Tesla Recommended Charge Limit [You Should Know This!]

So you want to know at what percentage should I charge my Tesla?

What is the best State of Charge level to have to maximize the battery life?

It is a very common question to have like, should I charge my Tesla to 100 OR how often should I charge my Tesla to 100 OR just charge Tesla to 80 or 90 percent?

And whether there’s any Tesla recommended charge limit or any Tesla charge limit recommendation by experts.

So let’s find out all the genuine and some seemingly worry-some questions of yours about the best charge limit for Tesla.

So let’s find out.

What Percentage Should I Charge My Tesla?

The fact is, there are a variety of opinions spread over the market about best charge limit for Tesla.

Let us look at that first and then I will show you the science behind EV battery degradation and some scientific data to come to a point which will end your confusion about the Tesla charge limit.

These are some stress-buster advices.

Daily Usage Recommendations

The most common advice of experts including Tesla’s official specialists to Tesla owners is to, limit your Tesla to a charge level of 80% on the maximum side.

At the minimum side don’t let fall the Tesla below 20% of charge level for any extended period of time.

That was for daily usage recommendations usually given by Tesla’s officials to Tesla owners.

Road-trip Usage Recommendations

If you are on road-trip, there are no issues to charge Tesla above 90% or even 100%. You can just go for it!

But such SoC above 90% or 100% is best to remain as an occasional use case, as it will put more stress on battery cells due to the higher depth of discharge.

If you need it more frequently may be for your business requirement or whatever, then still nothing to worry about it much. You can charge at 90 or 100% State of Charge, even frequently.

Not much use?

If you think you don’t need much charging filled up all the time then you can hover around 50% of SoC level.

There are some extra advantages to it I am going to show you here in a later section.

But this was stress-buster advice if you just wanted to know the all-time best practices to limit the charge level of your Tesla battery.

And you don’t want to go deep into further scientific(s) of better charging limit recommendations and practice.

Later I will also discuss Tesla charging limit setting and how to set Tesla charging limit.

Now after studying various technicalities about Electric Vehicle Battery, Expert’s opinions, and Tesla’s official advice and practical use case scenarios, I have come to some conclusions.

Tesla Charging Recommendations – Refined Scientific Study

To find out Tesla charging recommendations, let’s delve into some science of batteries used in Electric vehicles.

As it is the battery we are worried about ultimately right?

The battery used in Electric vehicles often and the Tesla models come with is a Lithium-ion battery.

It is the rechargeable battery used in most EVs right now.

Now when we say charging recommendations, first let us confront the truth that we can never stop Tesla battery degradation.

But the only thing we can do is we can make the degradation least or slower with some charging practice.

Truth About Battery Degradation

The charging and discharging process in the battery involves the movement of ions between the anode and cathode as the form of energy flow.

As a part of this process, it involves a lot of other inevitable things like internal corrosion, parasitic reaction, mechanical stress, calendar aging, etc. which collectively cause the degradation of an EV battery.

And this happens everytime when you charge the battery and use it to run your Tesla or any EV, so this will make the battery degradation an inevitable process.

No matter whether you use Tesla or any EV battery cycle within 0-100%, 20-80%, 30-70%, 40-60%, or anywhere near about 50% or whatever your practice is, it will degrade the battery over time.

However, according to Battery University, the higher Depth of Discharge will degrade the battery faster.

So it is better to avoid battery Charge-Discharge cycles of 0-100% in the worst case.

While usage of 20-80% cycle or anywhere in between will lessen the battery degradation.

Plus, the amount of potential stored in battery cells, itself have an effect on the battery degradation.  

Look at the table below, which shows the relation between Charge level in terms of Voltage per cell in the battery, Discharge life cycle, and Battery charge limit.

Charge Level (V/Cell)Discharge CycleCharge Limit (%)
4.30 Volts150 – 250110 – 115 Percent 
4.25 Volts200 – 350105 – 110 Percent
4.20 Volts300 – 500100 Percent
4.15 Volts400 – 70090 – 95 Percent
4.10 Volts600 – 1,00085 – 90 Percent
4.05 Volts850 – 1,50080 – 85 Percent
4.00 Volts1,200 – 2,00070 – 75 Percent
3.90 Volts2,400 – 4,00060 – 65 Percent
Relation between Battery charge level, Discharge Cycle and Charge limit combined
Source: Battery University

The table shows how long a battery works (the discharge cycle) as per the Charge level and Charge limit percentage.

Higher discharge cycle numbers mean a longer battery lifespan.

Note: A discharge cycle means, when a battery charges to a full 100% and then discharges to 0%, denotes a full discharge cycle of battery. In simple terms, you can understand that every 100% discharge of the battery will complete one discharge cycle. This can happen in a single use or in an incremental way. i.e. every percentage of battery you use will count in completing a discharge cycle no matter how much SoC you have at any point of time.

What if the Battery is charged at maximum capacity?

Charging the battery at maximum capacity will normally give a longer run time. But here is a flip side to it with time.

Here in the above table, you can see higher Voltage stored per cell in the battery results in a shorter lifespan of the battery in terms of cycle.

A higher voltage stored in battery cell will cause Electrolyte Oxidation (EO) at cathode. It will result in capacity loss of battery and reduced lifespan.

That is the conclusion scientifically about adverse effects of higher SoC.

What if Battery is charged at lowered capacity?

The lowered voltage stored in the battery cell will increase longevity but it will reduce the total run-time capacity.

While the lowered Voltage stored per cell in battery can result in maximising the lifetime expectancy of the battery.

But lowered voltages per cell in battery will induce other negative results.

Lowered voltage per cell causes the SEI to build on the anode. SEI (Solid Electrolyte Interphase) on the other hand will increase the internal resistance.

Increased internal resistance will also shorten the lifespan of the battery.

However, there is a contrary point coming with lowered SoC in EV batteries. It says something opposite about battery lifespan at lowered charging level.

A Research Supporting the Contrary View

Contrary to the shortening of the lifetime of the battery due to SEI built-up on the anode at a lowered charging level, there are some other positive results which are offsetting the negatives achieved by some researchers.

Here are the details of the research.

As per the research done by Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, if you can maintain the charge level around 50% then it can lengthen the battery lifespan to 44-130%.

You look at the research done by Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden here.

So now what is the way forward?

What is Tesla Charge Limit Recommendation?

So we have seen the scenarios regarding the High charge level vs. the Low charge level and the Depth-of-Discharge.

But if you want to know about enhancing the battery life and lowering the battery degradation then we have to refine the approach and consider some more factors as explained below.

Temperature considerations

It is the temperature and speed of charge and discharge.

As per Battery University, it is said that any temperature above 30°C (86°F) will cause faster degradation. (You can check both the links for supporting scientific data)

So it is best to maintain battery temperature around 20°C to 25°C (60–80°F).

Charge-Discharge rate considerations

Another factor is charging and discharging rates.

The full charging rate of anywhere below 1 hour will degrade the battery faster over time.

(That means charging the full battery within 1 hour)

Usually, fast chargers can charge with a high charging rate and take much less time in full charge.

So recommended complete charge time is a minimum of 2-3 hours.

Accordingly, the faster discharge can also degrade the battery faster.

But, in contrary according to recent research by Recurrent, there is not much significant degradation in Tesla batteries charging with superchargers. But still, some questions arise with the research and data.

The only thing to take care of is, to avoid charging at too hot or too cold temperature and beyond per cell state of charge. With fast and slow charging, there are however some conflict of data to come to a conlusion about battery degradation.

Recommended Tesla Charge Limit

Now considering all of the above points, we can say it is best to maintain the charge level between 20-80% in general and ideally.

As this will put the most positives on your side and most negatives away. (BUT NOT ALL!)

And so it will result in the maximum possible lifespan of your EV battery.

Updated: Tesla Models With LFP Battery

If you have Tesla Standard Range Model 3 or Y of 2021 or later version, then it equips Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) batteries.

Tesla may expand LFP batteries to other models as well.

With LFP batteries, is a different case slightly.

It has better capabilities compare to NCA or NMC batteries.

It has a longer lifespan with a higher cycle life than those.

However, it is equally subjected to the degradation as NCA or NMCs. As I discussed above, but slightly better and lesser degradation rate.

But, it is recommended that you charge your Tesla to 100% with LFP battery, even though it subjects to degradation.

Because one more thing comes into play i.e. battery charge level measurement accuracy.

The LFP battery goes faster in imbalance than other types, when comes to measuring the remaining charge level percentage and range of your Tesla.

Because LFP battery has low cell voltage and a flat charge-discharge curve at high and low SoC levels. And Voltage/Cell remains much more stable within 20%-80% SoC.

That makes BMS more difficult to measure the exact current charge level of the battery.

So with Tesla having LFP battery, you may frequently face some difficulty like your Tesla won’t charge fully and stuck at some lesser percentage.

This is because Tesla BMS fails to gauge the actual charge level in the battery.

And so it requires a more frequent calibration in order to get accurate charge level and range stats.

So that’s why your Tesla with LFP battery needs to be charged fully at 100% at frequent intervals. However if possible you can charge it to 100% daily.

That’s even Tesla pushes the notification in Tesla system and app to set charge limit to 100% even for daily use and if you can’t charge to 100% daily then at least weekly you should charge your Tesla to 100% once.

However, considering the current limitation of EV batteries, some researchers are developing new electrolyte additives and electrode materials that can mitigate electrolyte oxidation and excessive SEI growth to achieve more stable and long-lasting batteries.

So this was all about the science of EV battery degradation, considering charge level, charge-discharge rate, temperature and battery discharge cycle.

Now let me explain you everything about Tesla charging limit setting.

How To Set Tesla Charging Limit

Now let’s see how to access setup or change Tesla charge limit.

To set or change Tesla charge limit you just follow the below steps,

Set up charge limit from Tesla in-car display

  • Go to the in-car display touchscreen and open the charging screen.
  • You can go there by navigating to Controls > Charging.
  • Click on ‘Set Limit
Tesla in car set up charge limit
  • And drag the slider to change or set the charge limit for Tesla.
Tesla in car set up charge limit dragging slider

OR you can also set up charge limit from Tesla app.

Set up charge limit from Tesla in-car display

  • Open the Tesla app
  • Click on Charging option
Tesla set up charge limit from Tesla app
  • And the drag the slider to change or set the charge limit for Tesla.

You may see slider like this in Tesla app,

Tesla charge limit slider
Tesla charge limit slider
Source: Tesla.com

Or slider like this in newer version,

Tesla app set up charge limit dragging slider

This way you can change the charge limits as per the recommendations discussed above.

Tip:

You can also look at what charge limit Tesla system recommends you to set.

Yes, Tesla vehicle’s touchscreen also shows the recommended charge limits specific to your vehicle. This is a no-stress for you to just select the recommended charge limit gauged by the Tesla’s system

Tip – Check Your Tesla Battery Degradation

Do you want to check how much your Tesla battery has degraded with time?

Knowing the degradation rate of your Tesla battery can help you to become conscious about charging practices for your Tesla.

Look into this article showing how to check Tesla battery degradation

Conclusion

So this was the story of the recommended charge limit for Tesla.

I hope you have found this article helpful.

Then see you in the next article!

FAQs

What should I set charge limit to Tesla?

Normally it is best to set anywhere between 50% to 80% charge limit in Tesla for daily basis. It will ensure good battery life for long term. Now depending on your driving needs you can set charge limit. Let’s say For a small commute drivers 50% or nearby is perfect. For long-route travelers, 80% is perfect.

Should I charge my Tesla to 80% or 90%?

It’s best to stick to 80% charging. It’s suited for 99% of drivers. For any user traveling 150-200 miles a day who needs to charge daily or just small commute drivers for whom weekly or twice a week charging is perfect. For both charging Tesla to 80% is more than enough.

If your concern is battery health then 80% is best. But the thing is there’s anyway nothing much effect on battery health of Tesla in charging 90% also. So if you want a longer range for the day (say 250+ miles) then it’s ok to charge 90% or even 100%. As it’s said Tesla’s battery life is actually longer than the vehicle itself. So nothing to worry about if you are concerned about the battery health.

Is it bad to let Tesla go below 20%?

Yes, too low State of Charge in battery will degrade it faster. So it’s best you avoid below 20% charge for your Tesla to preserve range and battery health for longer time.

What is the 20 80 rule for lithium ion batteries?

It means maintaining charge level between 20% to 80% will result in the longest battery life of Lithium ion batteries. Any charge level below 20% and above 80% will result in slightly faster degradation. But again charging till 90% is still considered fair and won’t result in that faster degradation.

What is the optimal charging percentage for a Tesla?

The best and optimal charging level for Tesla is anywhere between 50% to 80%. It will preserve the battery life for the longest time.

But when you are on long trips you can charge above 80% and it’s ok to even charge 100% occasionally.

PLUS, if your Tesla has LFP battery then it is best to charge it 100% at least a week. Because LFP batteries are concerned more about BMS calibration and cell balancing.

How do I stop my Tesla charging at 80%?

You can set up a charge limit of 80% for your Tesla from vehicle’s dashboard Controls > Charging or from Tesla app’s charging option. Once set it will automatically stop the charging once the battery is charged to 80%.

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. This is something new to me. really. There was lot of confusion around this. got some clarifications with this on charge limit

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