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Tesla to end free Supercharger access

by Justin King

Buyers will receive 400 kWh of free Supercharger credits annually before having to pay for use.

Tesla Motors has confirmed plans to stop offering unlimited free access to its Supercharger network.

The company argues that it must change its Supercharger business model to further accelerate growth beyond the current network of more than 4,600 charging stations across the globe.

The change is also promoted as a way to ensure the "best Supercharging experience," potentially addressing concerns over long wait lines as Tesla's serviced fleet grows from 160,000 vehicles to more than a half million units in the coming years. Charging for use encourages owners to install high-output chargers at home, rather than using Superchargers as a primary charging system.

"We've designed our network so that all customers have access to a seamless and convenient charging experience when they're away from home, as our intention has always been for Supercharging to enable long distance travel," the automaker wrote in a blog post.

Buyers who use the system on occasion may not notice much of a cost increase, as Tesla will include 400-kWh of free Supercharging credits annually with new cars purchased after January 1. The figure represents around 1,000 miles of electric range.

"Beyond that, there will be a small fee to Supercharge which will be charged incrementally and cost less than the price of filling up a comparable gas car," the company added.

The pricing structure will fluctuate over time and vary based on the cost of electricity, but Tesla is not yet ready to announce specific details.

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