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Tesla ends free Supercharger access for new Model S and Model X buyers

Updated Sep 18th, 2018 4:57AM EDT
Tesla Supercharger
Image: Ena/AP/REX/Shutterstock

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It may seem like ages ago, but one of the longstanding knocks against electric cars used to center on “range anxiety,” the idea that an electric car owner could potentially find themselves completely out of juice and stranded without a charging station in sight. With that said, one of the smartest things Tesla did was rapidly roll out a network of charging stations at strategic locations all across the United States and, more recently, across the globe. As a result, Tesla owners these days can easily travel across the country without having to worry about where they’ll be able to charge up mid-journey.

Over the past few years, though, Tesla sales have exploded. In turn, Supercharging stations have become increasingly congested, despite Tesla’s best efforts to significantly expand its network. Indeed, Tesla just last year announced a plan to double its charging network in order to accommodate the Model 3.

With demand for fast-charging on the rise, Tesla last year relayed that Model 3 owners would not have access to unlimited charging. And though Model S and Model X owners have long enjoyed free charging, Engadget is reporting that free charging is no longer an option for all new Tesla buyers.

The report reads in part:

The end to the offer isn’t surprising, even with Tesla’s repeated extensions. Superchargers may cost you less than filling up a gas-powered car, but they’re still expensive to operate — Tesla had to factor the cost of Supercharging into every sale when the perk was free for every buyer. And when the automaker is still bleeding cash, it’s likely determined to cut costs and boost revenue whenever possible.

To be clear, current Tesla owners who previously enjoyed unlimited charging will still be able to do so as long a they hold onto their vehicle and don’t sell it. As Tesla notes on its website: “Free unlimited Supercharging and Supercharging credits will only apply to the original vehicle owner and only for the duration of original vehicle ownership.”

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.