Tesla on Monday confirmed that it’ll soon be doing away with one of its biggest perks – complementary access to its vast network of Supercharger battery recharging stations.
As it stands today, all Tesla owners have unlimited access to the automaker’s more than 4,600 speedy Superchargers which makes free, cross-country travel possible. If you live or work near a recharging station, you can just as easily pop in and top off your vehicle’s batteries, thus not having to spend a single dime on electricity to power your vehicle.
Come next year, however, that won’t be the case for some buyers.
Customers that order a Tesla after January 1, 2017, will no longer have free, unlimited access to Superchargers. Current owners and those that place an order before the first of the year will not be impacted (so long as delivery is taken before April 1, 2017.
Moving forward, customers that order or take delivery outside of this window will instead receive 400 kWh of free Supercharging credits (roughly 1,000 miles) annually. Beyond that, Tesla says there will be a small fee to use its Supercharger stations that’ll be charged incrementally and cost less than the price to fill up a comparable vehicle with gasoline.
The electric automaker said in June that its upcoming Model 3 sedan wouldn’t receive free, unlimited access to its Supercharger network.
Tesla didn’t publish full details of the program, instead opting to do so later this year. The company did say, however, that pricing may fluctuate over time and vary regionally based on the cost of electricity. Either way, Tesla doesn’t see its Supercharger network as a tool to generate profit.
Some will no doubt criticize Elon Musk and company for eliminating the perk but with more than 160,000 Tesla vehicles already on the road and at least twice as many Model 3 reservations in queue, continuing to offer the benefit would simply be untenable over the long haul without further cutting into the company's bottom line.