Tesla to stop free use of charg­ing sta­tions

Kuwait Times - - TECHNOLOGY -

Elec­tric car maker Tesla Mo­tors has de­cided to stop of­fer­ing un­lim­ited free use of its 734 fast charg­ing sta­tions worldwide, just months be­fore it’s sched­uled to start sell­ing a mass-mar­ket elec­tric car. Tesla Mo­tors Inc. says cars or­dered af­ter Jan. 1, 2017 will get roughly 1,000 miles worth of cred­its each year for use at the Su­per­charger sta­tions. But af­ter the cred­its are used, own­ers will have to pay fees that Tesla didn’t de­tail on Mon­day. Ve­hi­cles or­dered or sold on or be­fore Jan. 1 would still get un­lim­ited free charg­ing. The move means that those who buy Tesla’s mass-mar­ket $35,000 Model 3, which is due to go on sale in the sec­ond half of next year, won’t get un­lim­ited free charg­ing. Tesla has more than 300,000 reser­va­tions for the cars, and if all those own­ers started us­ing su­per­charger sta­tions for free, that could get ex­pen­sive for Tesla. Tesla wouldn’t say specif­i­cally how much its fees will be, but it said charg­ing would cost less than the price of fill­ing a com­pa­ra­ble gaso­line car. The com­pany says it will re­lease fee de­tails later this year and that prices could fluc­tu­ate over time and vary by re­gional elec­tric­ity costs.

The way for­ward’

Still, the move shouldn’t hurt Tesla sales be­cause the com­pany re­mains the mar­ket leader for elec­tric ve­hi­cles, and own­ers don’t use the sta­tions that of­ten, said Tasha Keeney, an­a­lyst for the in­dus­trial in­no­va­tion fund at ARK In­vest. Tesla own­ers charge their cars at home more than 90 per­cent of the time, she said, us­ing the Su­per­charg­ers mainly for trips or when they need ex­tra range.

At the av­er­age US elec­tric­ity price of 12.9 cents per kilo­watt hour, it would cost $9.68 to fully recharge a Tesla Model S with a 275-mile bat­tery at home. “EVs are the way for­ward. Tesla is in a re­ally good po­si­tion with 30 per­cent of the mar­ket. We don’t see that chang­ing,” said Keeney, whose fund has hold­ings in Palo Alto, Cal­i­for­nia-based Tesla Mo­tors Inc.

Buy­ers of new cars or­dered or sold on or be­fore Jan. 1 must take de­liv­ery be­fore April 1 in or­der to get the un­lim­ited free charg­ing. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said pre­vi­ously that Model 3 own­ers would have to pay to use the charg­ing sta­tions. Tesla’s sta­tions are used only 5 per­cent to 10 per­cent of the day, Keeney said, but many Tesla own­ers use them as a so­cial gath­er­ing place to talk with other own­ers.

The Su­per­charger sta­tions can give the cars 170 miles of range in a half hour. A 30-amp pub­lic charg­ing sta­tion can only do 10 miles in a half hour, the com­pany says on its web­site. In the U.S., charg­ing sta­tions are across the na­tion, but many are con­cen­trated in pop­u­la­tion cen­ters long the East and West Coasts. The sta­tions were set up to en­able long-dis­tance travel by Tesla elec­tric cars. The com­pany’s Model S sedan can go be­tween 219 and 302 miles per charge de­pend­ing on bat­tery and soft­ware con­fig­u­ra­tions. Tesla says the change will let it ex­pand the su­per­charger net­work and it will not make a profit from the charg­ing sta­tions. — AP

CAL­I­FOR­NIA: This un­dated file photo shows Tesla Mo­tors charg­ing sta­tions. — AP

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