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Jan 25, 2024

Charging a Tesla: How Much Will It Cost & How Long Will It Take?

Ready to embark on the Tesla adventure? Owning an electric car is a different experience than owning a gasoline-powered one, and many questions come along with it. One of the main reasons people shift from gasoline to electric, is reduced running costs.

But how much does it really cost to run a Tesla, and perhaps more importantly, how long does it take? Here’s a quick rundown of charging costs and times when owning one of Elon Musk’s electric machines. 

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Charging costs vary with location and how you charge

The first thing you need to know about owning a Tesla, or any electric vehicle for that matter, is that charging costs will vary depending on how you charge your vehicle, but also where you live in Canada. Let’s focus on the three major provinces where EVs are currently sold the most: Quebec, British Columbia, and Ontario. 

Charging at home is the most affordable and convenient

The most affordable and convenient way to charge a Tesla, or any electric vehicle for that matter, is at home. Most, if not all EV buyers purchase a level 2 (240 volt) home charger to do this. 

The best practice when owning an electric car is to plug it in the evening before going to bed and unplugging it in the morning like a smartphone. This typically takes between 8 and 12 hours depending on the model you own. And because the charging cycle is happening during off peak hours, energy consumption rates are typically lower. 

Charging a Tesla in Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia

Home charging costs will vary from one province to the next, but also according to your energy company’s rates. For instance, Hydro Québec’s rates are set at 6.294 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) during the first 1,200 kWh consumed. Assuming you own a Tesla Model 3 powered by a 53-kWh battery, it would cost you anywhere between $3.00 and $4.00 to fully charge your Tesla overnight from your home charger.

In Ontario, where the province’s electricity rates are set at 8.7 cents per kWh during off-peak hours, a similar scenario would come out to roughly $5.00. 

In B.C., where electricity costs 9.75 cents per kWh during the first 1,350 kWh consumed, expect to pay anywhere between $5.00 and $6.00 for an overnight home charge. 

Costs of Tesla Supercharger and public chargers

While on the go, you’ll need to rely on public charging stations to fill up your Tesla. Luckily, Tesla has a well-established charging network called the Supercharger. The network’s chargers are scattered across Canada and can easily be found via the Tesla app or your car’s infotainment system. 

Tesla offers different rates and deals for the Supercharger service. For instance, we’ve seen Tesla offer a free one-year trial to all new Model 3 buyers. Otherwise, Tesla rates typically hang around 26 cents per kWh (this is an estimate and rates vary from each charging station according to their power). 

If you’re not using a Tesla Supercharger, public chargers are also available. It’s however important to underline that some of these chargers could require a special adapter to connect to your Tesla.

Rates for public charging installations typically vary from one company to the next. Some will bill you per kWh, others, like Quebec’s Electric Circuit grid for instance, bill you per minute, or per hour. As we write this, EV owners typically pay no more than $20.00 to charge their car on a public charger in Canada. 

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Charging times vary according to different factors

We’ve already established that on a level 2 home charger, a Tesla takes anywhere between 10 and 12 hours to fully charge. But charging times will be considerably quicker at a Tesla Supercharger or on a level 3 (400 volts) public charger.

Charging times vary according to the car’s charging capacity and the charger’s ability to supply it. EV charging speeds are typically measured in kilowatts (kW). For instance, if a charger has a charging speed of 250 kW, but the car can only receive 100 kW, the charger will reduce its speed to adapt to the car’s limitations. The amount of power the charger can send to the battery determines how long it takes to charge it.

The following chart shows the charging speed of all current Tesla models:

Tesla Model

Charging Speed

Model 3 Rear-wheel Drive

170 kW

Model 3 Long Range AWD / Performance

250 kW

Model Y Long Range AWD / Performance

250 kW

Model S / Plaid

250 kW

Model X / Plaid

250 kW

Tesla’s Supercharger network can supply anywhere between 90 and 300 kW of power. Assuming a Tesla Model S Plaid, which we reviewed here, is connected to a 250 kW charger, it would take you 15 minutes to regain 320 km of range.

2021 Model S Plaid | Photo: Tesla 

Finding a fast charger that’s compatible with your Tesla is the key to reducing charging times. Modern public charging stations offer up to 350 kW of power. This information is typically written on the unit itself or on the network’s mobile app. 

It’s important to know your car’s capacity and the charger’s output to determine how quickly you can get back on the road. Once connected, your car’s onboard computer will tell you how much time is needed for a full charge.

Final thoughts on charging your Tesla in Canada

That all being said, there are other important factors to consider when charging your Tesla on public chargers. For instance, it’s not recommended to use a level 3 fast charger for a 100% charge. These chargers typically slow down at around 80% to protect the battery from early degradation. Remember: public chargers are there to help replenish on the road. We recommend you use a level 2 home charger for a full charge.

It’s also important to note that cold weather negatively affects charging speeds. The battery’s state of health also influences charging times. If your battery is showing signs of degradation, it may not charge as quickly as when it was new. 

If you’re shopping for a used Tesla or electric vehicle we recommend getting pre-approved for your car loan first, so you can shop with confidence knowing exactly how much you can afford.

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