Tesla Off-Peak Charging [Charge Only in Off-Peak Hours! – Method Explained]

I see a lot of Tesla owners face difficulties charging Tesla in off-peak hours.

The main problem is Tesla owners are not able to schedule Tesla charging within just off-peak hours (by setting a both scheduled charging start time and stop time or departure time).

But there is a way for you to do that! Yes, I am going to cover it here (And that even without using third-party apps!).

I will cover everything about Tesla off-peak charging, from the basics of Tesla off-peak hours and off-peak rates to how you can schedule Tesla charging for off-peak hours.

Plus, at the end of this article, I am also covering why utility companies offer off-peak charging and what benefits it offers to you and the world. (Apart from money savings).

So let’s head on to it.

How to Schedule Tesla Charging in Off-Peak Hours?

To manage charging Tesla in off-peak hours you have two ways.

  • One is either you manually ensure to plug in and start Tesla charging within off-peak hours

OR

  • Another is you can automate the process of starting and stopping charging which works only within off-peak hours.

I am going to cover the later method of how you can automate the off-peak charging in depth here.

(In a later section I will also tell you how to know off peak hours depending on the kind of chargers you use for charging Tesla, including superchargers, home chargers and all public chargers.)

Automate Schedule Off-Peak Charging Tesla

This method is preferred for Home charging solutions.

At home you can leave the Tesla plugged in when not in use and let the Tesla system handle when to start and stop charging as per scheduled charging set up.

In this, there are two options, full automation and partial automation.

With different scenarios as per your usage of charger either you can do partial automation or full automation.

Let’s start with partial automation followed by a fully automated method.

Partially Automated Scheduled Charging Tesla

So, if you are relying only on Tesla’s default settings to schedule the charging – either Tesla’s in-car touchscreen dashboard or Tesla app – then partial automation is the option for you.

Because Tesla’s default schedule charging settings don’t allow to set both schedule charging start time and stop time. You can set either.

This is a limitation of Tesla’s default schedule settings, especially for off-peak schedule charging which I will explain later here.

But despite this limitation, I will show you how you can smartly manage Tesla schedule charging with just its default settings.

So let’s dive into this and see how you can schedule Tesla charging for off-peak hours.

If you want you can look into the process to set up schedule charging, or else you jump to the next section.

How to Schedule Tesla Charging?

What is the limitation about it?

The limitation is, that if you set a scheduled departure time then Tesla will start charging as per its calculation to fulfill end-time requirements.

Here, you may see that Tesla starts charging even before off-peak time starts. So you will get charged for peak hours for that time.

While, if you set the scheduled start time as the same when off-peak hours start, then Tesla will stop the charging when the battery is Full or when it reaches the charge limit if so.

Here, there are chances that Tesla continues to charge even after off-peak hours end. So you will inevitably get charged for the peak hour rate for some time.

And normally in most cases, there are only 4 hours as off-peak time at a stretch.

So most probably you will pay for the peak-hour rate with the off-peak rate in your billing due to this limitation in default Tesla schedule charging settings.

This is the complaint of a lot of Tesla owners, that Tesla is not fixing this issue.

But as I said, now I am going to show you a simple yet smart way where even with this limitation you can prompt Tesla to start schedule charging with a specific time when off-peak time starts and it will stop charging automatically when off-peak time ends.

So your Tesla will charge only within off-peak hours. Here’s how.

Smartly Manage Tesla Schedule Charging Default Settings

To smartly manage this, we are considering one more factor in schedule charging, i.e. ‘Charge Limit’

Yes, by modifying the charge limit, you can indirectly prompt Tesla to start the charging when off-peak hours start and stop the charging when ‘off-peak hours end’. I will explain in detail.

This method can be used with both ‘Schedule departure’ settings and ‘Schedule start time’ settings.

Simply, what we are doing is at one end we are telling Tesla to start or end the charging at a particular time PLUS we are setting a charge limit taking account of your current SoC before off-peak time starts in such a way that Tesla has to charge within off-peak hours.

We will calculate and put a charge limit in such a way that Tesla will get prompted to start & end the charging only within off-peak hours.

Don’t worry buddy! I am going to show you exactly how to do that. You won’t leave with any doubts.

This involves some basic mathematics of charge rate, SoC & charging time. I explained this in very simple terms below.

It may seem a little complex to you at first, but it will become easy as you you get used to it. (And later I also covered a detailed calculation for you to refer)

Here is the sample calculation in layman’s terms:

Let’s say, your Tesla battery is of 80kWh and you are charging your Tesla with 10KWh power with a charger, which means ideally your Tesla battery will charge 10kW in one hour.

Now for example let’s say off peak time is of 4 hours.

So it means ideally Tesla battery will get 40KWh in 4 hours.

Now, let’s consider before off-peak hour starts, your Tesla battery is at 20% SOC, i.e. 16kWh.

So at the end of off peak time, Tesla battery should be at 56kWh, adding 40KWh in 16KWh existing capacity.

So you should set 56kWh i.e. 70% as charge limit.

So if you set 70% charge limit with the ‘Schedule Departure’ time the same as when off-peak hours end, then Tesla will start the charging just when off-peak hours start.

OR

If you set ‘Schedule Charging start time’ as the same as when off-peak hours start, then Tesla will complete the charging just when off-peak hours end.

Because above scheduled time, the Tesla system now has one more task to fulfill within that range, i.e. charge limit.

And we have set a charge limit just by predicting the future SoC when off-peak ends with the charging rate.

So charge limit will become an arbitrator factor to control scheduled charging start time or scheduled departure or stop time respectively.

So in this way, you can avoid peak time charging rate, by smartly calculating and putting Tesla charge limit above the scheduled time.

(Note: Tesla charging will get slow after 80% SoC, and to go from 80% to 100% it takes almost 1x or 2x time as of going from 0-80%. So take that into account while setting the charge limit. Else Tesla either will start charging early or will continue to charge later in peak hours.)

Now here is a detailed calculation I made for you if you want to understand step by step. And I also considered SoC above 80% into account here.

Else calculation is just simple as I have explained above if you have got the point.

If you are interested in math then you can look at. Or, jump to the next section if you have got the point.

Detailed Sample Calculation

Partial automation is demanding calculation but using public chargers or certain home chargers there is no way to escape this.

Now let’s look into how you can fully automate this process so that the software handles all the calculations and you can just sleep or go shopping nearby.

It’s just easy like doing a couple of clicks.

Fully Automated Scheduled Charging Tesla

Once you know the start and end time of off-peak hours, you can exactly set those as the start time and stop time of charging.

That is the full automation of schedule charging Tesla for off-peak hours.

But as you know Tesla’s default schedule settings won’t allow that. So you need to go through other ways.

Here are the other ways:

Accessing EV Charger Side Settings

So there are two fronts of schedule charging settings, one is Tesla’s vehicle side settings which we have discussed and another is Charger side settings.

Vehicle-side schedule settings will allow power intake only at a scheduled time while charger-side settings will supply the power only at a scheduled time.

Accessing charger side schedule settings is much easier than vehicle side settings for Tesla.

Almost all home chargers have a separate mobile app just for charger-related controls.

Using Tesla Wall Connector Gen 3

Tesla Wall Connector, being a super super-liked Tesla-branded home charger and mostly used by Tesla owners.

If you use Tesla wall connector then you can add Tesla wall connector to Tesla app, and from there in settings, you can set up schedule charging time. You can set both schedule charging start time and stop time from Tesla app this way.

Once, you have added Tesla wall connector to Tesla app, then go to Settings>Vehicle Charging> Turn ON wall connector schedule> set up start time and stop time of charging

Using Non-Tesla Home Charger

If you are using some non-Tesla home chargers then again as I see almost all of those charger brands provide mobile apps to control all charger-related settings.

The fundamental is same for non-Tesla chargers as well. From the mobile app, you can control schedule charging settings. (Both start time and stop time)

So that’s how accessing charger side settings makes it much easier to schedule charging, especially for off-peak hours.

But if there’s no app for the charger or no full schedule settings available then you have to consider the option of using third-party apps.

Using Third-Party Apps for Tesla

Many apps are offering Tesla controls with a lot of options including charging schedule settings with the option of start time and stop time.

Where you connect your Tesla account with the apps and then you can control various things in your tesla from app.

Here is the list of apps you can consider. (Note: the list is not any part of the recommendation here)

Third Party Apps are,

These apps offer tons of other features than just schedule charging. But if your primary purpose is just for schedule charging then it’s not worthwhile to spend a monthly subscription on these apps.

But if you don’t want to go for it then, there is one more option for you to fully automate the process, and it’s free, but you need to do a few technical steps.

The way is to set Tesla shortcuts on iOS or Android devices.

Using ‘Shortcuts’ App

With iOS or Android devices, there is a feature where with the help of the ‘Shortcuts’ app you can access and control a lot of Tesla’s functions including schedule charging.

(For iOS devices you can download the shortcuts app from here and for Android devices, you can download the shortcut app from here)

You need to ensure that the Tesla app is installed on the same device as the ‘Shortcuts’ app.

Shortcuts app offers tons of Tesla shortcuts to manage functions from your phone as a shortcut. Without going into the settings of the Tesla app or in-car dashboard you can control various things in your Tesla.

This Shortcuts app can now influence your Tesla vehicle through the Tesla app.

The interesting thing is you can create shortcuts of Start and Stop charging with automation for a particular ‘Time of day’ to get the shortcut function triggered at that specific time.

So just at your fingertips, you can now trigger specific functions of your Tesla and that also with automation. That’s amazing..! Isn’t it?

You can watch the below video to learn how to use the Shortcuts app. The video is for an iOS device but it’s similar for Android devices as well.

So this was all about how to set Tesla schedule charging.

Now let’s see from where you can know about off-peak hours depending on various charger you use.

How to Know About Off-Peak Charging Time

I will tell you about each charger option one by one to know about off-peak hours.

Home Charger – Including all Tesla and non-Tesla chargers

For a home charger, the best way to know about off-peak hours is by looking into the website or the bill of your electricity utility provider company.

OR you can use the Tesla app ‘Charge Stats’ feature, there from the ‘customize charge rates’ feature you can look into the ‘Time-of-Use’ plan and rate for your electricity utility company.

You can look into this video to learn how to know the off-peak hours of your utility provider from the Tesla app charge stats.

Know ToU rate of your Electric Utility Provider from Tesla app

Superchargers

Tesla superchargers at some locations could be providing off-peak charging hours.

You can see Tesla supercharger Time of Use or off-peak hours and rate from the navigation on Tesla dashboard OR from Tesla app.

You can watch the below video for your reference.

Off Peak Rate for Tesla Superchargers from Navigation

Other Public Chargers

To know about Time-of-Use rate or off peak hours and rate, it is best to refer to the official site of the charger company.

Just head on to the respective charger company’s website and look for off peak hours and rates.

You can also inquire there to get more information about Time-of-Use rate.

So this was all of How-Tos of Tesla off peak charging.

Now, apart from cost benefits, let me show you why you should prefer off peak charging.

By preferring off peak charging, it is not that you have some advantages just for yourself, but you are also giving something to the world.

Let’s look at that.

Why you should charge Tesla in off-peak hours – Main Advantage for you

It is a well-known thing you know that off peak hours are those hours of the day, which has the lowest rate of electricity for usage.

So the main advantage for you to charge Tesla in off peak hours is that you will be charged a much lesser price than regular charging costs.

Sometimes off peak rates can go as low as half of the price or even less than that of the regular price.

So by charging Tesla in off peak hours you will save money ($$$). That’s why mostly all people prefer off peak charging.

See, throughout the day we all use electricity for various purposes. But we don’t require the electricity of the same amount throughout the day.

Like, how much you use electricity in the morning, how much you use in noon or afternoon, evening, night, and midnight is all different.

This usage goes into a pattern with all seasonal variances.

Therefore the usage of electricity will be more in some parts of the day/night and it will be much less in other part of the day/night.

When the usage is high at a specific time of the day, the electric utility providers get more load to fulfill the demands of electricity, in the same way when the demand decreases they receive much less load to fulfill.

The period of high demand is called peak hours and opposite to it is off-peak hours.

This management of load variations results in much cost addition and increased resource usage for the utility provider.

But the thing is the production of electricity and the machines used for it, have to be operated on minimum level required. Although the reason for it is much deeper in engineering and technicalities so I am not going into it right now.

So if they somehow can transfer some electricity load from peak hours to off-peak hours then they can save much amount of resources and so money (which otherwise they additionally have to spend in peak hours) to produce electricity overall.

So the electric utility providers prompt us to use electricity when overall demand is less by incentivizing the usage, by doing this they save a lot of costs, so they cut-down the electricity rates for that particular time.

That specific time they offer with an incentivized rate is called the off-peak hour’s rate.

The advantages of preferring off-peak charging – For Long-term benefits for the world

Now, if you prefer off-peak charging, one thing is you are directly contributing to effective resource utilization.

One is by grid stabilization, preferring effective use of electricity and another is the resources saved with this grid stabilization, which otherwise have gone lost in peak hours.

Although this seems a very negligible contribution, but with the Electric Vehicles eco-system, this is the step towards a sustainable future transition with the effective utilization of resources.

And when this ecosystem will be in full stride with mass-adopted practice, then it will make a difference in making the world better.

However, this is still a spec compared to the vast issue of unsustainable practices.

But still hoping for the best and taking a small step towards sustainability is what adds up to the change! and that’s what we can do to take this curve elsewhere years later in the future.

Conclusion

So this was everything about Tesla off peak charging and about how you can schedule to charge only within off peak hours with manual and automation methods.

Now I hope you can understand and put it into practice.

I hope this guide has been of help to you. let me know in the comments if you have any doubts.

See you in the next article!

FAQs

What is the cheapest time to charge a Tesla?

Off-peak rates are the cheapest to charge. Usually, it stars after 8 pm at night till midnight or it may run overnight till very early morning. BUT remember the exact off-peak hours depend on the utility provider company. It’s different with different companies. You need to confirm this with your utility provider if you are home charging. In case you use Tesla’s public charger, you will find peak and off peak rates and respective hours in the navigation app in Tesla’s dashboard & in Tesla app. If you use non-Tesla public chargers you need to look into their respective off-peak schedule either on the EV chargers map, their phone app or their network website.

What time is the cheapest to charge Tesla at Supercharger?

You need to look into Tesla car’s dashboard navigation or in Tesla app to find respective supercharger’s off-peak rate and hours. Many supercharger stations offer Time-of-Use rate which are different with different locations.

Do Tesla Superchargers cost less at night?

Yes, usually Tesla Superchargers cost the least at night time. But not necessary that all supercharger stations cost cheapest in night. You need to confirm from Tesla in-car dashboard or from Tesla app to see what and off-peak hours and rate are at a particular supercharger station.

How do you charge off-peak hours on a Tesla?

What you should do is let the charger remain plug-in and then either you can schedule charging manually with Tesla’s default settings with a little bit of charging time calculation as explained here or if you use Tesla wall connector then you can use Tesla app for fully automated off-peak schedule or you can use third-party apps to charge in off-peak hours. OR you can manually plug-in when off-peak hours start and plug-it-off when off-peak hours end. Here’s the detailed process explaining how you can do that.

Is it cheaper to charge Tesla at home or at Supercharger?

Charging Tesla at home is cheaper than charging at supercharger. In fact, home charging is the cheapest option compared to charging at any public charger. Normally supercharging will cost around 3x to that of home charging.

How does Tesla know off-peak hours?

Tesla can’t know off-peak hours by itself. It’s you who first checks off-peak hours with the utility provider or with the charging station and schedules the charging in Tesla which in turn informs Tesla to accept charging at particular hours – which happens to be off-peak as confirmed by you.

How do you set a Tesla off peak hours?

You set up a charging schedule in Tesla using either in-car dashboard or Tesla app. There you set up the start time and end time of charging exactly matching off-peak hour’s start time and end time OR you can set up scheduled start time anytime after off-peak hours start and end time before off-peak hours end. So by the time charging starts, it will be off-peak hours till the charging session ends. So the cost of charging will come to be cheapest as of off-peak rate. Here’s the detailed steps explaining how you can do that.

Steve
Steve

An engineer turned entrepreneur, being a Tech-enthusiast I am passionate about helping people understand and embrace the potential of technology in an insightful manner. At EV Chargers Guide, I help EV owners to navigate the Electric Revolution by providing in-depth guides to overcome their EV charging challenges and helping to make the Best choice selecting Charging Equipment for their EVs.

1 Comment
  1. Oh yes, this is really interesting. With little bit of calculation even without schedule charging full settings can set up off peak schedule. But Tesla should provide proper schedule settings. Very annoying half a setting.

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