Do you understand Tesla’s new Supercharging policy?

When Tesla introduced Model S, all EVs were new and unproven products, and many prospective buyers were worried about running out of juice. Free Supercharging for life was a sort of teaser offer that probably closed many a sale, but common sense will tell you that it couldn’t have lasted forever.

Tesla replaced the “free unlimited” policy with a new one that it believes is fair to both existing and future owners – unfortunately, it is necessarily a bit complex. Electrek has made a valiant effort to explain the new deal, but a glance at the long list of comments that the article spawned shows that it is still unclear to many.

There’s no bait-and-switch: owners of vehicles ordered before January 15, 2017 are definitely entitled to free, unlimited Supercharging as long as they own the vehicles. Beyond that, things get trickier.

For vehicles ordered after January 15, owners receive 400 kWh of free Supercharger credit per year. After that, they have to pay. In some cases, Tesla owners will retain free Supercharging privileges as long as they own any Model S or Model X (but not Model 3) – in other words, free Supercharging runs with the owner, not the vehicle.

What about used vehicles? The way Electrek figures it, pre-owned vehicles produced before January 15, 2017, are still entitled to free Supercharging, “but future used Tesla vehicles will not have this advantage even if the original owners will actually have had access to Superchargers for free.” Well…okay.

The referral program also comes into play. Apparently, in some cases, if a new Model S or X buyer uses a referral code, they are entitled to free Supercharging in addition to the $1,000 referral discount.

As one commenter put it, “I don’t think Tesla could have confused people any worse if they had tried.” That’s probably overstating the case, but if you’re considering a purchase, we strongly advise you to speak directly with a Tesla salesperson, and get a written statement of what your Supercharging privileges will be.


Source: Electrek

  • Brandon

    It made sense to me from Electrek’s article. Somebody tell me if I’m wrong:
    From last Friday (May 19th) those current Tesla owners (not their cars) will get free lifetime Supercharging, and under the new referral program, free lifetime Supercharging can be obtained, again, for the owner, not the car.

  • dogphlap dogphlap

    I have not read the article in Electrek but I’m nevertheless confused from other sources. This is my understanding. As an owner of a 2015 Model S I’m unaffected i.e. I will still get free Supper Charging for as long as I own the vehicle and that privilege will pass on to subsequent owners of that particular vehicle. The rest is just a mess of strange decisions that appear to have come from the mind of a lawyer who has spent his life drafting tax legislation. Can it really be true that a buyer ordering a Model S or X without first obtaining and using a referral code will not only miss out on a $1000 discount but also free SuperCharging for life (which now is no longer tied to a particular car but rather to a particular owner) ?
    It’s as if some scribe was taking notes at a chaotic board meeting where ideas were floated to arrest a sudden drop in Model S and X sales and was then tasked to come up with a plan that incorporated all the threads (no matter how incompatible) that came from that.
    In my case if a Model 3 (which at the time I knew was coming to my country in about four or five years) was soon to be available I’d have bought that rather than the Model S which I knew was far too big for me and the roads around here (and far too expensive) but was then the only available EV with the range I needed. That seems like a more probable cause for any slowing down in Model S and X sales than any confusion in buyers minds about a $35,000 vehicle being the new and better replacement for a $100,000 car (seriously how many people with Model S or X money would be so dumb).

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