How much does it cost to charge a Tesla?

Tom Barnard

30 Oct 2023

If you are thinking about buying a Tesla, one of the main incentives will undoubtably be the charging network. It’s reliable, fast, easy to use and generally less stressful than any other way of charging an electric car. But how much does it cost to charge a Tesla?

As with many things related to charging, there is no simple answer, and the costs vary from completely free to quite pricey. Here’s the breakdown:

How to charge a Tesla for free 

In addition to the various ways that any electric car driver can bag a free charge which we have listed here, Tesla drivers can add a few more sources of free miles.

The most common is destination chargers, which are Tesla-branded, Type 2 units with tethered cables which are installed at business locations such as hotels, restaurants and car parks across the UK and Europe. They are generally 22kW too, meaning you can take power on almost three times as fast as a conventional AC public charger or home wall box.

As long as you are a customer of the business, they are free to use. This might not be the case forever though, and companies in the US can add a per kWh cost if they install more than six charge points.

Tesla drivers are also given a certain amount of Supercharging credits a year, with more added if they refer new customers to the brand. If you don’t use the network often, it could mean you never have to pay.

The biggest bonus for free charging is if your Tesla was sold originally with unlimited free Supercharging. On certain cars, such as the Model S, this was included in the price and is transferable to new owners. On other cars it only applied to the first owner. Some taxi drivers have used this to clock up half a million miles without ever paying for electricity.

Other owners may have been given a certain amount of free charging as part of an incentive to shift unsold stock.

Tesla charge parking space sign Destination chargers are usually free as long as you are a customer of the host business

How much does a Tesla Supercharger cost to use?

Again, it’s not simple as the company varies the cost according to the location and the time of day. The discounted off-peak rate is in place between 10pm and 6am at all Supercharger locations across the UK. The highest on-peak rate applies from 4pm to 8pm. when the demand for the grid is highest. 

In the UK, the average off-peak and on-peak kWh will respectively cost £0.54 and £0.67. This means that adding 100 miles of range to a Model 3 will cost around £13 off peak and £15.50 at its most expensive. These are averages though, so some stations will be cheaper and other more expensive – the Tesla app or the car’s map will tell you the live pricing and allow you to choose another cheaper Supercharger if possible. When your charging session is complete, an estimate of the final charges is shown on the screen

It’s also important to remember Tesla charges ‘idle fees’ if you overstay on a Superchargers once you have charged. If a vehicle parks at a Supercharger past 100% being reached, idle fees start clocking up. If the vehicle is moved within five minutes of the vehicle reaching a full charge, the idle fee is waived.

Supercharger costs vary according to the time of day and location

How much does it cost to charge a Tesla at home?

To do the very basic sums, you can work out the capacity of your Tesla's battery (75kWh in most cases) and then look at your energy bill to see how much you pay for power. If that is at the current Ofgem cap of £0.27 per kWh the Tesla will cost £20.25 to charge from 0 to 100%.

That's overly simplistic of course, as you will never actually charge from 0-100% and there are also losses in the charging process.

If you are charging at home, it is worth switching to an energy supplier which allows you to have a cheaper overnight tariff. This allows you to top up at a fraction of the cost. At the typical rate of £0.09, the same 75kWh would cost just £6.75 - although it will take around three nights to 'fill' the battery from empty if you stick to the cheap rate times. It will be fine if you are just topping up though as a four hour stint will give you around 28kWh of charge - enough for around 100 miles.   

Charging at home is much cheaper if you switch energy tariffs

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