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Considering Model S, advice on charging at home...

Discussion in 'Model S: Battery & Charging' started by Bimmer6, Jun 24, 2013.

  1. Bimmer6

    Bimmer6 New Member

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    Hey guys. Considering a switch from a BMW to a Model S. I
    drive under 50 miles a day. I drive around 8,000 per year. The Tesla salesman told me it was not necessary to install a 220 plug because of my driving habits. He said a regular plug will charge the car 30
    miles per 1 hour of charging. If thats true, I would be perfectly comfortable buying one and just using the charger that it comes with; however, I spoke with a couple who have a Model S and they said they had to instal the 220 plug because it took them DAYS to get a full charge without one which I find hard to believe. Can some owners chime in here and give me some good advice? Really appreciate it!!


    -Matt
     
  2. Al Sherman

    Al Sherman It's about THIS car.

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    Sounds like a communication mix up. The "Tesla Salesman" couldn't have said that. He must have meant a 50 amp circuit. I'm guessing he was talking about the difference between the UMC (charging at 40 amps with a NEMA 14-50 plug) and the HPWC (High Power Wall Charger charging at 80 amps). Normal household outlets/current will yield 3-5 miles per hour charge rate at best. Many have reported less. Technically you don't need anything but household current and can always plug your Model S into a normal household outlet. But as a practical matter, you WILL absolutely need the faster charge rate.
     
  3. Todd Burch

    Todd Burch Electron Pilot

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    Hi Matt,

    Yes, a NEMA 14~50 will fit your needs perfectly. Fairly cheap to install...even cheaper if you do it yourself.

    Good luck!
     
  4. dtich

    dtich #P708

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    ditto.

    your requirements are the same as mine as far as daily mileage and i installed a 14-50 myself and works great. i wouldn't be too comfortable with 110v only, bit too slow. also in chicago where you can get some chilly winters the 110v won't be able to overcome the temperature differential very easily to charge on cold nights. fwiw.

    ps - i switched from years of bmw's too, never looked back, and those were GREAT cars.... you'll love the S.
     
  5. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    Yeah, the sales person either misunderstood your question or gave you bad information. The Model S owners are right, it can take days to charge on a 110V outlet so definitely install a NEMA 14-50 outlet as others suggested.
     
  6. adiggs

    adiggs Active Member

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    To put some numbers to others comments, the 14-50 plug (RV 50 Amp service - I think of it as a flavor of dryer plug) gets me 240v @ 32A for my Roadster, or about 7Kw/hour, and that works out to around 25-30 miles of range per hour of charging. On a day where I drive 50 miles, that needs about 2 hours to recharge the car. (I mostly drive around 20 miles per day, so 45-60 minutes of charging gets me back to full).

    Using a standard household plug, that's 120v @ 10A or so, for about 1 - 1.5 kW/hour, or about 3-5 miles of range recovered per hour of charging. Down at this low level though, a significant % of your charging current can go to cooling the pack (typically). Even assuming that doesn't happen, and assuming 5 miles of range/hour of charging, you will need about 10 hours of charging time to recover the 50 miles of driving you do in a day. I'm guessing that will work out typically, but it also means that you will use all available time for routine charging day to day, and will need days or weeks to finally recover from any longer trips (assuming you continue with the 50 miles of driving each day). Any day you don't drive at all will get you 120 miles of extra recovery.

    With the 14-50 installed, if you're getting 25 miles of range/hour of charging, then 10 hours will get back 250 miles, so you're pretty much guaranteed a daily reset to a full pack.

    That's why even with modest driving, you'll have to hunt around to find anybody here who would suggest relying on a standard household plug for charging your car. I've found that the 14-50 is plenty for recharging the Roadster, and I'm planning to continue that approach when Model X arrives. I'd much rather spend ~$100 on a 14-50 plug than >$1k(?) for the HPWC; I believe that is specifically what the person from Tesla was suggesting - that the 14-50 would be an inexpensive alternative to the HPWC and would provide you with plenty of charging capacity so you don't need to think about it.
     
  7. Citizen-T

    Citizen-T Active Member

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    Just to be clear, the NEMA 14-50 is basically a dryer plug, we aren't talking about the High Powered Wall Connector that Tesla sells. Getting a NEMA 14-50 installed is typically very cheap. Someone else can comment on what a retrofit cost them, but I had 2 installed in my garage and one outside while it was being built. The builder charged me $75 ea.

    If you are really worried about it, just have an electrician come out and give you an estimate prior to deciding on whether or not to buy the Model S.
     
  8. efusco

    efusco Moderator - Model S & X forums

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    At only 50 miles of driving/day, assuming you could leave the car plugged into a 110v outlet for around 12 hours/day, you would, eventually drain your battery to the point of undrivability unless you could leave it on for more extended times during the weekend. If you could do that then, in theory, you could get away with only a 110v outlet.

    But as many have pointed out above, in reality you need at least a 30 amp outlet and if you don't already have that, then you might as well go for a 50 amp outlet.

    I typically drove my Prius ~15,000 miles per year. In 7 months I have over 12,000 on my Model S...because it is our primary vehicle for practically everything we do. My wife takes it for grocery runs, we shuttle kids preferentially with it, etc. I suspect I'm not alone at all in finding that I use the S b/c of the lower cost to drive and fun of driving. I think it would be prudent to assume you'll do the same and that you'll eventually need a higher amperage outlet even if your current use wouldn't mandate it.
     
  9. stevezzzz

    stevezzzz R;SigS;P85D;SigX

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    To the OP: I've owned both the Roadster and now the Model S, and I have only ever used a 240V NEMA 14-50 circuit for home charging. And I've never regretted not having an 80 amp charger: the UMC that comes with the car is fine. My driving needs vary from 20-100 miles a day.

    If you try and rely on a standard 15 amp 120V household circuit, you're only setting yourself up for disappointment.
     
  10. twinklejet

    twinklejet Member

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  11. Zythryn

    Zythryn MS 70D, MX 90D

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    Hey Matt,
    Yes, I believe there was a mix up somewhere.
    You can use the plug adapter that comes with the car, but there are two. One is for the standard outlet, another is for the NEMA 14-50 outlet.
    What you don't need is the HPWC which is an extra option.
    We have been charging Tesla vehicles on a NEMA 14-50 plug for 3 Minnesota winters now with no problems. We tend to drive the cars 30-150 miles a day and always got all the charge we needed with the NEMA 14-50.
     
  12. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    Actually, the NEMA 14-30 is a dryer plug. The NEMA 14-50 is most commonly used as an electric range (stove) plug and is also common at campgrounds for RV connections.
     
  13. Bimmer6

    Bimmer6 New Member

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    Thank you all very much for your advice. Never knew about the NEMA-14-50 or that it was very reasonable to install for that matter. Waiting to hear on a price for my trade. Will keep you guys updated!
     
  14. pete8314

    pete8314 Vendor

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    Good luck with the trade-in. FYI, my 14-50 installed was about $240, that's with a 25ft run from the breaker box. Unless your circumstances are unusual, most of us seem to be paying between $200-500 to get it installed, depending on the local labor rates. I used Trusted Pros For A Better Home | Redbeacon (A Home Depot thing, I think) to shop around for quotes, it worked well for me.
     
  15. DEinspanjer

    DEinspanjer Member

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    Everyone else has already set you straight on the confusion between the HPWC and the UMC. I wanted to toss one more small bit of info out for you.

    The NEMA 14-50 is a very common hookup for RVs. If you install it in a location where it could be used for that purpose in the future, it could be considered a small improvement to the value of the house and handy if you or a future owner ever has an RV.

    There is another common outlet for which Tesla sells an optional adapter, the NEMA 6-50. Both will charge at the same rate of speed. The 6-50 is commonly used for big air compressors or arc welders, so if you installed that outlet in a garage or shop, it could be a potential improvement as well. Also, note that the 6-50 wiring is very similar to what is needed by the HPWC. If you run heavy enough gauge wiring to support a 100 AMP circuit in the future but wire it as 6-50, then you have the advantage of being able to easily upgrade it to a HPWC in the future if you ever wanted/needed.
     
  16. B-Chicago

    B-Chicago Member

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    Hey Bimmer, glad to see you are making the change. I moved from an Audi S6 (which I loved) and consider the S a major upgrade. Love the performance, the design, the technology, and the constant positive feedback from anyone who sees the car. A truly fun car to own.

    On the charging. I have the HPWC but have been charging at 60amps (versus 80amps) due to what I just realized was an artificial limiter suggestion by the software due to fuse issues with the older HPWC. I have a newer one but have not modified to a full 80 yet (3 days with the car since delivery). What I can tell you is that 60amps (and I'm sure 50) is fine. Surprisingly fast charge, especially since I drive 10 mi/each way to work, so I drive probably 30mi/day on average. About 45min of charge each night needed. That said, the range seems to deplete pretty quickly. I'm not sure how anyone gets 300 range. I drive 25-30mi/day but my range depletes 50-60mi/day. Maybe it is my heavy gas pedal during the first few days, but I have a feeling that the actual full range will be more like 200-225 than 300. I hear from east coasters that in the winter it is more like 175 under normal acceleration conditions. Also, I hear very cold weather hurts when parked, so planning for the worst in Chicago.

    If you really have the ability to charge 5-8 hours/night and drive as little as you do, a 14-50 should be fine. I went on the safe side as this is my first EV and I really don't want to take any chances. The other comment I have is I wish you the best, but $250 per installation (quoted by others) would be amazing. I think it all depends on where your boxes are located and if you have a short run, etc. My installation was significantly more expensive (both 50 and 100 amp options) but the install was difficult (far side of house through a finished basement). It all depends. Others in IL are in the $1,500-2,500 range.

    I hope you pull the trigger. I'm sure you will love it and have a ton of fun. Good luck.

    If you get the dual chargers, I would go HPWC. If you go single charger, the 14-50 will still work just fine. Up to you but wanted to give you a little info on the options.
     
  17. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    Can one or more people in the Chicago area chime in with a ballpark price to install just the 14-50R assuming (1) the distance to the breaker box isn't more than a few feet and (2) a new box isn't needed to make room?

    @Bimmer6 - Take whatever number they mention and round up to the nearest $100, and then translate that to how many 250 mi. trip gas refills that would be. That should quickly put it into "pretty reasonable / cheap" terms for you. :) Also, 110V/12A (standard wall outlet) is painfully slow. The first two weeks of ownership were very frustrating for me because of it. You'll see what I mean when everybody you remotely know wants to go for a ride in your shiny new rocket.
     
  18. purplewalt

    purplewalt Active Member

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    +1

    Charging my MS with 110V/12A or 20A is worse than watching grass grow.
    I have had car for (almost) one week, rode my motorcycle to work Friday and left MS in garage to charge.
    Really disappointing amount of time required for battery recovery and recharging with 110 V outlet.
    I do have Electrician scheduled to install NEMA-14-50 upgraded outlet (I already have purchased the outlet, box and cover plate, he will need to provide new breaker, wire and labor) this weekend, hope to get above 243 (max so far) indicated miles of potential range.

    Weather is getting very hot here already, and I am sure the additional heat load is really impacting the amount of range and indicated.
    My excuse for not already having the NEMA-14-50 installed?
    Car got here too quickly, had a host of other things to sift through and get accomplished with more importance.

    More Great News: A/C system works like a champ, really stellar performance.

    Oh, and get ready to describe your car to a lot of folks, because they will strike up a conversation just as you are getting in or out of it.
    I have at least eight folks at work who want to either ride in or drive it, so I will be putting on some demo miles.:rolleyes:
     
  19. Tacket

    Tacket Member

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    Trying to decide which side of the garage the car will live, so I've been using my dryer plug (10-30) @ 24a and it does fine for the 75 or so miles I drive each day. Pain to plug and unplug, but its been working just fine.
     
  20. Citizen-T

    Citizen-T Active Member

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    My dryer uses a 14-50, granted both my house and dryer are brand new. I realize most older dryers use a 14-30.
     

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