The Tesla Model 3 Won't Have Free Supercharger Access, Elon Musk Reveals

Tesla Model 3 11 photos
Photo: Tesla Motors
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People from all over the world rushed in to pre-order Tesla's first-ever mass market vehicle despite the fact that several aspects related to the car weren't yet available. Actually, almost everything about the car was still a mystery.
That didn't stop the Palo Alto company from racking up around 375,000 deposits to date, something that can't really be considered an all-time record since other manufacturers don't do business the same way Tesla does, but even so, it's clearly an impressive number.

However, it seems that as the start of the production is getting nearer (it's still miles away, but time is passing), Tesla is beginning to set more and more things clear. During yesterday's annual shareholder's conference in Mountain View, California, Elon Musk was asked once again about how he thinks the Supercharger network will cope with a drastic increase in the number of Tesla vehicles on the road. Haydn Sonnad of Tesloop wanted to know: “how long do you intend to act on that [free Supercharger access for life], and once the Model 3 comes out and there’s upwards of 500k to 1 million vehicles, how are you going to keep up with that?”

For the first time since the Model 3 appeared on the table, Musk offered a (somewhat) clear answer on the matter: "Obviously, [free Supercharging] fundamentally has a cost. [...] The obvious thing to do is decouple that from the cost of the Model 3. So it will still be very cheap, and far cheaper than gasoline, to drive long-distance with the Model 3, but it will not be free long distance for life unless you purchase that package. I wish we could, but in order to achieve the economics, it has to be something like that."

It probably doesn't come as a surprise to anyone, but the question is: should Musk have explained this sooner, maybe even before opening up the bookings for the new Model 3? It really depends on whether he had his mind made up from the beginning or not, but that's probably something we'll never know for sure.

On the other hand, it was probably naive to expect otherwise, especially since back in 2012, even owners of the Model S base spec version with the 60 kWh battery pack had to make a one-time payment of $2,000 for Supercharger access.

And it also makes sense to take this cost out of the car's actual price, because the Model 3 will be bought by people who live outside the reach of Tesla's Supercharger network: they would have been paying for a service they couldn't use. We doubt that those who signed up for a Model 3 will be put back by the fact they need to add an extra odd $2,000 (the actual value of the package hasn't been set yet) for free unlimited Supercharger use, especially since the average cost of the Model 3s ordered is way over $40,000, so people haven't been shy on the options.
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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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