Tesla recently announced a new milestone: it's reached 20,000 Supercharger stalls worldwide. But something else at Superchargers didn't receive too much press. The Silicon Valley automaker is quietly testing out ways to incentivize its customers to charge their cars when electricity demand isn’t so high.
In an effort to offset the costs of providing power to Superchargers during high energy demand hours, Tesla has sent out messages to some of their California customers trying to promote charging during off-peak hours with discounted Supercharger pricing.
A Reddit user posted the message received via Tesla, which read: "Planning to travel this weekend? Avoid the rush and charge for $0.09/kWh before 9 a.m. and after 9 p.m. at select California Superchargers on October 31 and November 1. This weekend, tap the Supercharger map pin from your in-car touchscreen to find a participating location or view charge rates."
It’s no secret that Tesla, or any other charging network for that matter, would prefer EV owners charge during the hours of the day when electricity rates are lower. Tesla has tried to counteract these excess costs by installing their own energy storage (e.g. Powerpacks) to stockpile and supply energy during peak hours, as well as solar panels (at some Superchargers) so that they can evolve to become even less reliant on local power companies.
In any event, this latest move can definitely prove to be a win for some Tesla customers. Not only can something like this help Tesla owners by lowering Supercharging fees, but it might also help with some of the congestion that occurs at popular Superchargers — especially as we're approaching the holidays.
Whether Tesla owners will change up their itinerary just to save a few bucks on charging remains to be seen. However, it might entice a few people who otherwise would be contributing to "primetime" charging congestion. And that's a good thing.
This particular dynamic charging scheme is not the first time that Tesla has tried something like this — some Superchargers have adjusted their per kWh prices to be cheaper during off-peak hours starting over the summer. This is, however, the first time that Tesla has actively promoted these lower rates. And there is a bigger discount this time around than the prices we typically see from regular off-peak pricing.
Will a Supercharger discount that brings the price down to nearly a third of the original cost ultimately be enough to get Tesla owners to change up their travel itinerary? Will we see more of these discounts in the future? Only time will tell. But if it decreases some congestion during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays — it will be a win for everyone.
An earlier version of this article appeared on EVBite. EVBite is an electric vehicle specific news site dedicated to keeping consumers up-to-date on any developments in the ever-expanding EV landscape.