Charging with 110v outlet

Charging with 110v outlet

I'm getting my MS in a few weeks! does anyone have any experience charging primarily with a 110v outlet? I don't drive more than 20mi/day on avg, and I rent my house and am debating whether or not to install a 240v outlet or not, as i may move in the near future. Any advice much appreciated!

nwdiver93 | February 17, 2013

If you drive <20mi/day you should be ok. During the work week I charge only at work during an 8hr shift from a 110 outlet. I only live 6 miles from work. I usually get ~30 miles of charge in 8 hours.

ian | February 17, 2013

According to Tesla looks like about 3.5 hours. Although that calculator shows 120v not 110v.

brijam | February 18, 2013

I've had my S for a week, and used a 110v for a few days until my NEMA 14-50 was installed. 110v doesn't cut it. Trust me, you will be driving your S a /lot/ more than just to and from work. Get the 240v NEMA 14-50.

Brian H | February 18, 2013

Load up once a week at a high-power chargespot, and "hot the fort" at home with the 110.

Brian H | February 18, 2013

Duh. "hold the fort"

Docrob | February 18, 2013

Obvious solution is to start with the 110v, see how it works for you for a few weeks and if its not good enough get the 240v outlet installed.

Superliner | February 18, 2013

Are there any LevelII charging options in your area? You could lean on public chargers to bridge the gaps if more miles are needed etc.

TeslaOwnerBlog | February 18, 2013

You should be fine. I have been living with 110V for a couple of weeks. More info on my blog:

jbunn | February 18, 2013

You should also consider climate. If its really cold where you live, less power will be available to the battery. But I would try the 110 first. You can change later, and Blink and Chargepoint get you 20 mi per hour for a buck.

And you probably will drive more... its so fun!

Mike C | February 18, 2013

Agree with others that you will want to drive more after you get your S. I lived with 110V for a week, you can expect about 25 miles back overnight at about 2-3 mph. Even if you don't need more than that, you will be cutting it close and it will be in the back of your mind. So much happier with my NEMA 14-50, it was liberating.

petero | February 18, 2013

Reidcarolin. IMO, I recommend installing a Nema 14-50. The 110V will just cover your daily trips with overnight charging . The day you decide to take a longer you will understand the need for 240V charging. I took a 90 mile trip and plugged in at a 110V and it took 20 hours to add 40-50 miles of range! MY home charging takes 3-4 hours to recharge 90 miles of range. The best $500 I ever spent.

You won’t always drive just 20-30 miles in a day.

Hills | February 18, 2013

@reidcarolin's problem is he rents the house.
110V is soooo slow!
Do you have a dryer plug?
That is still a challenge. You need an adapter for the dryer outlet, not easy. You also probably need an extension cord. Yes, it is safe, if you buy one that can handle the current. Lots of forum discussions on outlets, dryer plugs, extension cords.

GLO | February 18, 2013

We used a 110 plug at a friends house and got 3 miles/per hour of charge. we didn't drive our car much while there so it was fine..

jat | February 18, 2013

If the landlord will let you, even if you spend money for a 14-50 outlet that you won't take with you, it shouldn't be that significant an expense compared to the car.

olanmills | February 18, 2013

You should be able to get the 240V outlet installed from $250-500. Well worth it in my opinion, especially considering the price of the car.

I too, could survive day-to-day with just 110V outlet charging. However, there could be those days when you do end up driving 100 miles. What about when friends or family are in town and you're showing people around, giving them rides etc? What about the weekend you're doing a home project and you end up making several trips to the store? Or you're going shopping for something big and "permanent", like furniture, and so you want to drive around and actually look at things in a bunch of different stores?

110V isn't going to cut it in those situations.

david.cheney | June 5, 2013

I am also charging at 110 and I'd like to understand why Tesla advertises 5m/h even though it seems that most using 110 get 3m/h - as I do. I'd based some decisions on 5, and while 80% of that was quite workable 60% is cutting it close enough that it weighs on my mind and I find myself "warning" people about (my) reality. That can't be good for Tesla.


BillPlanoTexas | June 5, 2013

You could live with the 110v but you better have a nearby public charging station somewhere you don't mind hanging out....a bar or restaurant where you can kill an hour or two occasionally because as everyone has noted here, you are just going to (1) drive this car more than you think and (2) drive more aggressively given its so much fun and that will burn more of the energy up. And trying to catch back up to a full charge at 3 miles an hour when you are half empty is a full weekend of being parked at 110v.

jat | June 5, 2013

@david.cheney - the 5mi/hr rate is in ideal miles, just like the 62mi/hr for the HPWC. You probably have your display set to rated miles, and with roundoff that gets you to 3mi/hr. Also, it depends on the exact voltage you have.

david.cheney | June 5, 2013

@xbill, looks like I'm gonna be spending weekends at the bar, at least till I get 220 ;)

shop | June 5, 2013

If you have access to two different 120V receptacles which happen to be on different legs of the breaker panel, then you could build an adapter that would more than double the amount of power you can charge at. Basically you would get two 25' 12/3 extension cords, chop off the receptacle ends, wire them into one NEMA 14-50 receptacle. You would end up being able to charge at 240V, 16A if the two circuits were on 20A breakers, as opposed to 120V, 12A now. So 3.8kW versus 1.4kW charging...

shop | June 5, 2013

Any reason why you are charging at 120V?

david.cheney | June 6, 2013

@shop, I am a renter at a place with a detached garage 60 feet from the house, with 15 feet of asphalt and several extents of concrete between. Using 220 was not a plan B.

Tesla's page (linked in my post above) says simply this: "110 V / 12 A 1.4 kW 5 MILES OF RANGE PER HOUR OF CHARGE" (their CAPS). They do not use the word IDEAL nor qualify the 5 in any fine print.

If I bought an ICE vehicle and got 60% of the rated mileage - while driving conservatively on the flat highway at 75 degrees - you can bet I'd be unhappy.

I trusted their claim at 5. I left 20% wiggle, and I can even live with it down 40% from what I had expected - but customers "living with" 60% of claim is NOT gonna build your market.

I also understand that I am working on the lower edge here. Clearly I reached when I bought this - I did buy a 40 - and perhaps I've simply "adopted" too early.

shop | June 6, 2013

What else electrical is in the garage? I'm wondering if there are two circuits that you can use to make a home made 240v adapter by plugging into two different 120v receptacles.

shop | June 6, 2013

Also, is the plug you are plugging into protected with a 15a or 20a breaker?

david.cheney | June 6, 2013

@shop, thought it was 20 but nope, only 15 (yeah I am giving up on an adapter). Not seeing a separate circuit but this thing is not labeled clearly so I'll look more thoroughly later. Or maybe I can convince the neighbor :)

david.cheney | June 6, 2013

potentially useful link to an 2x120->240 adapter

shop | June 6, 2013

Those 2x120V adapters are nice. A bit on the expensive side. I actually am halfway through building a 120V to 240V adapter (terminates in a NEMA 14-50 end) with two 25' extension cords, so it'll reach 50' between the plugs. I was going to abandon it as I realize I really needed/wanted a heavier duty one to also handle TT-30 plug ins. I'll sell it to you for cost if you find you can use it.

An electrical panel that isn't labeled properly? Say it isn't so! I swear electricians do it on purpose so they get called more often. Do hunt around for another circuit - even a yard plug on the exterior of the house or garage. It would end up doubling your charge speed.

jat | June 6, 2013

@shop - my local codes require the panel to be labeled -- when I had my main panel replaced, I told the electrician not to bother as I would generate my own printed labels, but he said the inspector would fail the install if they weren't labeled when he came.

@david.cheney - I'm sorry you feel mislead - talk to Tesla about it, so at least they will update their website to avoid future confusion. You can probably also sell your car for more than you paid for it (after the tax credit) since you can't buy a 40 any more, though it might not cover the sales tax that was paid.

stimeygee | June 6, 2013

Anyone tried those 2x120 adapters? And can you plug them into outlets on the same circuit? Ie a top/bottom outlet? I'm guessing not.

shop | June 6, 2013

No you can't use a 120x2 adapter on a duplex plug. The two receptacles have to be on different circuits (breakers) and each breaker must be on a different 120V leg.

create | June 13, 2013

For 2x120 charging no need to trace the outlets back to the panel. Just use a voltmeter across both hots. If they measure 240V you are good.

ORWA | June 13, 2013

I used 110 for two nights waiting for the 14-50 to get installed. I get 4 miles per hour with it. Cost $375 to get the 14-50 installed. Well worth the cost.

slr_pwrd | June 13, 2013


I drive to work 40mi/day round trip and charge with 110v only. It is the only option I have for now. I get 3+miles/hr; therefore, in 13 hrs of charging the car is fully charge by next morning. 9hrs at work + 13hrs charging = 22. Still have 2 hrs of extra charge time. Even if I drive more in a day, by weekend, the car is always fully charged. I am now into 3rd week of ownership. I do plan to add 14-50 and a dedicated 110v in near future but no need to rush into it.

TFMethane | June 15, 2013

@david.cheney I totally understand your frustration. I think those double adapters you see would really help. Combined with a 50 foot, 10 or 12 gage extension cord (so you could patch into a different circuit from the house for one of the inputs), you could potentially double your charge time.

My only concern would be heating of the adapter box or it's plug cables. I used a higher-gage (narrower) extension cord, and it heated up and the charge cancelled.

I would agree with your assessment about the 60kWh battery. If you had an 85, then you could charge at a high-power commercial charger (maybe near your work?) only once every few days. However, that is still really an option, since you say that you don't drive too far. If you charge to max range mode once every 2-3 days, and just "top off" with the 110 at home in your garage, you should still be able to enjoy your car.

Do you have the plugshare app, or have you visited their website to find faster charging options nearby?

I really wish that Tesla would talk to everyone about charging options before they finalize any sales. The public isn't knowledgable about this stuff, and it's the most important consideration before buying an electric car.

Brian H | June 15, 2013

"you could potentially double your charge time."

Why would he want to take twice as long?

djm12 | June 15, 2013

I've been charging our Tesla with a 110V outlet exclusively for six weeks now. We have only driven 736 miles, so using the 110V is practical for this low amount of mileage. The charge rate is very slow, but it seems that the Tesla is almost always fully charged - and almost always plugged in.

I have a Level 2 charger in my garage for my Active E - my wife puts 1000 miles/month on it for work. When we get our white CA stickers, she'll be driving the Tesla more often and I'll eventually use our Level 2 for the Tesla.

LanceHuang22 | June 15, 2013

Mine only get 3 miles/hour on 110V outlet.

Captain_Zap | June 17, 2013

I got the Quick 220 and I really like it. It makes a huge difference in your charging rate and it can come in handy in an emergency.

Bob W | June 17, 2013


Looks like the Quick 220 is only available with NEMA 6-15, 6-20, and L6-20 220V outlets, which unfortunately Tesla hasn't supported for the Model S yet (see Model S Charging Adapters). So I assume you also built your own 6-15 to 6-50 adapter, or similar? This will add about $100 to the cost.

Bob W | June 17, 2013

Correction, link should be Model S Charging Adapters.

kpf108 | February 3, 2014

Can you plug into any 110 outlet in your home or does it need to be dedicated to just the Tesla? Will it 'flip the breaker' is anything else is on the circuit?

Bighorn | February 3, 2014

Any outlet will work @kpf. Shouldn't flip breaker.

jordanrichard | February 3, 2014

Well, it would be odd with your car sitting in the living room.....:-)

Seriously though, any regular outlet will do, presumably it would be in a garage. Tesla doesn't recommend using an extension cord, presumably due to the amps that the car will draw. Extension cords are made of multiple stranded wires, which aren't designed for the continuous amps that would be flowing through it. House wiring is a single solid copper wire which is designed to handle the amperage.

ye | February 4, 2014

When plugged into a regular 110-volt 15-amp outlet, the car will normally draw 12 amps, which is the most that can be safely drawn for long periods of time. So, you should not have anything else on the same circuit. If you want to have other things on the same circuit, you need to tell the car to draw less current, which you can do via the touchscreen.

Haeze | February 4, 2014

Keep in mind, if you plan to drive more than 40 hours per day, 110v 15A will not be fast enough.

Haeze | February 4, 2014

... and of course, by hours, I meant miles.

Mathew98 | February 4, 2014

Geea, here I thought we have 48 hours per day. You bunch of slackers!

DaphneGreen | February 4, 2014

I never got around to putting in a 220V outlet and have been using the outlet in my garage. I don't drive very far and it works fine. I've had my S85 since Sept.

Roamer@AZ USA | February 4, 2014

Two ideas for what it's worth.

Easy way. Check the main wire run that goes to the garage. If it is 12 gauge wire and not servicing other significant loads, you can normally install a 20 amp outlet rather than a 15. The Tesla charging info indicates 3 miles on a 15 amp outlet and 4 miles on a 20 amp outlet. Installing a 20 amp on a 20 amp breaker with 12 gauge wire is not a big deal. Unless the house is really old I would bet the run to the garage is 12 gauge. The lights and door opener are likely the only loads on a detached garage.

Or install a 50 amp outdoor RV exterior outlet at the circuit box and run a 50 foot 50 amp extension cord to the garage for temporary use while you rent. When you move you can take the cord with you. 50 amp RV extension cords are mega heavy cords.

Also if the garage wire run is in conduit you may be able to pull number ten wire thru the existing conduit and run a 30 amp connection. The conduit is likely too small to legally and physically pull a larger gauge wire.

Everything now days is 120 volt or 240 volt. Old terms and old standards die slowly so you often hear 110 and 220. If you put a meter on it it will read 120 or 240.

Paddlegirl7 | February 4, 2014

ReidC, I drive about 30 miles a day and charge at night on the 110 in our garage.

When I was plugging in for 11 or 12 hours each night I'd start the day out with about the same charge each morning. When I figured out it was MUCH cheaper to only charge after 11pm, I switched to charging for about 8 hours a night (11 to 7). I start out with a little less charge each weekday morning (it doesn't put in quite what I use in range) but I get caught up on the weekends.

It has worked fine for several months. We will do 220 eventually, but no rush since this is working well. It just takes a bit of planning to have a full 265 mile charge to go somewhere far on a Saturday morning. (A few nights of longer charging including some peak time)