It Could Cost $7,000 to Install a Tesla Charger at Home Depending on the State of Your Garage
Electric vehicles are taking over the automobile market, and with upcoming environmental regulations, they might soon take the crown from their fuel-burning alternatives. Of course, there’s some supporting infrastructure, with charging stations for EVs being reasonably common. However, they’re still not as common as gas stations, and for Tesla owners and other EV models, a home charger makes charging so much easier.
There are other conveniences as well, e.g., charging your car while it’s not in use rather than waiting for 30+ minutes at a charging station. That said, depending on the state of your garage and electrical system, installing a Tesla home charger may be significantly more expensive than you expect.
Tesla home charger installation estimates
Tesla offers three home charging options with varied installation costs ranging from $0 to over $1500 minus the hardware. The first option is to use the 120V outlet in your garage alongside the mobile connector that ships with your vehicle. This is based on the assumption that most garages already have 120V outlets built into them; thus, there are no expected installation costs.
Unfortunately, this charger setup is quite slow and only adds 2-3 miles of range per hour of charging. Consequently, if you charge your car for eight hours through the night, the most you can get is 24 miles of added range.
Alternatively, you can use the 240V NEMA 14-50 outlet. The installation for this outlet incorporates a 50-amp circuit breaker which allows the use of major appliances such as dryers. Most American households will have at least two such outlets in the home, with one being in the kitchen. However, you’ll rarely find a 240V NEMA 14-50 outlet built into the garage, so you’ll likely need to purchase and install one. This may also require some wiring modifications in your garage to match the power requirements of a 240V outlet.
The outlet costs $45, and Tesla estimates the installation will cost $750-$1500, resulting in a significant improvement in charging metrics. In fact, you’ll get 20-30 miles per hour of charging, depending on the car model. For the Tesla Model S, this means 29 miles per hour, and for the Tesla Model X, 25 miles per hour.
Nevertheless, the fastest home charging option incorporates a Tesla wall connector priced at $495. Tesla also estimates installation costs between $750 and $1500. While installation costs are similar to the NEMA 14-50, it’ll incorporate a 60-amp breaker and increase charging speeds to between 30 and 44 miles per hour of charging.
Other home charger installation estimates
While Tesla’s estimates are in the $750-$1500 range, CleanTechnica begs to differ. It estimates that in addition to the $495 for the home charger you’ll have to fork out, installation could cost anywhere between $500 and $6500. However, this is heavily dependent on factors such as the state of your garage and the wiring required.
Alongside its estimates, Tesla also notes that the $750-$1500 range is for a straightforward installation, giving further credibility to CleanTechnica’s claims. After all, not all installations are going to be straightforward. For instance, if your home and, subsequently, the garage is not wired for 240V, you’ll need to rewire the entire thing. Also, you may need to make some changes to your electrical panel, which means more equipment purchases and higher installation costs.
Another thing that might raise the installation costs significantly is your location. Typically, your electrician will charge according to the cost of living in your area. Consequently, if the cost of living is high, expect the electrician’s services to come at a premium.
All these factors can combine and push the installation cost close to the $6500 mark, and if you add the most expensive Telsa home charger option, you’ll spend over $7000. However, as mentioned above, if the installation is straightforward, you likely won’t need to spend more than $1500.
Is an EV home charger worth the installation cost?
To answer this question, you’ll need to know how much it costs to charge your vehicle at home after the installation expenses. However, the answer is subjective and depends on how much you pay for every kilowatt-hour of electricity you use. Kelley Blue Book also notes that electric cars typically get three to four miles of range per kWh.
Consequently, you can divide the total miles you’ve driven in your Tesla Model Y or other EV for a month by three. This will help you determine how many kWh you used on the vehicle for the given month, assuming you only use home charging.
If you multiply this by how much you pay for every kWh, you get the total monthly cost of charging your car. According to Save On Energy, the residential electricity price in Wisconsin in December 2021 was 14.22 cents/kWh. As such, if you live in Wisconsin, you can use this figure to estimate the cost of charging your car per month.
First, check the mileage of your car for the month. If you drove 400 miles, you divide that by three, as mentioned above. This will show you used approximately 133.33 kWh on your vehicle for the said month. If you multiply 133.33 by the 14.22 cents cost per kWh, you spent 1,891 cents charging the car, which translates to about $19.
If you live in any of the other 49 states, you can divide the total monthly kWh used by the amount you paid for electricity. This information should be available on your monthly utility bill and will help you determine how much you pay per kWh. You can then use this to determine how much it costs to charge your electric vehicle at home.
You’ll likely notice that while you’re adding to your monthly electricity bill, the difference isn’t significant enough to cause worry. Furthermore, it should be significantly cheaper than fuel-based alternative means of transport.
Ultimately, the biggest convenience of buying and installing a home charger is the charging speed. If you use a regular outlet, you might not have enough range by the time you wake up to get to your destination. Consequently, you’ll need to stop at a charging station and wait for a few minutes to add some range. Conversely, if you use a home charger, you’re guaranteed enough range even for long-distance trips by the time you wake up.