That was quick. Last week, CEO Elon Musk warned that Tesla will “take action” against Tesla owners leaving their vehicles at Supercharger stations after charging is over. He said: “Supercharger spots are meant for charging, not parking”.
Today the company took action and introduced a new $0.40 per minute idle fee for the entire Supercharger network.
The fee will start as soon as the charging session is over, but it will be waived if the vehicle is moved within 5 minutes – basically giving owners 5 minutes of free parking after charging is over at a Supercharger.
In a press release (read below), Tesla made it clear that it doesn’t plan (hope) to make money off the new scheme, and that it’s only a way to “increase Supercharger availability”. In other words, it’s a way to make sure the Superchargers are used for what they were meant for: charging.
Update: Musk is now changing the program slightly so that idle fees don’t incur when the Superchargers are mostly deserted:
Due to all its vehicles being connected virtually at all times, it’s not difficult for Tesla to keep track of the fees and it plans to charge people during their next Service Center visit. The Tesla mobile app will notify you if you incurred idle fees after your charging sessions at a Supercharger.
Earlier this year, Tesla already started implementing a new message text-based alert system to deter owners from leaving their cars at Superchargers after reaching their preset charging requirements. Tesla would send a message text alerting the owner that charging is over and then again every 5 minutes until the vehicle is unplugged.
It was apparently the first step leading to the announcement made today.
Here’s Tesla’s press release in full:
Improving Supercharger Availability
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 Teslas 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.
We envision a future where cars move themselves once fully charged, enhancing network efficiency and the customer experience even further. Until then, we ask that vehicles be moved from the Supercharger once fully charged. One would never leave a car parked at a gas station right at the pump and the same rule applies with Superchargers.
The Tesla app allows owners to remotely monitor their vehicle, alerting them when their charge is nearly complete and again once fully charged. For every additional minute a car remains connected to the Supercharger, it will incur a $0.40 idle fee. If the car is moved within 5 minutes, the fee is waived. To be clear, this change is purely about increasing customer happiness and we hope to never make any money from it.
We’re excited to increase availability during long distance travel and think this change will make the Supercharging experience far better for everyone.