Electric Vehicle Frequently Asked Questions:
How far can you go on a charge?
The Tesla Model S 60D can go an EPA-rated 218 miles on a charge. This will vary depending on how you drive the car and how cold it is outside. Typically in the winter I am using 450wh/mile so this translates into a range of about 140 miles per charge. Higher models have bigger batteries and more range. Currently the cars have options for 75KWh, 90KWh, and 100KWh batteries.
How often do you charge?
Every day when I get home, I plug the car in. I leave every morning with a "full tank" and 218 miles of range. There is no downside to plugging in the car every day, so why not?
What if you run out of electricity?
Same thing happens when you run out of gas. I would be stranded on the side of the road waiting for a tow to somewhere I could charge. In a gas car, someone could bring you a gallon of gas. In an EV car, it is possible that a tow truck may have a battery charger that could be used to charge the car, but probably not. So it is more likely to be towed to a charging location.
Where can you charge?
Home Chargers - EV are best charged off a 240V outlet. The basic outlet that a lot of people use is the standard range or dryer outlet, a NEMA 14-50. I installed two of these in my garage for the future second EV.
Public Chargers - There are many public charging stations around the United States, some of which are free, and most are relatively low cost. You can take a look at this map on Plugshare.com .
Super Chargers - Tesla has its high power Level 3 charging stations around the country. See below.
How about going long distances?
Tesla is building a supercharger network for its fleet of cars. There are currently 769 (as of December 2016) superchargers in the US. They are spaced about 120 miles apart. The idea is that you drive 2 hours to the supercharger, take a 20 minute break to recharge enough to drive to the next supercharger.
How much does it cost to charge?
Home charging costs can vary. The basic cost at about $0.10 per kwh equals $6 per 200 miles. The EV charging rate of $0.03 per kwh equals $1.80 per 200 miles.
Public chargers costs vary as well. Most will end up being about $10 for enough charge for 200 miles.
Super chargers from Tesla for cars ordered before the end of 2016 are completely free. That cost is already built into the car itself. Currently they are still offering newer cars some limited free supercharging of about 400KWh. This could charge the base car about 6 times. They are planning on charging something for beyond the initial 400KWh per year, but as of now nobody outside of Tesla knows what the rate will be.