Charging my Tesla Model 3

It has been exactly a month since we picked up our Tesla Model 3. I wrote about my journey from the time that I reserved the car in March 2016, to the ordering process, which led to the long awaited delivery and pick-up (click here).

1,310 miles and never charged at home?

As of this entry, my Model 3 had 1,310 miles. We’ve owned it for just over 30 days. We were actually gone for 10 days during that time period. Nancy and I went to Peru on vacation. We booked a smokin’ deal of two roundtrip business class seats from LA to Peru using our points (click here).

20180427_130541656898308.jpgAs I had mentioned in my previous blog entry (click here), I wasn’t exactly quite sure how my electric bill would be once I charge at home. I had to know my options, and found this picture that I got from Eric M., a member of the EV Advocates of Ventura County.

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The slowest charging option

My wall outlet at home (Option G) will garner me 2-5miles of range per hour. Meaning, if I were to charge for 10 hours overnight, the most I’d get is 20-50 miles of range. Not the most ideal, but it’s still an electric charge nonetheless. This option will allow me to plug in just about anywhere, meaning, I could visit a friend’s house, and plug in at one of his outlets and be able to charge. Since having this car for one month, I have not even tried to charge the car at home. What? Exactly! How? Details below.

The fastest charging option

Going to a Tesla Supercharging Station (Option A)  is the fastest option to charge my Model 3.  There are two superchargers near Camarillo (one is in Oxnard at The Collection, and the other one in Westlake Village at the Westlake Promenade).

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Oxnard’s Tesla Supercharging Station at The Collection

If I am not mistaken, another one is being planned to be built at The Oaks Mall. These charging stations are within 15-20 minutes away from me. I tried using the Supercharger in Oxnard just for a little bit so I could get an idea.

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Westlake Village Tesla Supercharging Station (Westlake Promenade)

The Cost?

If I had zero charge in the Model 3, to get it fully charged should cost me approx. $15.00 which will allow me to drive slightly over 300 miles. The charging time should be under two hours. That’s not bad. I don’t intend in using the Superchargers often, but it’s good to know that I have them nearby.

How does it work?

First, you need to have a credit card linked to your Tesla account. Once you get to a supercharger, you simply use one of the chargers and plug it in to your charging port…the supercharging begins.

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How did  I charge the car this past month

There’s a free electric vehicle charging station near me at the train station in Camarillo. There are two spots available for parking. I’ve been using the chargers at this station. The cost is FREE. The station could charge up to 30 miles of range per hour. I’ve managed to leave my car there for 3-4 hours and have not had an issue.

Other ways we’ve charged

Nancy had taken the Model 3 to work and was also able to use one of the charging stations, the charge was similar to charging at home, not the quickest, but still a way to charge for free.

We’ve also charged a few times during our visit at The Oaks and The Collection. Other than the Tesla Superchargers, there are other free EV charging stations and in my mind, free is free, so why not?

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Finally, charging at home

Once we got the Model 3 on April 7th, we wanted to try how life-changing it would be to not charge at home. Knowing that we had options for free EV charging, we took advantage of those options and could honestly say that it didn’t affect our lifestyle much, meaning, taking the car to the nearest free EV charging station wasn’t a big issue for us.

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Courtesy of Google Maps
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Courtesy of Google Maps

It was only 5 minutes away and we were able to combine our dropoffs and pickups with errands near the charging station.

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Fortunately, we haven’t come across an issue where both charging ports were used. 9 out of 10 times, both ports were available for us to use. But, I just know that there will come a time when I’m going to need to go somewhere, and will need to have the car with enough charge, meaning I can’t risk running on not having enough charge.

Before we left for Peru, I had received quotes of having a dryer outlet installed aka NEMA 14-50. It’s not your standard wall outlet. Knowing that I’m not an electrician, I needed to get someone to work on this. I didn’t even want to entertain the idea of doing this myself which could affect my car’s performance.Screen Shot 2018-04-09 at 4.45.02 PM

The quotes that I got ranged from $500-$2,500. I didn’t jump on it right away. Right before we left for Peru, I got a quote that I was comfortable with for around $975. The moment we arrived from Peru, Eric M. from EV Advocates of Ventura County, mentioned that Ballard Electric worked on his NEMA 14-50 for $395. I called Ballard Electric and spoke with Frank. He asked me to send him pictures of my panel outside my garage, and where I intend get my outlet installed. Within minutes of receiving my text, he mentioned that he could get it done for $395.

Install day

After setting up an appointment with Ballard Electric, they sent Cole to my house for the installation. I showed Cole where I’d like to get the outlet installed, he asked for the actual Tesla cable that I’ll be using, and Cole went to work.

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Cole of Ballard Electric

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Halfway through the install, Cole advised me that he needed to shut the power down for about a half hour in order to finish up the job. A half hour later, he was done and we were able to test and I was able to charge my new Model 3 at home. I now have a NEMA 14-50r Receptacle and 50 amp circuit installed at home.

Thank you, Ballard Electric

Cole, Frank, and Ballard Electric were extremely easy to work with. The price was reasonable, and I really believe that the best part of the experience was their professionalism. Frank kept me posted about their arrival time, and what to expect during the visit. Cole was very pleasant and easy going during the entire install process. He kept the area clean, and his work was impeccable. There’s a one year warranty with Ballard, and I’m optimistic that all went well with the install. I would highly recommend Ballard Electric without hesitation. Just know that your situation could be different from mine so just work with Frank and he will work with you and provide a competitive quote.

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I plan on fully testing the new install and charge my car overnight. I’ll report about the charging performance then.

Visiting the Westlake Village Supercharger

After getting my home charger installed, Maddie and I had an errand to run in Thousand Oaks. This gave me an opportunity to visit the Westlake Village Tesla Supercharging stations. The chargers were near the freeway side. I was at 182 miles of charge when I plugged in and  I was informed that it would take 40 minutes to get the card fully charged. Not bad.

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So in 40 minutes, I was able to get the car supercharged from 182 to 281 miles, and the cost was $6.24 (at 99 miles) = $0.06 per mile. So fast, so quick, so convenient, and the price very reasonable and competitive. Plus, I was able to go the nearby Barnes and Noble to help kill time.

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The journey so far

I’ve had the car for a few weeks and I keep feeling that we’re just gliding whenever I’d drive the Model 3. It rides so smoothly. It accelerates like no other. I still get a kick of the roominess in this sedan. It’s definitely not as big as the Model S, but it’s roomy enough for our needs. I love finding free places to charge, not just the mere fact that it’s free, but the fact that it allows me to travel to places without having to break the bank.  I’ve personally washed the car a couple of times and would like to continue to keep it clean.

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