but you get the idea (click to see more about Sausalito):

skygraff | 3 august 2016

Thanks for the info.

I'd checked out all those resources and feel pretty good about a similar situation but, as I said, planning on max battery and will be keeping tabs on common-courtesy protocols (and charging options) as more BEVs hit the road.

Didn't mean to hijack this thread.

Thanks for the great view!
(won't return the favor with images of north-central Indiana)

Red Sage ca us | 3 august 2016

Ah... The ROCK. That would be a great place to build a Castle. | 4 august 2016

If you drive 200 miles a week in your Model ≡ it will cost you about $5-$6/week.

lolachampcar | 4 august 2016

One other point not mentioned is that those unanticipated traffic issues dramatically reduce average speed which DRAMATICALLY increases range. Pilots know that drag goes up by the square of the change in velocity. If you are careful with the heater as mentioned, you are normally more than covered by the reduced wind resistance losses.

lolachampcar | 4 august 2016

Put differently, more headwind == less TAS.