Supercharger vs Home Charger

Jerome Faissat November 15, 2018

Like a lot of Tesla users, I’m in a situation where I could have the choice between using a supercharger and using a home charger. Superchargers charge at 90kw and home chargers at 7kw, superchargers should be a no-brainer?! Not so fast.

Supercharging is faster

When I use a Tesla supercharger, I’m amazed by how quick and efficient they are. They don’t seem to be the fastest on the market anymore but they charge really fast regardless. My Model X 75 will charge from 20% to 80% in 30-40 minutes depending on the power available.

Up to September, most of the Tesla Model S and X owners had free supercharging for life. Which means that charging doesn’t cost you a dime. As an aside, I understand that it may not be economical for Tesla to run free supercharging forever but it was really a nice perk.

Is it really that fast charging?

My closest supercharger is 10 minutes away from me and is luckily located in a shopping center. Although I’m sometimes looking forward to wandering around shops and eat delicious cookies, it’s still 1 hour that I need to dedicate to charge my car.

Getting to a supercharger requires planning. As a father of three kids, it means I need to go and charge in the evening after they’re in bed. If I’m going on a business trip and I don’t have enough battery, I need to charge the day before whatever happens. Although rare, it happens to me that the supercharger was full and I had to wait an extra 20 minutes for a free charger.

And for some superchargers, the choice of entertainment is fairly limited, especially if you get there late. When I traveled to France, some of the superchargers didn’t have much to offer even during the day. You may end up waiting in your car, watching Youtube or napping.

Charging at Home

There’s no discussion that home charging is slower than a Tesla supercharger. Typically on a 7kw charger, my Tesla Model X will take a good 8-10 hours to charge from 20% to 80%.

With a home charger (and depending on the models) you can track how much you charged and how much it costed you. It’s quite nice to know exactly how much energy your car actually required and how green you are. You can also schedule your charging to make the most of cheaper tariff.

I appreciate that not everyone can have a home charger. If you live in an apartment block and your landlord is a petrolhead then there’s not much you can do. If you live in a terraced house and the council is being unhelpful, there’s not much you can do either.

Time is the essence

After running on electricity for a while, you realise that your refueling habits don’t apply anymore. You don’t wait for the indicator to go into the red, you either plan ahead or keep charging every day.

I may be stating the obvious but superchargers are designed for a long trip and for users to charge while doing something else (e.g.: taking a break, drink a coffee). Nevertheless, I see a lot of Tesla drivers using superchargers either because they can’t have a home charger or because their supercharger is next door and they feel that they’re charging faster.

But it’s all down to perception. what is a supercharger? it’s something that charges fast. But what is “fast”? it’s the time you spend devoting your attention to charging. If you’re drinking a coffee or eating cookies, your charging will be faster. If you stay in your car, it will be longer.

The beauty of home charging is that your attention devoted to charging last the time to take the connector and put it into your car, so about 1 minute. This is the way charging is heading: you come home, you plug in and you have dinner.

You may be doing this every day or every other day but I can tell you that you won’t be heading to the petrol station anymore.

Share this article
About Jerome Faissat

Jérôme is the co-founder of Andersen and is passionate about electric vehicles. Taking a pragmatic approach, he likes to post on the impact of electric cars on our day to day life and what are the constraints for EV adoption.