Should I Charge My Tesla Every Night - Everything You Need to Know

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Should I charge my Tesla every night?

The short answer is YES but….

…There are a few other considerations and if you are looking to get the most longevity and performance from your Tesla battery you’re in luck…

Because this article cover exactly that and provides the answers to many other battery-related questions and considerations you may have.

Hopefully, by the end of this article you will understand how to charge your Tesla to preserve its battery life and help you enjoy it for many years to come.

Should I charge my Tesla every night?

Since 2003, Tesla Motors has been making hybrid and all electric cars that are revolutionizing the way the world travels. One of the most common questions that we get is, should I charge my Tesla every night?


Let’s jump right into that first question that is on everyone’s mind.

How often you charge your Tesla is dependent on your lifestyle and your driving habits.

The typical commute is only around 37 miles a day

This means that most people can get away with charging their vehicle once a week, but many choose to plug it in every night when they get home….

Therefore, the question then becomes whether either option has a bad effect on your battery.

To get to the bottom of this, the best place to find out about how often you should charge your Tesla is in the Owners Manual.

For example, if your question is,

“Should I charge my Tesla Model 3 every night,”

the answer to the question can be found on page 153 of the 2020 Owner’s Manual.


Since I know no one actually read owners manuals, I going to give you the answers without you having to do the research yourself.

Below are a few questions and answers taken directly from the Model 3 Owner’s Manual.

*If you have an older model, the answer to these questions might be different. In addition, if you have an older model, all of the safety features and technology discussed in this article might not be available on your car.

How often should you charge your Tesla?

Tesla recommends that you should leave your vehicle plugged in whenever you are not actively driving it.

This is especially important if you are planning not to drive it for several weeks. The Tesla Model 3 has advanced technology that will tell the battery charging system to wake up and go to sleep in order to maintain a level that is best for maintaining a long battery life.

Is it bad to charge your Tesla every day?

As discussed already, it is not.

In fact, Tesla recommends charging your Tesla whenever you are not using it, even if this is every day.

When your Tesla is unplugged, the car will periodically drain energy from the battery for system tests, and it will wake up if the battery begins to dip below optimum levels.

Should I leave my Tesla plugged in?

According to Tesla, there is no advantage to waiting until the battery level is low before you plug it in. Tesla states that the battery performs best when it is charged on a regular basis.

When it comes to leaving it plugged in, Tesla has a system that protects the battery from overcharging and that regulates charging cycles when you are not driving the car.

Therefore, you can, and should leave your Tesla plugged in when you are at home.

Charging everyday vs. when it is low

Tesla recommends keeping your car plugged in whenever you are not driving it and are at home so charging everyday is the way to go.

However, there are times when you do not have access to a charging station or when it is too inconvenient to charge your car. In these cases, it is OK to do periodic charging and wait until it is low.

However, Tesla does have a warning against allowing the battery to drain to zero.

This can damage components that will require a replacement. This includes the 12-volt battery, which can be quite expensive. If you allow the battery to discharge completely and components are damaged, the warranty is void.

The expense of repair is not covered under the warranty or under the roadside assistance policy. You will have to bear the full expense because this is considered owner neglect.

Should I charge to 100%?

Tesla recommends charging your battery to 100% and keeping it full. However, sometimes this is not possible, and it is OK to allow it to drain, as long as you do not allow it to reach 0% battery life.

According to the Tesla website, the optimal operating charge level for most batteries is between 20% and 90%.

Most of the batteries have technology that prevents them from achieving actual 100% charge. However, the readout may say 100%, but what this really means is that your battery has been charged to the recommended 90%.

Your car does this automatically to preserve its battery life. When your battery reaches anything close to 20%, it is recommended to plug it in immediately.

How does charging affect overall battery life

Another facet to the question, should I charge my Tesla every night, is whether you are charging it at home or on A DC fast-charger.

Your choice of charging station has the biggest impact on battery life.

The recommendations for keeping your Tesla plugged in are meant for home chargers.

After a large number of DC fast-charging sessions, the maximum driving range and charging rate may decrease. This is also the case for supercharging stations.

You should only charge your Tesla with a cord approved for such. Most times, this means a cord that meets the J1772 standard or NEMA 15-50.

Also, before you plug your Tesla in at home, you need to make sure that your home outlet is acceptable. You should have an electrician check it out before you plug-in your Tesla for the first time.

How long do Tesla batteries last?

If you do not allow your battery to drain on a regular basis and take good care of it, the next question is what is the rate of battery degredation for a Tesla?

Battery degradation relates to the inability of the battery to charge fully, the inability of the battery to hold a charge, and loss of range.

Data an older Tesla Model Xs indicates that the battery loses about 10% over a period of 160,000 miles.

In later years Tesla added a warranty against battery degradation of 70% capacity for up to 8 years. This averages between 100,000 and 150,000 miles, depending on the model.

Tesla Battery degradation

Tesla has changed its battery chemistry over the years, and older models may have a quicker degradation rate than newer ones.

However, given the warranty that Tesla offers, it does not expect to have to replace too many batteries because of unusual degradation. There are several Teslas that have Lasted over 300,000 miles with only a 20% battery loss.

Certain practices such as continually allowing your Tesla battery to run low, using Superchargers often, and charging it below the recommended operating temperatures can reduce your battery life.

Once again, the Owner’s Manual for your model is the best source of information for how to keep your Tesla battery like new for as long as possible.

How far can you drive on a single charge?

One of the questions that many people ask before considering a Tesla is how long the car can go before it needs to be recharged…

Tesla continues to make improvements on the technology behind its cars. There are many things can affect that can affect battery range. Keep in mind, that these are reported averages, and actual range might vary.

The following ranges reflect actual ranges reported for 2019 for all models

  • Model S: 370 miles
  • Model X: 325 miles
  • Model 3: 325 miles

Extending Your Tesla Battery Range

As stated before, it is best to charge your Tesla every night. However, if you are on a long trip or this is not possible, you need to know whether you should stop at the next charging station or whether you could chance it.

The answer to this question depends on many factors.

How you care for your battery and the type of driving that you do affects the battery range and battery life.

To get the most out of your battery range, it is recommended that you avoid the following, if possible.

  • Driving at high speeds
  • Driving in stop-and-go traffic
  • Shorter trips
  • Driving uphill

In addition, cold weather can reduce the range of your Tesla.

Some of the biggest drains on your battery are the heating and air conditioning systems. Heated seats use an excessive amount of energy. The same is true for air conditioning in the summer.

Driving in inclement weather such as snow, rain, or against heavy winds will also make you use more power and cut down your range.

How long does it take to charge a Tesla?

The answer to this question is another one that depends on several different factors such as the type of power source that you use, the cord, and the model of Tesla that you have.

In general, the length of time that it takes to charge depends on the amperage of the power source. Let’s explain this further.

Charging at home. Charging at home is the lowest power output option. A full charge usually takes overnight. Topping it off from the daily commute usually takes only a couple of hours each night.

Superchargers. Some Tesla brand Supercharging stations can charge your car in anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. However, it is recommended that you do not do this often to preserve your battery life.

Public chargers. Standard public chargers vary widely in the time that it takes to charge. It can be as slow as charging at home, or it can be fast, like a Supercharger. Be sure to check the power rate to estimate the time needed.

You can fill up a gasoline car in minutes, but charging an EV takes a bit more planning. One of the advantages of a Tesla is that they have one of the largest charging networks available.

They also have some of the fastest charging options available, too. When you are planning a trip, your Tesla will calculate the estimated consumption and will plan a route that includes regular charging stops along the way.

Do electric cars lose charge when parked?

One thing to keep in mind when answering the question, should I charge my Tesla every night is that most electric cars do lose some energy in the battery, even when they are not being used.

Some electronic components must remain on, and the Tesla will run occasional self-checks that will drain the battery.

On average, a Tesla loses about 1% of battery life per day.

This is something to keep in mind if you are storing the car long term because allowing it to drain to 0% can damage your battery.

For instance, if you are going on a trip and putting it in storage for 30 days, you can expect your battery to lose around 30% by the time you get back.

How much does it cost to charge a Tesla at a charging station?

Making owning a Tesla more cost efficient is one of the main goals of future research.

In an interview with CNBC, Elon musk said,

“We’ve got to really make sure we get a very steep ramp in battery production and continue to improve the cost per kilowatt-hour of the batteries.”

Elon Musk

As of right now, the cost of charging is still cheaper than buying gasoline.

The cost of charging depends on how much you pay for electricity where you live, or if you are on the road, how much the local rate is for the charging station.

Electricity ranges anywhere from 9.66 cents to about 32.45 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh). Assuming about 13.34 cents per kWh, the cost for charging a Tesla P100D to a 315-mile range costs about $13.34. By comparison, it costs about $70 to fill up the tank of a Mercedes S class, with a 450-mile range.

When charging at home, the same principle applies as far as electricity rates are concerned. You will typically pay less for charging at home if all your car needs is a top-up every night.

When the Tesla is charging, it will stop charging when capacity is reached, and then, only turn on briefly if the battery uses a bit of energy. It is not drawing power every minute that it is plugged in.

To Summarise

The answer to, “should I charge my Tesla every night,” is a resounding YES. That is the best option. Tesla actually recommends charging your car every night.

What many future EV car owners do not realize is that their car has special technology to make sure that it will not overcharge and the worst thing that you can do to your Tesla is to let the battery drain to zero.

The rule of thumb is to charge fully and charge often. A Tesla is a feat of engineering genius. All you have to do is to plug in the cord and the car does the rest.

This infographic also summarises the information. Please share it if you found this article helpful:

Tesla Battery and charging infographic


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