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Is it a good idea to get a Tesla without a charger at home?

Tesla Model 3

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One of the ways to reduce your carbon footprint, help the environment, and becoming a sustainable energy pioneer is by getting an electric car. And while it’s expensive, there’s no better option in this category than a Tesla. Given its somewhat limited reach though, you won’t have as easy a time finding a charger, if you don’t already have one at home, as you would a gas station though. Talk to anyone who’s bought a Tesla or is considering it, and the first thing you’ll see mentioned as a must-have is a charger at home. Can you manage without one though? Well, I’ve had a Tesla for a year and without a charger in my condo.

Here’s my experience.

Planning is vital

I’m sure most of us know what our usual driving schedules, distances, and patterns are for any given workweek. Leaving unplanned side trips out of the mix, many can pinpoint exactly how much they drive every day. That’s a number you’ll have to become very familiar with if you get an electric car and don’t have convenient access to a charger.

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No one likes to run out of gas. But in the case of an EV, you won’t be able to carry a charge in a portable can either. Knowing the estimated range of your car, along with what your average day is like, will help circumvent any issues you might have with keeping your car charged at all times.

Speaking from personal experience, I have a daily weekday commute of around 40km. I also know that my Model 3 has an estimated range of 500Km on a full charge. Middle school math is more than enough to let me plan how often I need to make trips to a supercharger, if I can juice up at work, or if I’d need to make a stop on the way back and forth. It makes being without a Tesla charger at home a whole lot easier.

Another important factor to keep in mind is the weather. The range of an EV tends to drop quite drastically in frigid conditions. Since winter is almost year-round here in Canada, you’ll have to account for this situation as well in your calculations. Basically, your summer math will not be the same as winter math. From what I’ve seen, the range drops by almost 35% in extreme cold.

Speaking of vital planning, now that we’re in a world with a virus raging through it, it might also be a good idea to keep Clorox wipes handy in your car. Remember to wipe down the charging port and handles before and even after (let’s be considerate of others) charging.

In search of a charge

Finding the nearest Supercharger or DC fast charging station is the first step if you get a Tesla with no charger at home. Of course, you’ll have to take into account how far these are from your house as well. It might take a few tries, but finding the right station, in terms of access and capacity, can almost make or break your EV experience.

I’m undoubtedly lucky that I live right across from a massive 20 station Tesla supercharger. Also helping is the fact that it doesn’t get particularly busy either. You can also plan your stops based on at what time in the day you’re guaranteed to get a spot without waiting.

Things worked out well enough for me, so I didn’t have to go through much trial and error. But even if you have to, the long-term benefits are certainly worth the initial pain. A lot of office buildings or nearby parking garages now come with charging stations as well. If you don’t find anything convenient near your home, getting charged up while you’re at work is a good idea too.

Charging on the go

Tesla without charger at home - finding stations
Source: Tesla App, Find A SuperCharger Map

So you’ve done the math. You know exactly where the best charging locations are, around your house, or close to work. It’s also been easy to figure out exactly how many trips to the charger you have to make. And because nothing in life ever works that smoothly, range anxiety is a phenomenon you’re bound to become intimate with.

Unplanned stops, unexpected traffic, and other unfortunate circumstances could potentially lead you into unfamiliar areas. Of course, the low-charge warning decides to make its presence known at that exact moment as well. The good news is that you’re more likely to find a charging location, but that entirely depends on which part of the country you’re in.

You’ll find Tesla recommended charging stops on the screen. However, I’d recommend using EV route planner apps like Plug Share for Android | IOS. The app has a strong community and presence in North America, and provides updated info on where you can find a charger. You’ll find the usual suspects like shopping malls and parking garages on the list. What is fantastic though is that the app also shows community members who are willing to share their at-home charging spots.

Make charging fun!

Tesla Supercharger Toronto
Tesla Supercharger Toronto

Charging the car can often take a while. It could be as long as 30Min with a Supercharger and even longer at a regular charging station. It’s not a horrible idea to sit in the comfort of your car and watch a movie or TV show on Netflix. But you’re probably going to do that when you’re back home as well.

What you can do instead is plan your errands and other activities around it. You should be able to easily find a charging spot at a mall or near grocery shops. You could also catch a movie or grab dinner while the car charges. I’ve done all of this. It definitely goes a long way in making sure that charging your car becomes a part of everyday routine and not an additional chore that you have to think about.

So is it worth getting a Tesla without a charger at home?

My answer is yes! Now, I’ll be the first to admit that circumstances have fallen in my favor quite heavily. I have a great charging near my house or at work, so not having a charger at home has barely been an issue. I also live in a city where finding a charging station isn’t too difficult. Your situation may be completely different, so do take that into consideration. For the most part, you shouldn’t have too much trouble managing without a charger at home.

Made up your mind? Don’t leave great discounts and interesting offers on the table! Find out more about the Tesla referral program before you make your purchase.

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