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Tesla free Supercharger access about to dry up

The days of unlimited Supercharger Network access are coming to a close, Tesla has announced, but not for all owners.

Tesla announced on its blog that cars ordered after the 1st of January 2017 will get 400kWh of ‘free supercharging credits’, which it says is good for ‘roughly 1,000 miles’ of all-electric motoring.

Charging beyond the 400kWh limit at its Supercharger Network will be ‘charged incrementally’ and ‘cost less than the price of filling up a comparable gas car’. Tesla is yet to specify an exact price.

Current owners will be able to charge their cars as much as they want for no added cost (for now, at least). New Teslas ordered before the 1st of January 2017 and delivered before the 1st of April 2017 will also be exempt.

Tesla said its Supercharger Network ‘will never be a profit centre’ and that it was more about ensuring owners use it for long journeys, as opposed a cheeky top-up. Full details of the new program will be released before the end of 2017.

“Just as you would charge your cell phone, we believe the best way to charge your car is either at home or at work, during the hours you’re not using it,” Tesla said in an official statement.

Tesla added that charging new customers a fee will help ‘greatly expand’ the number of Superchargers, of which there are more than 4,600 in America alone since being introduced in 2012, and help bring sustainable transport to a wider audience.

The move is hardly surprising. The writing was on the wall when a letter from Tesla in mid-2015 asked owners to ‘decrease’ their reliance on local superchargers and ‘promptly move your Model S once charging is complete’.

Charger rage is a growing problem ─ and a very first-world one at that. During our Model S P90D facelift review, we had to go for a very long coffee while two other cars hogged the Superchargers at Cribbs Causeway in Bristol. Upon returning, another owner expressed his anger at having to wait so long.

We can, therefore, understand why Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk would want to try and encourage its owners to adjust their driving habits. And why the budget, high-volume Model 3 will avoids providing free Supercharger Network access in the first place.

Update: Tesla has since told Recombu Cars the Supercharger Network change applies to UK customers so expect price-specific details when we get them.

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