Should I Keep My Tesla Model 3 Plugged In? Increase Longevity

Most Tesla owners obviously want to take good care of their batteries. Overcharging and frequent charging can lead to quick battery degradation right? So, can you leave your Tesla plugged in regularly?

It is safe to leave your Tesla plugged in for longer periods or at regular intervals. Tesla even recommends this because the onboard computer will regulate the charge and prevent your Tesla from overcharging. Charging limits can also be set from the dashboard. This will preserve the battery at it’s optimal level.

For more valuable information, check out the rest of this article. There’s more to it than you’d think.

Tesla Recommends That You Keep Your Model 3 Plugged In

Tesla advises you to keep your Model 3 plugged in whenever you are not using it. It is the safest option because it ensures that your car has sufficient charge whenever you need to drive and that all idle functions remain active. 

Thanks to charging limits, you can limit the juice your Model 3 draws from the grid. For example, if you set the limit at 50%, your Tesla won’t charge past that point. 

Red-Tesla-Charging-Plugged-In

Features like sentry mode and cabin overheat protection need power to function. These functions draw power from the stationary Tesla, leading to loss of battery life via a concept dubbed ‘vampire drain.’ 

If you’d like to find out What Tesla Phantom Drain or Vampire Drain is, check out this related and helpful article that I wrote?

Vampire or phantom drain can empty your battery if you leave it unplugged for too long. It’s part of the reason why Tesla suggests that you leave the vehicle connected to the mains. 

To keep background functions running, the Tesla will use power from the outlet rather than the batteries. It’ll ensure that the batteries remain at the charging limit while the car’s onboard computer runs preset functions. 

As an added bonus to this article, I’ve created this easy-to-use charging calculator. Simply input your model, charging wattage, and charging percentage, and you will get the estimated time it will take to charge a Tesla in terms of hours. You can play around with numbers a bit just to see how charging time changes:

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Tesla Charging Calculator (Time):

Estimated Time It Takes To Charge Your Tesla

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An experiment by Recurrent and SmartCar found that a Tesla Model S can lose up to 9.45 miles (15 km) of range every 18 hours due to vampire drain depending on the onboard systems turned on and the number of times the owner checks on the car via the app. 

Based on those findings, it would take a little over 28 days for a fully charged Tesla Model 3 Long Range to discharge. By the time you returned from a month-long European holiday, your Tesla battery would be at 0%. 

Tesla Model 3Rear-Wheel DrivePerformanceLong Range
Time to full discharge 21.5 days25 days28 days
This table shows the estimated time to discharge based on the results of the above experiment.

The prospect of leaving your Tesla charging for an extended period might seem daunting, but it is the safest thing to do. It’ll allow you to keep safety and heating features on without the fear of draining your battery. 

Furthermore, there’s no need to subject yourself to the mental anguish of checking your car battery every day when you get home. Simply plug in your charger, knowing that you’ll have enough charge tomorrow. 

FUN FACT: Elon Musk recommended (via Twitter, obviously) that charging your Tesla to 80% daily will keep the battery at optimum health. 

Therefore, if you charge daily, set the limit at 80% and let the Model 3 work its magic. You can also utilize the scheduled departure feature to program the vehicle to start charging at a specific time. 

After setting your departure time, a plugged-in Tesla will automatically decide when to start filling its battery. Therefore, you’ll have enough charge by the time you set off. 

I wrote a related article and it might give you some further insight on this topic. I discussed whether or not it is bad to always Supercharge a Tesla. Check it out!

Frequent Charging Can Reduce the Longevity of Your Battery

Before you plug in your Tesla whenever the opportunity arises, consider this information: the number of times you charge and discharge your battery affects its longevity. The charge and discharge of a battery is known as its battery cycle. 

Placing a battery through many battery cycles increases its deterioration rate. Therefore, the longer the period between charges, the longer your battery will last. 

STATISTIC: Tesla battery packs degrade and lose about 5% of their capacity in the first 50,000 miles (80,467 km). 

However, they can degrade faster due to over-frequent charging. If you use about 20% of charge daily and start the day at 80%, you’ll return home with a healthy 60% charge in the tank. 

You could follow Tesla’s advice to the letter and top up that 20% overnight. Or, you could refrain from charging and wait to charge 40% after the next day’s errands. 

By the start of day three, your batteries will have 80% charge. However, option 1 would have subjected the battery to two battery cycles, while option 2 would have subjected the battery to one battery cycle. 

Therefore, option 2 is better for your Tesla Model 3’s battery. 

Monitoring your car’s charge might be inconvenient in the short term but may prove crucial in the long run. Simply observe how much charge you use daily and set a charging schedule. 

To maintain optimum battery health, ensure it remains between 30 to 80%. 

I also wrote an article and discussed if you can leave your Tesla plugged in overnight. This will shed some further light on this topic. Check it out!

Keep the Battery Above 20%

Unless you missed a charging station during a long trip, you shouldn’t let the car battery fall below 20%. Doing so frequently will lead to faster battery degradation. 

If keeping track of your car’s battery proves too much, plug in your Model 3 as frequently as possible. 

DID YOU KNOW: A Tesla’s 12-volt battery can discharge when the battery gets fully charged. 

James May of DRIVETRIBE discovered that the 12-volt battery of a Tesla could discharge when the main battery gets to 100%. Tesla told him that the charging system automatically turns off when the battery becomes full, cutting power to the 12-volt battery. 

Eventually, the 12-volt battery discharges as the Tesla’s background functions drain it. Watch him complain about the complicated process of recharging the 12-volt battery: 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Leave a Tesla Model 3 Plugged In at a Supercharger?

You can leave your Model 3 plugged in at a supercharger as long as nobody’s waiting in line. If the station’s busy, Tesla will charge you for every minute spent after the vehicle completes charging.

Can You Supercharge a Tesla Model 3 Every Day?

Supercharge your Tesla Model 3 only on long journeys. Daily supercharging reduces battery life, which isn’t ideal if you want your battery to last. Only supercharge your Tesla when it really needs it.


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Erwin Meyer
Erwin Meyer

Thanks for visiting evspeedy.com. The goal of this site is to be a helpful resource for Tesla and EV owners as this is where my passion lies. I was a TSLA shareholder before the hype and still am. I also believe in Tesla’s speedy mission to accelerate the world to a sustainable future.