People often ask us about charging: "How far can you go between charges?" "How do you know where to charge?" And "how much does it cost to charge?"
As for the first question, it's kinda like a gas-powered vehicle. It depends on how fast we're going, whether we're climbing up hills, and if we have other things drawing power, like the A/C or the chilled or heated seats. (I love the chilled seats!)
Our Model X P90D is rated at 257 miles between charges. If we're driving along, slowly cruising through the scenery as we recently did while exploring southern Oregon and Highway 101 in northern California, our mileage can be better than that. But we like to keep the batteries topped up especially since we might decide to take a diversion.
So we take advantage of charging stations when we can, and time them for rest stops (i.e. naps), lunch breaks, or overnight hotel stays. The car’s onboard computer constantly monitors the battery during both driving and charging to ensure it maintains peak performance.
Using a Supercharger is easy. You simply pull up, plug in, and depending upon how low we've run the batteries, it might take 15 - 50 minutes to top up to have enough range to get to our destination or the next station.
We know where to charge thanks to a couple of things. One is the Tesla Supercharging network, which is expanding quickly across the country.
This map on the left shows the Superchargers as of today. The map on the right shows the Superchargers that will be in place by the end of 2016. With more and more people buying Tesla vehicles (and almost half a million orders placed for the new Tesla Model 3), Superchargers will be cropping up all over!
Tesla vehicles use an onboard charger to convert alternating current (AC) from a wall charger to direct current (DC) that’s stored in the battery. Superchargers consist of multiple chargers working in parallel to deliver up to 120 kW of power directly to the battery. As the battery nears to a full charge, the vehicle’s onboard computer gradually reduces the current to the optimum level for topping off cells.
How do we know where to charge? That's easy, too! Our navigation system plots the route to our destination, showing us not only the superchargers along the way, but also telling us how much battery power will remain at that destination. Other charging stations, called "destination chargers" are found at hotels, restaurants, RV parks, public buildings, etc., for the growing network of EVs (electric vehicles) to use.
In addition to the Tesla's onboard navigation system indicating the location of these chargers, we also have an app called Plugshare that shows us where these are located. We've never had a problem finding a place to plug-in for a pop!
And how much does it cost? To use the Supercharger is...free!! We don't pay anything. Sometimes, the destination chargers require a small fee, but 5 or 10 bucks for a full battery top-off is no big deal and so far, on this trip, we've only had to do that twice when exploring the coast along Highway 101.
It's great not to have to pull into a gas station and fill up with fossil fuels!!