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How long can a Tesla drive without charging?

High Voltage Battery Information

Model Y has one of the most sophisticated battery systems in the world. The most important way to preserve the high voltage Battery is to LEAVE YOUR VEHICLE PLUGGED IN when you are not using it. This is particularly important if you are not planning to drive Model Y for several weeks.

Informational Purposes An informational icon, calling your attention

When left idle and unplugged, your vehicle periodically uses energy from the Battery for system tests and recharging the low voltage battery when necessary.

There is no advantage to waiting until the Battery’s level is low before charging. In fact, the Battery performs best when charged regularly.

Informational Purposes An informational icon, calling your attention

If you allow the Battery to discharge to 0%, other components may become damaged or require replacement (for example, the low voltage battery). In these cases, you are responsible for repair and/or transporting expenses. Discharge-related expenses are not covered by the warranty or under the Roadside Assistance policy.

The peak charging rate of the Battery may decrease slightly after a large number of DC Fast Charging sessions, such as those at Superchargers. To ensure maximum driving range and Battery safety, the Battery charge rate is decreased when the Battery is too cold, when the Battery’s charge is nearly full, and when the Battery conditions change with usage and age. These changes in the condition of the Battery are driven by battery physics and may increase the total Supercharging duration by a few minutes over time. You can minimize the amount of charge time by using Trip Planner (if available in your market region) to warm the Battery while driving to a Supercharger. See Trip Planner for more information.

Battery Care

Never allow the Battery to fully discharge. Even when Model Y is not being driven, its Battery discharges very slowly to power the onboard electronics. The Battery can discharge at a rate of approximately 1% per day, though the discharge rate may vary depending on environmental factors (such as cold weather), vehicle configuration, and your selected settings on the touchscreen. Situations can arise in which you must leave Model Y unplugged for an extended period of time (for example, at an airport when traveling). In these situations, keep the 1% in mind to ensure that you leave the Battery with a sufficient charge level. For example, over a two week period (14 days), the Battery may discharge by approximately 14%.

Discharging the Battery to 0% may result in damage to vehicle components. To protect against a complete discharge, Model Y enters a low-power consumption mode when the displayed charge level drops to approximately 0%. In this mode, the Battery stops supporting the onboard electronics and auxiliary low voltage battery. Once this low-power consumption mode is active, immediately plug in Model Y to prevent a jump start and low voltage battery replacement.

Informational Purposes An informational icon, calling your attention

If Model Y is unresponsive and does not unlock, open, or charge, the low voltage battery may be discharged. In this situation, try jump starting the low voltage battery (see Jump Starting). If the vehicle is still unresponsive, contact Tesla.

Temperature Limits

For better long-term performance, avoid exposing Model Y to ambient temperatures above 140° F (60° C) or below -22° F (-30° C) for more than 24 hours at a time.

Energy Saving Feature

Model Y has an energy-saving feature that reduces the amount of energy being consumed by the displays when Model Y is not in use. On newer vehicles, this feature is automated to provide an optimal level of energy saving. However, on older vehicles, you can control the amount of energy being consumed by the displays by touching Controls > Display > Energy Saving . For more information on maximizing range and saving energy, see Getting Maximum Range.

Lithium Iron Phosphate Batteries

Some vehicles are equipped with a Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) Battery. To determine if your vehicle is equipped with an LFP battery, navigate to Controls > Software > Additional Vehicle Information . If your vehicle is equipped with an LFP battery, «High Voltage Battery type: Lithium Iron Phosphate» is listed. If your vehicle does not have an LFP battery, the high voltage Battery type is not specified.

If your vehicle is equipped with an LFP Battery, Tesla recommends that you keep your charge limit set to 100%, even for daily use, and that you also fully charge to 100% at least once per week. If Model Y has been parked for longer than a week, Tesla recommends driving as you normally would and charge to 100% at your earliest convenience.

In addition, a best practice is to allow Model Y to «sleep» regularly by parking it with Sentry Mode disabled, when possible. Consider using the Exclude Home , Exclude Work , and Exclude Favorites settings to prevent Sentry Mode from automatically activating at locations it is not needed (see How to Use Sentry Mode (Camera + App)).

Following the above guidance maximizes available range and improves the vehicle’s ability to accurately determine the state of charge and estimated range.

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Although Tesla recommends charging to 100% at least once per week, remember that regenerative braking is reduced while driving with a fully charged battery. See Regenerative Braking.

Submerged Vehicle

As with any electric vehicle, if your Tesla has been exposed to flooding, extreme weather events or has otherwise been submerged in water (especially in salt water), treat it as if it’s been in an accident and contact your insurance company for support. Do not attempt to operate the vehicle before Tesla Service has inspected it, but you should tow or move it away from any structures.

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Damage caused by water is not covered under warranty.

Battery Warnings and Cautions

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The Battery has no parts that an owner or a non-Tesla authorized service technician can service. Under no circumstances should you open or tamper with the Battery. Always contact Tesla to arrange for Battery servicing.

Warning Icon A warning icon, calling your attention to a possibly risky situation

If the Battery’s charge level falls to 0%, you must plug it in. If you leave it unplugged for an extended period, it may not be possible to charge or use Model Y without jump starting or replacing the low voltage battery. Leaving Model Y unplugged for an extended period can also result in permanent Battery damage. If you are unable to charge Model Y after attempting to jump start the low voltage battery, contact Tesla immediately.

Warning Icon A warning icon, calling your attention to a possibly risky situation

The Battery requires no owner maintenance. Do not remove the coolant filler cap and do not add fluid. If the touchscreen warns you that the fluid level is low, contact Tesla immediately.

Warning Icon A warning icon, calling your attention to a possibly risky situation
Do not use the Battery as a stationary power source. Doing so voids the warranty.

  • Model Y Owner’s Manual
    • Using this Owner’s Manual
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    • Operating Climate Controls
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    • Maps and Navigation
    • Media
    • Theater, Arcade, and Toybox
    • Electric Vehicle Components
    • High Voltage Battery Information
    • Charging Instructions
    • Scheduled Charging and Scheduled Departure
    • Getting Maximum Range
    • Software Updates
    • Maintenance Service Intervals
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    • Cleaning
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    • Contacting Tesla Roadside Assistance
    • Instructions for Transporters
    • Running Out of Range
    • Jump Starting
    • Troubleshooting Alerts
    • About this Owner Information
    • Feature Availability Statement
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    • Reporting Safety Defects
    • Certification Conformity

    How Well Does an Tesla Model 3 Work For a Long Trip?

    After a 1046-mile journey in Tesla’s smallest sedan we have the answer.

    By Connor Hoffman Published: May 22, 2020

    2019 tesla model 3

    Connor Hoffman | Car and Driver

    • We took a 1046-mile round-trip from Ann Arbor, Michigan to St. Louis, Missouri and back in our long-term Tesla Model 3 to gauge the feasibility of long-distance electric-vehicle travel.
    • The 523 miles each way takes about eight hours in a gasoline-powered vehicle. The Tesla required three recharge stops, adding nearly three hours to the trip.
    • Tesla’s Supercharger stations are located along major Interstates at convenient intervals, and the car’s navigation system directs you to the nearest one as the battery runs low.

    Few things will make your heart sink deep into your stomach quite like missing an exit to a Tesla Supercharger with only six percent of battery life remaining. I’ll admit, I zoned out for a quick second while listening to Black Dog by Led Zeppelin. The next second, our Model 3 long-term test car’s navigation system rerouted me four miles ahead to the nearest interchange so I could turn around. In that moment, I heard myself repeating «oh God, no» while hoping I was going to make it back to the Supercharger.

    Filling station, Vehicle, Car, Transport, Gas pump, Telephone booth, Mode of transport, Tesla, Tesla model s, Gasoline,

    Connor Hoffman | Car and Driver

    With less than about 60 miles of range remaining, a Model 3’s battery icon turns from green to yellow and, soon after that, to red. The colors make you doubt and reevaluate, constantly double-checking the distance to the suggested Supercharger on Google Maps even though the navigation system does that for you. But is the technology really trustworthy? It turned out that it was. After missing the exit, I reached the Supercharger with just three percent of the battery charge remaining.

    With less than 60 miles of range remaining, a Model 3’s battery icon soon turns red. Uh-oh.

    I was in the process of heading back to Ann Arbor, Michigan after two weeks at home with my family in St. Louis. The 523-mile one-way drive is a familiar one for me, and it usually takes eight hours and requires just one stop for food and fuel when driving most other gasoline-powered vehicles. But the Model 3 required three stops along the way to charge its 80.5-kWh lithium-ion battery and took almost eleven hours.

    Vehicle, Car, Technology, City car, Steering wheel, Family car,

    Connor Hoffman | Car and Driver

    Thanks to Tesla’s vast Supercharger network, planning for a road trip in one of the company’s vehicles isn’t as challenging or as critical as it was in 2014 when we drove down to Virginia International Raceway in our long-term 2015 Tesla Model S P85D. Tesla’s supercharger network now consists of about 1870 stations worldwide—908 in the U.S.— found mostly off of major highways at grocery stores, malls, gas stations, and sometimes in apartment-complex parking structures. They either supply 250 kW or 150 kW; there are also chargers in urban locations that have 72 kW of electrical power. With chargers spread out strategically across the most-travelled routes there’s no need to worry about making it to a station.

    More on EV Road-Tripping

    Plugging in at a Supercharger is easy: Just open the car’s charge port via the dashboard-mounted 15-inch touchscreen, hop out, grab the charging cable off the charger and plug in. For the Model 3, the cost is usually about $0.26 per kilowatt-hour, which is charged directly to your Tesla account. On our three-stop trip, each charging session ranged from around $7 to $13 and took, on average, about 50 minutes. Good thing Netflix and Hulu are integrated into the Model 3’s central touch screen.

    While charging might lengthen a long trip by several hours, driving a Model 3 on a multi-state jaunt is relaxed and effortless. Our Model 3 is equipped with Tesla’s autopilot feature, which enables the car to accelerate, steer, brake, and cruise semi-autonomously within its lane; it can change lanes automatically, too. This, along with the Model 3’s easy-to-use cruise control and comfortable, quiet ride made for a relaxed long-range trip.

    We can’t speak to the time and effort that would be required to make this same trip in a non-Tesla electric vehicle using one of the other, less widespread public charging networks from companies like EvGo or Electrify America. But our Tesla trek does prove that cross-country journeys in electric vehicles are on the brink of becoming not only feasible but also low-stress affairs. That is, as long as you don’t miss the exit to a Supercharger station.

    Associate Technical Editor

    Sitting on the floor of the library and poring over issues of Car and Driver is one of Connor Hoffman’s earliest memories. Choosing to attend the nation’s top-ranked journalism school at the University of Missouri and graduating with a magazine writing emphasis was all part of chasing his dream of writing for Car and Driver. When he’s not bragging about Mizzou having the best journalism program in the country, he’s probably on a rant about Toyota trucks.

    Tesla charging speed on a 110 volt outlet

    Technically you can connect your Tesla to a standard 110v plug receptacle with the free adapter that comes with the car. But you can only charge slowly–at about 3 miles of range per hour parked. It’s about as practical as refilling a gas car’s tank with an eye dropper. It will take up to 4 full days to fully recharge an empty Tesla car battery using a regular wall outlet.

    “Technically you can connect your Tesla to a standard 110v plug but it’s about as pracitcal as refilling a gas car’s tank with an eye dropper.”

    Keep in mind, though, folks rarely drive the full 335 miles that a Tesla Model S 100D can cover on one charge. The average person drives barely 10% of that every day in the US–about 37 miles per day is typical. Good thing since 30-ish miles is just about the maximum you can recoup by trickle-charging on a regular outlet overnight.

    How to Charge a Tesla at Home from Day 1 Without Electrical Upgrades

    The mobile wall connector (manual charging cord) comes standard with your Tesla along with several adapters. Including the one for your familiar upside-down-smiley-face home electrical outlet (AKA a “Nema 5-15” Level 1 receptacle). The kind that powers anything from your cell phone charger to your wine fridge.

    This explainer of Level 1, 2 and 3 charging for Teslas of all kinds offers a complete picture of your charging options.

    Wireless Charging Upgrade for Tesla

    What Tesla Owners Say About Level 1 Charging at 110 Volts

    There are plenty of Tesla-related blogs and forums discussing Level 1 charging. A thorough scrape of those threads, and my own experience as an EV driver, produces this answer: Yes, you can “get by” with only charging your Tesla on a 110V (aka 120V) standard home outlet, but it’s going to be annoying and feel limiting.

    There’s a whole thread about “trickle charging” your Tesla on the official Tesla forum. If, like the original poster, you’re expecting delivery of your Tesla Model S, Model 3 or Model X and don’t quite have your 240v wiring set up yet, you can charge on a regular outlet to start off.

    Totally true. But as brijam points out, Tesla makes awesome cars and you’ll be wanting to drive that beautiful machine “a /lot/ more than just to and from work.”

    “…you’ll be wanting to drive that beautiful machine ‘a /lot/ more than just to and from work.’”

    Of course, as the abundantly practical Brian H points out, soaking up 20-30 miles a night on Level 1 charging is fine if you “load up once a week at a high-power chargespot, and “[hold] the fort” at home with the 110 [volt charging].”

    This is totally reasonable since Tesla has plenty of superchargers for the current fleet of Tesla owners. But once another half a million Model 3’s are on the road it may not be as practical. And unlimited free Supercharging for life is no longer a thing .

    “ You can get by on trickle charging, sort of, but you won’t get the full Tesla experience.”

    The blog Tesla Owner has an entry titled “Living with 110” in which they describe the practical issues and some workarounds for things like making the bulky adapter stay attached to the wall. They seem to find some easy and practical fixes. Still, even in that post 110 only serves as a temporary holdover until a backordered Level 2 charger arrives.

    • Charging with 110v outlet | Tesla Official Forum
    • Have any owners used a 110v outlet to charge your Model S? | Tesla Motors Club
    • Living with 110 v | Tesla Owner Blog

    How to Decide on a Level 2 Charger

    The verdict is pretty clear. You can get by on trickle charging, sort of, but you won’t get the full Tesla experience. As Mike C . says, he was sometimes “cutting it close” with only 110 v charging and felt “so much happier” once he got to charging on 240 volt / Level 2 charging, “it was liberating.”

    “charging on 240 volt ‘was liberating.’”

    So then the thing to decide is — which Level 2 charger to get? A corded Wall Connector? A hands-free wireless Tesla charger? Check out this article covering all your Tesla charging options to decide which is best for you.

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