Tesla’s Supercharger stations are quite a perk. These DC fast-charging stations can replenish most of an electric car’s charge in 30 minutes, making long road trips possible. They’re also currently free to use, although Tesla plans to start charging a fee soon.
But some Tesla owners have been complaining about Supercharger stations, specifically how crowded they can get. While Tesla adds more stations every year, they are extremely popular. Some drivers also leave their cars parked at stations long after they are done charging, preventing other drivers from using them.
Tesla owners are very active on Twitter, and so is CEO Elon Musk. When an owner tweeted at him complaining of inconsiderate fellow Supercharger users, Musk said he “will take action.” Agreeing with the user that lack of etiquette is becoming an issue, Musk said “Supercharger spots are meant for charging, not parking.”
@loic You’re right, this is becoming an issue. Supercharger spots are meant for charging, not parking. Will take action.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 11, 2016
This isn’t the first time Tesla has tried to convince customers to be more considerate of each other when using Superchargers. Last summer, it sent a letter to owners asking them to curtail use of the stations for local driving, in order to allow drivers on long-distance trips to have easier access. Tesla views Superchargers as being primarily for long-distance driving; it also has a network of AC “destination chargers,” which charge at a slower rate, for shorter trips and situations where drivers can remain parked longer.
It’s unclear exactly how Musk and Tesla could get drivers to move their cars immediately after they finish charging, but a new policy may at least cut down on traffic at the stations. Tesla plans to end free lifetime Supercharger access, starting with cars ordered after January 1. Customers who order after that date will get 1,000 free hours of charging, but will have to pay an unspecified fee after that.
Drivers may not be as enthusiastic about Supercharging if they have to pay for it, which might affect the level of traffic at stations. At the same time, though, Tesla is expected to get a massive influx of customers with the introduction of the less-expensive Model 3 sedan. If a usage fee doesn’t deter the majority of Model 3 owners, Supercharging overcrowding could get much worse.