Tesla was supposed to add Model S and Model X vehicles to its paid Supercharger access program back in January 2017, but it delayed the move. They even retroactively extended free access to some owners.
It was supposed to happen again this month, but the company announced that they are still delaying it through a change in the owner’s referral program.
Technically, when someone buys a Model S or a Model X, the vehicle automatically falls under Tesla’s paid Supercharger program with an included 400 kWh of free Supercharging per year unless they use a referral code.
But virtually every new buyer uses a referral code, which results in almost all Model S and Model X (over 250,000 vehicles) having free access to the network.
Only the Model 3 doesn’t have access to free Supercharging or even the annual 400 kWh of free Supercharger credits.
When it first introduced the new paid program, Tesla said that it planned to reinvest the revenue into growing the network.
As we previously reported, the 400 kWh of annual Supercharger Credits is likely to be enough for most people’s driving habits, but it can limit frequent users.
In order to help on that front, Tesla instead introduces a new ‘Supercharger Fair Use’ policy to focus on long-distance travel and deter commercial use.
Do you think Tesla will ever put Model S and Model X on paid Supercharger access or it will only be for Model 3 and cheaper vehicles?
At this point, it certainly looks like the paid Supercharger access program is mainly in order to try to manage the impact of the Model 3 on the network.
It’s interesting because the Model S and Model X alone were already over-crowding the network, which is why it made sense to introduce the paid access to those vehicles as well. A year later, deliveries of those vehicles haven’t slowed down, but Tesla has yet to officially make owners pay to charge at Supercharger stations.
After now over a year of delaying it, I think Tesla could keep free access to Model S and Model X indefinitely since they are the automaker’s more expensive flagship vehicles.
It should be relatively manageable as long as they keep growing the network at this pace and focus on those new giant 50-stall stations, like the ones they are building in China.
If you are looking to buy a Model S or Model X, please consider using our referral code to get free Supercharger access (the first person to use the code also gets $500 in Tesla credits) and in exchange, we get access to more Tesla products that we can use in our reporting.