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Elon Musk: Model 3 charging will be free for long-distance trips

Tesla Model 3
Tesla Model 3 owners will be able to use Supercharging stations for free, but only when far from home. During Thursday night’s special shareholder meeting to vote on the Tesla SolarCity acquisition (it passed), CEO Elon Musk said Model 3 owners will be able to charge their cars for free on long trips, as reported by Electrek.

Soon after the Model 3 introduction on the last day of March, Musk said the lifetime free charging included with the much more pricey Model S and Model X wouldn’t apply to the Model 3 because Supercharging costs too much to include with the entry level cars. More recently Tesla announced the end of free lifetime Supercharging for new cars ordered after January 1, 2017, or delivered April 1, 2017, regardless of when they were ordered.

At the shareholders’ meeting on November 17, Musk was asked for clarification about Model 3s secured by deposits made before January 1, 2017, none of which will be delivered before April 1. According to Electrek, Musk said, “Model 3, from the beginning we said free charging is not included in the Model 3 — free unlimited charging is not included, so, free long distance is, but not free local. It becomes really unwieldy for people to use the gas station approach for electric cars, like, cars should really be charged where you charge your phone, but then you just need to solve the long-distance problem which is what the supercharger stations will do.”

When Telsa made the announcement ending lifetime free charging, the company said Model S and Model X Teslas ordered after January 1, 2017, would receive 400kWh of free charging credits, approximately 1,000 miles, each year. Tesla has not said if the same annual credit system or a similar plan would apply to Model 3s.

Musk did not specify the criteria for “long distance” or “local,” or detail limits of use, either. Tesla has plenty of time to work out the details because the Model 3 isn’t expected to go into production before the summer of 2017.

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