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Tesla set to introduce fast-charger charge

On a charge: New Tesla car customers will help to fund an expansion of the supercharger network by paying for electricity to charge their car’s batteries from next year.

New customers to pay for electricity from Tesla superchargers from 2017

9 Nov 2016

NEW customers who buy a Tesla electric car from the start of next year will have to pay “a small fee” to charge their vehicle from Tesla’s supercharger stations, according to a company blog.

Current Tesla owners and those who place an order before the end of December and get delivery before April 1 will get to keep their unlimited free charging access to the 120kW charging points that can supply a half charge of the batteries in as little as 20 minutes.

To ease the pain for new owners, customers from 2017 will get annual free credits for the first 400 kilowatt hours of charging – roughly enough for a return trip between Sydney and Melbourne – after which they will have to pay for the electricity.

Tesla is yet to spell out how much the electricity will cost, but claims it will be a non-profit service that will be cheaper than filling up a petrol car.

More details are promised before the change takes effect.

Although the announcement was made at global headquarters, it appears to apply to all countries, including Australia where Tesla advertises a network of eight supercharger stations.

These stations are mainly on the Sydney-Melbourne axis, with stations dotted up the Hume Highway at Euroa, Wodonga, Gundagai and Goulburn. As well, Melbourne has one supercharging point, at the Tesla dealership in Richmond, while Sydney has two, in Pyrmont and Lower North Shore.

For drivers heading north of Sydney, there is only one supercharger, at Port Macquarie.

Tesla says that by charging for electricity, it will be able to fund an expansion of the supercharger network as it launches the volume-selling Model 3 next year.

“Just as you would charge your cell phone, we believe the best way to charge your car is either at home or at work, during the hours you’re not using it,” the statement says.

“For travellers, the supercharger network has become a powerful, unique benefit of Tesla ownership. As we approach the launch of Model 3, this update will enable us to greatly expand our supercharger network, providing customers with the best possible user experience and bringing sustainable transport to even more people.”

Tesla began rolling out the supercharger network globally four years ago, offering customers a certain freedom from range anxiety on some routes.

It now claims to have 4600 fast chargers around the world for its 160,000 customers.

Tesla has recently branched out into the home battery and solar cell markets, offering a package that helps Tesla car owners charge their vehicle at home on sun power.

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