Tesla Model 3 Owner Confirms No Free Supercharger Credits

Silver Tesla Model 3 charging


Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3 at Atascadero, CA Supercharging station (via Mark F!)

Apparently, the Tesla Model 3 doesn’t come with any free Supercharger credits.

Originally, all Tesla vehicles came with free unlimited Supercharger access. At a few points, the automaker announced that it was doing away with this, and each time the deadline loomed it was extended or a rule was changed making it so that some people could still enjoy the free access. Now, if you purchase a Tesla vehicle through the referral program, you can still get free unlimited lifetime Supercharger access for Model S and X vehicles.

Tesla Superchargers

Tesla Model S and X vehicles come with 400 kWh of free Supercharging per year, and for the time being, a referral will get you free unlimited lifetime Supercharging.

There’s been lots of speculation surrounding what type of Supercharger access or “plan/package” the Model 3 would have. It’s probably safe to say that most people assumed it would be set up much like the current situation for the Model S and X. These vehicles come with 400 kWh (about 1,000 miles) of free Supercharging per year.

We’ve known for some time that the Model 3 wouldn’t have free Supercharging. Tesla made it clear that it would be on a “pay-per-use” system. However, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said last year that the Model 3 would come with free long-distance charging (whatever the means). He later elaborated and said:

“…it will not be free long-distance for life unless you purchase that package.”

Apparently, there’s nothing free about Model 3 Supercharging. Owner TheRealPTFI recently Tweeted information about a charging session at the Harris Ranch Supercharger station, which is located between San Francisco and Los Angeles. It shows that he used 43 kWh and that’s exactly what he was charged for.

It’s not free to charge any other electric cars and it’s certainly not free to fill your ICE car with gas. Regardless of the lack of free Supercharger credits for the Model 3, it will still save people money over an ICE car. The 400 kWh of free credits would have only saved a driver about $80 a year.

The fact that there has been some confusion along the way, multiple changes to the system by Tesla, and Musk’s words either being misspoken or misunderstood, has been frustrating to some. Nonetheless, free access to the world’s most extensive EV charging network is a pretty tall order.

As with the sale of new Model S and Model X vehicles, what does (or does not) come with those purchases in regards to Supercharging, is seemingly always in flux.  So, the reality of today – is not necessarily that of tomorrow.

Sources: Teslarati, Electrek

Categories: Charging, Tesla

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Reply

91 Comments on "Tesla Model 3 Owner Confirms No Free Supercharger Credits"

newest oldest most voted

Good, it makes using the Supercharging system rational because the soon to be hundreds of thousands Model 3s will have to make the decision on charging there by paying or waiting until they get home to charge.

Supercharging, Model 3 buyers will get it !

Unfortunately the supercharging will be the Charge they experience over and above the Promised MSRP of $35,000.

As for the concern about fighting hundreds of thousands of Model 3 owners at charging stations, at the current rate of production it may never happen in your life time.

Disappointed at no free SC:

Oh I don’t think this is so much of a crime. Any other car you’d buy (except the free-fuel hydrogen introductory specials), have increased cost of operation due to having to purchase your own Gasoline or Diesel Fuel.

Having to purchase some electricity while on vacation isn’t the end of the world. The electric bills on the SC stations are high enough and its to be expected they’d try to recoop a bit of the cash required to make them work.

A more recent IEVs article quoted Elon saying Model 3 owners would get “free long distance Supercharging”.

“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.”


Obviously the bean counters at Tesla won out and they nixed even the “free long distance Supercharging”, whatever that actually was.

Sorry bro, it turns out that Elon was referring to cellphone service when he referenced free long distance. People are pretty angry that they have to pay for local cellphone service though! 😉

That reminds me of those old cellphone commercials where the company would sell When Never Minutes (“When can you use them? Never”) instead of Whenever Minutes, or Eenytime Minutes (“They’re very tiny”) instead of anytime minutes.

yeah, Musk changes his mind now and then, its just the way things are at Tesla.

GM is also pretty poor at technical communications, when there is no reason to be…. But people get away with stuff in the car business that they wouldn’t be able to in others, considering the amount of money involved.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

I thought it was a given there would be no Free SC.

Free charging ruins the charging experience with floods of freegoers.

I will build a big beautiful wall around the Superchargers. And GM will pay for it! Believe me. Keep the freegoers out! #maketeslagreatagain
– Donald J. Trump

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous


You kill me…..

Bar, LOL. But the reality is that there’s already electronics wall around superchargers such that non-Tesla cars are kept out. Otherwise, we’d see tons of free charging Bolts, Leafs, i3 clogging superchargers as well.

No, that’s not an endorsement for Prez Dump’s stupid wall that will cost billions of dollars and can be breached by anyone. Enjoy the music in this video.


So OCDetailing charging at the supercharger in the video of a previous article stuck it to the owner of the car? He should install a charging station at his facility.

The last time I heard the phrase “free long distance” is 15 years ago when I still had a landline phone.

Thank you Jesus, errr, I mean Elon Musk. I may join your cult after all.

Free charging SUCKS!

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

I echo that!

Free charging SUCKS!

Free charging SUCKS!

I don’t think free charging should even be an option. Taxi companies will buy it so other owners subsidize their huge mileage. People who want to use a supercharger in place of a home/work charger will buy it and take up spots longer than they should. People who don’t know better will buy it and then want to take unnecessary trips to justify it. I can’t think of any benefit to society of selling an unlimited charging package on any EV. I’d rather save ~$2k on the purchase and pay as I go. It keeps everything fair.

Note that the charging session for 43 kWh on a Bolt on EVgo’s network would have cost around double the price. (EVgo Flex plan)

Would have cost me about $6 @ 10 cents/min. I signed up for the 10 cents/min plan before EVgo jacked the rates up to 20 cents/min.

Yo bro you forgot to mention the $20 a month or $240 a year fee you pay to get that rate. Don’t forget that the vast majority of Tesla owners will never even come close to paying $240 a year to charge let alone paying that plus the charging fee. Let’s also not forget the fact that there is hardly any real organized travel network and most station have only 1 CSS charger that is broken half the time.

At $0.20/kWh it is (33.7 kWh/ge*$.20/kWh)/126 mpge = $0.053 per mile.

58 mpg Ioniq Hybrid gets $2.50/58 = $0.043 per mile, assuming $2.50/gal, road taxes included. Has more space inside and lower loan/lease payment as well. So much for “fuel savings”.

San Diego is $0.22/kWh charging at home. However, gas prices are about $3.10/gal, not $2.50/gal.

By being cheaper to use supercharger than home charge, it will invite cheapskates to use them instead of charging at home. Ugh, I may not join Tesla cult after all…

Supercharger rate varies by area. If electricity costs more it’ll cost Model 3 owners more to charge down there.

Hyundi’s published mpg’s are subject to EPA lawsuit:

I wonder what people are getting, away from “the lab”. And, at 139HP, with luggage, you’ll probably feel like a raccoon on entrance ramps.

Across 129 vehicles and rougly 1,300 fill-ups, it’s around 52 to 53 mpg

“Hyundi’s published mpg’s are subject to EPA lawsuit”

You are beating dead horse here, Hyundai paid a lot of money for it and mpg numbers were adjusted years ago. Some other automakers too. I don’t think Hyundai would want to repeat it again now, it simply doesn’t pay off.
You may check real world driver statistics too on few websites, and compare it to other cars.

I thought Tesla price it by state? If so, $0.20/kWh would be CA wide pricing.

How will that make it worthwhile for you? 2c is not enough of a difference to give up the convenience of home charging for superchargers.

We’re talking about people who sit in their cars for 30 minutes while its tapered down under 1kW (out of 50 kW charger) for “free”. There are also those who drive half way across town or wait 10 minutes at Costco to get $0.01/gal cheaper gas. Time is worthless for some people.

Not everyone does it, but only a few out of 500K reservation holder will have them clogging Superchargers. I hope Tesla revise the charging plan to be based on time rather than kWh.

I can get more money. I can’t get more time

That’s only for your tier one electricity; when you exceed the small tier one allowance it will be much more. Only off peak charging really saves any $ over a hybrid or some small cars run on gasoline. When daytime fast charging gets bigger it will either have to be subsidized by some entity or at peak time electric costs be more expensive than than gasoline if you drive an efficient ICE car.

I did that math too and in my are you need a ICE that gets around 70 mpg to equal ev in cost. Do you know any ice that gets that? And let’s not forget, we are only talking about fuel costs here not total operational costs.

In Virginia, the cost is $0.13/kWh for Supercharging, or slightly more than the flat rate home charging price. That’s less than $0.035/mile or substantially cheaper than gas.

The pricing varies a lot, but generally where gas prices are high, electricity prices are also usually high.

If we are talking actual _operating costs_, then don’t forget all those oil changes, tune-ups, and brake-jobs, that your Ioniq will need (plus the time stolen from your life waiting to have those services performed, plus anything else the “service” centers can fool you into thinking you need done).

Also, 58 mpg is “best-case” freeway driving (at 55 mph, instead of a more realistic 80 mph). Not to mention that the Ioniq (or any hybrid) _still_ releases more pollutants into the atmosphere than any EV — if you care about that sort of thing.

Also, your Ioniq will only become _less_ efficient and _more_ polluting over its useful lifetime, as parts wear out and work less effectively.

Wheres an EV (any EV) always has the potential to become more efficient (and/or cheaper to operate) by simply changing where the electricity comes from. It can also get less polluting for the same reason (e.g., switch to solar completely, and your EV does not pollute at all).

Improve the power source, and all EVs using that source become more efficient and/or less polluting. That is powerful.
That is a paradigm shift.

The same could never be true for gasoline cars, where each vehicle effectively carries around its own miniature power plant, forever capable of only the same, and likely worsening, efficiency and pollution.

When discussing the Hyundai Ioniq, it would be helpful to be more specific. The Ioniq comes in three varieties:

Ioniq Hybrid (a non-plug-in HEV)
Ioniq Plug-In (PHEV)
Ioniq Electric (BEV)

Only one of them has a 58 mpg…the conventional hybrid.

In Pennsylvania, only one is available.

And it’s not the BEV.


If you want to talk about operational costs, don’t forget depreciation as well. Double price tag or lease payment effectively kills any mouse nut counting on imaginary or not fuel savings. It gets even worse if you need to maintain backup gas guzzler. Each $100 extra per 1000 mile month is full 10 cents per mile.

“Improve the power source” is nice dream but it doesn’t work in real world. Power plants live longer than cars, are out of sight, and so are allowed to emit much more nasty stuff like sulfur, mercury or nitrogen oxides. Although I certainly agree that battery cars are very efficient for outsourcing emissions out of congested urban areas, and it should be their major selling point. As long as you provide real incentives to individual buyers, not just enthusiast advocacy talk.

It’s not double anything! With the credits we have today ev and ice are similar in price. Actually, ev leases are cheaper than coresponding ice. My eGolf lease is $116 after credits. You talk about depreciation but conveniently ignore that ev have it bigger because you get these credits…which is a good thing. But the biggest ev advantage that you conveniently forget is cost recovery potential. You see troll, the more you drive an ev the more $ in your pocket. In my case i save about $1100/year. If i buy out the car at the end of the lease it wold total to about $17k. In about 15 years i would get enough gas savings to cover the entire cost of the car. A CAR THAT PAYS FOR ITSELF! Your ice can do that?

Last I checked, Tesla charges $600/year for their service plan.

You don’t get to ignore the manufacturer recommended service for one car but count it on another.

They need to make money of the naive and stupid somehow. VW try to get me with a maintenance plan too, then i actually saw that at 10k miles it was a tire rotation and at 20k it was battery inspection and a bunch of visual inspections. Pass!

…for $430/year…lol!

“If we are talking actual _operating costs_, then don’t forget all those oil changes”

I’ve only had to do one DIY $30 oil change (full syn. mind you) in the 3 years I’ve owned my Energi because of the 2yr/20k intervals.

$600/yr for a Tesla maintenance plan? That can’t be right. Is it?

I think it is, at least for the S & X.

Yes, it is $600/year for the MS and MX. You get a lot of service, and Tesla’s superior customer service is one reason its customer satisfaction rating is higher than any other auto maker rated by Consumer Reports; but you do pay for that level of service.

From discussion on the Tesla Motors Club forum, that’s still cheaper than plans for some (but not all) similarly priced sedans, from say Mercedes-Benz and BMW.

Around $600/year is approximately correct for S, it varies by year/service needed, prepaid or not. It is supposedly optional for basic warranty, but required for lease or extended warranty last time I checked. Anyway you will need do maintenance common for any car, like change brake fluid, coolant, transmission oil after some years (yes it has 1 gear one), quickly wearing tires.

It may be lower (or not) for Model 3. It should be obvious that you don’t buy Tesla to save money, whatever model and sales pitch.

Opps, I missed this the first time I read your post.

“(plus the time stolen from your life waiting to have those services performed, ”

Really? What about all the time “stolen” sitting at a charger while on every trip one makes beyond base range? That’s THE issue that will keep me from jumping from a PHEV to a BEV.

I have a Tesla, hence I never “sit at a charger”.

Whenever my Tesla charges, I’m either inside my office working, in my house sleeping, or in a restaurant eating.

My personal time spent “charging” in all of these cases in the 10 seconds it takes to attach the charging cable.

Let me ask you this… how often do you “sit on the floor at the electrical outlet” waiting for your smartphone to charge?

Oh, never?

Well, is that because your smartphone always has enough charge for your typical use (and probably then some, too), and then you conveniently charge it at your desk, or at night, when you’re not using it? And, it takes you a whopping 3 seconds to attach the charging cable?

Driving an EV (with a large enough battery for a few hours of driving) is kinda like that. You just stop thinking about it. Charging is NOT an issue.

And at some point, you do realize you haven’t been to a gas station in MONTHS, you no longer waste that 15 minutes going out of your way, getting your hands dirty, breathing fumes, etc.. You realize that your “transport” funds are no longer being used (in part) to drill and pollute the world, support despicable foreign governments, wage wars, etc..

All that nonsense is just GONE from your life. And, you even save time and money doing it.

I’ll keep my EREV for now, with the long trips I occasionally take, I would be stuck waiting at multiple stations for multiple hours to charge up. No thanks.

I’d rather have gas-free driving 95% of the time and the ability to take those 400 mile winter trips without worrying about a couple 60 minute charging sessions. For me that’s worth the “sufferage” and sheer travesty of… an oil change every 2 years in my Volt.

I have a PHEV so I “get” charging.

I have two regular long interstate trip destinations where the supercharger location is at a McDonalds. Yeah, spending an hour+ on each leg at MickeyD’s eating crap food, that sounds wonderful. Both of these locations are at large fuel stations so one is still visiting a gas station (oh the irony) while watching folks quickly gas n go while you sit and wait and wait…..

Finally, a good portion of my driving trips are work related and planing a route and waiting for charges just won’t work.

“So much for “fuel savings”.”
Lol…this guy!
Before solar i was charging at home for 0.20c/kwh which was more than 2 times cheaper than gas. How much does it cost you to fill up at home on gas?

Not likely true if you compare your electric to a similar size efficient car.

I compared my eGolf to the regular 29mpg Golf.
10k miles/year at 20c/kwh, 4.5miles/kwh averege with 10% loss let’s say 4m/kwh =$500/year
10k miles for 29mpg at $3/gal gas =$1034

I was generous on the electric cost because my base is 17c not 20c and gas just recently dropped to $3 but none of that matters now since all the electrons come from ny solar panels. many people on here that never bothered to do the math…too bad, your loss.

…and in my area Edison pays for the first year of charging since they offer a $450 rebate for any ev under the account.

“Not likely true if you compare your electric to a similar size efficient car.”

You must be new to discussion of EVs. It’s really hard to find a case where you don’t save significantly, per mile, by charging a plug-in EV versus filling a gasmobile’s gas tank.

I want to give him the benefit of the doubt but i think it will come back to bite me…it’s hard to believe that someone would just blindly repeat crap like this without even checking the numbers themselves. Too much in common with the career trolls around here…

…cut him some slack he is just an intern.

Where did you find gas for $2.50/gal. in Hawthorn, California where the Supercharger
use-charge was calculated?
Gas Buddy showed cheapest gas was $2.85, going up to $3.39!

Yes, but using the true numbers doesn’t help in proving his point. David, these guys are well trained. 🙂

It is a change from the initial announcement. But I don’t find this unreasonable.

Not that (sadly) there are other EVs you can charge for free. Nissan and BMW with their No Charge To Charge cards.

When will executives stop communicating important and critical information impacting large group solely by Twitter?

There is something called a Press Release and it was designed to get information out to the public clearly and consistently. It also was designed to increase accurate communication.

Seems like society is going backwards.

A press release, news release, media release, press statement or video release is a written or recorded communication directed at members of the news media for the purpose of announcing something ostensibly newsworthy.

The problem with the press release as opposed to Twitter or other social media is press releases are slower and have a narrower reach. There are so many people on Twitter now that spread news within 2 seconds of seeing it, that it’s actually a more efficient platform for quickly dispersing information. And since it’s short, folks who may not read a news article are more likely to read a tweet.

Increasing the rate at which information is spread is a very poor substitute for care and accuracy in composing a press release. Twitter posts are seldom well thought out.

I agree 100% with MotoEV. Top executives, whether in the government or large corporations, should never communicate policy or materially significant (in the business sense) statements to the public via Twitter. This is far from the only time Elon has tweeted out something about Tesla or its cars which was either factually incorrect, or contrary to what Tesla’s official policy was.

Twitter is fine for unfiltered sharing of what’s going thru one person’s mind at the moment. Important or official communications should always be filtered; should be crafted by a team, or at least should be checked over by others before being issued.

Don’t worry. They are going to increase it to 280 characters. 🙂

The sad reality is that twitter reaches a much larger audience than those methods.

We as news consumers are to blame for that. We want short, concise snippets of content that we can get in a constant feed all day. Then if we are interested, we can get more details if we want by digging deeper on some other platform.

This really isn’t that new. Back in the day when people got newspapers delivered, the equivalent of twitter was scanning the headlines of all the stories in the paper.

No, the equivalent of Twitter was the town crier or the newsboy hawking his papers on the street.

Great news for future Model 3 owners that the super charging is not free.

It’s only FREE if you’re able to get it. The line will be so long if Tesla offers free super charging to Model 3.

So this means we will see more Teslas at CHADEMO/CCS chargers in Virginia. They are already the majority at these, mostly free, sites, with their bag of adapters.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

Therein lies the problem…

No charging (or gasoline/diesel) should be free. You make the least CO2 when you don’t drive or drive less.

Totally agree. I can’t wait for DCFC at every gas station. I will gladly pay the same price per mile for the utility and convenience, since we charge at home 99% of the time.

It will be interesting if we see the 400 kWh come back for the Model 3 in the form of referral bonuses or being included for CPO cars, etc.

So maybe if you really want that 400 kWh, you might have to earn it as a Model 3 owner by earning referrals. This would put the benefit in the hands of people who really want it.

While it seems unwise to consider a single report posted to the internet to be authoritative, I certainly hope that the TM3 does not come with any free supercharging. In fact, the only reason we ever thought that would happen is that one or more of Elon’s comments or tweets indicated so. If Tesla has decided on a different and more restrictive policy, then I see that as a good thing.

The clogging seen at some of the more popular Supercharger sites in California can only get much, much worse when there are many more Model 3’s on the road than Model S’s and X’s combined, if those TM3s also get free Supercharger use.

Charging for all use will help assure that only those who actually need to use Superchargers will use them, and should eliminate the problem of freeloaders using them to replace everyday charging at home or at work.

The free long-distance idea Musk mentioned seemed like it would make it possible to enable long-distance driving without clogging chargers with locals who could charge overnight instead.

But it’s not what they went with and I admit I was skeptical as to exactly how it could be made to work reliably. It seemed like people might find ways around it to get free local charging.

Anyway, now that Tesla is putting in urban chargers to try to sell to apartment dwellers the idea of keeping locals off local chargers is dead anyway. Now we have to hope (as you and others suggest) that charging for them will encourage people to use other means when those means will be effective.

That is a masterful summary of the situation, Unlucky! Thank you.

It’s too bad there is no easy way to bookmark the rare comprehensive and authoritative comment like this one, so we can direct newbies and casual readers to them, so we don’t have to keep explaining the same things over and over.

Yeah, if you need to stop at Barstow on the way to Las Vegas you’re still going to use the supercharger whether you pay or not. You eliminate some local use but it’s a minor effect. Of course, paying does offset part of the cost, too.

The urban chargers, or superchargers in built up areas, will be greatly helped.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

I wonder if Tesla will opt for a dual charge port to include CCS in the future?


Oh yeah……..off topic.

A good question though.

If not, let’s hope there’s a future upgrade available for a couple hundred dollars and can that upgrade can be performed by the mobile service techs.

For the amount of money you pay for Model S/X, you are not getting free charging, you are pre-paying for charging. If they take that away then the value proposition of the Model S/X diminishes.

It is reasonable that Model 3 does not have free charging because the margins built into that vehicle do not factor in the cost of charging. Even 400mi/yr would be hard to imagine given the low cost of the vehicle.

One good thing, Tesla is building their SC network consistently, and the cost to charge appears to be reasonable. It looks like Tesla has a solid model in place that they continue to build on, whereas the opposition has a traditional model in place that relies solely on 3rd parties to build out that network and charge, possibly unrealistic, higher costs. It is sad that the traditional manufacturers are locked into their model that they can’t see their lack of investment is actually hurting their long term prospects.

Probably the main knock against the Bolt aside from it’s looks, is that there is no charging network for it, which certainly will hurt sales in the Yuppie inner city kingdoms where it should shine. But is you can’t charge it, or it’s a hassle, that is real strike against it.

“…the margins built into that vehicle do not factor in the cost of charging. Even 400mi/yr would be hard to imagine given the low cost of the vehicle.”

400mi/yr? I think you meant to say 400 kWh (of free use) per year?


No matter what you pay for a car if a feature is included you’re paying for it. If “free” charging is included on any car you’re just prepaying for it.

Agree “unlucky”
The only thing in life is FREE is NOTHING!

I don’t know, people will give free advice, but it’s usually worthless.

Not a news but as expected from day 1, contrary to how some of the fan boi thought…

Ah, the good old days when they thought charging would be free, all Tesla charging stations would be solar powered, with their own batteries and the world would be full of rainbows. Pretty amazing actually, how some of us already knew then it was all b….hit.

So you must be a big fan of the SC network for it’s a true Modern Marvel.

I have a Model X where 95% of the time I charge at home as do most EV drivers. Where GM refuses to build public chargers and Tesla is spending a lot of cash on suoerchargers, so you must pay. This should not be news. Just charging at the convenience of home is worth it for me. Also, living in Hawaii, we do not have one Supercharging station even with our 40 cents/kWh electricity. I do have solar panels. With the savings from gas and solar panels, I save $800/month on a bad day!

I know exactly what you are talking about, Scott. You are a smart guy for doing the math and not buying into the anti ev/solar propaganda. Just one thing bothers me… it seems that well off families take advantage of these deals way more often than the average and poor ones which is something we need to address immediately. It not only takes money to make money, it also takes money to save money.