Tesla’s fully electric—but very powerful—vehicles are already quite attractive to the upwardly mobile, eco-conscious consumer but its extensive Supercharger network is, perhaps, one of the company’s best benefits. Basically, this network gives you access to charging stations across the country. Since the company’s inception, this network was free to Tesla owners; but those appears to be coming to a close.
Indeed, Tesla will not offer free access to the network to new customers, after January 2017.
In a statement made Monday Tesla said, “For Teslas ordered after January 1, 2017, 400 kWh of free Supercharging credits (roughly 1,000 miles) will be included annually so that all owners can continue to enjoy free Supercharging during travel.”
Furthermore, the electric car company adds, “Beyond that, there will be a small fee to Supercharge which will be charged incrementally and cost less than the price of filling up a comparable gas car. All cars will continue to come standard with the onboard hardware required for Supercharging.”
For now, this is all Tesla is saying—except that it will “release the details of the program later this year.” They do also note that prices fluctuate over time and can vary based on region (or, rather, the cost of electricity in the region where the owner lives), but they make sure to assert “our Supercharger Network will never be a profit center.”
Indeed, the automaker has been struggling with current Tesla Model X SUVs and Model S sedan owners who are opting to use the Supercharger network to “fuel” their cars, instead of charging them at home.
Tesla explains, “Just as you would charge your cellphone, we believe the best way to charge your car is either at home or at work, during the hours you’re not using it.”
Of course, why would you charge your cell phone at home—and pay for the electricity—when your phone company has offered to foot that bill?
The company advises that the purpose of the Supercharger network was to help people travel longer distances with these premium electric cars; something that most electric cars cannot accomplish right now.
Tesla notes, “For travelers, the Supercharger Network has become a powerful, unique benefit of Tesla ownership. As we approach the launch of Model 3, this update will enable us to greatly expand our Supercharger Network, providing customers with the best possible user experience and bringing sustainable transport to even more people.”
Meanwhile Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) stock is up just over 1.13 percent today to $192.71 on heavier trade volume that normal at midday.