Tesla Returns Unlimited Supercharging To Current Owners

5 months ago by Jay Cole 61

Tesla gives back free, unlimited lifetime Supercharging to all Model S & X owners through May 19th

In a move that caught everyone off guard, Tesla has retroactively given all of its existing Model S and Model X owners unlimited free Supercharging, including those who had been switched to the new paid-subscription service.

Previously, all those who purchased a new Tesla (after January 15th) were switched from the original unlimited use-for-life Supercharging program, to one that limited the “free” portion of charging to the first 400 kWh per year, after which fees were introduced.

New Tesla owners (via the current referral program) can also get free, unlimited charging through the end of 2017

The decision to make the change seems to be connected to a new referral program announced at the same time:

Starting May 19, 2017, Tesla owners can give five friends free unlimited Supercharging and a $1,000 credit toward a new Model S or Model X with their personal referral code. 

Obviously the program would kinda suck (technical term) if a current Model S or X owner, without lifetime unlimited Supercharging, referred “a friend” who then got the bonus.

Basically this means anyone who had purchased a new Tesla this year, got a special bonus today.  Better still, with the current referral program rewards program being good through the end of 2017, it looks like future owners will also have the bonus available long term.

…and yes, Tesla was very careful to stipulate that it only applies to the Model S and Model X, so new unlimited use bonus for future Model 3 owners.  “Model 3 orders are not eligible”

We should note that the new program changes the terms of what unlimited charging means to recently upgraded (and future) owners, as Tesla’s disclaimer notes that upon re-sale, the free Supercharging does not transfer to the new owner.

Supercharging

You have free, unlimited Supercharging, including your current Tesla and any new Model S or Model X you purchase. If you choose to sell your current Tesla, free Supercharging will not transfer to the next owner. Also, up to five friends you refer will also receive free Supercharging. Any Supercharging payments made have been automatically refunded. Read our Supercharging terms.”

Tesla also send out a statement on the changes:

“We heard from our customers that free, unlimited Supercharging was one of their favorite reasons to refer a friend to buy a Tesla, so we’re bringing it back for Model S and Model X owners through our referral program, which we update periodically. Beginning today, existing owners can give free, unlimited Supercharging to up to five friends by sharing their referral code, and all existing Tesla owners who purchase a new Model S or Model X will receive free, unlimited Supercharging too.”

As for the last part of the statement above (which is in bold), there has been some confusion as to its meaning. The nutshell is – if you are a current Model S/X owner, any future Model S/X purchases will have unlimited Supercharging included (no deadline or referral needed).

Bonus (video below):  Enjoy YouTuber DÆrik discovering the new Supercharging changes (and new referral program) being released in real time over the past 24 hours.  Clearly all those previously without free unlimited Supercharging are quite pleased with the development

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61 responses to "Tesla Returns Unlimited Supercharging To Current Owners"

  1. Eco says:

    This is great news, I’m considering getting a Model X instead of Model 3 but waiting for the new 2170 batteries from the Gigafactory to be integrated into the S/X which should bring prices down and longevity up. Free supercharging sweetens the deal 🙂

    1. SparkEV says:

      I doubt they’ll lower the price on S/X.

      Free charging is actually terrible news. Already, some superchargers have waiting, and more unlimited free chargers means more waiting. Depending on how many additional get free charging (ie, 2017 sales), I may have to drop Tesla.

      1. Eloder says:

        Bwahahaha!

        Have fun with a competitor. You haven’t seen wait times at a charger until 99% of fast chargers have 1-2 stalls only, are primarily located in cities, and max out at 50 kwh.

        Signed,
        Current Leaf owner

        1. Exactly! SparkEV has complaints almost daily about anyone with access to any form of Free Charging!

          1. SparkEV says:

            I repeat it like a broken record, because I’m broken by free chargers. When 3 out of 4 waits for charging are those who get free charging and live local, you’ll sing a different tune.

            As for competition, Tesla isn’t the only car company. As much as I hate to go back to gassers, that what I may have to do until there are more viable EV charging and without so much free charging. We’ll see how many free chargers Tesla gives out later in the year.

            1. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ sven says:

              Yep. Never underestimate the lure of “free” anything to the working class.

      2. Terawatt says:

        I agree with you. While it may be true that congestion isn’t a big problem at Tesla’s stations today, there can be no doubt that any resource that has no price tends to be inefficiently used. So at the very least more chargers will be required for the same level of congestion.

        I do however totally get the nice feeling it is to fill up “for free” even knowing you’re paying for it at the point of purchase. So it’s not inconceivable that it might make business sense for Tesla to use this model and build more stations/stalls per station to compensate.

        Still, I am always annoyed when marketing gimmicks win over fundamental considerations. Free water, or nearly free, has lead to catastrophically wasteful use of a precious resource (especially in agriculture, which consumes most available freshwater​globally). Free email has led to a huge proportion of available bandwidth being lost to spam (even if most of it now gets filtered so we never see it). If it cost 0.1 cents to send an email, or a buck per thousand, spam would never have been economical in the first place. I think basically we ought to know better than to make stuff free of charge, at least if it’s easy to see how it might be abused. Free charging is such a case and even Tesla has at times complained about it (something I have little sympathy with since they literally call it unlimited, making it technically impossible to “abuse” except by physically destroying the infrastructure).

        1. SparkEV says:

          CA went through one of the worst drought in recent history. Bureaucrats were telling the citizens to cut back on lawn and shower and even toilet, which all add up to about 20%, while farmers who use about 80% of water and entitled to almost free water grew highly water intensive crops like almonds. Some even pumped so much ground water (free water, electricity paid) that the ground started to sink.

          Even when faced with imminent doom, abuse of free stuff did not seize. In the end, it’s not climate change that’s going to doom us; it’s the promise of free stuff.

          1. Mark.ca says:

            “Bureaucrats were telling the citizens to cut back on lawn and shower and even toilet,…”
            Indeed, it’s sad when politicians have to educate people about conservation, this should be something we should do by default no matter the circumstances. I never had to give up on my lawn or the plants i have around my home because half of my watering is from gray water system or byproduct of the drinking water we get from the RO system. There are many ways to save on water but people are just too fricking dumb and ignorant.

      3. Volt says:

        Ya. So crowded. All 20 vacant chargers at Barstow on Friday. I was the only one there. Crazy!

  2. AddLightness says:

    Buying a new model S or X is required. They aren’t just giving free supercharging to existing owners. Insideevs and electrek are both reporting this in a misleading way. I’m sure unintentionally. Perhaps they’re too excited 🙂

    1. Jay Cole says:

      No, it is not. They are retroactively giving existing owners from January 15th through May 19th, 2017 unlimited supercharging. We have also live confirmed this with a new Tesla buyer from March and his status/MyTesla has had the 400 kWh program removed/notes free unlimited charging.

      The only difference now (between the old and new programs) is that the terms of the unlimited charging has changed so that it is not transferable on re-sale…unlike EVs purchased before Jan 15th.

      1. AddLightness says:

        My mistake, but the information initially provided in the article suggested otherwise. Hence causing confusion on many sites.

        1. Jay Cole says:

          Definitely not your fault, the program was rolling out in “bits and pieces” from Tesla ahead of all the details, and the live OTR update to current owners took some time to reach everyone.

          We added in some further depth/quotes to the story with when we saw your comment just to clarify it more (we didn’t change any content), as it appears some other sites mis-reported the program, or at least have failed to update their stories as more info became available this AM.

    2. Jim T says:

      AddLightness – According to the notice sent to owners, all Tesla owners get this and if they sell their current car, the new owners will get free unlimited charging as well. If they get 1 to 5 friends to buy a Tesla, the friends also get free unlimited charging as well as $1400 (not $1000) off the price. The referring owner gets prizes from solar roofs to to Powerwalls and more, depending on how many friends sign up.

  3. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ sven says:

    Demand must be softening.

    1. SparkEV says:

      You might be right. It’s troubling they turn to unlimited free charging at first sign of trouble. They could’ve done something else, like giving extra 400kWh for a year. It makes me wonder if they’ll turn to unlimited free charging with Tesla 3 if demand softened.

      1. Overall, it seems that your biggest issue with free charging is largely Nissans ‘Free to Charge’ program, with LEAF’s using the CHAdeMO side of single point installations, on those Dual Service Chargers with CCS, while close to home.

        As to Tesla, it seems that the 208-335 miles of range could largely deal with the close to home part, when compared to the LEAF’s 84-107 Mile Range per charge, but if not, they still did not cancel the $$ fees for just ‘hanging out’ and occupying a Supercharging Stall, at least if plugged in more than 5 minutes past full at busy locations! That should still be a discouraging factor for Charge Bums! (E-Holes?)

        Also, in a new mix, it would seem that somewhere between a Flat 400 kWh per Year, and Unlimited Supercharging, they should be able to structure something, that limits LOCAL Supercharging Use, at least for Model S & X owners at present, to a Limited amount of Free Supercharging close to home, but still unlimited use over 200 miles from home? Don’t you think?

        If the 400 kWh was a limit of use close to home, it could also be divided up into 30 or 40 kWh per use, if that much could get ANY and ALL Teslas to the next Supercharging stop! However, that might be more difficult to calculate and institute fairly! That is because some owners are in more sparsely supported areas for Superchargers.

        1. Per my “divided up into 30 or 40 kWh per use, if that much could get ANY and ALL Teslas to the next Supercharging stop! “, or to HOME, after using the Superchargers!

          After all, it would not be fun getting whacked with a bill for using the Supercharger 100 miles from Home, when returning from a long trip, just because it was ‘under 200 miles’ from home!

          1. Terawatt says:

            It’s but a silly gimmick.

            Who pays for superchargers at the end of the day? Tesla’s customers, of course. Anything else is simply unsustainable in the long run.

            The question then ought to be which model is more efficient: paying up front based on expected average use, or paying for actual use. Economics 101 lets us know that free stuff will be wasted more than stuff that isn’t free.

            It’s utterly irrational to want to pay upfront unless you’re expecting to use it more than average, so you can have others pay for your “excess use”. It makes no more sense than buying an unlimited lifetime supply of coffee from Starbucks in a one-time payment, rather than pay as you go a cup at a time. If you imagine that it does make more sense, please explain how the two are any different in principle!

    2. AlanSqB says:

      The sky isn’t exactly falling yet. This is a relatively low cost giveaway for Tesla that has already generated a huge amount of buzz in less than 12 hours.

      It’s also keeping people talking about something else during the relatively boring wait time for the next Model 3 reveal.

    3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      sven said:

      “Demand must be softening.”

      Yes, but that seems to be Tesla’s choice, in ending the very popular new S60 option. I presume Tesla deliberately lowered demand for the Model S to “clear space”, as it were, for tooling up for Model 3 production.

      Tesla has been carefully managing demand for some years now, to ensure it stays ahead of production. Tesla doesn’t want the problem that other auto makers have, of a lot of cars made but left unsold at the end of a model year!

      I see this as just one more example of Tesla tweaking demand.

      1. Terawatt says:

        So you seem to be arguing that Tesla deliberately lowered demand for Model S because they needed to clear space for Model 3. That doesn’t sound bonkers, but it leaves unexplained why then they reintroduced unlimited supercharging.

        I suspect the real reason is that Model 3 is going to be a car that is actually not much worse than a Model S or X. If I’m right that’s a good thing at the end of the day, but Tesla would be looking for easy ways to make S and X buyers feel they get something more special for the more special price they have to pay. Free supercharging isn’t worth a huge amount of money – certainly not for the average buyer who will do 95% of charging (in energy terms, much more in time terms) at home. But it will make customers feel they are part of an exclusive club, and plenty are willing to pay for that. Just look at how gold card frequent flyers are invited to board a plane first, as if maximising the time onboard the plane was anyone’s goal! It’s about getting VIP treatment, not rational economic calculus…

        My take is no less speculative than yours, but it is at least internally consist. 🙂 I see both the removal of the S60 and the reintroduction of unlimited supercharging as attempts to differentiate the S and X offerings more clearly from Model 3. And given the utterly irrational value a lot of folks are apparently assigning to the privilege of paying a lump sum upfront rather than as you go, Tesla may have judged this correctly. If it generates more income than additional expense to have the same congestion level in the network, it’s a winner.

    4. Mint says:

      Any time Tesla makes a purchase more attractive, you can make that claim.

      The real reason is probably to encourage fence-sitters from choosing the S/X over waiting for the 3. It’ll be an important differentiation point, and stop Tesla from looking like penny pinchers.

  4. Boukman says:

    I think Tesla should give free unlimited supercharging to people who made a 1000$ deposit for their model 3 (before the next reveal) as a thank you gesture.

    1. SparkEV says:

      Or a F-U gesture. Even if only 10% are abusers (ie, only use supercharger instead of charging at home), that’s 40,000 cars in addition to all the Tesla on the road today. That will clog up superchargers beyond any hope of using it for travel.

      By the way, I noticed any free L2 is almost perpetually occupied. Unless you want supercharger use to be like winning the lottery, free charging SUCKS!

      1. Nick says:

        Free charging rules! I’d consider any EV which didn’t offer it as hamstrung.

        Build more chargers! Crowding problem solved!

        1. Terawatt says:

          The obvious problem with that idea is that building more chargers to serve the same fleet of cars is more expensive. If you believe that bill will be picked up by anyone other than the people buying the cars that make up the fleet, please elaborate how you get to that conclusion, because it’s obviously mad!

          Including unlimited charging in the price of the car may or may not be a good business model for Tesla. There’s obviously a lot of people like yourself who assign an utterly irrational value to paying upfront instead of as you go. Perhaps it’s a useful way to differentiate the S and X from Model 3.

          But there’s no doubt that Sparky is right that it would be more rational for the average Tesla buyer to want a model where you pay for actual use, simply because that model is more efficient and lowered the overall cost. Only those who expect to charge much more than average have a rational interest in upfront payment – specifically those who would charge so much more than average that it more than compensates for the additional expense incurred by your simple “just build more chargers” recipe.

          1. Nick says:

            I’d plan on rarely using it, but still want the option to use it at anytime for no additional cost.

            It makes the Tesla an ideal road trip car, which is what I’d want it for.

            Just build more chargers is simplistic yet is still the correct approach to SparkEVs issues. If he’d rolled up to a set of 10 CHAdeMO stalls of which 8 were being used by locals, that would not prevent him from charging and spur him on to daily rants about the evils of free charging. 😀

            See? I’d solve so many problems.

      2. SparkEV, don’t forget “that’s 40,000 cars in addition to all the Tesla on the road today.”, is across 3 continents, and over a Dozen Countries! Plus, a bunch of new ones, like Mexico, New Zealand, and more!

        Not all have California attitutes about if its free it must be used (because it was offered)!

        1. Terawatt says:

          You’re still not offering a single thing to dispute his basic point that paying for use leads to more efficient use. So your argument seems to be “your solution may be better, but our solution isn’t necessarily a catastrophy”. While that may be true it’s a pretty weak argument, and to my mind no reason at all not to prefer the *best* solution.

          From Tesla’s point of view unlimited charging may well be a gimmick that pays for itself. It’s not inconceivable it generates more income than additional expense incurred to have greater capacity and the same level of congestion. Nevertheless, as long as you make the rational assumption that Tesla buyers must fund the chargers, regardless of model, it follows that buyers will on average, with mathematical certainty, pay more in total if charging is unlimited than if it is limited.

          Whether it is worth the extra cost can maybe be debated, but for me it’s crystal clear it would never be. Even with my LEAF the DCFC cost is completely irrelevant; one week of depreciation is roughly as much as a year of charging – and that figure would be worse if I’d bought a new one instead of used. With Model 3 I expect to go on longer drives, but not very often, and my charging costs should remain about the same (I’d never need it anymore when not in long drives, unlike now). Depreciation however will increase considerably because even with a lower rate the base value is much higher, and new cars do depreciate faster (percentage-wise) than five year old cars. A base Model 3 will initially be worth more than three times my 2012 LEAF, so it’d need to depreciate at a rate less than a third not to cost me more – and that seems impossible.

          I suppose you can say that with charging cost being so insignificant it doesn’t actually matter all that much if the most efficient model is used or not. I actually agree with that, but it rests on the assumption Tesla really builds the extra capacity to get the same level of congestion. And to me at least it’s simply annoying to knowingly choose a worse system design, even if in practice the difference should turn out to be just a hundred bucks a year (insignificant compared to other costs of car ownership). Plus I think you should concede the point that a system in which users pay is rationally better.

          There’s no difference in principle between buying a lifetime of unlimited electricity supply for your house with an upfront lump sum payment, or an unlimited supply of coffee, or most any other thing we consume and where we pay for our own share of the total, proportionally to our own use. I see no special reason why charging is any different, and yet I don’t see any of you proponents arguing that we should buy other stuff in this manner. And I think on reflection you see clearly why we shouldn’t. It would lead to overconsumption and careless use. If coffee is free we might pick up a big cup just in case and drink only a little of it, then get a fresh cup fifteen minutes later… it’s best when it’s freshly brewed after all. Happily electricity need not be that fresh, but there’s still every reason to expect chargers to be less efficiently allocated to users who need them the cheaper they are, with free being the worst case scenario (short of paying people to charge).

  5. cab says:

    I agree that Model S demand is likely softening. Honestly, the Model S has been w/o real competition for years, but the advent of the Model 3 means most buyers for it will get the most desirable features of the Model S (big battery, nice performance, supercharger availability and good lloks) for a LOT less. The Model S’ interior is nothing to write home about, and even though I expect the Model 3 interior to be a bit low rent, ieven that is more pallatable in the much cheaper 3.

    I might expect Tesla to make “unlimited supercharging” standard on the Model S in the future to try and distinguish it from its little brother. Indeed, Tesla will need to do something the bridge the gap between the current and future generations of the model S to continue to make that car (with its likely mich higher profit margin) attractive…and spare me the “the current Model S is really then 4th gen” hyperbole.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      cab said:

      “I might expect Tesla to make ‘unlimited supercharging’ standard on the Model S in the future to try and distinguish it from its little brother.”

      And Model X, too. Or if not “unlimited”, then at least a substantially greater number of free kWh per year. Since Tesla is using the Supercharger system to help advertise and sell its cars, it certainly makes business sense for it to offer premium Supercharger access for its “premium” car models. This despite the fact that every additional Tesla car on the road with “unlimited” access makes clogging worse for existing Teslae owners.

  6. orinoco says:

    “All you can eat” does not necessarily improves the quality of the service. I would love to pay per unit, if this guarantees me the best service e.g. a free, full speed supercharger loading space when I need it.
    At least some “fair use” rules to the “unlimited” would have made sense e.g. “no more than twice the same supercharger” or “no supercharger within 200km/150miles around the main location of your Tesla”

    1. SparkEV says:

      Related to that, it would be great if Tesla has few dedicated spots for paid charging at each site. For some of us, paying a little bit of money is far better than waiting for free, but there may be some who’d rather waste their time to save couple of bucks. Also, not-clogged sites would get free charging while clogged site must wait for free or pay.

      Of course, this makes way too much sense, so I doubt it’ll ever be done.

      1. SparkEV, you need to start Billing Tesla for all your advice! All these freely offered ideas is going to keep you short on Model 3 Funds!
        :*)

        1. SparkEV says:

          Don’t worry, I’m saving up to buy Tesla (the company) and run it like the way I want. You can be sure the first to go will be free charging, at least severely curtailed. Based on my savings rate, it’ll happen in about 5 billion years. 🙂

          1. Time to stop eating! You could double your savings rate, at least!
            :*)

            On the otherhand, hiw do you plan to remove Chevy, Ford, & Dodge Pickups, their Snowmobile Trailers, and all other ICE vehicles from blocking Supercharger access? That is a big problem in places like Revelstoke, BC, in the Winter!

            I assume you have a plan for thungs like that too? And Superchargers where local Restaurant Staff, purposely park all THEIR Cars and Trucks and SUV’s in Supercharger Stalls, like has happened!

            You do need to get out of the crowded areas a bit more, to see beyond “Free Charging” as being the biggest problem, just because it seems to be YOUR Biggest Problem!

            Dealers, that won’t let other brands use their L2 chargers, “Because they are getting Free Electricity”, but if you show up in an ICE Vehicle, they offer you all the Free Coffee you could drink, but that is OK, because ‘Only ICE Drivers are likely to buy a car from them!’, is an Attitude that is also a problem! And that will expand, as more dealers add DC QC’s, too!

            That will only change when enough Dealer Sales and General Managers are driving Pure EV’s, and have such experiences themselves! Then they might get the notion to be a bit mire friendly and inclusive, allowing ALL EV drivers to access their services for charging!

            How about this, a vending machine for Food and Beverages beside the Charging station: you buy a drink and a snack, the charge is free, if not, then the charge session costs $?

            1. SparkEV says:

              By the time I take over Tesla, there won’t be any ICE on the road, so no worries about them. However, I will worry about a-hole Tesla drivers using EV charging spot as parking spot. I’ve been “ICEd” by Tesla far more than by ICE cars.

              The model behavior is BMW i3 drivers. I have encountered so many of them very gracious and helpful. I have yet to encounter another SparkEV at public charger, so maybe that’s the best of all: no waiting! 🙂

      2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Seriously, that is a brilliant idea, one that I hope Tesla will adopt for its busier stations.

        1. SparkEV says:

          Every site is potentially busy site. They should have at least one paid spot on every site. Also, the paid station should not share power so that charging is maximum. After all, you’re paying money for the convenience of time, sharing with someone else isn’t good.

          Again, this will never be done, just like how I thought Dump will never get elected or how I thought billing by time makes most sense to discourage needless waiting (ie, they go off shopping).

    2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      orinoco said:

      “At least some ‘fair use’ rules to the ‘unlimited’ would have made sense e.g. ‘no more than twice the same supercharger’ ”

      From reports, one of the busiest Supercharger stations is (or at least was at one time) the station that’s halfway between L.A. and Las Vegas. If I was a Model S buyer who bought a Model S with the intention of driving to Lost Wages for a weekend several times a year, I would certainly feel gypped if Tesla changed the terms of use to start charging if I used the same Supercharger more than twice in a year!

      The entire point of the Supercharger network is to enable long-distance travel, and that includes making the same trip multiple times a year. Telling people they can only use the same Supercharger station twice (or twice a year), and they have to pay a fee if they use it more often, would be counter to Tesla’s purpose of using the Supercharger network to support long distance travel.

      1. Also, such sites could be increased in Superchargers count, like from 8 to 12, or to 15, or even 20!

        Or, there could be a cluster of Supercharger sites in the key area, each with 8-12 stalls, none more than a few miles from another, at key points and heavy use cross roads! Thus would be how Gas Stations are clustered, with restaurants.

        Also, as not everyone using a Supercharging site, is ready to go in 20-30 minutes, for personal reasons, adding an equal number of ‘Tesla Destination Chargers’ at a Supercharging site, could offer choices, at a much lower cost to Tesla, and quicker, than the processes to set up more Superchargers in a busy location, at least as a starting point!

        Plus, putting Superchargers at intervals of 50-75 Miles, would allow better spread of charging options, bring Tesla Customers to more local businesses, etc! Especially, this is what seems to be a bit more of their 2017 Supercharging plan. (It sure isn’t about connecting Superchargers across Canada!)

    3. Terawatt says:

      Capping free charging at 80% is one such limitation that could help a bit. At least it prevents chargers capable of delivering 130 kW from being used at 10 kW half the time, which is what you get if you plug in at 30% and charge to 100%. The closer to 100% you get, the less efficient the resource is used.

      And that’s why charging should be billed by the minute. Time at the socket is the scarce resource, not energy delivered. This model also makes the energy bought cheaper per unit the more efficiently you charge, encouraging folks to run low before topping up and make an extra stop rather than max the SoC. Not to mention making remaining plugged-in after the car is fully charged simply a very expensive parking place, as it ought to be. Today it’s not unusual for cars to occupy a stall without charging at all, simply because it’s convenient sometimes to come back later. Hopefully autonomy will soon solve that issue so the car can remove itself and head for it’s owners having dessert nearby instead of causing a queue, but we’re not there yet and it may require wireless (and thus the onboard charger must be powerful enough) to be cheap and easy to do. Or perhaps the plug can unlock, so the next in line can unplug and then the car can drive away by itself?? Anyway, time-based pricing is the best model and the fairest one; energy-based billing ignores three most important resource, namely time.

  7. justin says:

    Feel free to use my link for Free Supercharging and $1,000 off
    https://www.tesla.com/models/design/referral/justin9918

  8. Fabian says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if demand is softening. Having seen the significant decrease in the cost of upgrading current model S batteries and now giving retroactive free supercharging back to customers. Something must be happening. I am guessing it is everyone is waiting for the model 3.

  9. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    I confess to some confusion here. Does “unlimited free” Supercharging mean you don’t have to pay the “parking fee” for leaving your car sitting at a Supercharger after it’s fully charged?

    I certainly do understand why Sparky and others say that “unlimited, free” is a really bad idea — Google “The Tragedy of the Commons” if you don’t understand. But at the same time, Tesla is using that to help advertise and sell its cars. So it makes sense for Tesla to continue to offer that, even when it’s bad for individual customers.

    I hope Tesla will at least keep the “parking fee” charge even if they continue to extend “free” supercharging to Model S and X buyers. Anything to reduce clogging and eliminate waiting lines at busy Supercharger stations is a good thing for every owner of a Tesla car.

    Fortunately, most Supercharger stations don’t have waiting lines most of the time.

    1. GVC says:

      “Great news—starting today, your Model S or Model X has free, unlimited Supercharging. You will no longer be charged for pay per use Supercharging, although idle fees will still apply.”
      This is from the email I got from Tesla today. I ordered my S60D in April of this year.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Thanks for the info, GVC!

        Good to see that Tesla is keeping that part of its efforts to reduce clogging, and reduce freeloading by misers using Superchargers to replace normal charging at home/work.

      2. And how long before SparkEV chimes in on this information?

        What his challenge is, is he drives a Spark EV, with under 125 miles range (about 85 miles?), and so never gets out of the state with it, so his problems are supposed to be the only ones to consider!

        He should get a friend with a Tesla S60, and drive/ride that for a few months, for a bit better perspective! Then get a friend with a 75D, 90D, or 100D, and do the same, and see how much less charging challeges occur as the range goes up! Also, he could actually Do a Road Trip in such cars, instead of a Charging Adventure, like he currently lives!

        1. Terawatt says:

          That’s totally unfair. He has been arguing that unlimited charging is an inferior model and Pupu just pointed to why: the tragedy of the commons. It’s basic economics.

          You haven’t offered anything to show what he is wrong about, but instead attack his motives and now claim he is only interested in his current problems that would not even exist with a long range car.

          Far more reasonable is to assume that Sparky may be worried that his current problems would become real also for Tesla owners if they fail to learn the lesson from basic economics. There’s plenty of practical examples of reduce allocation working out terribly because stuff is free or nearly so. Freshwater is an instructive example. No charge to charge is another. Arguably, pollution in general can be viewed as a consequence of an economic system that fails to bill real costs (deterioration of the environment) to individuals whose actions are causing it. If it costs me personally nothing to emit gases into the atmosphere and I drive benefit from doing so I’m likely to do so – even if I had been better off if I, and crucially everyone else, had to pay for emissions and chose to emit less.

          I have yet to see any of the proponents of unlimited charging explain what is so special about this particular service as to make it, but not other things, something everyone should pay equally for regardless of use. Why doesn’t this apply to milk, toilet paper, electricity in general, or even petrol? Wouldn’t it feel just as good to get this stuff “for free”?

          In short, you haven’t got a leg to stand on – and that’s why you resort to such useless “arguments” as drawing your opponent’s motives in doubt.

          1. SparkEV says:

            Wow Terawatt, I am thoroughly impressed. Yeah, much of world’s woes are due to free stuff. As you point out, if there’s a way to meter air usage, we wouldn’t have air pollution problem.

            I bitch so much about free charging, because it affects me, both now and in the future. Now is obvious, but I plan to get Tesla in the future, and having superchargers clogged with locals and free chargers is something I want to avoid, especially since there will be 10 billion Tesla on road soon.

        2. SparkEV says:

          Robert, it doesn’t matter if your car can do 1000 miles per charge. You will need to charge eventually, and if it’s clogged with locals most times, that will piss you off.

          If EV adoption rate forever remain way under 1%, you might have a case of building enough chargers. But my CA experience is telling the world what’s to come with more EV on the road: free charging SUCKS!

  10. itsok2be says:

    I don’t get it. they sucker me into a purchase before Jan 15 so that I can get free supercharging. then I make the purchase and they reduce the price of the 75 to only $1500 over my 60, but with a free roof that I paid 1500 for. The only consolation was that I could upgrade to a 75 for $2000 and that I had free supercharging. This meant that my car had some increased value compared to the cars sold a couple of weeks later, but with free superchanging for all, the relative value of my car drops.

    It appears I was suckered into buying a 60 immediately with a fake incentive before the price reduction. And, my supercharging was transferrable. Now it isn’t?

    1. Jay Cole says:

      If you indeed purchased a Model S before January 15th, then your car has the now grand-fathered unlimited Supercharging for the life of the car…not the “as long as you own it”. It is transferable.

      So, in this case, the residual of your EV is (at least in theory) higher than those bought after January 15th, as when those cars are resold, the unlimited Supercharging is lost.

  11. David Murray says:

    I don’t really understand the big deal. The best part about owning an EV is that I can charge it at home. There’s absolutely no reason I would want to drive to a super charger every day and charge there. The only benefit of such a station is for the unusual circumstance or long-distance driving. And since the supercharging would be a rare event, I don’t see the big deal about paying to use it.

    1. Terawatt says:

      Which is better though, anecdotal evidence and gut-feel, or data?

      Because the data supports the opposite conclusion. Incredible as it may seem to you, people at a charger are more likely to charge to 100%, even if they can get home with just 50%, if it’s free. People who drive past a supercharger on their way to work are more likely to make an unnecessary stop to leech some free electricity than if they can’t (surprising, eh?). It’s not necessary for everyone to be doing it all the time to cause the resource to be less efficiently allocated. We don’t run our taps all the time just because freshwater is cheap, but we’re not using it as efficiently as we would if it cost more.

      It’s possible that less efficient use of chargers doesn’t create more congestion, but only if there’s more capacity. So it is necessarily more expensive, all else being equal, to have a model where users pay a lump sum in advance than one where they pay for actual use. Even with more capacity and the same level of congestion the system would do a worse job of allocating chargers to those who need it most.

      If it cost just a little bit more to charge at the super than at home, the leeching issue would go away. And if you billed by the minute rather than by the kWh you additionally incentive users to make optimal use of the network. It would be cheaper to get the same kWh number in two stops of ten minutes than one of thirty minutes. Using a charger capable of 130 kW at 10 kW or less to get to 100% is incredibly wasteful of the most precious resource: time.

  12. William Wojahn says:

    The Iceholes and other non Tesla vehicles which may become congestion or blocks to chargers would be eliminated if Tesla would start requiring a gated area for their chargers. Only users with a Tesla fob would be allowed access to those charging areas.

  13. Jim Whitehead says:

    Did Tesla see a major drop in S and X orders when they eliminated free Supercharging for life? I think so.

    Perhaps Tesla discovered the “parking fee” of 40 cents a minute eliminated most of the worst abuses of Supercharging. (Many complaints were caused by a small handful of Tesla limo and cab owners in California, who even parked their cars at Superchargers overnight).

    “Free” is a powerful lure. I used it as a real estate broker to lure even millionaires into visit open houses, by giving away some free food and drinks. So I speculate that the lure of “free” anything must be built into humans as a basic survival trait from birth. (Example: Cave people who grabbed the free extra fruit now, even when full, didn’t have to worry about starving next week).

  14. agzand says:

    I guess Tesla was going to miss their delivery target in Q2. People are talking about Model 3 taking market share from BMW, Merc etc. The truth is that the largest market share will be taken from Model S/X. Because these are the closest competitors to Model 3 in terms of performance, but cost twice. So they are completely noncompetitive against Model 3.

  15. ModernMarvelFan says:

    Tesla is trying to make Model S/X more appealing.

    Many of the Tesla S/X buyer wanted Tesla because the cool brand, performance, 200+ miles range and SC access.

    Model 3 has all of that and only cost about 1/2 of the price.

    So, that is why many of those buyers are waiting for the “cheaper” version.

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