It is no secret that Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) will roll in a new Supercharger Program once 2017 arrives. This new revision is the first major change to the economics of its public charging stations. That is, new Tesla owners will actually have to start paying in order to juice up their cars. This is once they have used up their annual allotment. The move comes as a huge relief to investors who see free Supercharging as a waste of company resources.
Shareholders are not the only ones thrilled about the change. Existing members of the Tesla community appear extremely relieved as well. According to them, the limited free use of Superchargers will do away with many of the annoyances that are prevalent at Supercharger stations.
Tesla started its SuperCharger Network back in 2012. It soon became known as the fastest car charging solution it the world. It also took away the city-bound status that was often associated with the electric cars. Today more than 160,000 Tesla owners worldwide have free access to the company’s 4,600 global charging stations. From the strongholds of Asia, including China and Japan, to most of the E.U., North and South America, Tesla’s superchargers have allowed owners to travel with peace of mind.
However, years later these charging stations have become abused by locals. This is in spite of the fact they are actually meant to let those passing through the area fuel up and be on their way.
Backed up Supercharger locations
The end of last week saw CEO Elon Musk address a very controversial issue. It was brought up by Loic Le Meur, a French business man and Model S owner. Via a Twitter post, Le Meur said the congestion at Silicon Valley’s popular San Mateo Supercharger location is getting out of hand. More often than not, the charging station features Tesla cars parked at stalls and not being being charged. This is turn leaves a limited number of available stalls for other drivers to use.
Musk gave an immediate response. “You’re right,” the CEO wrote back. “This is becoming an issue. Supercharger spots are meant for charging, not parking. Will take action.”
The state of California is home to more electric car owners than any other in America. Silicon Valley holds the bulk of them. This is according to the Center for Sustainable Energy, which claims that 7 out of every 1,000 cars in the region is electric. This lends itself to one particular problem. Locals in the area tend to plug in their Teslas and simply leave them there long after they arr charged up, sometimes over night.
However, there is an incoming change to the dynamics of the Supercharger network. The transformation will have many new Tesla owners think twice about abusing the Supercharger stalls.
Those who decide to order a Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) after the new year has set in will find themselves less privileged than the existing Tesla community. These new owners will only be entitled to 400 kWh of free Supercharging per year. This equates to around 1,000 miles of free juice. After that has been used up, the new batch of Tesla drivers will be subject to a light fee for charging their cars. According to the company, the cost will be reasonable and considerably less than filling up a gas-fueled vehicle.
CEO Elon Musk has said before that he believes public charging is not an effective way to juice up your Tesla. He tends to use his well-known cellphone analogy to drive the idea home. Where is the convenience in buying a cellphone if you have to go out to the store every time you needed to charge it? Since your car is an item that is equally as personal, fueling it should be something that is more in the control of its owner.
So, in a bid to encourage the adoption of home charging stations and turn public Superchargers to a contingency plan, a change to the Supercharger Program had to be introduced.
Ease congestion for Tesla
While new buyers may see this as an unfair move, existing members of the Tesla community are excited. Even those who plan on getting a Tesla, having seen the backed up charging stations, are looking forward to this transition. Harvey Payne had this to say about the new program:
“As a Tesla Model 3 reservation holder, I’m quite happy to hear this plan. One of the big problems with cross country driving is some Supercharger stations are jammed full of locals who should be charging at home, but are just to cheap and inconsiderate to do so. This would only get worse with half a million Model 3s hitting the streets every year.”
For Payne, the incoming Supercharger program means that by the time the Model 3 rolls out, he will be able to drive his car cross country no problem, with little worry about congestion.
Thomas Moore, another Tesla fanatic, sees no issue with the change either. “Folks who think this is a big deal are apparently unaware of how little it costs to charge a car at prevailing rates,” he stated.
If you wish make the soon-to-be exclusive list of free, unlimited Supercharger users, then you have just over two weeks to do so. The new year comes with a change to the existing Supercharger program and will finally see Tesla capitalize on the use of its charging network. However, the company claims the move is well-intentioned and will benefit the Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) community in the long-run.