Today, more than 160,000 Tesla owners worldwide have free access to the company’s 4,600 global charging stations. From strongholds of Asia, including China and Japan, to most of the E.U., North and South America, Tesla’s superchargers have allowed its EV owners to travel with peace of mind. The Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) Supercharger Network was rolled out nearly 5 years ago. It became recognized as the quickest car charging solution it the world. It also took away the city-bound status that was often associated with the electric cars.
It is no secret that Tesla Motors will bring in a new Supercharger Program once 2017 rolls in. 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 huge relief to investors who see free Supercharging as a waste of company resources. Although, 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 use of free Superchargers will do away with many of the annoyances that are prevalent at Supercharger stations.
A less privileged Tesla class
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. This has many future owners feeling a little less enthusiastic about purchasing a Tesla. Some even crying foul and suggesting Tesla is allowing for a less privileged class of EV drivers. 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 light fee for charging their cars. According to the company, the cost will be reasonable and considerably less than filling up a gas-fueled car.
CEO Elon Musk has said before that he believes public charging is not an effective way to juice up your Tesla. The chief exec tends to use his well-known cellphone analogy to drive the idea home. Why would anyone buy a cellphone if they had to go to the store every time they 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 too 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.
Tesla Motors Inc. promises that more details will be given before the year is out. The firm also makes one more assurance to the public. “While prices may fluctuate over time and very regionally based on the cost of electricity, our Supercharger Network will never be a profit center.” That being said, the move holds all the workings of an obvious incentive plan. It should see a large portion of next year’s demand come forward into the current year.
New Supercharger Age
Tesla owners won’t be grumbling over long waits at Supercharger stalls for much longer. This is according to sources that sight CEO Elon Musk teasing the third generation of the EV giant’s Superchargers. Without any official figures to go on, experts speculate the next gen Superchargers could provide “much, much more power than the maximum 150 kW per car you see today.” Even the 350kWh guess made by EV watcher and reporter Fred Lambert was described by Musk as a children’s toy in comparison to what Tesla has in the works.
-“Any update on plan to install solar arrays at Supercharger stations?” Lambert tweeted Musk.
-“There are some installed already,” the CEO tweeted back, “but full rollout needs Supercharger V3 and Powerpack V2, plus SolarCity. Pieces now in place.”
-“Supercharger V3? Now I’m curious. What power out are we talking about? 350 kW?”
-“A mere 350 kW …” was Musk’s response “what are you referring to, a children’s toy?”
Tesla Motors Inc.’s Supercharger network is undeniably faster than most public charging stations out there. Despite this, they still aren’t as speedy as many drivers would like. It typically takes just under an hours to get a full charge on your Tesla. As a con, that isn’t anywhere near as convenient as the quick fill up and go factor that comes with gas powers cars.