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How much will not charging every night hurt battery longevity?

I reserved a Model S on 1/23 and already got the Finalize button (that was fast!), but I'm having a hard time deciding if owning the Model S is going to be practical for me.

I currently rent an apartment in downtown Austin and have no plans of buying a house soon. My building does not have any charging stations, but there are several within a couple blocks of my apartment. I only commute about 10 miles roundtrip each day, so I was thinking that I could charge overnight once a week at one of the stations near me and be fine.

However, after doing more research, I found this on

Battery lifetime is affected by both age and the total amount of energy it delivers over time. The Tesla battery is optimized for nightly charging: topping off frequently enhances the longevity of your battery.

So, now I am wondering if not charging every night is a realistic plan. Is it possible to only charge once every 3-5 days or less without hurting the battery? Will this significantly decrease the battery longevity?

I'm sure others who live in the city are struggling with similar problems. There are only 3 or 4 apartment buildings in Austin with charging stations. All of them are high end luxury apartments. While I'm already paying pretty high rent, I'm certainly not looking to increase that along with my Model S purchase!

Does anyone have experience with owning a Model S without a charging station at home? I really want this car, but I'm not ready to move out of the city and buy a house just yet. Thanks for any thoughts or advice!

@ Robert22

Thanks! Question.. Could they be suggesting plugging in often to alleviate the "dreaded" leach draws that reduce range while parked?


I'm sure Tesla has no objection to the fact that constant charging in any weather condition would reduce or eliminate "leakage" mitigating criticism from owners and reviewers. An oft repeated phrase I heard many times in my discussions was "The battery will protect itself". This battery is one of the smartest devices currently available to the public. If you abuse it, it phones home and asks for help. I think it probably takes a rare kind of determination/ ignorance to significantly damage it.

+1, and kudos.

Very clear summary. TM's battery management system builds on the strengths and obviates the weaknesses of LiIon. So it comes down to two commonsensical guidelines: don't deplete or overcharge often. All the rest is minor detail.

This is a great thread on the risk of irregular (weekly or bi-weekly, as opposed to nightly) charging damaging the battery. Any update in the past 6 months: either new research or experience? I'm facing a situation where I may only be able to charge mine twice a week and I'm still a little nervous about it. I like the "battery will protect itself" credo, but I'd feel better if people actually had that experience. It also sounds like vampire leakage is still an issue as well (though they're hoping to fix it in 2013).

Austin has a great program called Plug-In EVerywhere ( which will give you access to 160+ public charging stations in Austin for just $5/month. This could be a great deal for you since there are many in downtown Austin.

Question for others: I have a P85+ but only drive an average of 28 miles per day based on my three year average in my last car. My DS said, "wow, you could really get a lot more life out of your battery by lowering your Max daily charge." Does anyone know if this is indeed true?


I think Elon answered "Supercharging Station" to one of those live audience questions about urban living especially apartments with no access to electrical outlets.

It's best to plug in as much as possible because the computer automatically does the charging for you and you don't have to guess.

What is more concern is extreme discharging to the level of "bricking" that permanently changes the cell chemistry that renders the pack useless.

Remember, Elon did refute Sarah Palin's claim of "brick" and he guarantees your 85kWh pack for 8 years, unlimited miles even in "bricking" situation.

There are more 15,000 Model S on the roads. They are constantly sending back their performance to Tesla. Instead of making stricter rules for owners, they are eased up: No depreciable for using Superchargers, best to keep at 50% not at 90% but you'll keep 1 or few miles from premature degradation...

Thus, living in an apartment with your Tesla is totally fine.

As far as I can tell, not plugging in your car every night is just fine. Lots of people do this when parking at airports. You just have to be aware of vampire charge loss, which for me over the past two days of parking at an airport in sunny warm weather has been 7 miles a day.

As long as you stay away from extreme empty and full, it doesn't matter when you charge.

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