Elon Musk: Tesla Model 3 Will Get Free Long Distance Charging, But Not Free Local


Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3

Tesla Supercharger

Tesla Supercharger

Even when the Tesla Model 3 is not supposed to be the topic of conversation, it still is the topic conversation.

Take, for example, the Tesla/SolarCity merger announced yesterday. In a special shareholder meeting that followed, you’d think all the question posed towards Tesla CEO Elon Musk would at least have some connection to solar, right?


Elon Musk was asked if the Model 3 would include free Supercharging in relation to the new supercharging program changes announced earlier for the Model S and X(details below):

His answer is as follows:

“Model 3 from the beginning we said free charging is not included in the Model 3;free unlimited charging is not included, so free long distance is, but not free local. It becomes really unwieldy for people to use the gas station approach for electric cars; cars should really be charged where you charge your phone, but then you just need to solve the long distance problem which is what the supercharger stations will do.”

We knew long ago that Supercharging wouldn’t be entirely free for the Model 3, so there’s no real surprise here. But one bit of Musk’s comment caught our attention “but not free local.” This would seem to imply that Tesla will monitor how far away from home your are in your Model 3 and then either provide free Supercharging or Supercharging with a fee.

As for how the program will work with the Model 3, we expect it to be similar to what Tesla recently announced for the S and X in regards to Supercharging:

“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. 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.”

Via Tesla shareholder meeting video

Categories: Charging, Tesla

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130 Comments on "Elon Musk: Tesla Model 3 Will Get Free Long Distance Charging, But Not Free Local"

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This was my idea about a year ago when there was all the talk about superchargers getting clogged up by locals charging up for free instead of at home !

It better cost less than filling up a regular car because the BIG cost will come in when it’s “Battery Replacement Time” Something that doesn’t happen with a Regular Car!!

the battery has an 8yr/infinite mile warranty. its likely the battery will last longer than the car. Moreover, The battery may have significant value at the end of the life of the vehicle.

There are two major components to battery wear. 1) aging and environmental impacts, such as extreme heat and extreme cold. 2) How the battery is used, such as total number of full charge/discharge cycles, rate of charge, and the depth of discharge. A large battery pack such as in the Tesla has a big advantage over a car with a smaller battery pack. For example, the iMiev with 62 miles of range will cycle the battery 5 times for each time the Tesla 100D goes through a single cycle with it’s 315 mile range. So if the iMiev, that also has an “8 YEARS/100,000-MILE MAIN DRIVE BATTERY WARRANTY” can make it to 100K, something like the 100D may easily go half a million miles while still having enough usable range to still be a completely functional vehicle. Heck, even if it loses half of it’s range, it will still have more range than the first generation of pure EV’s made by the ICE car makers. http://www.mitsubishicars.com/imiev/features/safety-and-warranty And finally, once they are out of warranty, they likely won’t ever get brand new factory battery replacements, just like ICE cars that are over 8 years old never get brand new factory engines… Read more »

We have plenty of data from high mileage Model S cars by now – it looks like you can expect to get 300,000 miles or more from the battery before capacity drops below 90%. That should be enough for anybody.

No ones ever needed to replace an engine or transmission in a gas car?

Nor have they suffered from power degradation?

Fine. On average, how many miles/years does a ICE car have before power degradation warrants replacing the engine?

I think the more important point is that the rate of needed replacement for ICEngines is much higher than it is for PEV (Plug-in EV) battery packs. I would guess that’s even true of the Leaf, despite all the problems reported with premature aging in Leaf packs. And even if the Leaf is an exception, it’s still true as a general rule for all PEVs.

Apparently you are new to electric cars. While the data is still incomplete due to a lack of old electric cars with lithium-ion batteries, the data that we do have clearly indicates that the failure/replacement rate for batteries is much lower than that of ICE engines, which make up as much of the cost of a car.

That is excepting the Nissan Leaf which has surprisingly short battery life.

Sadly, :-{ must agree

You’re right. Regular cars eventually have things like ‘replace the fuel pump’… oh, and they also have a battery to replace as well sometimes. At least the battery your complaining about replacing is under warranty for 8 years. How about regular cars?

Just give me the pay as you charge at the SC’s.

Most of my charging would be 25% home and 75% work where it’s free.

I agree with pay as you go, but not for local charging at SC’s. The owner’s who have abused the use of local SC’s are to blame for all this chatter and Tesla having to bring the hammer down. The SC system was designed for people to take long trips, perhaps across the country. It was not designed to be used by flaky owners who are to da*n cheap to put a charger at their residence and pay for electricity. (Except those whose circumstances prevent the installation of a charger)

You’ve got to be able to SC locally. In 20 months of EV ownership I’ve experienced some charging hiccup or another perhaps five times – at home and at work. Once my cable failed and I had to rely on only DCFC until a replacement arrived in the mail. A couple times some network issue during a storm had triggered a circuit breaker. Once I didn’t plug in because I was going out again and then plans changed. In all cases it would have been a major inconvenience if I had not been able to fast charge even though I was fairly close to or even at my home. Then it’s the people who live in condos who want to buy an EV now, even though it may be a year or two before they can charge at home (condos will of course be adapted as EVs become dominant, but the experience from Norway shows this is a major hurdle – even with 30% of new car sales being plug-in vehicles; it takes many years before two percent of ALL cars, not just new, are electric). I can barely believe how Tesla continue to needlessly complicated this issue. The reality… Read more »

Very well said, Terawatt, on all points. This is one of the best posts you’ve ever written. Thank you! 🙂

So as I read that: Tesla is going to restrict the use of annual included 400kWh of Supercharging to non-local SC stations.

That makes sense. 400 kWh free per year for trips and Supercharge for a fee (just like buying gas) locally for those that need it. For those that don’t need to locally supercharge they can charge at home and pay their own electric bill. Elon said that the pay-as-you-go Supercharge fee will be as cheap or cheaper than gas per mile.

I think that is more than fair. I put down a deposit for a M3 and I couldn’t be happier with that arrangement.

I’m reading is that their INTENT is for drivers to be able to charge for free during a normal amount of roadtrip miles. And that their DEVICE for enforcing those intentions is to use the 400kWh free charging limitation they have already announced.

It is sort of like the Intent of felony murder statutes is to stop you from murdering people, while the Device for enforcing that statute is to put people in jail.

I wouldn’t assume that any additional or different limitations will be put on free charging, other than what has already been announced.

The exact wording from Elon:

“free unlimited charging is not included, so free long distance is, but not free local.”

What, exactly, do you think he means when he says free long distance but not free local? That is a pretty explicit indication that the 400kWh will not be usable at local SCs.

What do I think? I think that he was at a Solar City event, and that it is a mistake to try and divine deeper meaning into his comment about the M3. I think that trying to word parse the 7 words “free long distance but not free local” to mean one specific program or one set of specific restrictions is not a leap I’m willing to take. If you think different, that’s fine. If you want us to accept your opinion that these 7 words can be parsed into the specific limitations that you claim, then I would suggest you would need more supporting evidence than just those 7 words. If you have that evidence, I’m happy to review whatever links you wish to post to support your suppositions. So you can think whatever you want to think, and read into it those 7 words whatever you want to read, but it is purely at your own hazard. I’m more inclined to believe the actual policy that Tesla has actually published as the most accurate representation as to what Tesla will likely do going forward, where their actual policy uses the same bullet points that Elon just used: “Ensuring… Read more »

He said that in response to a question about the Supercharging change and how it applied to current Model 3 reservations.

So, I think he was saying that those with early Model 3 reservations might be able to get all-you-can-eat Supercharging, but it wouldn’t be at their local diner. :p

I don’t think that it was anything to do with the annual 400kWh. That annual amount is important to allow no-hassle charging in the event of a charging emergency.

Direct quote from Elon: “free unlimited charging is not included, so free long distance is, but not free local.”

What, exactly, do you think he means by free long distance but not free local? That seems like a pretty explicit admission that drivers will not be able to use their alloted 400kWh for local charging.

Spider-Dan, I’m not sure why you simply reposted essentially the same question again, and hour after initially posting a similar post, and half an hour after I answered? Maybe just an internet timing thing?

But if you are asking me to clarify, consider this quote from the latest Tesla policy:


“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.”

Let’s dissect that. What is the INTENT?

“so that all owners can continue to enjoy free Supercharging during travel.”

What is the DEVICE in order to accomplish that intent?

“400 kWh of free Supercharging credits (roughly 1,000 miles) will be included annually”

What about charging beyond the intent of free supercharging during travel (AKA local charging)? The answer is also at that website, and it isn’t banning local charging:

“Beyond that [AKA beyond supercharging during travel, AKA local charging -editorial by NIX], there will be a small fee to Supercharge”


“Just as you would charge your cell phone, we believe the best way to charge your car is either at home or at work”.

That is my position, supported by Tesla’s official policy statement on their website.

Yes, my original post didn’t show up for quite a while after I submitted it.

We are saying the same thing. I am saying that the included no-extra-cost 400kWh of SC use will not be applicable to local SC stations, and that SC use at a station determined to be “local” will be pay-only for future Tesla owners.

No, we aren’t saying the same thing.

I’m saying that the way Tesla will effectively limit local charging is following what they say on their website. They are going to give owners a budget of 400 kWh for the year that is enough to cover the cost of typical long distance travel.

Where you use the free charging, and when is fungible. If you want to burn up your free charging at a local charger, then you will pay out of your pocket on a road trip. It doesn’t matter, because you still end up effectively paying for local charging. All that has changed is when you actually have to pony up the money.

That will still stop the gross abusers who might local charge 10,000 kWh in a year. They will still get their 400 like everybody else, but they will pay for anything over 400.

It is a self-correcting system that isn’t designed to nanny where you charge, as much as prevent gross abusers of a system that was always intended for long distance travel (self-evident by the distance between charger stations, and the locations along main long distance travel corridors)

So basically, your position is to simply ignore the “free long distance is, but not free local” statement cited in the article above. Your argument is that it doesn’t matter whether it’s long-distance or local, 400kWh is 400kWh. That’s what a reasonable person would have thought BEFORE the cited statement above.

It makes absolutely no sense to say “free long distance is, but not free local” if the local and long-distance SC use are EQUALLY FREE, which is what you are claiming.

I’ve covered this already. You are taking his words way too literally. He also isn’t going to literally paint the town red with red paint when the M3 release is done.

Go read the link to Tesla’s website. Tesla has ALWAYS said that superchargers were for free long distance travel. Tesla has never said that superchargers were intended for free local travel.

The link describes their plan for getting drivers to use the superchargers for long distance travel, and to stop the worst of abusers who are using free supercharging for local use. It is all very clearly written for everybody to see.

I’m sorry you cannot turn the page on this. And by that I’m not saying literally turn a piece of paper…

I thought the opposite. Use of local chargers will eat into their 400 kWh allowance. Use of long distance chargers will be “unmetered”.

Nix said:

“I’m reading is that their INTENT…”

The problem here is that Elon didn’t state the policy clearly enough. The fact that y’all are arguing over the meaning is sufficient indication that Tesla needs to clarify the policy.

I agree with Terawatt; it looks like Tesla has needlessly complicated this. 🙁

Yes, Elon did a poor job of paraphrasing Tesla’s published policy on how they plan to cut off people in the future from abusing the free superchargers for local travel.

As for Tesla making it clear as to what their plan is, they did that already right here:


I read it that Tesla is going to restrict Model 3 Supercharger use (free 400 kWh or paid SC) to non-local stations.
Model 3 users in your own cities–you’re not welcome at your local superchargers.
This makes sense because Model 3 cars will quickly outnumber all other Teslas already built.

They will be welcome but will just have to pay a fee like they would at other local chargers. I would bet their Supercharger rates will be reasonable and cheaper than most other DC chargers.

MikeG said:

“I read it that Tesla is going to restrict Model 3 Supercharger use (free 400 kWh or paid SC) to non-local stations.
Model 3 users in your own cities–you’re not welcome at your local superchargers.”

I don’t see Tesla being that restrictive, because that would make for unhappy customers.

As I see it, there are two reasons for this change of policy in Supercharger use:

1. To strongly discourage “freeloading” by people who are using Superchargers for everyday charging, and…

2. To reduce clogging of the Supercharger network by strongly discouraging use except when it’s actually needed.

As Terawatt correctly noted above, there will be unusual (and hopefully rare) cases where a BEV driver will need to use a local fast-charge station. In such an event, a Tesla car driver should be able to access a local Supercharger — for a fee. The alternative is that he’ll have to hunt for a CSS or CHAdeMO charger, and spend a lot more time charging, even if he has the right adapter. (If he doesn’t, he’s completely screwed.) That will be an unhappy customer. Tesla doesn’t want unhappy customers; it just wants to stop freeloading.

It’s worth noting that Musk’s statement was in response to a question about Model 3 reservations before the cut-off date, not to all future buyers.

t’s also worth noting that free unlimited supercharging has another cut-off date that requires buyers to take delivery of the car before April 1, 2017. I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict no one will take delivery of a Model 3 before April 1, 2017. Thus, no Model 3 cars will have free unlimited supercharging, even those reserved before the January 1, 2017 cut-off date.

Starting January 2017, All New Teslas Will Only Get 400 kWh Of Annual Free Supercharging, Small Fee Beyond That

The free unlimited Supercharging for S and X do not have any restrictions on use. Elon Musk’s response to the question implies restrictions on what kind of use could be free, but doesn’t say anything about limitations on miles.


You said it. WTF is Musk making this more complicated? Just have point of sale billing by time and problem solved. If he wants to discourage locals using superchargers, he could increase the price for first few minutes and taper down cost, just like how current Tesla supercharging slows down power. Then there’s no need to figure out what it means to be “local”.

I think he’s been working too much. He needs to take a vacation. Tesla 3 will be late anyway, few weeks away might actually be better in increased productivity and clearer thinking.

Seems clear to me that Tesla is trying to discourage unwanted use of the SC network, and they don’t think the 400kWh limit will be a sufficient limitation.


You said: “I think he’s been working too much. He needs to take a vacation. Tesla 3 will be late anyway, few weeks away might actually be better in increased productivity and clearer thinking.”

I agree.

Elon Musk is confusing with too many things in his mind.

I have no idea what version of supercharger will be available for Model 3 and at what cost.

If Model 3 owners can get access to SC on long distance travel with pay-per-use then it will be okay for most of them.

Yes! Tesla is complicating an issue that has been resolved already. Norway has had an EV share (of new car sales) more than fifty times high as the US for more than a decade, and different DCFC pricing models have been tested. Per kWh is disastrously bad, per minute is the clear winner, and subscriptions a la mobile data plans (e.g. 100 kWh per month) are for the few who drive about as much long distance every month of the year).

I think it’s not just foolish, but quite arrogant, to keep ignoring the mountain of data that exists on this question, instead imagining that they can simply guess what will work, even when it’s contrary to the evidence.

this is not an unreasonable statement. i think that eventually tesla will have to limit local recharging at supercharger stations altogether, be it free or for fee use. tesla can’t afford to scale the supercharger network in response to increasing demand because such would result in waiting lines at supercharger stations. given the amount of time that it takes to recharge a battery, you can’t have people waiting in line to take turns. the only option is to limit use. if local use is excluded, there is a better chance that the existing supercharger network will not require much more expansion.

of course, existing tesla owners could be excluded if they were promised access to the supercharger network for as long as they own their cars.

Keep thinking that the best way to resolve this is to sit in your chair and GUESS what happens if you design the pricing one way or another. Keep ignoring the mountain of data from Norway, where EV share has consistently been fifty times as high as in the US for more than a decade, that clearly shows per minute pricing leads to the best utilisation and therefore the least infrastructure required to serve a given fleet size, the best experience and lowest cost for all.

Tesla’s arrogance is starting to become really annoying. I sure hope they’ll make a CCS adapter for Model 3. And if I had any confidence Opel Norway can get enough Ampera-e vehicles if cancel my M3 today! Get real Elon, FFS!

i’m not sure that i understand your comment. first, norway is such a small automotive market, even in comparison to the rest of the EU, that i don’t think that you can draw many conclusions that would have global applications. second, i don’t understand what a “per minute” recharge billing scheme has to do with how long it actually takes to recharge a car. for example, if i have to pay for recharging on a “per hour” basis, and i finish recharging in 45 minutes, i’m going to leave after 45 minutes. i’m not going to stand around for another 15 minutes just so i can feel that i got all of the time for which i paid. third, the problem facing tesla when it comes to expanding the supercharger network is the amount of cash that would be consumed in such expansion. tesla is already committed to activities that are going to consume tesla’s cash reserves. as bob lutz commented, cash isn’t unlimited, and tesla is going to have to make decisions as to where they are going to spend their cash. i would think that using cash for a supercharger network expansion has got to be a very… Read more »
I think the point Terawatt is trying to make is that if you charge by the minute, it will encourage people to only charge at a DCFC station as long as they need to get to their destination, where hopefully they will use a slow charger to fully charge the car. Contrariwise, charging by the kWh encourages people to fully charge their battery, even though the last 30% or so of charge takes far longer than the first 30%, because the charging has to taper off as a battery approaches full charge. So the per-minute pricing discourages people from staying at the charger even after their battery is mostly but not fully charged. Unfortunately, Terawatt’s scenario ignores one aspect of Supercharging: Superchargers are set up to charge either one or two cars simultaneously, and if it’s charging two cars, then the top charging rate is reduced. If you were a Tesla customer and you pulled into a Supercharger station, found a stall empty, plugged in, and noted that you were getting — for example — 1 kWh for every minute of charge you were paying for, then you would be rather annoyed if someone pulled in beside you, plugged into… Read more »
the main issue with recharging is the amount of time that you spend waiting for the car to recharge. to that extent, whether you charge by the minute or charge by the kWh, if i only have so much time to spend waiting for the car to recharge, i’ll reach my limit and then leave. so, if i have time to wait around for the car to fully recharge, i’ll do so, if not, i’ll spend as much time as i have to invest in the activity, and leave. on the other hand, if i have to fully recharge the battery for some reason, then that becomes the priority and i’ll spend whatever amount of time that it takes. i do, however, understand the point raised by terawatt in that it discourages people from recharging more than they feel is absolutely necessary by making some kWhs more expensive than other kWhs. this would apply to people who don’t mind waiting around for their cars to recharge. but people who fit that profile are more likely to be ev enthusiasts, which is a small segment of the auto market, at least in the US. as to tesla, i think that what… Read more »

I think Elon was just stating the 400 kWh free deal starting 1 Jan ’17, just in different words. I doubt the 3 would get a better Supercharging “package” than a S or X.

I really feel like the superchargers should charge at least the cost of the electricity plus maybe a dollar service charge. If I can afford a $50K Model 3, I can afford to spend $5 to charge it and guarantee the long-term viability of the charging network. I feel like a very few bozos, cheapskate rich guys like our new prez, abused the system and exposed the problem with free charging: rich freeloaders.

It really is easy to fix both utilisation and ‘hogging’:

1. Charge per minute for using the SC’s
-It will be more epensive to charge from 80-100% than from 0-80%

2. Make SC charging more expensive than charging at home.
-You will try to avoid using SC’s whenever possible
-Taxi companies will build their own charging infrastructure, since they will then get cheaper energy

—> All problems solved 🙂

Gives the phrase “free long distance” a whole new meaning. 😀

Free(******) long(*****) distance(********)

There we go.

I don’t get it….. 😛

Many have forgotten the SuperCharger launch event back in 2012 after S was in production. It was the first Easter Egg.

The saying Musk used was “Free long distance forever on sunlight.” Practically has reduced it down to “sometimes free reliable long distance” for all future customers.

“Free long distance forever on sunlight.”

Key part of that sentence: Long Distance

Tesla still wants to provide Tesla owners with free long distance driving for the life of the car. The are just trying to find a way to make that a reality without getting stuck providing free local travel to a minority of owners who are not living up to the gentleman’s offer of free long distance.

A lot of people live in appartments with no way to charge. Tesla will have to accomodate these potential buyers if they want to sell M3s to anybody, not just home owners.
Charging an EV when you live in an appartment is a real problem and local SC is probably the only solution for a while. So Tesla will have to find a solution for those people, even if it means owners having to pay for the electrons they use.
That means a deployment of more charging pay per use stalls within major towns.

I’m not sure why it’s Tesla’s job to make sure the owner has a place to charge at home.

Shouldn’t it be the job of the owner/buyer to make sure they have a place to charge? Otherwise the EV is not the car for them.


Seems to be a case of rampant sense of entitlement for people to suggest that Tesla is somehow responsible for persuading their apartment landlord, or their workplace, to install an EV slow-charge point for their use. And that if Tesla doesn’t do so, then they should be entitled to clog up the Supercharger system by using it for everyday charging.

The day will come when nearly all parking spots in first-world countries have EV slow charge points installed at them. That day is not today, nor tomorrow. The EV revolution won’t be built in a day.

Remember these thoughts the next time you (or someone) starts poo-pooing GM for not building a nationwide DCFC network.

no need to bring up the fact GM does not infrastructuraly support their EV/PHEV product(s). Everyone knows that. They also know Tesla does.

We all know where GM’s main market and focus is…

“But while sales of these models (read small cars) are down for GM, pickup trucks and SUVs, which produce much bigger profits than small cars, continue to sell briskly. ”

You say, “I’m not sure why it’s Tesla’s job to make sure the owner has a place to charge at home. Shouldn’t it be the job of the owner/buyer to make sure they have a place to charge? Otherwise the EV is not the car for them.”

I can use that same logic for GM not paying for a DCFC network. Why is it their responsibility to make sure you have a place to plug in on the freeway? Maybe for those people that always drive long distances, the EV is not the car for them.

You can’t have your logic cake and eat it too. Sorry.

It is very logical that this is not GM’s responibility – but Tesla is in a different position, selling ONLY EV’s. That means Tesla has a strong incentive to also support infrastructure rollout, while GM does not..

What do you mean? GM is in presidential panel to support chargers along major highways.

Support how??

anyone can jump up and down and scream “I support it!”, especially when it’s the Govt spending the money or VW……lol

You just summed up my feelings on just about every big government entitlement or welfare program. It’s always easy to spend other people’s money.

Kdawg, you’re throwing stones in the wrong direction. I’ve been very consistent in pointing out that it’s unrealistic to expect any legacy auto maker to build out its own nationwide or (in Europe) continent-wide system of EV fast-charge stations, so long as only a tiny fraction of its sales are PEVs (Plug-in EVs).

And in fact, I’d argue that in the long run, auto makers building their own fast-charge station networks would be counter-productive. What we need is for PEV makers to agree on one charging standard, and for sufficient numbers of PEVs to be on the roads to generate enough demand for a independently owned, for-profit EV fast-chargers. Asking every individual PEV maker to build its own charging network would encourage them all to do what Tesla has done: To build a network which only its own cars can use.

The first Ford Model T was sold in 1908. The first drive-in filling station didn’t appear until late 1913. Until then, motorists had to buy gasoline in cans at the hardware store or drug store.

I don’t think it’s realistic to expect things to move much if any faster in the EV revolution than they did back in the original motorcar revolution.

I think Tesla could of local Supercharging to local apartment dwellers for a fee only when there is low utilization at the local Supercharger. If one or no stalls at an eight stall Supercharger are in use, then a local Tesla owner should be allowed to charge for a fee. Tesla computers at its headquarters would automatically monitor and determine when utilization of a Supercharger station is low enough to allow locals to charge. Since Superchargers work in pairs, the Tesla computer algorithm could be further refined to allow a local to charge as the second car on a paired Supercharger, since the first car’s charge rate will start tapering off, and long distance Tesla drivers would always go to an unused Supercharger pair to get the fastest charge. Likewise, if a local Tesla charges at the last available Supercharger pair and a long distance Tesla arrives to charge, the Tesla computer at headquarters could be programmed to tell/inform that long distance Tesla to go to the Supercharger that is paired with the one being used by the local Tesla and give the long distance Tesla charge priority by tapering charging for the local Tesla and allowing the long distance… Read more »

That essentially sounds like Tesla’s current destination charging program:


It would be interesting for Tesla to find a way to expand that program to apartment complexes.

To clarify the parallel between what you described and Tesla’s destination program:

Tesla is making the destination chargers available to users who can leave their cars charged in over night, and don’t need the full speed of 135 kw supercharging. So they don’t have to clog up a supercharger spot just to charge overnight.

If Tesla charges fee for supercharging, there’s no need to discriminate locals or apt dwellers or long distance drivers. Too many locals might clog up supercharging, but that’s where “surge pricing” could come into play. Yes, those who don’t understand economics won’t like it, but that’s better than poor service or deny to locals who cannot charge their EV otherwise.

In short, get rid of free charging (even 400 kWh/yr), and problem largely goes away. Minor issues could be addressed with higher price.

Limiting free charging to 400 kWh per year is somewhat of a surge pricing type system already.

You get to decide when you value using those 400 kWh, and if you value free over paying more than you would otherwise pay at home, the delta between paying for your home electricity and paying to supercharge is similar to a surge premium.

I know it isn’t exactly the same, but it basically builds a 3 tier pricing level:

1) 400 for free
2) charge at home for X dollars
3) charge at supercharger for X + premium after the first 400. That’s the surge surcharge.

I realize it isn’t tied to other customers, but that’s why I say it is similar, and not the same.

What you say is what “free 400 kWh/yr” would do. But this announcement is separating local from distance driving. How would they do that? Based on home zip code, you don’t get free 400 kWh in 50 miles radius of superchargers? I have no idea how it’d work, and it would be needlessly complex.

As I wrote above, I think Musk needs a vacation. He might try a drive in SparkEV from San Diego to LA few times to see how quickly SparkEV charges and how awful free charging can be.

I like this idea Sven, well done! This is much like the variable toll lanes we have in Atlanta and I’m sure other cities have as well. The toll is based on utilization; the more people jump into the toll lane, the higher the toll goes. This is all done using an algorithm that calculates the utilization automatically by tracking the toll badges on cars entering / exiting the toll lanes.

I think he mentioned with the new announced free 400 kWh Supercharger plan that anything beyond that would be charged as a pay-as-you-go model. He mentioned that it would be as cheap or cheaper than the equivalent cost of gas per mile.

I would assume this would be the case for local supercharging as well.

As an apartment dweller myself who’s building would not let me install a charging station, I am moving to a new complex in the spring which does have 4 reserved charging spaces on site. Just like everything else, I want to reward businesses who are open to EVs.

As long as Tesla isn’t literally restricting local charging, but merely requiring the user to pay once they reach the 400 kWH limit, then this will not hurt apartment dwellers at all.

In fact it will be better for apartment dwellers in busy areas. 🙂 People who do own garages should try to be charging at home unless they really need the recharge.

If home owner’s only reason for charging there is because it is free, then they are blocking apartment dwellers or out of town vistors who might actually need the charger.

Were Tesla to accommodate casual local charging at Superchargers, they would have to build hundreds of stations in cities to meet demand.
Apartment dwellers don’t need Tesla superchargers as all cities have some charging infrastructure and an increased demand will cause more charging stations to be built.

So, what, do you literally want Tesla to ban local charging at Superchargers by apartment dwellers?

Why should Tesla have “accommodated” your long distance travel either? Most people do not drive across the country.

To quote Trollnonymous above me, what if Tesla said early on that “…the EV is not the car…” for people who drive across the country? If you needed to travel across the country then you should have purchased a Volt or a Plug in Hybrid! 😉

Young people will be most open to the idea of driving an electric car. Young professionals live in apartments and condos and in dense cities. Tesla would be wise to expand EV charging in cities if they truly want to reach the masses.

Not that it matters to me personally. I own Chevy EV’s and I am moving to an apartment with EV charging. But I have 100% respect for Tesla’s mission with the Model 3 to expand ownership. So I am providing my life perspective on what I think would help Tesla expand market share beyond the wealthy.

WadeTyhon asked:

“So, what, do you literally want Tesla to ban local charging at Superchargers by apartment dwellers?”

If you mean using Superchargers instead of charging at home or at work, then: Yes. Absolutely. Without question. Supercharging is intended to support long-distance travel, it is most definitely not intended for everyday charging.

Tesla has also quietly been building a network of destination chargers; slow chargers at which a car can sit for hours or overnight. That’s the sort of thing that apartment dwellers need… altho I think it would be ridiculous to claim Tesla “ought to” build those for ordinary apartment dwellers. That’s the sort of thing Tesla likes to install at motels and the like, which again is intended to support long-distance travel… and not everyday charging.

If you choose to buy a PEV, then it’s your responsibility to figure out how to charge it at home or at work. It’s not Tesla’s responsibility. Take responsibility for your own actions; don’t expect someone else to do that for you.

I in no way expect or demand Tesla to do anything. 🙂

Tesla chose to install Superchargers to accommodate long distance travel. Tesla could choose to build additional Supercharger stations in major cities as well. That was just a suggestion to broaden appeal.

But as for the existing Superchargers: asking people to pay for their electricity is reasonable. They probably should have had a fee in the first place.

But current Model S/X owners are grandfathered into unlimited charging correct? Why would current abusers stop abusing the system now?

But an outright ban “without question” on local charging would be a PR nightmare for Tesla. What if you are on your way back from a hot summer road trip and are in need of a quick charge in the outskirts of your local area? Or you forgot to charge overnight and need to get to work?

Luckily, a ban is not what they are doing. 😉 They will be requiring a fee like all other EV charging providers.

Obviously, you’ve never been to NYC.

Yes! Or any major city really, such as Dallas county where I live. Most people I know are in apartments, townhomes and condos. Right now EVs are still in small numbers and DC chargers number only in the dozens. But Chevy and Tesla have big plans for expanding that in a very short time period.

People always knock Chevrolet for not having fast chargers or a supercharging network.

But why would a city dweller buy a Model 3 over a Bolt or Leaf if Tesla tells them “Sorry, no local charging. We won’t even sell the electricity to you. Buy a CHAdeMO adapter and charge at only 50 kW or make do with L2 charging at parks and grocery stores.”

They wouldn’t. It’s like driving a motorcar in the horse-and-buggy era. If you choose to do so, then you have to put up with living in a city which isn’t designed for your car.

As the EV revolution progresses, demand will increase for EV slow-chargers to be installed everywhere cars are parked. In parking lots, and curbside where people park on the street. But building that infrastructure will take time. In the meantime, your choices are:

(1) Make sure your apartment owner will agree to installing a L2 charger beside your apartment parking space, before you buy a PEV

(2) Move to an apartment building where the owner will agree to do that, before you buy a PEV

(3) Move to a shared home where the landlord will agree to that, before you buy a PEV

(4) Don’t buy a PEV.

Nobody in his right mind would claim that in this “early adopter” state of the EV revolution, PEVs are for everyone.

Owning any car at all in high density cities with highly developed mass transit isn’t rational.

Which is why in the most high density sections of New York City, car ownership is as low as 16-25%


Besides, Tesla already has a solution for that. Don’t own a car, use Tesla’s uber-style app and have a Tesla owner drive you around. Or in the future, call a self-driving car share Tesla, and have it drive you around.

Humans aren’t rational. I know people living in totally congested cities with everything within walking distance, yet they MUST have cars, and many want gas guzzling luxury cars. Why they’d want to drive 2 miles a day in nightmare roads is beyond my understanding, but that’s what people want.

I suspect most people you cite would rather have a car if the conditions would allow for it (eg, parking, lower cost)

lol +1

Irrational people who will already go to extremes to drive 2 miles a day in their gas cars can certainly get an EV, and take the same level of irrational extremes in order to find a way to charge an EV.

It might even be easier than driving 2 miles back and forth to work, and then having to drive 5 miles to get gas….

Yes, irrational people exist, but they are the exception that proves the rule.

And to underline that point, I also know people who wish they never had to own any car at all, but feel they are forced to because mass transit isn’t good enough where they live. I also know people who can’t wait for fully autonomous cars, so they don’t have to be bothered by driving anymore. Because they think it is a waste of their time that they could be spending on a mobile device.

But those folks currently aren’t the majority either.

I also know people who think cry they’d take public transit if it’s available, but they have no idea what they’re talking about. Have you actually taken public transit as primary means of transport? I have. It SUCKS!

If you like sitting in urine smelling seats (and sometimes wet) or jammed like sardines with bunch of fat, hairy, smelly people, especially in summer, you’ll love public transit. And if you like the thrill of getting harassed by some thugs, public transit is great. Those are the exceptions. But most people will avoid public transit if given a choice, even if it’s to drive 2 miles a day.

Self driving cars are different story. But given that some (or many) keep “junk” in their cars, they won’t opt for public self driving cars, but their own. For example, I doubt self driving cars will allow dogs from dog beach or hauling stuff from home depot. Then if you already have a car that you pay for, there’s no need for extra cost to use public self driving cars.

I am in agreement with what you stated above-that Tesla will provide the 400 kW allotment then charge a rate for additional usage. If the station is clogged regularly, raise a flat rate to discourage missuse. Or They could use price tiers based on an individuals monthly usage. A person who charges once or twice a month could pay a lower rate than someone who charges every few days. I dont know if Tesla has discussed this in detail, but over all I think it is a smart move. It gives them lots of future options to tweak demand. I try not to criticize a person for making a decision that I think is not ‘rational’ though lol. There isnt a flat formula for calculating what is rational. Every persons has a drastically different set of variables and values. And people are insanely good at rationalizing things for themselves. For many, Its not rational to buy an $80,000 car when a similarly sized ICE can be purchased for 1/3 the price. It could be considered not rational for a family to buy a 2,500 sqft home 40 miles into the suburbs. When a 1,200 condo 10 minutes from the office… Read more »
Apartments and condo’s already exist where it is possible to charge your EV. For example, when we lived for a few months in another city while buying a new house after a relocation, we did a short-term rental of a condo with a garage that had a plug to use for charging. Also, third party vendors are creating solutions for renters: http://evercharge.net/ http://www.chargepoint.com/drivers/apartments-and-condos/ The other thing is that EV owners as a group are wealthier and have better credit scores than their ICE counterparts. So all of that whining from the right wing about EV’s being toys for the rich actually has a side benefit. Apartment and condo owners spend a lot of money attracting and retaining more affluent renters. These owners are starting to figure out that if they can market towards those highly desirable EV owners with their higher credit scores and higher disposable income, that it is good for business. Places like Linear City (Downtown Los Angeles Developer) are doing exactly that: http://www.autoblog.com/2014/03/06/two-wildly-different-views-ev-charging-condos-apartments/ Adding EV charging to attract customers will become an amenity like adding a hot-tub or a pool, or a gym. Not everybody uses those amenities either, but apartment owners install them to attract better… Read more »

And this is how the EV revolution ought to progress. Not by apartment owners being forced by the government to install EV chargers, but by EV owners choosing to rent only from apartments where that is available. Eventually, it will be seen as a necessity by anyone owning an apartment building which has its own parking lot.

I don’t know of anywhere that apartment owners are being mandated to retrofit EV charging? Is that actually happening somewhere?

Still no mention if the yearly “400 kWh free” is/can be rollover KWh’s………lol

Also, it would be cool if I can sell those on eBay!

I’m not so sure about the idea of them being transferable to other cars, but having roll-over miles that would transfer to a new owner would be interesting.

“For sale: 5 year old Tesla. Never been Supercharged, 2000 kWh of free supercharging”

Or even an added-value for official Tesla CPO’s:

“All CPO Tesla’s now come with an additional 1000 kWh of rollover miles you can use any time on top of the yearly 400 kWh of free yearly charging”

I’ve replaced the gas tank twice in my Chevy Colorado and its only 12 yrs old. Right. It’s a Chevy. My bad. $800 a pop.

I think Tesla should have free long-distance supercharging up to one cross-country trip per year, for all models.

Not that many people take long road trips on a continuous basis.

The trick here is to define “local”. I’d say a supercharger is local to you if it is within 120 miles of your home, give or take.

The funny thing about this statement is that even if Tesla did nothing it would be impractical to drive 20 miles one way to get to the supercharger and 20 miles back. Also the nearest supercharger is 40 miles one way away from my area. And on the Tesla Map there are at most only a few dozen superchargers in each state.

It’s amazing what lengths some rich cheapskates are willing to go to, to save a few dollars. Ebeneezer Scrooge is a fictional character, but misers do exist in the real world.

And also, some people (probably only a tiny percentage, but enough to notice) are using a Model S as a taxi (including Uber), and using Superchargers for free unlimited local charging to support their business. That was never the intent of the Supercharger network, either.

The really funny thing is that there are people that will do exactly that to avoid paying for the electric bill to charge their $70+ thousand vehicle. SMH.

Some people just hate their local d-bag electric companies… Not as much as they hate d-bag oil companies, though.

Article says EVS: “..include much more than Teslas. New, relatively low-priced models are rolling into the market with large battery capacity, able to drive much longer distances.”

If you’re a manufacturer who doesn’t want EVs to penetrate, this looks like a perfect tool. If you’re a Tesla owner, you’re sitting pretty.

So if they’re giving away free 400kWH (or perhaps 200kWH or even 100kWh)/yr, does it make any sense to develop a system to exclude a radius around your home zip code?

Also of note: “cost less than the price of filling up a comparable gas car”

Half of all EVs are sold in Cali which has more expensive gas than most of the country, you also have to speculate “comparable” means premium octane…Despite it being cheaper than gas, SCing could very well get expensive…

Bacardi asked:

“So if they’re giving away free 400kWH (or perhaps 200kWH or even 100kWh)/yr, does it make any sense to develop a system to exclude a radius around your home zip code?”

Obviously Tesla thinks there is enough abuse of the system, abuse by those using Superchargers for everyday charging, to impose limits. And also, obviously, charging a fee for local use will tend to limit Supercharger use to only those who actually need to use it for long-distance travel — which of course is Tesla’s intent.

The important question isn’t whether or not the average Tesla car owner will use 100%, or 50%, or 25% of his yearly allotment of Supercharger usage. The important question is whether or not the driver of a Tesla car can get access to a Supercharger when he actually needs it… as opposed to having to wait in line behind freeloaders.

I find it a curious use of the term “freeloader” to describe someone who is attempting to use the 400kWh alloted to them.

It makes sense to implement a 400kWh restriction.
It makes sense to implement a local use restriction.
Implementing both of them at the same time seems like Tesla is trying to discourage people from using the SC network.

These are two separate issues:
1) Freeloaders who use SC to avoid installing EVSE at home or paying for electricity.
2) Model 3 owners casually charging at local superchargers will not scale and Tesla is wise to prevent local use of SC. Tesla can and should place limits on the use of the 400 kWh free SC use provided as well as limit vehicles from local SC use.

I could be wrong, because quite clearly there are at least two ways to interpret Elon’s remarks. There wouldn’t be so much argument here if his intent were more clear.

But the intent here is to reduce, as much as possible, clogging of the Supercharger network. And from Elon’s recent statements, it’s very clear Tesla doesn’t want anyone using Superchargers for everyday charging. That is what I referred to as “freeloading”.

So given that, yes I do think that Tesla is going to implement both restrictions. I think you won’t be able to use any of the free 400 kWh per year allowance at “local” Superchargers, which presumably means those within X miles of your home.

No, I really don’t think Tesla wants anyone to use up his 400 “free” Supercharger kWh for everyday charging. Not even for a limited number of uses per year. None at all.

I bet Tesla has done the data analytics to come up with that 400 kWh figure. I doubt they just plucked it out of thin air. Probably a good chunk of Tesla owners don’t use more than 400 kWh of SC juice a year, and 400 kWh probably covers the majority of owners.

^^ THIS!

They definitely have that data. They know every mile charged by every car every year.

Simply throw that yearly usage data onto a graph showing actual kWh usage for each car from low to high, and you would instantly see the point where the vast majority of normal use ends, and where the small minority of abuse begins.

400 kWh is probably just above that inflection point between the vast majority of normal use, and where the abuse begins.

I think it’s likely you’re correct.

I think too much is being read into Elon’s statement. There aren’t going to be specific limits on where you can and can’t use your Supercharging credits. The idea is by limiting the amount of free Supercharging you get, it will become impractical to use for local charging on a regular basis.

It will be more time and cost effective to install at-home charging than to pay to use a local Supercharger. Your credits would then be available to use for long distance travel since there would be no reason to Supercharge locally. Thus, you’d be getting free long distance charging but not local charging.

There is no free lunch unless you want go into the next county to get it, and then it doesn’t seem worth the trip, unless you were planning to go that way anyway.

Ok, I think this is fairly close to the policy I had earlier proffered. The main difference is mine would not have completely shut out local users, – but maybe future model 3 buyers who live in apartments or condos with absolutely no electricity can find a reasonably close by level 2 docking station. The battery will be large enough that hopefully they won’t have to charge every day.

Personally I believe he was likely just trying to paraphrase this new policy that Tesla published recently:


Some of his words he chose seem to parrot that blog update that says stuff like this:

“our intention has always been for Supercharging to enable long distance travel.”


“Just as you would charge your cell phone, we believe the best way to charge your car is either at home or at work”

My guess is that this was simply an inartful choice of words when answering a question about the M3 at an event that was supposed to be about the Solar City merger, and not the intentional launch of some brand new program.

Tesla didn’t specify the distance from home for the so called “free long distance charging”, 30 miles or 50 miles or 100 miles or 150 miles ?

Home is around the distance it takes to get out of town. Probably a little different for big city’s and suburbs. Country is a different metric all together.


Why are there so many comments about a statement that is totally logical and the right thing to do?

Because it’s Friday and there’s nothing else to do…..lol

People are hilarious. It costs literally $0.02/mi to charge your EV at home, so an average $1 or $2 per day to charge the vehicle, over night when you are not using it anyway (apartment dwellers noted). Yet it appears some owners, most likely highly paid people, would rather drive somewhere out of their way, possibly suit in a queue, then sit around for several minutes to an hour, waiting for their car to charge. How much in their list productivity is that costing them? I bet it is more than $1 or $2 per day. I know I’d get pretty tired of that in a hurry, if I could charge at home over night and know I have full capacity every day. LMAO thinking about these morons. Apartment dwellers are different if they cannot negotiate an EVSE connection where their vehicle is parked, and in that case they should pay for using a charging station. They would pay for that at home any way, so no difference. For these users the EV works no different to an ICE, they have to go to a “service station” to fill up. And just like an ICE model, if there is enough… Read more »

Id love to live where you are at. Electricity is 18 cents a kwh. Figure my Leaf gets 4 miles per kwh. Thats 4.5 cents per mile not 2. And i drive at least 70 miles a day, so its $3.15 a night minimum not $1 or $2. And a Tesla only gets 3 miles to a kwh. And they are usually driven more than my Leaf.

Sheesh. You drive ~twice the typical amount in the US (which is where I assume you live given your quoting numbers in $), so your $3.15 is right in his ballpark. Why the need to argue sensible points?

Back off there, Dan. He’s got a completely valid point.

EV advocates love to cite the “2¢ per mile” figure. Sure, there are markets where — if you have a night-time differential for electricity rates — you can charge your PEV for as low as 2¢ per mile, so long as you charge it at night. And there are other markets where charging at home can be as expensive as 5¢ per mile. For most of the country, I think that “2¢ per mile” claim is overly optimistic. Here in Eastern Kansas, we have no night-time rate available. I envy those who do!

Let us please stick to real-world figures when we advocate for EVs. Citing figures which don’t turn out to be real when someone checks, will just cause the public at large to ignore everything we say regarding the benefits of EVs.

Perhaps, though 0.02c/mile does not equate to $1 to $2 per day on average (my math says $0.6, given 12,000 miles per year), and I agree that that is way too low, so I think they were both wrong in some way. The gist of Jason’s point, however, was that people get up in arms over a relatively minor thing, i.e., the cost of charging over long distance on the road. IMO, that point stands.

so far I don’t think I’ve read a statement from someone that actually owns a Tesla.

Sorry it’s no local charging. Period. When you are on a long trip there’s nothing worse than having to wait for a local yokel sucking free juice to get his butt out of the charging stall.

Hmmm, not the way I read it. I read it as “no free local charging, period”. If you want to use a Supercharger for local charging, then you pay the going rate.

But what Elon said was ambiguous. If it wasn’t, then we wouldn’t be arguing about it. This needs clarification ASAP.

Elon: “Model 3 from the beginning we said free charging is not included in the Model 3;free unlimited charging is not included, so free long distance is, but not free local.”

Hold on here – at first, Elon basically confirmed the Model 3 will not come with free charging. What he said after that seems contradictory; an off-the-cuff remark.

Before IEVs carves ‘free M3 charging’ into stone, Musk should clarify what he said. He might have meant – Supercharging access will be optional, period. If the option is added, local charging won’t be free, long distance will be free.

It would be interesting to calculate what sort of rates Tesla would have to charge in order to break even on providing supercharging to people wanting local supercharging. Given the costs of renting land, buying, installing, and servicing the charging hardware, and the cost of electricity it would be interesting to see if people would be willing to pay the premium over the cost of electricity alone. Given that none of the private charging providers seem to have a good business model I wonder if Tesla would be able to come up with one. Perhaps they should just offer to sell the supercharging hardware and leave it up to the owners or a third party to come up with a business model. Hopefully before too long apartment and condo owners/associations will become more cooperative with allowing charging infrastructure to be installed and/or regulations requiring that it be allowed will be put in place. Or maybe we’ll have apartment owners arriving home and then sending their cars off to autonomously find charging. For the time being I think the onus is on owners to convince the apartment building or condo assoc. to allow charging infrastructure rather than relying on Tesla to… Read more »

It seems many are assuming 400 kwh will be free, or local, or what have you, for ‘3’ owners.

I thought Musk said 400 kwh annually will only be for ‘x’ and ‘s’ owners.

I think this discussion is going off the rails because folks are misunderstanding what Tesla is trying to do. They are NOT trying to ban all local use. Elon has been very clear that occasional local use is OK: “providing the flexibility for occasional needed use during local trips.” http://insideevs.com/tesla-sends-out-supercharger-abuse-emails-model-s-owners-not-impressed/ They are ONLY trying to stop abusers who grossly overusing the superchargers for free local charging (especially the ones who leave their cars plugged in all day): “frequent user of local Superchargers, we ask that you decrease your local Supercharging” As for their plan to accomplish this, it is already detailed right here: https://www.tesla.com/blog/update-our-supercharging-program Tesla has determined that the way to stop the worst of gross abusers of Tesla’s gentleman’s offer of free long distance supercharging, is to simply charge for over 400 kWh. That policy accomplishes two things. 1) It resets the original gentleman’s offer that the free supercharger system was ALWAYS intended to solve the problem of long distance travel, while Tesla’s array of home charging equipment was ALWAYS the intended solution for local travel. Somehow that bit of history has been lost by many. 2) It simply stops new buyers from free charging over 400 kWh/yr. So… Read more »

One thing missing from the discussion here is that Tesla charges $2000 for “Free charging, Forever”.

Using simplified math that I can do easily:
25¢/kWh = 8000 kWh * 3 mi/kWh = 24,000 miles that you have paid for -up front- that you may or may not ever use. Those dollars are what Paid for the SC network, according to (much) earlier reports.

Unless the price drops $2000 as of 1 JAN 2017, it seems like an unannounced price increase to the MS and MX lines.

Must have missed a memo..