Are Tesla Superchargers Free?

If you’ve been to a service station recently, you might have seen one of those futuristic-looking red and white things; that’s a Tesla Supercharger. These are charging stations which Tesla owners can use to fill up their batteries and continue on their journey. In this guide, I’m going to be answering one of the most frequently asked questions about them; are they free?

No, Tesla superchargers are not free for everyone. They charge per kWh (most often) or per minute depending on the location of the Supercharger. On the other hand, those who purchase a new Tesla Model S or Model X get unlimited free supercharging, making it free for those customers.

If you want to learn more about the cost of using Tesla Superchargers, keep reading!

How much do Tesla Superchargers cost?

It’s pretty common-knowledge that charging a Tesla costs less than a regular fuel-powered vehicle, but exactly how much does it really cost to charge your Tesla at a Supercharging station?

I have to note here that Superchargers aren’t the main way people charge their vehicles and it is a little more expensive to use them rather than charging at home in most cases. That being said, most Tesla owners will most likely need to use a one at some time, so below I’ve gathered some information on how much it costs to charge your Tesla at a Supercharger in an easily-digestible manner.

When it comes to charging your Tesla at a Supercharging station, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all figure about how much it costs to fully charge your vehicle, it depends on several factors such as:

  • Model
  • Age
  • Supercharger Location
  • Battery Condition

For this reason, my answer to this question is going to be more detailed than you probably bargained for, but hang in there, it’s important that you understand it if you’re going to be (or are) a Tesla owner.

In order to give you an answer on how much it costs to use a Supercharger, I have to make a few assumptions.

For the purpose of this example, let’s say the average Tesla has a battery efficiency of 80% and we’ll stick with a Model 3 in this example as it’s the most affordable. This car would have a battery capacity of 58 kWh (around 250 miles).

The average Tesla Supercharger costs $0.32 per kWh.

That would mean that the car in this example would cost $18.56 to charge at a Tesla Supercharger assuming you don’t leave the vehicle idle (not sure what this means? Don’t worry, I’ll be going into that later on in this guide).

So, there you have it, the average cost for a Tesla Supercharger.

Of course, it varies drastically depending on the aforementioned factors and I know you probably don’t have the time to work it out for yourself, so I thought it would be a good idea to give you the average cost by location.

Tesla Supercharger Cost By Country (Source: statista.com)

To work out the average cost of charging your vehicle, just multiply the price per kWh in your location by your Tesla’s battery capacity to get a full charge cost from flat assuming 100% battery capacity.

How to pay for Superchargers

If you’re one of the people lucky enough to be able to buy a brand new Model S or X (top of the line), you won’t have to worry about paying for Supercharging but for those getting a regular Model 3 or any other model from the Tesla range will need to read this section as I’m going to show you exactly how you pay for Tesla Supercharging.

To pay for your charging session at a Tesla Supercharging station, you can do any of the following methods:

  • Add credits to your account prior to charging (with credit/debit cards)
  • Pay-as-you go by adding your payment details to your account, each time you use a charger it will deduct the amount payable
  • Pay one-off-charge on your Tesla home screen or app
Tesla Supercharging Screen (Attribution: Marco Verch, Flickr)

When do you need to use a Supercharger?

Superchargers aren’t the primary way of charging your vehicle, but they certainly come in handy. Superchargers are usually for charging when you are on a trip, at the side of a road, similar to a gas station on the highway (we call it a motorway in Britain). Therefore, the times when you need to use a Supercharger are:

  • When you need to recharge during a trip
  • When you are away from home
  • If you need to charge your vehicle quickly

How to get free Supercharging miles

Tesla’s referral program allows you to earn 1,000 free Supercharger miles when someone uses (or you use) a valid Tesla referral code. This is a sweet incentive, imagine if you’re able to get 10 of your mates to buy a car, that’s 10,000 free miles for you, and 1,000 free miles for each of them to kick off their Tesla journey.

Idle Fees

In a bid to increase Supercharger efficiency, Tesla created something called an ‘Idle Fee’ in order to stop people from leaving their vehicle in the charging bay once it has fully charged so that other people can use it.

The standard Tesla idle fee is $0.50 per minute, or if the bay is full, it will cost you $1 per minute, so try to be on time once it’s finished charging, otherwise, it could cost you a few pennies!

Can you buy a Supercharger for your home?

Nope, Superchargers aren’t for personal use at the moment. You can only use them at service stations and other similar public spaces.

Model S Charging at Supercharger (
Attribution: Jakob Härter)

Sources: tesla.com, foxbusiness.com

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