There’s no such thing as a free lunch — or a free charge, apparently.
Charging your Tesla for free at a Supercharger station is coming to an end, as all new Tesla vehicles purchased since November last year are part of the company’s pay-per-use Supercharger program. Free Supercharging is still available through the Tesla referral program, though it’s coming to an end, too. And now Tesla is hiking the price to use Supercharger stations, according to Electrek.
Tesla owners will have to pay either per kWh that they use at a Supercharger station or per minute that they spend charging in regions where direct sales of electricity are forbidden. And the company is apparently moving away from a regional pricing structure to a per-station pricing structure, in which the cost of charging will be based on local electricity rates and customer demand.
This has resulted in massive increases in charges in some regions. Electrek gives the example of the price of charging in New York, which used to be $0.24 per kWh across the state. Now, in downtown New York City, prices have shot up by 33 percent to $0.32/kWh. Similarly in California, prices were previously $0.26 per kWh and are now reportedly sitting between $0.32 to $0.36 per kWh in various charging stations across the state.
Tesla said in a statement that: “We’re adjusting Supercharging pricing to better reflect differences in local electricity costs and site usage. As our fleet grows, we continue to open new Supercharger locations weekly so more drivers can travel long distances at a fraction of the cost of gasoline and with zero emissions. As has always been the case, Supercharging is not meant to be a profit center for Tesla.” This will be cold comfort to users stuck with price increases.
Tesla has had a rocky road with its Supercharging stations, with historical flip-flopping on whether charging would be free, and CEO Elon Musk threatening action against inconsiderate Supercharger users. The company is currently rolling out a new generation of Supercharger stations which should arrive this year and which will apparently give 100 percent coverage to Europe. With recent cuts to its workforce,
Tesla is clearly tightening belts, and wants to cover the cost of the next generation Supercharger deployment by charging customers for the current generation’s use. Will customers revolt — or simply volt?
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