Tesla Superchargers – everything you need to know

There are more than 1000 Tesla Superchargers around the UK, but how do they work and who can use them? Our guide reveals all...

Tesla Model 3 plugged in to Supercharger

There’s no denying that Tesla’s cars are among the most popular kinds of electric cars, with more of them appearing on our roads. In fact, data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) revealed that the Tesla Model Y was Britain’s most popular car last year, while the Model 3 was the second most popular. 

And that’s no surprise, they’re great cars in their own right. Indeed, we liked the Model 3 so much we named it our Executive Car of the Year at our 2023 What Car? Awards. But one of the main advantages of choosing a Tesla is that you get full access to the brand’s own Supercharger network. 

Our recent What Car? Charging survey rated Tesla's charging infrastructure as the best for dependability, and opening up to non-Tesla drivers should help achieve the brand’s goal in reducing range anxiety for electric car drivers. 

In our guide, we’ll reveal everything you need to know about the Tesla Supercharger network, including how fast they can top up a battery and how much you’ll have to pay. 

Tesla charging station with Tesla Model S cars

Can I use a Tesla Supercharger? 

If you have a Tesla, then you can use the Supercharger network. Indeed many Tesla owners use it exclusively, especially owners with cars that are eligible for free charging.

Non-Tesla drivers have been allowed to charge at a handful of Supercharger sites since May 2022 as part of a pilot scheme. Prior to this, the Supercharger network was solely available to owners of the US car maker’s models – the Model S, the Model 3, the Model X and the Model Y. 

The sites where non-Tesla owners can charge include: Aberystwyth, Adderstone, Aviemore, Banbury, Birmingham St Andrews, Cardiff, Dundee, Flint, Folkestone Eurotunnel, Grays, Manchester Trafford Centre, Thetford, Trumpington, Uxbridge and Wokingham. 

It’s important to note however that Tesla Superchargers are only accessible for CCS-enabled vehicles. 

Tesla Supercharger charging time 

All Tesla Superchargers offer maximum charging rates of up to 250kW. This allows you to charge the battery of a Tesla vehicle (from 10-80%) in less than 30 minutes. For comparison, charging a Genesis GV60 at 250kW (from 10-80%) takes as little as 18 minutes, while a Porsche Taycan can take around 20 minutes. 

Porsche Taycan front right driving

For non-Teslas, the time it takes to charge your electric car will vary depending on the size of your battery, and the maximum charging rates your car will accept. Other factors such as temperature and the condition of the chargers themselves can also significantly impact how long a charge takes. 

Tesla Supercharger costs: peak charging hours 

Tesla owners who use the Supercharger network pay for their charging stops on a pay-as-you-go basis. The average price is typically 67p/kWh. For non-Tesla owners, this costs 77p/kWh. Free charging is also available for owners of older Tesla models, you can find out if this applies to you by contacting Tesla directly or by logging into your Tesla account.

For Tesla drivers using Superchargers more frequently, a monthly membership is available. Those subscribed will pay £10.99 per month, this reduces the amount they per kWh to around 53p/kWh. 

Tesla’s off-peak charging rates cost 54p/kWh from 8pm to 4pm, this increases to 67p/kWh during the remaining four hours. 

Tesla charging station with Model 3 21-plate

Once you are done charging, the car will alert you via the app that you’re ready to hit the road and you’ll want to make sure you do, otherwise you could potentially incur Tesla’s idle fees. 

Drivers can be charged for every additional minute that their car remains connected to the Supercharger. If the charging stations are at 50% capacity, the fee is 50p per minute however this can rise to £1 if the station reaches 100% capacity. 

Tesla Supercharger map: how to find a Supercharger near me 

If you’re a Tesla owner, you can find a Supercharger via the on-board navigation system.  Every Tesla comes with a Supercharger map pre-installed letting you find the closest charging station to you. You also get additional information regarding the number of charging stations available and peak hours. 

For non-Tesla drivers, you can download Tesla’s smartphone app which gives you the same level of information. You can also find a Supercharger through apps such as ZapMap, by filtering your search under the networks filter. 

Non-Tesla charging app 

In order to charge your non-Tesla electric car at a Supercharger station, you’ll need to download the Tesla smartphone app. Once you’ve done that, choose the ‘charge my non-Tesla’ button and locate the site you are at. The app will then tell you everything you need to know about that specific charging location, including the price and the number of chargers available. 

Kia EV6 LT at Supercharger

Tesla Supercharger vs Destination Charger 

Destination chargers can be found at a range of locations including hotels, restaurants and resorts. Unlike Superchargers, destination chargers offer slower charging rates of around 22kW. As well as this, the cost is usually free, given that you’re a customer at that location. For instance, if you’re spending the night at a hotel, or dining at a restaurant.

How reliable is the Tesla Supercharger network? 

The Tesla Supercharger network finished in fifth place in the recent What Car? Charging survey. The main issues were among non-Tesla owners who marked the network down for ease of use and value for money. It did however impress in other areas including reliability, dependability and accessibility. 

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Read more: How to charge an electric car >>