Tesla cars have established themselves as one of the most reliable and high-end electric cars on the market. However, they may not give their owners the peace of mind that comes with the high range of gas-powered cars. So, you may wonder if Tesla cars use gas, too.
Tesla cars don’t use gas and run on electricity. They’re equipped with large battery packs that supply the required energy for their movement. These batteries are rechargeable, and you can use a home outlet or a Tesla Supercharger for charging them. You can use a gas-powered generator to charge it.
Keep reading the rest of this article to learn more about Tesla’s primary source of power. We’ll take a closer look at the fuels a Tesla can or can’t use and tell you which one is more environmentally friendly, gas or electricity. And finally, we’ll see where Tesla’s power comes from.
Table of Contents
- What Fuel Does Tesla Use?
- Can a Tesla Run on Gas?
- What Happens if You Put Gas in a Tesla?
- Where Can You Charge a Tesla?
- Where Does Tesla Electricity Come From?
- Tesla Electric Cars vs. Gas Cars; Which One Is More Environmentally Friendly?
- Bottom Line
What Fuel Does Tesla Use?
Teslas are all-electric cars, not hybrids. As the name suggests, they’re 100% electric and solely use electricity as their fuel. Tesla cars have large, lithium-ion, high-capacity batteries with 100 kWh capacity that provide the energy they require for moving and running several complex systems.
These lithium-ion battery packs are well-sealed and hidden inside the car’s platform. Actually, Tesla uses the entire battery pack as the structural platform of the vehicle to build a solid unit. When plugged into a charging point, these battery packs take electricity from the grid and store it to be used by the motor.
The battery capacity of newer models of Tesla cars is 100 kWh; their voltage is upgraded now to 410-volts. Average Teslas consumes around 34 kWh of electricity every 100 miles.
Teslas don’t have engines and instead are equipped with electric motors– which are pretty different, although the terms are usually used interchangeably.
The engine in regular cars converts the fuel – gas, diesel, etc. – into mechanical energy to move the vehicle. Their battery powers the engine, which in turn powers the gears and wheels. Then the rotation of the wheels provides the required power for the alternator, which recharges the battery.
But an electric motor uses electricity and turns it into mechanical energy, which is then directly conducted to the wheels. Tesla Model S has an alternating current (AC) induction motor, but the Model 3 uses a permanent-magnet direct current (DC) motor. The basics of these two types of motors are the same.
Electrical energy flows from the battery to the stator. Then, the coils inside the stator (which act as magnets somehow) create a magnetic field and pull along the conducting rods on the outside of the rotor behind it. This spinning rotor creates the mechanical energy required to turn the car’s gears that rotate the tires in turn.
Can a Tesla Run on Gas?
As mentioned above, Teslas aren’t hybrid cars and just run on electricity as their primary fuel.
Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) offer a combination of the advantages of gasoline engines and electric motors. Hybrid cars usually aren’t plugged in and charge their batteries through regenerative braking and the combustion engine. They typically have a high-voltage battery pack in addition to the conventional 12-volt battery.
Tesla cars don’t have a fuel tank to fill and don’t come with an engine like hybrid cars. The only way to recharge a Tesla and provide its required fuel is through the charge port.
However, you can use gasoline for charging up a Tesla, and many people have done it – obviously not by pouring gasoline inside a Tesla! To do this, you’ll need a gasoline-powered or diesel-powered generator to generate electricity and power your Tesla.
While it’s possible to recharge a Tesla using gasoline or similar fuels, and it can be quite helpful during power outages or while you’re in a remote area, it’s not efficient. It will waste a large amount of energy.
What Happens if You Put Gas in a Tesla?
There’s no fuel tank or such on a Tesla to fill with gas. The only place for fueling a Tesla car is through its charge port which isn’t also deep and spacious enough to hold much gas – and if you forget that it’s not designed to act as a fuel tank, putting gas in it won’t help you at all!
Besides, gas is highly flammable, and it can be very dangerous. So never try to put gas in a Tesla; otherwise, horrible disasters may occur.
Where Can You Charge a Tesla?
Generally, you have two options for charging a Tesla: doing it at home or a station. For charging your Tesla at home, you can plug it into a 120-volt home outlet and use the mains. However, this charging method isn’t that efficient and may take hours to charge up your car.
Alternatively, you can install a Tesla wall charger, a charging unit that connects you directly to the home electrical infrastructure. This method is much more efficient and faster than the previous one. You can plug your car into the wall charger during the night and find it fully charged in the morning.
If you’re on the road and don’t have access to a home charger, you should find a Tesla charging point. Unlike other electric car producers, Tesla has come up with a faster charging solution for its customers. Tesla’s “Superchargers” look like a streamlined version of gas pumps. These super-fast chargers can increase your Tesla’s range to 200 miles only in around 15 minutes.
As you see, it’s the fastest and the most efficient way to charge a Tesla car. You can find Tesla’s superchargers in various places inside and outside cities, including parking lots, roadside parking stops, truck stops, among others.
It can also be a good idea to have an adaptor in your car, in case you’re too far from a Tesla charging point. So, you can charge your Tesla at charging stations designed for other electric cars. However, it’s also a slower process compared to a supercharger. And it’s advised to avoid using 3rd party charging points for fueling your Tesla.
The voltage of the 3rd party charging stations may not comply with your Tesla, and the company recommends looking for stations labeled as J1772 or 120 volts that work with your mobile connector bundle. However, Tesla is working on adding 3rd party charging stations to its in-car navigation – it’s been started in Europe with CCS adaptors.
Where Does Tesla Electricity Come From?
Tesla’s electricity comes from various sources, and it depends on where the charging points are placed. For example, a Tesla charging station in Pennsylvania probably gets its electricity from a coal-fired power plant that’s located there.
Alternatively, A Tesla supercharger located in Texas may get its power from wind, solar, coal, nuclear, or natural power plants. And the same happens in other areas which use geothermal or hydroelectric power. As a result, it may be the Hoover dam that actually charges your Tesla car in some parts of the country.
Tesla Electric Cars vs. Gas Cars; Which One Is More Environmentally Friendly?
We can undoubtedly say that Teslas are more environmentally friendly than regular gasoline cars, even if they get their energy from a coal-fired power plant. Such a power plant produces less amount of CO2 while charging a Tesla car than a gas-fueled car releases while driving the same distance.
The most significant factor in making a Tesla such a green vehicle is the efficiency – of the car itself and the power plants. The giant turbines in power plants that spin by steam (from the water boiled by burning coal) are significantly efficient, which means they convert most of the energy produced by burning coal to electricity.
On the other hand, Tesla uses this electricity at the supercharger station to fuel its electric cars, which are also highly efficient. Tesla’s charging efficiency is more than 90% which is excellent. It means a large amount of the energy used goes into the batteries, and minor loss happens in the process.
However, the oil used as fuel for gas-powered cars must be extracted from the ground and carried by ships, trucks, and tankers that cost more than coal’s expenses. Besides, oil has to be refined using heat, which requires fuel and releases CO2.
Then this refined oil must be transferred to the gas stations across the country and then pumped into your car using electricity. And finally, your gasoline engine can reach 30 to 35% of efficiency, which is more than what’s lost during the manufacturing, transportation, and charging loss of Tesla.
Tesla is an all-electric car, and unlike the hybrid ones, which are somehow a modification of the conventional vehicles that run on both gas and electricity, it solely runs on electricity. They come with large battery packs that store electricity to provide the required energy for its movement. While you can’t directly put gas into a Tesla car, you can use a gas-powered generator for charging up your electric vehicle.
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