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Free unlimited supercharging vs (paying for) installing charger at home...

Nguyenning

Member
Aug 17, 2017
292
204
Texas
I know “a plugged in Tesla is a happy Tesla”...

But when considering the $ quotes to install a charger at home (I’ve gotten quotes in the thousands given my setup) vs. just using free unlimited supercharging, I’m wondering why this wouldn’t be a viable option if:

1.) you have free unlimited supercharging
2.) you have a supercharger near you (mine’s only 2 miles away fortunately)


Would this be ok to do?
 
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duanra

Active Member
Dec 14, 2018
1,206
686
Montreal
I know “a plugged in Tesla is a happy Tesla”...

But when considering the $ quotes to install a charger at home (I’ve gotten quotes in the thousands given my setup) vs. just using free unlimited supercharging, I’m wondering why this wouldn’t be a viable option if:

1.) you have free unlimited supercharging
2.) you have a supercharger near you (mine’s only 2 miles away fortunately)


Would this be ok to do?
I would use the umc on 120v and don't worry about the whole thing. And when i need more juice, a shot at the SC.
 

mswlogo

Well-Known Member
Aug 27, 2018
6,004
4,616
MA, NH
What’s your time worth? That’s why I cashed in on free super charge. Time sitting at super charger is way more valuable to me. And twice as valuable if I have passenger with me.

People automatically think they need 50A to charge when for most folks that’s overkill.

120V 15A is useful but can be annoyingly slow and slightly inefficient. But just jumping to 20A 240V nearly triples the charge rate for typically small money to install and rarely would exceed your panel limit if it’s nearly full.

Also have to factor in cold weather if that applies. You want some headroom for battery pre heat and option to cabin preheat when needed.
 

duanra

Active Member
Dec 14, 2018
1,206
686
Montreal
What’s your time worth? That’s why I cashed in on free super charge. Time sitting at super charger is way more valuable to me. And twice as valuable if I have passenger with me.

People automatically think they need 50A to charge when for most folks that’s overkill.

120V 15A is useful but can be annoyingly slow and slightly inefficient. But just jumping to 20A 240V nearly triples the charge rate for typically small money to install and rarely would exceed your panel limit if it’s nearly full.

Also have to factor in cold weather if that applies. You want some headroom for battery pre heat and option to cabin preheat when needed.
True, depending on your need 120 could be a bit slow. But if you are an average commuter...it should be enough.
 

MrMassTransit

Supporting Member
Mar 7, 2019
299
506
Washington, DC
I'd agree with the suggestion to use 120v at home (if it's available) and supercharge when you need beyond that. Even if you can't replenish your commute overnight, it could mean only needing to stop at the supercharger once or so per week, or less.

There is a real convenience to having some form of at-home charging. I similarly had an install in the thousands (outdoor parking space in a condo) and I don't even commute by car, but I ultimately decided to go forward with it. I don't (currently) have superchargers very close (although there is public L2 charging a few blocks away) or have free supercharging. For me, when coming back from a longer drive, to be able to just pull into my parking space at home and plug in, rather than need to make another stop on the way is huge. With an SR+ it means that I can manage a ~400 mile one way trip with only a single charging stop instead of two.

Plus, I decided the expense was an investment in my property that I'd partially recoup if I sold it (or could potentially even recover through a higher rent if I rented it out).

That being said, I did not have any access to power without doing the install. If I had 120v available that would have been a no-brainer rather than spending what I did.
 
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mike123abc

Member
Aug 20, 2018
406
805
Norman, OK
Also depends on supercharging $ rate. If you "fill" essentially once a week for $10 it would be 500 weeks to equal the $5000 "value".

Using 120 when you are home and an occasional charge at the supercharger knocks the value of unlimited free down another peg.

If you have a job route that is a couple of hundred miles a few days a week, FUSC becomes valuable.
 

Nguyenning

Member
Aug 17, 2017
292
204
Texas
I'd agree with the suggestion to use 120v at home (if it's available) and supercharge when you need beyond that. Even if you can't replenish your commute overnight, it could mean only needing to stop at the supercharger once or so per week, or less.

There is a real convenience to having some form of at-home charging. I similarly had an install in the thousands (outdoor parking space in a condo) and I don't even commute by car, but I ultimately decided to go forward with it. I don't (currently) have superchargers very close (although there is public L2 charging a few blocks away) or have free supercharging. For me, when coming back from a longer drive, to be able to just pull into my parking space at home and plug in, rather than need to make another stop on the way is huge. With an SR+ it means that I can manage a ~400 mile one way trip with only a single charging stop instead of two.

Plus, I decided the expense was an investment in my property that I'd partially recoup if I sold it (or could potentially even recover through a higher rent if I rented it out).

That being said, I did not have any access to power without doing the install. If I had 120v available that would have been a no-brainer rather than spending what I did.


Your note about the investment in property is the one factor making me consider getting a new panel upgrade and NEMA 14-50 installed at my house. The panel upgrade alone is probably gonna be necessary for if and when I sell the house...
 

mswlogo

Well-Known Member
Aug 27, 2018
6,004
4,616
MA, NH
Your note about the investment in property is the one factor making me consider getting a new panel upgrade and NEMA 14-50 installed at my house. The panel upgrade alone is probably gonna be necessary for if and when I sell the house...

If that's the case then don't bring it up as "is it worth it" ;)

That said, I don't think having a new panel is very high on the list of making your house more attractive for selling.
Nor probably even an EV outlet. There are just way too many things that are more important. Because Panels and EV can easily be fixed.
Location, schools, solar exposure, number of bathrooms, garage spaces, are usually higher on the list.
 

ewoodrick

Well-Known Member
Apr 13, 2018
5,285
3,723
Buford, GA
I know “a plugged in Tesla is a happy Tesla”...

But when considering the $ quotes to install a charger at home (I’ve gotten quotes in the thousands given my setup) vs. just using free unlimited supercharging, I’m wondering why this wouldn’t be a viable option if:

1.) you have free unlimited supercharging
2.) you have a supercharger near you (mine’s only 2 miles away fortunately)


Would this be ok to do?

Forget the "plugged in" thing.
Don't install a Tesla Charger at home.

Now to explain my statements...
I'm pretty sure that the "plugged in" statement is a generalization, mainly referring to longer term storage. There's not really any information that backs it up.
Charging at home is an infinitely better experience. It's the way that cars should work.
Look at your charging needs, don't just assume that you need a Tesla HPWC. It is VERY possible that a simple 120V 15A plug or 20A plug would be quite sufficient for your needs, especially if you have charging available at work. My wife charges off of 120V 15A and is quite happy.
Also looks to see is you have any Superchargers nearby, for those few situations where you need a little more. Then you just drop by, when you need to do an add. For my wife, in 1 years, that's been maybe 3 times.

If you find that your charging needs are beyond 120V, then the most common is a NEMA 14-50 plug. It is infinitely more flexible than the HPWC, allowing multiple types of EVs to plug in as well as motorhomes. And most importantly, it doesn't have Tesla in the name, so electricians don't see the opportunity of more $$$.

If your panel doesn't have enough capacity for the 50A breaker, what about 30A, or even less at 200V. The following link to the Adapter Page charging rates to be expected at each one of the different levels. Even the 6-15 can add 110 miles in 10 hours.

In this case, you don't need to go "Texas Big", you can just determine a solution that works for you.
 

StealthP3D

Well-Known Member
Dec 12, 2018
8,816
65,513
Maple Falls, WA
Your note about the investment in property is the one factor making me consider getting a new panel upgrade and NEMA 14-50 installed at my house. The panel upgrade alone is probably gonna be necessary for if and when I sell the house...

The fewer things the house inspector flags at closing time the better. Also, while historically EVSE equipment didn't add much value to a garage, carport or driveway, that is already starting to change. People will increasingly see value in a property that is already set up for an EV. It could be the feature of your house that distinguishes it from another comparable house. If the potential buyer already has an EV, and more and more people do, an EV charging port will add a lot of value.

And nothing is more convenient than waking up EVERY morning to a car with a full "tank" and ready to go. People will invest tens of thousands to make less important upgrades and remodels to their kitchens, bathrooms, and other areas that only return 50-60% of the cost. How much is your time worth?
 

mrau

Authorized Driver
Nov 12, 2018
396
758
Mid-Michigan
I agree with @mswlogo on the Nema 6-20 (20 amp - 240 volt) plug. You can use smaller gauge wire and should not overload your current panel. It will add about 10 miles of range per hour to your car. Will need to get a 6-20 adapter from Tesla. On most days you will probably have a "full tank" when you leave in the morning and can skip the wait at a SuperCharger all together.

I used the 6-20 plug for a couple of months and it worked out great.



NEMA620.jpeg
 

Dre78

Member
Dec 16, 2018
293
285
Chicago, IL
I’m wondering why this wouldn’t be a viable option if:

1.) you have free unlimited supercharging
2.) you have a supercharger near you (mine’s only 2 miles away fortunately)

Would this be ok to do?
Yes. Solely super charging is a viable option with those two assumptions. Is there a particular reason or reasons otherwise that you want addressed?

There's some great advice for home charging options by others above.

Good luck!
 

Bet TSLA

Active Member
Dec 8, 2014
2,824
10,333
Cupertino, CA
I know “a plugged in Tesla is a happy Tesla”...

But when considering the $ quotes to install a charger at home (I’ve gotten quotes in the thousands given my setup) vs. just using free unlimited supercharging, I’m wondering why this wouldn’t be a viable option if:

1.) you have free unlimited supercharging
2.) you have a supercharger near you (mine’s only 2 miles away fortunately)


Would this be ok to do?
In many places all over the world (e.g. London, Shanghai), Tesla has dealt with a preponderance of apartment dwellers by building lots of superchargers around the city. So the evidence is that people are making it work.

It's definitely cheaper and simpler if you can charge at home or at work, but the supercharger alternative does work for many. My advice is to try cheaper alternatives for a while before spending a pile of money on something you imagine you need. Everybody is different, and there's no substitute for actual experience. That applies to pretty much everything in life.
 
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mswlogo

Well-Known Member
Aug 27, 2018
6,004
4,616
MA, NH
The fewer things the house inspector flags at closing time the better. Also, while historically EVSE equipment didn't add much value to a garage, carport or driveway, that is already starting to change. People will increasingly see value in a property that is already set up for an EV. It could be the feature of your house that distinguishes it from another comparable house. If the potential buyer already has an EV, and more and more people do, an EV charging port will add a lot of value.

And nothing is more convenient than waking up EVERY morning to a car with a full "tank" and ready to go. People will invest tens of thousands to make less important upgrades and remodels to their kitchens, bathrooms, and other areas that only return 50-60% of the cost. How much is your time worth?

Since it’s so typically cheap to add an EV outlet it will rarely make any kind of differentiator. Some folks installed there own for $100. Your kidding yourself if you think it will make any difference. It’s not even a “category” or search tag as a home asset yet on listing sites. Ask any realtor if it would have impact. The most likely response would be what’s an EV outlet?

Would you buy a one house over another because of a silly EV outlet? No you wouldn’t because it’s so trivial to add. I’d be looking more at which house is better setup for future convenience of charging. Is the garage insulated to keep your battery warm. Does it have solar. Would solar work at that location. Do they have off peak metering. What is the electricity rate. I could list 20 things that are EV related that would Impact your EV experience over a silly outlet that would differentiate one house from another.
 
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MrMassTransit

Supporting Member
Mar 7, 2019
299
506
Washington, DC
Since it’s so typically cheap to add an EV outlet it will rarely make any kind of differentiator. Some folks installed there own for $100. Your kidding yourself if you think it will make any difference. It’s not even a “category” or search tag as a home asset yet on listing sites. Ask any realtor if it would have impact. The most likely response would be what’s an EV outlet?

Would you buy a one house over another because of a silly EV outlet? No you wouldn’t because it’s so trivial to add. I’d be looking more at which house is better setup for future convenience of charging. Is the garage insulated to keep your battery warm. Does it have solar. Would solar work at that location. Do they have off peak metering. What is the electricity rate. I could list 20 things that are EV related that would Impact your EV experience over a silly outlet that would differentiate one house from another.

I'm going to disagree a little bit with this. To the extent that a property is set up so that installing charging is straightforward and low cost, then yes, having charging will not make much of a difference. However, if you are in an environment where it is not, then it can be a big differentiating factor.

I live in a major city and in a multistory condo building with off-street parking. Someone who is looking to buy a 2 BR condo in an urban environment does not have a lot of options as far as EV charging. Many units won't have off-street parking. For those that do, installing charging is going to be an expensive endeavor. Plus, you're going to need to get permission from the condo board, which may not be very forthcoming (it was somewhat easier for me, as I sit on the board so there was a level of trust). To the extent that charging is already installed, that's a big bonus and a differentiator.

If you're renting the same unit, there's essentially no chance you'd be able to get charging installed. Particularly as EVs become more popular, would someone be willing to rent a unit for $50 more per month if it included charging equipment? I'd imagine so. And that that rate, I could easily recoup much of the cost of the install over a few years.

If you're living in a detached single family home and there is something unique to your property that increases the cost of the install beyond what a similarly situated property would encounter, then I agree, you probably won't get that money back if you sell or rent it out. But in scenarios where the cost of the install is high for everyone, then I'm pretty confident that you will.

Within the city, someone who is in the market for a condo is not going to be in the price range for a detached house, unless they are very flexible on what neighborhood they want to live in (which means sacrificing on things such as schools/transit access/neighborhood amenities/safety).
 

srs5694

Active Member
Jan 15, 2019
1,024
1,148
Woonsocket, RI
It occurs to me that a lot of these "could I use a Supercharger instead of home charging" questions come from people who've never owned an EV, and who therefore think of Supercharging as being akin to visiting a gas station, which of course is something with which they're familiar. Personally, I've used a Supercharger once, just to test it, in my grand total of one month of Tesla ownership; but IMHO, the time required to use a Supercharger makes it a poor analog to using a gas station. Before my Tesla, I leased a Chevy Volt, so I became quite familiar with the charge-at-home lifestyle. Not having to go to a gas station (or Supercharger) is something that simplifies life. To be sure, it's not a big change, but it does make it a little easier to manage day-to-day tasks. As others have said, even 120v charging is likely to be adequate for most purposes, and a convenient Supercharger could serve as a useful supplement; but I wouldn't recommend using thinking of a Supercharger the way people think of gas stations. If there are stores or restaurants near the Supercharger, using the Supercharger while shopping or eating is certainly an option; but a Supercharger isn't, IMHO, a good destination in and of itself, the way a gas station is. Even 120v at-home charging is likely to be more convenient, from a lifestyle perspective, than is visiting a Supercharger once or twice a week, unless you legitimately have something to do for half an hour or so near that Supercharger. An at-home 240v outlet or EVSE can help move beyond 120v charging, but unless you drive a lot, the 240v outlet will mainly help with efficiency, and maybe reduce costs a bit (ignoring the up-front installation costs). Whether that little extra is worth the thousands of dollars that @Nguyenning has been quoted is of course a subjective matter. My own recommendation would be to start out with the 120v charging, see how that works, and decide what to do with some experience in the rear-view mirror, as it were.

One other option deserves mention, too: public L2 charging. In my area, there are several public L2 EVSEs at shopping malls, parks, and so on. Most of these are free, and they're closer to me than are Superchargers. I learned where most of these were when I was driving my Volt, and in that car, they could sometimes mean the difference between getting home on electricity and getting home on gas. In a Model 3, with its range, they're less critical for the "getting home" equation, but the Model 3's range and faster L2 charging speed also makes it possible to make better use of them. I haven't yet, but could, let my battery drop to about a 50% charge, then plug in at an L2 charger near a movie theater, go watch a movie, and come out to my "fully" (80% or 90%) charged car. As more public L2 charging becomes available, this sort of scenario could become useful for those with only 120v at-home charging, and very useful for those who live in apartments or condos that have no at-home charging options at all.
 

StealthP3D

Well-Known Member
Dec 12, 2018
8,816
65,513
Maple Falls, WA
Would you buy a one house over another because of a silly EV outlet?

Yes, if I was in the middle of a move and I was trying to decide between two houses, one with EVSE and one that would require an electrician and probably some unknowns (whether I would need a permit, whether the panel would need an upgrade, how much it would cost, etc), the EVSE could easily be the deciding factor, all else being equal.

I've noticed you trying to talk many people out of installing service equipment for EV's and I'm not sure why. EVSE adds value to a home.
 

mswlogo

Well-Known Member
Aug 27, 2018
6,004
4,616
MA, NH
Yes, if I was in the middle of a move and I was trying to decide between two houses, one with EVSE and one that would require an electrician and probably some unknowns (whether I would need a permit, whether the panel would need an upgrade, how much it would cost, etc), the EVSE could easily be the deciding factor, all else being equal.

I've noticed you trying to talk many people out of installing service equipment for EV's and I'm not sure why. EVSE adds value to a home.

I’m not trying to talk anyone out of installing EVSE. In this case I’m just saying don’t expect it to add value to your home. Or get your money back. Install it because it makes sense.

I’ve also tried to talk people out of installing the wrong thing. And I’m not a big fan of 120V charging. But that is better than sitting at a super charger. Not fan f sitting at supercharger for my “regular charging”. I’m also a big fan of wall charger when so many folks don’t even consider it. Because they think it’s too expensive or overkill. It rarely is. I have 30A 240V and at times find it too slow and I have a 5 mile commute. I don’t bother to charge/plug in every day. And suddenly I need to make trip in few hours and my battery is not full enough and won’t charge fast enough. So I have to stop at a super charger. Doesn’t happen that often. I might upgrade, we’ll see. I have two installations.

Now if say you were choosing between two identical condo units and one had EV and the other didn’t it could make a difference. But there are rarely two identical homes. Even two condos probably vary. Which is closer to a busy street. Which neighbors look better. Which one has views or better sun exposure. It would take nothing to tip the scale and ignore an EV plug. Now it could be at such a condo unit that it was very expensive to install EV for what ever reason or permits problematic or something and you really wanted to be in that community, then sure that might make a difference.

If you mean increasing service size for EV. It’s usually in the context of someone saying it’s more money than they were planning on or expecting to spend. And I’m just sharing there are a wide set of options that are much better than than 120V and don’t require that you need a new service panel. If you need a new service panel regardless of EV then just do it. If you have lots of money do it and install 60 amp wall connector. But if your tight on funds because the car was a stretch then there are lots of options beyond 120V that probably doesn’t need a new panel or cost that much.

Also if you have say a detached garage 200 feet from the house. It’s gonna cost so much to run anything you might as well do the whole job right (because materials becomes insignificant).
 
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Nguyenning

Member
Aug 17, 2017
292
204
Texas
Well, in my situation it’s an older home from
1950s with original electrical. Pretty janky to be honest.

The panel is inside above laundry machine enclosed in a cabinet and is only 100 amps. When we moved in, the inspector had questions about it but it was a “sellers market” so not a deal breaker for us.

Now with the new car, getting the panel and electrical upgraded with a NEMA 14-50 is sort of a 2 birds kinda deal. It’s just a lot of money compared to the alternative of doing nothing to the house and using free unlimited supercharging...
 

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