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Charging Tips & Advice

Should I Charge My Tesla Model 3 Every Night?

Just like plugging in your cell phone before going to bed, many EV owners are asking if the same rule applies to their vehicle. The short answer to the “Should I charge my Tesla Model 3 every night?” question is yes…

Although charging every night isn’t necessary if you don’t want to.

The real answer is that there are many nuisances to keep in mind when it comes to charging your Tesla effectively.

Read on and let’s dive into those now!

Will Charging to 100% Cost You Your Battery Pack?

Many Tesla Model 3 owners may already know this:

Tesla’s manuals and website advise against setting your vehicle’s maximum charge limit to 100%.

Elon Musk has stated that those who charge every night should limit such charge to 90%-95% instead of the full 100%.

The battery works hard to take in those electrons during the last charge percentages —

So give the battery a chance to rest whenever your car is already above the 80% to 90% charge level.

Are there exceptions to the rule?

Sure.

If you’ve planned a trip, it’s okay to charge above the 90% limit as long as you schedule the charge to finish just before you hit the road.

However, there’s a benefit to setting a limit below 100% that most people aren’t aware of — and it’s not about the battery life myth you’re thinking about.

At 100% full charge, your car actually becomes less energy efficient. That full charge doesn’t allow the vehicle to kick into regenerative braking.

Let me explain.

Don’t Prevent Regenerative Braking From Doing Its Thing

Regenerative braking takes the energy from decelerating and puts it back into the vehicle’s battery.

The next time you accelerate, that stored energy kicks in instead of the vehicle having to use its own energy reserves.

It’s a pretty cool concept you’re probably familiar with — and one that makes EVs like the Tesla Model 3 so efficient.

Now, imagine you charge to 100% and need to travel 10 city miles towards the highway.

You will prevent regenerative braking from doing its job during those first 10 miles as the battery is full!

In essence, Elon suggests that a 95% charge may be just as good, range-wise, as 100% thanks to the energy that’s recovered from regenerative braking.

Tesla’s Actual Suggestion (As Expressed In Their Manual)

“What does Tesla’s manual have to say?” I asked myself.

“Should I charge my Tesla Model 3 every night or not?”

Despite the fear stories of consistently hitting 100%, experts still agree that you’re perfectly fine to charge up your Tesla every night.

Tesla’s Model 3 Owner’s Manual even emphasizes this fact:

Model 3 has one of the most sophisticated battery systems in the world. The most important way to preserve the Battery is to LEAVE YOUR VEHICLE PLUGGED IN when you are not using it.

This is particularly important if you are not planning to drive Model 3 for several weeks. When plugged in, Model 3
wakes up when needed to automatically maintain a charge level that maximizes the lifetime of the Battery.

There is no advantage to waiting until the Battery’s level is low before charging. In fact, the Battery performs best when charged regularly.

In reality, the dangers of a 0% discharge are much more real than the perceived risks of charging your Tesla Model 3 every night.

The manual is full of low battery level cautions and warnings:

CAUTION: If the Battery’s charge level falls to 0%, you must plug it in.

If you leave it unplugged for an extended period, it may not be possible to charge or use Model 3 without jump-starting or replacing the 12V battery (see Instructions for Transporters on page 196 for instructions on how to jump-start the battery).

Leaving Model 3 unplugged for an extended period can also result in permanent Battery damage. If you are unable to charge Model 3, contact Tesla immediately.

Debunking A Popular Battery Myth

Most people think that they’ll harm the battery if they charge too often but that’s not necessarily the case. In fact, there’s no damage to the battery when charging.

Even those instances where you need to charge 100% won’t do any real harm as long as you plan on driving the vehicle within an hour of full charge.

Frequent charging to 100%, however, can place a bit of a strain on the battery, causing it to not run optimally.

Just be mindful of that and apply your discretion for those trips where you’ll need maximum battery capacity to make the journey — and try to avoid constant 100% recharges when you don’t.

Charging Tips For Maintaining a Healthy Battery

Looking for other ways to make sure your battery will stand the test of time?

Check out these charging tips to get the most out of your battery and make sure it’s full of juice.

Should I Vharge my Tesla Model 3 Every Night? South Park says yes!
Slow it down! (As tempting as it may be…)
  • Slow it right down: Yeah, I know putting that instant torque to the test is very tempting. However, the faster you drive, the quicker you’ll run down the charge. Laying off the accelerator can help you prolong the life of the battery. 
  • Limit fast charging: If you’re a road tripper, you may need to hit a fast charger out on the open road. Experts at MyEV agree that this can harm your battery life, although they believe it’s minimal. Either way, it’s best to plan your routes to avoid those last-minute, unplanned charging events on the highway. Whenever possible, stick to a consistent charging schedule from the same level of power supply.
  • Store it properly: Leaving your vehicle behind for a vacation? It’s okay to leave it in the garage plugged in. However, set the charge to 50% to make sure it doesn’t overcharge while you’re gone. Remember to take it for a spin as soon as you’re back. It’s better for the overall health of the vehicle to take it for regular, short drives –  especially if it’s been sitting for a while.
  • Temperature matters: If it’s a hot sunny day, you’ll want to park your Tesla in a cool shady spot. Batteries work overtime to cool off. Also, minimize the time spent in low temperatures as these don’t help battery life either.

“Should I Charge My Tesla Model 3 Every Night Then?”

There’s no reason not to, provided you’ve set a healthy limit for your battery charge level.

Just make sure to remember these best practices for keeping your battery in tip-top shape:

  • To charge your Model 3 every night, set your charging limits to 80%. If you drive more often or longer distances than the average driver, try 90% which will still offer great battery efficiency.
  • If you’ve got a long trip coming up, schedule your charge to 100% so that it finishes just before you hit the road.
  • Plug in once the battery levels reach the 20% mark. Regularly dipping too low is unquestionably more dangerous than fully charging to 100% as electric and electronics components may become damaged.

If you follow these general guidelines, it’s smooth sailing for you and your Tesla.

By Nicki Schill

Nicki Schill is a writer and content marketer out of Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. As the former Geotab Marketing Manager, she’s got loads of experience in electric vehicles and fleet electrification. She’s a tech blogger and marketing guru who enjoys all things Canadian like hockey and poutine.

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