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Tesla continues to innovate with new products and they have reliable charging stations scattered across the United States for everybody to use.

Tesla charging stations are complex machines, but they are simple to use. They work by providing a direct connection using a DC or AC power source that directly connects to your vehicle battery. The charger then will provide you power up to your preset charge level between 80-100%.

Tesla charging stations are a growing infrastructure in the car industry. With Tesla’s focus on electric vehicles, they have an extensive network of stations that are easily identifiable in convenient locations for drivers. They continue to improve too, with more power and faster charge times to keep Teslas on the road.  

If you are new to the world of Tesla, the charging stations are designed for extreme beginners with no product knowledge. They want the machines to be easy to use so you should not expect to be too confused on your first try. This guide includes all of the information you will need to become an expert.

Table of Contents

How Do Tesla Charging Stations Work?

Charging stations are a way that Tesla owners can charge their vehicles. They have two types of charging stations: Superchargers and Destination chargers.

Superchargers are the fastest type of charger and they allow for a full charge in about an hour and a half. However, they need to be used when traveling long distances. Destination chargers can be used in short-distance trips and they usually take around six hours to charge the vehicle.

Tesla charging stations are the places where cars can get recharged. Tesla uses a proprietary connector which is different from other types of chargers found in the market.

For example, the model S plugs into an electric car charger that is compatible with Tesla vehicles but it won’t fit into any other type of charger. Depending on the charger type, you will either use a DC power source or an AC power source.

You should check your settings before you start charging too. It is not uncommon for them to be preset to only charge to 80% to reduce the number of time drivers spend at the charging stations.

Once you are there, it is pretty easy to hook up the charger to your dedicated outlet and allow time for your vehicle to get charged. There is a light that will flash green to let you know it is connected and charging.

One of the best things about Tesla is how well they integrate everything with mobile apps for ease of use. Drivers can monitor their charging within the Tesla app and payments can be processed through the app too.

Types Of Tesla Charging Stations

There are two different types of Tesla charging stations that customers can choose from, such as Destination Chargers and Superchargers. These chargers serve different purposes and there are plenty located around the country with over 19,000 in the United States.


Tesla is one of the few car manufacturers that does offer their charging network. Their primary chargers are called superchargers and can be found all over the country. The best thing about these chargers is that they take less than an hour to fully charge your car.

Superchargers are charging stations that can charge Tesla cars at the fastest rate. A Tesla car with a full battery (100%) can be fully charged in less than an hour. It is done by using a DC power direct connection to your battery for the charge.

By using the DC power outlet instead, the onboard charger is left untouched and this allows the vehicle to get power much faster. You can expect even faster charges too if you only charge until about 75-80% because this still provides you up to 350 miles for driving too.

Destination Chargers

Destination chargers are named based on why they are so useful. When you are visiting a specific destination like a restaurant or hotel, they will have chargers for you to use while you are visiting. This could be as short as 30 minutes or a full overnight stay.

These chargers are not as powerful as the superchargers, so you should expect the charge to take much longer. On average, they charge between 30 to 45 miles per hour depending on the exact charger and Tesla model type you drive.

The most common places to find these chargers are in parking garages, hotels, and restaurants but they are much rarer than the superchargers. There are roughly 4,500 of these located across the United States.

How To Use a Tesla Charging Station

Tesla has simplified the process for all drivers so using a charging station is a quick and seamless process that allows you to get back on the road as quickly as possible. The steps could slightly differ depending on what type of charging station it is, but the process is the same.

1. Park Next To Charging Machine

Pull up next to the charging machine in the charging station. They are usually located in front of the parking spot so you can park neatly in a secure location for an easy way to hook up your vehicle.

2. Plug-In Your Vehicle

Next, you can plug your machine in. The type of power outlet the machine offers will slightly differ depending on the charging station. For example, the supercharger station uses a DC power source that provides much more power for the faster charge.

3. Allow The Cable To Lock Into Place

When you plugin, you need to allow the cable to lock into place. It may take a few seconds but this is critical because the vehicle will not charge if it cannot lock. There will be a green light that flashes to indicate it has locked and the charge has begun.

4. Wait For Charge To Complete

Allow the necessary amount of time for your charge to complete. Once it does, you can unhook the cable and get right back on the road.

How Do Tesla Charging Stations Get Power?

Tesla incorporates two different methods to power charging stations. The supercharger stations have both solar power and grid power to assist with charging needs from drivers. However, the primary source is through grid power from local companies.

Tesla does the best they can to work with renewable energy companies when powering their charging stations. Many of the local utility companies are getting better every day to use this as a power source, and Tesla is one of the first to make it work for them.

If the local power grid only uses fossil fuels to power the local community, Tesla opts to make solar power the sole solution for power at that select charging station.

How Long Does It Take To Charge a Tesla at a Charging Station?

Charging stations are an important aspect of owning a Tesla. Tesla owners need to know how long it takes to charge their car at the charging station. The charging station can be different depending on what type of power and the type of station it is.

The number of miles that you drive before you can charge your car can also vary depending on what kind of power source you use and how fast your Tesla charges. You can expect it to take anywhere between 15 minutes or a few hours.


You can charge your Tesla for 200 miles in less than 15 minutes with a supercharger. This is the fastest method to charge your vehicle and they are scattered all over the world so you are always within distance of these chargers.

Destination Chargers

Destination chargers are not nearly as quick as superchargers, but they are strategically located so they won’t need to be. Instead, you can use these to charge your vehicle when you are busy and it will take about 4 to 5 hours to get 200 miles of charge.

How Much Does It Cost To Use a Tesla Charging Station?

Tesla charging stations were free until 2017. However, this has changed and it does cost a little bit to charge your Tesla. You will need to pay per kWh when using a Tesla charging station and the total cost will depend on a few factors.

You first need to determine the size of your battery when charging. The battery size is defined in the total number of kWh and the current charge also impacts how much you will need to spend to reach a full charge.

You can expect to pay anywhere between $0.15 to $0.25 per kWh when charging your vehicle. That means on average you could spend anywhere between $15 to $30 to reach a full charge, but this varies based on your current charge too.

There were initial concerns when Tesla stopped giving away free charges, but the primary benefit was that they could decrease the price of their vehicles by doing so. This allows them to expand their network of vehicles and still remain profitable to continue launching some of the best vehicles in the world.

Where Are Tesla Charging Stations Located?

Tesla charging stations are located everywhere in America whether it is in a city or on the side of the highway.

Their mission is to accelerate the world's transition to renewable energy. Tesla has built up an extensive network of charging stations, which are located everywhere in America whether it is in a city or on the side of the highway.

They even offer tools that allow you to find charging stations with apps inside your Tesla. The tool will allow you to plan your routes for long distances based on where you can charge up after a set number of miles.

Charging stations can be found in 49 states, and the only state yet to add a Tesla charging station is Alaska.

How Do Tesla Charging Stations Work?

About The Author

Charles Redding

Charles Redding

I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.

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