Tesla is introducing a new ‘fair use’ policy for its Supercharger network today. This is to deter the commercial use of its charging stations, which has become a problem in some markets, and to focus on the original intended use of the Supercharger network: enabling long-distance travel in electric vehicles.
The automaker says that any new or used Tesla vehicles purchased after today and is used for commercial purposes cannot use any Tesla Supercharger worldwide.
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According to the added statement on Tesla’s legal page, those commercial purposes include:
- as a taxi;
- for ridesourcing or ridesharing (through Uber, Lyft or similar services);
- to commercially deliver or transport goods;
- for government purposes; or
- for any other commercial venture.
The change is going to affect many people and companies, like Tesloop, which largely rely on Tesla’s Superchargers to provide its transport services in southern California, and the many taxi drivers using Tesla vehicles.
Fortunately, the change seems to only apply to vehicles purchased today onward – meaning that existing fleets are safe, but any new Tesla vehicle to their fleet will not be able to use the Supercharger network.
Tesla says that if an owner doesn’t comply, they will be able to “limit or block their vehicle’s ability to use Supercharger stations.”
Some Tesla owners complained that services, like Tesloop or the large Tesla taxi fleet in Amsterdam, were abusing the Tesla Superchargers – sometimes by even leaving vehicles at stations overnight:
Tesla later introduced “idle fees” to stop drivers from leaving their vehicles at Supercharger and it even announced the end of free unlimited Supercharger access by making it only for new vehicles purchased before December 31 through the referral program.
For commercial use, Tesla says that it will offer charging alternatives to Supercharger network.
We have previously seen examples of this, like Tesla building a privately owned Supercharger station to a taxi fleet in Montreal.
All these changes appear to be driven by Tesla’s goal to maintain the original intended use of the Supercharger network: long-distance travel.
The automaker wanted owners to be able to go on road trips virtually anywhere without having to worry about charging. They have mostly succeeded with the impressive growth of the network over the past 4 years (now over 1,000 stations and 8,000 Superchargers), but the free access also resulted in some abuse.
Now with those new changes and also a new type of “urban Supercharger” for those who need more frequent charging, Tesla seems to be on the right track.
Hopefully, this decision should result in a better experience for regular Tesla owners and the automaker will still deploy more dedicated chargers for commercial use – like it plans to do with Megachargers for Tesla Semi.