How to charge a Tesla Model 3 – Faster, cleaner, cheaper

The Model 3 is about to land in the UK. That is one of the most exciting sentences I’ve ever written.

If you’re not sure why, the Model 3 is Elon Musk’s master stroke to launch electric vehicles into the mainstream. Whilst other manufacturers were building cheap (not particularly fantastic) electric cars, Elon’s company Tesla were busy building luxury electric supercars – the Roadster, the Model S, and then the Model X – and they’ve built on that success to create the Model 3.

Are you one of the few owners of a Model 3 reservation? This quick guide will walk you through the clean, smart ways to charge your car when it arrives on your doorstep.

What is the best way to charge a Model 3?

This is what you’re here for, so let’s cut to the chase!

Two revolutions are happing in parallel in the name of climate change. We are overhauling our energy system to build renewable generation as fast as possible – the UK generated actually XX% of energy from renewable energy in 2018. At the same time we’re on the brink of a transport revolution. Only 2% of vehicle sales in the UK are electric today, but in the next 5-10 years, electric cars will flood our streets – they have to if we’re to meet our commitments to the Paris Agreement.

How you charge your car is at the centre of these two revolutions. The electricity grid is a dynamic beast. If all cars plug in at dinner time, National Grid

If you can charge at home, the best way to charge your Model 3 is to switch to an electricity tariff with an off-peak period (100% green, of course) and use some form of timing for your charge – this could be your charge point or the in-built timing feature in the Model 3. This method of charging will save you well over 50% in comparison to charging on a standard electricity tariff with a standard charge point. You’ll also be charging at night, when the grid is around 80% cleaner than during peak times.

Here’s the maths: a standard UK electricity tariff is around 17p/kWh (May, 2019). You can switch to a tariff with off-peak rates that are as low as 5p/kWh during the night. Perfect!

So you’re saving about 10p for every kWh that flows into your Model 3. If you drive 10,000 miles per year – in your envy inducing unicorn of a ride – you’ll whir through about 2,500-3,000 kwh, which means you could be saving between £250-300 on home charging every year using this method.

Now you just need to think about how you’re going to time your charge.  The Model 3 has it’s own in-built charge timing feature. However, it doesn’t give you the ability to both set a start time and a stop time – so you won’t be able to make sure that your charging never slips into peak hours.

There are a few charge points on the market that you can use to guarantee charging in your off-peak hours only. Some use an internal setting, that you can change manually, and others can be controlled remotely, by smart phone apps that schedule your charging for the cheapest hours or the hours when the grid is the cleanest.

We’ve compiled a list of these charge points for you here.

And we’ve built a quick tool for you to get quotes from the right charge point installers here.

If you don’t have a driveway or garage to charge at home don’t worry, all is not lost. The public charging network in the UK is growing rapidly – in some places you can even charge your car from a nearby lam-post. Check out Zap-map, a great resource to find your nearest public charging options.

Which charge points are compatible with the Model 3?

In fact, every charge point is. The Tesla Model 3 uses a ‘type 2’ connector, so just make sure you choose this option when you’re speaking to your installer.

If you already have another car that uses a type 1 connector, you can choose an ‘untethered’ charge point. This means the cable doesn’t come attached to the charge point and you have a socket instead, which allows you to alternate between using a separate type 2 cable for your Model 3 and then a type 1 cable for your other car.

Should I use the Tesla charge point

Well it will definitely look cool… plugging your Tesla into a Tesla charge point. And it comes with a button to remotely open the Model 3’s charging port – which again, is very cool.

But unfortunately it’s not the smartest charge point on the market and doesn’t yet come with any timing or smart features – so you’ll be relying on your car to do your best to get your charging in off-peak times. Unless you can pop out of bed at around midnight plug in, and again in the early hours of the morning.

If you’d like to get quotes for the Tesla charge point, or for any other charge point, you can use the Rightcharge portal to connect to the right installers, covering your area. We’ve picked the best of the bunch from over 1200+ registered installers.

Enjoy your Model 3! And I hope you can now charge cleaner and cheaper.



Written by Charlie Cook,

the Founder of Rightcharge – the UK’s first comparison website for electric vehicle charging




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