If you’ve ever plugged in your Tesla at an airport parking garage, you may have wondered whether it’s safe to leave your car there for an extended period of time. After all, leaving a car plugged in and unattended seems like it could be an invitation for trouble. There are a few things to consider before making the decision to leave your Tesla at the airport.
Long-term Charging: Safe Or Not?
Yes, it is safe to leave your Tesla plugged in. This is a common behavior. That said, it’s not ideal and you can optimize this behavior in order to save money and optimize your battery life.
First, it’s important to understand how the charging process works. When you plug in your Tesla, the battery charger automatically starts siphoning electricity from the grid and funneling it into your car’s battery. The amount of time that it takes to charge varies depending on the level of charge that your battery is starting with and the amount of power that your charger is able to deliver.
You can set a charging limit on your battery so that it’s not constantly trying to recharge. For example you might want to top the car off when you park and then have the EV concierge move it off the charger. Or you can get the car to 100% and then turn the charging limit to 60% for the week so that the car isn’t attempting to stay at 100% while Sentry Mode or Cabin Overheat Protection drain you battery life.
Assuming that you’re starting with a full battery, it would take days for the charger to completely deplete the grid of electricity. However, in reality, this scenario is unlikely because most people don’t let their batteries drain completely before recharging. If you are in a covered lot and it’s not super cold or super hot, your car should be very stable and it won’t be drawing too much power or hurting the battery just to be sitting there plugged in.
The next thing to consider is the price of electricity. Depending on where you live, this cost can vary significantly. The best thing to do is show up at the airport with as much power as possible so that you can rely on Battery Management Mode to do its job and limit costs as well as preserve battery health. Also don’t check on your car’s app too often and this will turn on systems for valuable minutes and use more power than you’d expect. Pick the right settings and trust the car’s software to do its job.
However, there are other factors to consider besides the cost of electricity when deciding whether or not to leave your Tesla at the airport for an extended period of time. One such factor is convenience. If you’re going on vacation for two weeks and plan to fly home, it might be more convenient for you to take an Uber or Lyft from the airport rather than dealing with getting your car out of long-term parking and returning it when you get back.
Overall, there’s no right or wrong answer when deciding whether or not to leave your Tesla at the airport for an extended period of time. It ultimately comes down to weighing the pros and cons and deciding what’s best for you in any given situation. You will spend more than you might like, but airport parking and travel in general is expense, so can take some steps to lower the cost and limit any wear on your battery if you want to invest a few minutes of time in tweaking your settings.