Tesla phasing out unlimited free use of its Supercharger network

Tesla plans on phasing out free and unlimited use of the company’s Supercharger network, one of the most desirable perks for drivers of its electric cars.

Cars ordered after Jan. 1, 2017 will receive free charging of 400 kilowatt-hours (which covers about 1,000 miles) per year from the Supercharger network. Beyond that, drivers will have to pay a fee to charge their vehicles.

Tesla Model S charging at Gilroy, California, DC rapid-charging station. Photo credit: Steve Jurvetson

“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,” Tesla said in a statement on Monday.

“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,” the company added. “All cars will continue to come standard with the onboard hardware required for Supercharging.”

According to Tesla, the change isn’t going to affect “current owners or any new Teslas ordered before January 1, 2017, as long as delivery is taken before April 1, 2017.”

More details about the change will be revealed later this year. Tesla said that while prices may fluctuatre over time and vary regionally based on the cost of electricity, its Supercharger Network will “never be a profit center.”

There are currently more than 4,600 Superchargers across the world for over 160,000 Tesla owners.

The change comes ahead of the launch of its upcoming Model 3 in late 2017. The Model 3, which costs around $30,000 after tax breaks, is Tesla’s first mass-market vehicle.

Tesla added:

“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.”