Tesla now asks for fees at supercharging stations

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【Summary】Tesla announced recently that customers purchasing any new car after January 15, 2017 will have to pay supercharging fees.

Original Claire    Jan 19, 2017 2:30 PM PT
Tesla now asks for fees at supercharging stations

Beware, Tesla owners. Some of you might have to pay fees when charging your car.  

The EV giant announced recently that customers purchasing any new car after January 15, 2017 will have to pay supercharging fees. New owners can still enjoy 400 kWh of free charging credits annually, which is sufficient for driving 1,000 miles. However, after exceeding that, they will have be charged either by the kW (in most locations) or by the minute, as required by local regulations. The rate varies in different states in the US or around the world and could be looked up in the company website.

Taking California for example, the rate is $0.20 per kWh, which doesn't sound too bad as driving 1,000 miles could only cost you $80. And for those lucky ones who ordered Tesla cars before that date, they could still enjoy the unlimited plan.

Meanwhile, Tesla also puts forward an Idle Fee policy, to try to improve user experience and expedite waiting lines at the current limited supercharging stations.

"We designed the Supercharger network to enable a seamless, enjoyable road trip experience. Therefore, we understand that it can be frustrating to arrive at a station only to discover fully charged Tesla cars occupying all the spots. To create a better experience for all owners, we're introducing a fleet-wide idle fee that aims to increase Supercharger availability." Tesla said in its company website.

This new policy is targeting people who fully charged their car and leave the vehicle connected to the Supercharger for a long time, which occupies the limited charging spots and impacts other cars waiting in line. For every additional minute a car is connected to the machine, a $0.40 idle fee will be incurred. If the car is removed within 5 minutes, the fines will be waived.

For the time being, Tesla's supercharging stations charge with up to 145 kW of power, which is distributed between two adjacent cars, each with a maximum of 120kW. It's already 16 times faster than public charging stations; however, it still takes 75 minutes for a Tesla to fully charge its battery at the station—the long time does cause people to leave their vehicles at charging spots and run out for coffee or shopping, while forgetting to go back and unplug the car from the station. Now the Tesla app in the owner's smartphone could help monitor the charging status of a Tesla car- when it's reaching completion and in a fully charged state, the app will alert the driver twice so that he or she won't forget to unplug in a timely manner.

The company said these new policies are not intended to make profit. Instead, it is designed to enhance network efficiency and customer experience. The money collected will be used to build more supercharging stations, so that more Tesla cars will be able to charge conveniently.  

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