RAC Cars News


Tesla owners will have to pay for Superchargers

By raccars Published

Model S

Tesla joins Ecotricity in charging for charging but will give new buyers annual credits.

Tesla buyers need to move fast if they want to benefit from no-charge Supercharging for life after the manufacturer announced that owners will be charged to charge from next year.

Many Tesla owners have been tempted to invest due to the free fuel forever offer but the deal’s days are numbered. People who place orders for the Model X and Model S will still be able to power up at Tesla’s global network of over 4,600 Supercharges for free - but only if they act before January 1.

The Superchargers allow Tesla drivers to charge their car by up to 80 per cent in about 30 minutes. Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO, has previously announced that buyers of the entry-level Model 3 cars would not benefit from the free Supercharging as standard.

Credits for new buyers

A Tesla announcement said that the alterations would not affect current owners or buyers of Teslas ordered prior to January 1, 2017, and delivered before next April 1. People who order their new Tesla after the start of January will be given 400kWh annually in free Supercharging credits, which is the equivalent of around 1,000 miles-a-year. For any extra charging, owners will be charged what Tesla calls ‘a small fee’.

Tesla has not announced the exact charge but said that this may be subject to change as time passes and will vary according to regional electricity costs. The company has denied trying to make extra profits, however, saying that the

Supercharging charges will allow the firm to ‘reinvest’ in its network to benefit current and future owners and to ‘accelerate its growth’.

Musk has said before that Tesla advocates charging EVs at home or during the working day when drivers are not using the vehicles.

The Tesla Supercharging network

Tesla currently has the world’s largest network offering high-speed electric vehicle charging but waiting times are known to be climbing and, with the Model 3, on the way, the Company must pay for infrastructure enlargements and improvements.

In a statement, the Silicon Valley vehicle manufacturer said that the network has been designed to offer ‘convenient’ and 'seamless’ charging to enable EVs to travel long distances but money from the new charges will be reinvested to ensure that the best possible Supercharging experience is delivered, both now and in the future.

Tesla’s announcement comes after Ecotricity, Britain’s green energy provider, said that electric car owners will have to pay a £6 flat fee if they want to use the company’s chargers sited at motorway service stations. The charges have already been rolled out.

Both companies claim that the charging stations are meant for drivers wanting to complete longer journeys and not to facilitate the day-to-day operations of electric vehicles.

The Tesla fees are to be charged incrementally but will still mean a smaller bill for owners compared to the costs faced by drivers of traditionally fuelled cars, said the company. The firm’s statement added that all of its cars will continue to feature the Supercharging on-board hardware as standard.

The statement from Tesla said that full details of the Supercharging programme would be revealed later this year but customers can be assured that the network will never act as ‘a profit centre’.

The Ecotricity story

Ecotricity is already charging EV drivers £6 for a half-an-hour rapid charge and has said that the success of Mitsubishi’s Outlander PHEV is behind the need for the fee. The Outlander is Britain’s best-selling plug-in with 11,786 sold in Britain last year.

Max Boon, a PR officer at Ecotricity, said that the ‘majority of complaints’ received by the company centred on PHEVs ‘clogging up’ the chargers. He said that it was ‘a good thing’ if the cost discouraged hybrid drivers, such as owners of the Outlander PHEV.

Image source

Looking to Buy?
Search for cars