Charging - Short Commute and Charger at Work

Charging - Short Commute and Charger at Work

I have a short daily commute, so my charging limit is currently set at 80%. I have a home wall charger and a free charging option near my office. (Lucky me, I know.) There are always empty spots at the chargers near work, so I wouldn't be taking someone's space. I'd like to charge near work whenever possible, to minimize charging costs at home. It's an extra task each day (moving my car once it's charged), but worth the savings, I think.

I know Tesla wants you plugged whenever possible. Should I charge up at work, and then just keep it plugged in at home - even though most of the time the home charging would only bump it from, say 70% to 80%?

Thanks for any feedback!

ICEMELT | 9 juli 2019

Free is good. use it while it lasts.

Bighorn | 9 juli 2019

No need to keep it plugged in at home. You could also skip charging days so you’re not moving the car at work every day.

Lorenzryanc | 9 juli 2019

I charge weekly at work too... get to about 45%, then goto 90%. It takes pretty much a full 8-9 hour day to "fill up" so I don't have to move it. I have a home charger too, but have used it only a hand full of times. Someday it wont be free and I'll go to home charging.

levitor | 9 juli 2019


@ Icemelt - Indeed. Only a matter of time before those slots start to fill up and they start charging.

@Bighorn - so just ignore the Tesla manual that says always plug in? I'm fine with that, but not sure why they give that instruction if it's no big deal.

@Lorenzryanc - Good point. In fact, I only go to work charger 1-2 times per week, when I'm down to 50-60%.

legna_fo_htaed | 9 juli 2019

Same situation. 2 months in. I charge WHENEVER I can. 2 hours. 45 minutes. 6 hours. It's free.. as mentioned for now. Save while you can to make those payments! I've heard since getting the car a charging Tesla is a happy Tesla. Plus no way 6 KW or so is as bad for the batter as the 72+ at destination and super chargers.

levitor | 9 juli 2019

Right. If a charging Tesla is happy, then do people just plug in at home even if it has reached the limit? My understanding is that when plugged in, the car can pull energy needed for minor updates/maintenance from the plug rather than the battery. Is that really the reason, and if so, is that worth plugging in even when you are at full (80%) charge?

Bighorn | 9 juli 2019

I’m just giving you my advice based on 288,000 miles of Tesla charging and a pretty intimate knowledge of the subject matter. Maybe the kid making minimum wage knows more.

levitor | 9 juli 2019

@Bighorn - Ha! I'm sure you're right and that I'm overthinking. It's just interesting (and fun) to try to understand why Tesla touts one thing (always plug in) when people who know about these issues (like you) say that's not always the case. It's like Tesla recommending 90% limits when Tesla's own battery experts apparently say that lower limits can be (slightly) more efficient in the long run. I'm guessing I'll get bored with this type of minutiae once I've had the car for a while, but until then . . .

rob | 9 juli 2019

I have the the same situation right now. Free at work and a charger at home. I'll charge up to 80% everyday but Friday when I go to %85. That will last me through the weekend. But I dominate the charger on Mondays.
Charging rate at work is 22 mph vs 44 at home.

Also, I'm going out of town for a couple days so I'm plugging in at home. But, I'm lower my charge-to to 60%. I'm currently at 73. I don't expect it to get that low but just in case. Plus, I'm expecting an update in the next few days.

Energy is pretty cheap here in Texas so it only saves me about $50 /mo. Savings would be much higher in CA.

mt917 | 9 juli 2019

I charge twice a week at home to 80%. Why would anyone bother charging more than they have to? I don't charge my cell phone everyday. I can go three days without charging my car no problem, so why fiddle with charging if you don't have to.

adam09si | 9 juli 2019

I only have work charging available to me, so I charge for the 8-hour work day on average two times a week. Obviously never leave it plugged in overnight because it's not possible. I don't think it will be an issue.

TranzNDance | 9 juli 2019

It make sense to encourage the *habit* of plugging in so that there is less of a chance of "I couldn't go to work today because I forgot to plug in the car. Tesla/EV sucks!" stories.

lbowroom | 9 juli 2019

Because people are dumb and it's better to err on the side of caution than to let people run their batteries down to 0. The more you encourage people to plug in all the time, the less it will happen. Oh, wait, tranz basically said the same thing

Wilber | 9 juli 2019

Levitor - the bit about "a happy Tesla is a plugged in Tesla" is aimed at typical users who have a charger at home whre they can plug in everynight. You have the unusual situation where you have very convenient charging at home AND at work. I would think just charging at one place each day is plenty.

levitor | 10 juli 2019

Thanks all. I suppose you're right, that the "always plug in" instruction could just be a simple encouragement to forgetful consumers so that no one runs out of battery. I wanted to give Tesla more credit than that. I had assumed there was a battery chemistry-based reason, or some other logic. For example, I've heard that staying plugged in will ease battery drain by allowing the car to pull from the plug for minor tasks (wake-ups, etc.).

Regardless, the consensus on my original question is clear: Charge at work when possible and don't worry about plugging in at home.

FISHEV | 10 juli 2019

If you have home charging, please don't use public chargers just because you can. It's simply unnecessary for you and will discourage someone who does need it from getting an EV or keeping their EV. You are "Icing out" other current and potential owners for no reason.

See a fair number of older S's and X's at the charging stations. These are $100k vehicles of people who are 99% local with home charging. But the chargers are there so they use them. We are seeing lines and full charging stations which not only ices out those looking to get or keep EV's but cuts everyone's charging speed.

Jettison | 10 juli 2019

But I'd add during colder winter months it's a good idea to charge about 30 minutes before driving to increase regen braking.

Bighorn | 10 juli 2019

Small background draws are not taken from the plug.

levitor | 10 juli 2019

@Jettison. Thanks for the tip!

@Bighorn. Got it. I've now exhausted any excuse for me to plug in once I've reached my cap.

@Fishev. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on charging protocols. As I noted in my original post, there are always empty chargers near my work, so I'm not taking anyone's spot. In fact, I'm often the only car at these chargers, so I feel like I'm doing a service by showing the building owners that their chargers are needed and being used. Does that make me a hero to the EV community? Yes. Yes, it does.

As for whether EV drivers with home charging options should be morally prohibited from ever using free public chargers, I'm not sure I agree with that blanket statement. But that's a longer discussion.

lbowroom | 10 juli 2019

That's just fish trying to re-establish themselves as a normal, concerned EV advocate.

tanya | 10 juli 2019

I don't have a charger at home or work, so I charge mostly at SC twice a week, or at some free local place like mall/hotel. Does not seem to negatively affect my car.
My local SC is closed due to accident across the street for unknown period of time. With more people getting model 3 the free chargers are occupied most of the time, even when cars are fully charged. Would be great if Tesla owners move their fully charged cars and don't use parking sports when they don't need to charge.

mk4ce | 10 juli 2019

Levitor - I have a very similar situation - free charging (8 hours max at 6kWh) at work with minimal usage by other EV users and a wall connector at home. Whenever I run down to approximately 30%, I charge at work. This is every 3 days as my daily commute is about 43 miles round trip. Then I charge back up to about 80%. This may change during the winter months, but this is how i do it in the non-snowy months. The wife uses the wall connector at home for her M3. I only plug in at home on weekends if I know I cannot make it to work on Monday, which has not happened yet. Like others have said, free is good and will not be here forever. If its not a large burden, I will almost always take the free option to save money, especially via “free fuel”. I think of it this way, if I can save myself money with EV charging, I can spend it elsewhere, like a dirty martini with blue cheese olives or clothes and toys for my 10 month old. I also have 6000 miles of free supercharging to use for the year from my referral code. Lucky me.

On the subject of it being a hassle to move my car after I’m done charging at work, it’s worth it to me. Not only is it a rule at work to open up the space for someone else, but it takes 5 minutes and allows me to see how the many sentry mode events I’ve received from people and cars going by. I think charging at work will also show that there is a demand for EVs/chargers and will make more people interested in them, not less. Be apart of the mission and advertise that Tesla!

pdet | 10 juli 2019

I'm in a similar situation. I usually charge when I get to 60%. It charges at about 30mph (Chargepoint). I try not hog a charger all day, and I don't like to get below 60% (California earthquake prep). I almost always charge on Fridays to ensure I can get through the weekend. I think I used my home charger less than 5 times since I bought the M3 in April 2018.

levitor | 10 juli 2019

@tanya - Agreed! I always move my car as soon as I'm done charging. Seems only fair.

@mk4ce - Good point on showing demand. That's how I feel, too. I have to think retail malls will start to see "charger access" as a point of competition to get more business - just like "good parking" has always been.

@pdet - Yup. I hope to keep home charging to a minimum - at least until my work chargers add fees or become unavailable.

PhillyGal | 10 juli 2019

@levitor - I'm late but will give my two cents based on a lowly 88,000 miles of Tesla ownership (Bighorn's number minus the 2!) - Neither of my Teslas have ever been plugged in every single day. They charge every other at most, with the exception of road trips when they charge as often as we find a supercharger (Sometimes several in a day.)

jimglas | 10 juli 2019

My $.02, Both of our Teslas are always "plugged in" when they are in our garage

levitor | 10 juli 2019

Awesome. That's 4 more cents for me.

FISHEV | 11 juli 2019

"As for whether EV drivers with home charging options should be morally prohibited from ever using free public chargers, "

Bit of an exaggeration on "EVER" and I get that using an empty one will highlight it. I depend on the SC's and many of us do. Apartment garages in PDX have a lot of Model 3's in them. Looking at one yesterday. They had three charger spots which were rented out to specific tenants. Six EV's there, three Model 3's, Leaf, Bolt and Shazzamm...a new Kona. The building manager told me they spot owners made arrangements to share which is nice but can't count on it.

Charger anxiety is now replacing range anxiety.

With the new Chademo adaptor I can start using the EVgo chargers. Same deal as yours, mostly unused at the Walmart except for occasional Bolt. My flaming red critter in the Walmart lot will get attention as you note above so more PR for EVs.

Evannex gives out these red window stickers to stick on peoples windshields if they block chargers or something. Maybe EV street evangelists should have some that say "Call if you need this charger" and use a Burner number vs. one's own.

levitor | 11 juli 2019

Yeah, I expect the charging environment will develop some fixes. For example, I see charging spots now that don't have time limits even though the regular spots right next to them do have time limits. Has anyone ever seen charging spots that have no time limit while charging, but the time limit kicks in after charging is complete (perhaps with a grace period)? If not, I'm guessing that's coming.

tanya | 11 juli 2019

@levitor The mall near me started placing violation notes on ICE cars recently. Hopefully, next step is notes for fully charged electric cars not vacating the spots.