Tesla is here to stay. It’s why manufacturers, dealers, and the entirety of the industry is attempting to stunt their growth. To think they’re just going to go away or fail randomly is both foolish and ignorant. You don’t have to agree with Tesla’s platforms, but you can’t deny that they are ushering in a change in the industry.
One of the many changes they’ve made is the supercharger network implemented across the United States. You can essentially drive coast to coast with some careful planning. Up until now, all Tesla owners have been able to utilize any supercharger station free of, ahem, charge. Now, however, Tesla is changing their mind on the whole “freeness” of that model. With the Model 3 upcoming and more than 400,000 order for it, Tesla is now planning to charge all future customers a small fee for electrons.
In a press released put out earlier this morning, Tesla explains that any Tesla vehicles purchased after January 1, 2017 will receive approximately 1,000 miles worth of Supercharger credits. Once that threshold is reached, Tesla says that drivers will have to pay a small fee for Supercharger access. Not to worry, Tesla says that the price will be lower than what it costs to fill up a tank of gas on a comparable car. Notably, existing Tesla drivers will not be impacted by the change.
So that HAS to piss off anyone that’s got a Model 3 order confirmation. Those are the only owners that will be charged any money at these stations. Here’s the full press release.
Four years ago, Tesla introduced the Supercharger Network – the world’s fastest charging solution – to enable convenient long distance travel. Today, more than 4,600 Superchargers allow over 160,000 Tesla owners to drive across the continental U.S., from the Arctic Circle to the south of Spain, and across all of the population centers in China and Japan, among many other places. Supercharging has even helped owners drive their Teslas around the world.
We’ve designed our network so that all customers have access to a seamless and convenient charging experience when they’re away from home, as our intention has always been for Supercharging to enable long distance travel. That’s why today we’re announcing a change to the economics of Supercharging – one that allows us to reinvest in the network, accelerate its growth and bring all owners, current and future, the best Supercharging experience.
Ensuring Use for Long-Distance Travel
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. 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.
We will release the details of the program later this year, and while prices may fluctuate over time and vary regionally based on the cost of electricity, our Supercharger Network will never be a profit center.
These changes will not impact current owners or any new Teslas ordered before January 1, 2017, as long as delivery is taken before April 1, 2017.
The Road Ahead
Just as you would charge your cell phone, we believe the best way to charge your car is either at home or at work, during the hours you’re not using it. 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.
Of course, owners can still use their own home’s power to charge up their Tesla’s when there, but if you’re on the road and need a quick fix, the supercharger network was a huge, free tool for all owners. The biggest slap in the face is that all current owners won’t have anything change at all. Ouch town.
This will no doubt make a few consumers angry, but whether this actually helps Tesla’s growth will only be known years down the line.