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Tesla announces a new fee if you want to charge above 90% at some Superchargers

Published Nov 22nd, 2023 3:11PM EST
Tesla Supercharger
Image: Tesla

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One of the benefits of electric vehicles is that, depending on the location of the charging station, you could leave your car to shop at the mall or go to a restaurant while it’s charging. Who cares if it takes a little longer to get back on the road compared to pumping gas if you get to enjoy that time doing something else?

However, as more and more people buy electric vehicles, that dream runs into a problem. If too many people do this at the same time, a charging station can hit capacity, and those pulling in to charge can find a sea of unaccompanied vehicles sitting around, waiting for their owners to return from their relaxing lunch at Starbucks.

If you’re planning to keep doing that at Tesla’s Superchargers, you could find yourself paying an extra fee now. In an update to one of its support documents, the company has announced that it will start charging a “congestion fee” at “certain” locations.

At certain Supercharging locations, congestion fees will replace idle fees. A congestion fee is a fee you pay when a Supercharger is busy, and your vehicle’s battery is above a certain level. You can see the battery charge level where congestion fees apply on your vehicle’s touchscreen.

The company says that it will only charge this fee when:

  • The Supercharger is busy
  • Your vehicle’s battery is already at or above the congestion fee level

Thankfully, Tesla will alert you if you’re in danger of being charged the congestion fee, so you’ll have enough time to sprint from the other side of the mall to move your car.

If you meet all the above criteria during your Supercharging session, you will receive an alert in the Tesla app. You will have a five-minute grace period to disconnect your vehicle and leave before congestion fees apply. After the grace period, you will be charged a fee for each minute you remain connected to the Supercharger.

According to the support document, the first country to get these congestion fees is — you guessed it — the United States. If you’re at a charging station that has implemented the policy and your Tesla is charged past 90% battery, you’ll be charged $1.00 per minute that you keep it on the charger.

Mercedes in front of a Tesla SuperchargerImage source: Mercedes

Tesla says that it is introducing this fee in order to encourage drivers to “charge only as much as is needed for their trip, rather than all the way to 100%. This increases the availability of Superchargers so that everyone has access when they need it.”

While some Tesla owners will grumble at the change, it honestly makes sense. You shouldn’t be able to leave your car at a charger as long as you want when it could be used by someone else — just like you can’t leave your car at a gas station stall. It’s a courtesy to move your EV when you have enough charge so someone else can charge their car. Of course, this move will also net Tesla move revenue since there will inherently be more charging sessions, but that’s fine. This is a win for both EV owners and Tesla alike.

The announcement comes a week after the company announced a new referral promotion that will net new Model 3 and Model Y buyers 6 months of free Supercharging.

Joe Wituschek Tech News Contributor

Joe Wituschek is a Tech News Contributor for BGR.

With expertise in tech that spans over 10 years, Joe covers the technology industry's breaking news, opinion pieces and reviews.

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