New Tesla Owners Will Not Have Fully Free Access to Supercharger Network (TSLA)

teslaTesla’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.

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One Response

  1. H2SO4 says:

    Assuming that wasn’t a rhetorical question, it’s because one of the biggest advantages of owning an EV is never having to go to a gas station. Owners can spend seconds plugging in, charge while sleeping, start each and every day with a full range, and spend only a few hundred dollars a year on electricity instead of thousands on gasoline. Most will charge at home simply because it’s one of the reasons they got an EV in the first place and the cost is low. Very few people will want to sit in their cars at a supercharger unnecessarily. They’d be better off getting a job at WalMart, spending less time working than they would charging, and coming out ahead financially.

    That’s why an owner will likely start off on a road trip with a 100% charge, even though charging on the road will be free, because it will save time. It also means that 1000 miles doesn’t mean 1000 miles of trips. It means that a person who starts off with a full charge, drives 400 miles from Silicon Valley to Los Angeles, stays at a hotel with a charger, and drives back will use up about 200 miles of the allowance, meaning most owners may not exceed the 1000 mile allowance.

    The advantage of the supercharger network is that a driver could make that trip, stop once for lunch at a place with a supercharger, possibly stop again for a restroom break at a place with a supercharger, and not spend a minute more on the trip than he might have spent anyway.

    Incidentally, chances are that your local AT&T or T-Mobile store would let you plug in your phone for free if you asked them. But wouldn’t you still rather charge the phone while leaving it on your nightstand?

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