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Tesla Model 3 owners will have to pay for Supercharger access

Owners of the Model 3 electric car will have to pay to make use of Tesla’s fast-charging network of Superchargers, it has been revealed.

Speaking at an annual shareholder meeting, Tesla CEO and founder Elon Musk said: “To date, we wanted to keep it straightforward and easy. So that’s why the Superchargers are set up, at least to date for people who bought the cars, as free long-distance for life.

“Obviously that has, fundamentally, a cost. I don’t want to make this some big news headline, but the obvious thing to do is decouple that from the cost of the Model 3.”

Musk added: “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’ve purchased that package.”

Exactly how much extra it would cost for free Supercharger access for a Model 3 owner is unclear, but Musk explained the cost was a necessity to “achieve the economics” required, adding that it was “not because we want to make things more expensive; it’s because we can’t figure out how to make things less expensive”.

Superchargers can fully recharge a Model S and Model X in one hour and 15 minutes, making them substantially faster than home chargers and third-party alternatives.

Shares fell 2.2 per cent after the news of the Model 3 Supercharger cost broke and their value remains lower than in August 2015, a time when Tesla last issued shares.

The Tesla Model 3, which has seen more than 450,000 pre-orders, will cost from US$35,000 when it goes on sale in late 2017. A UK price is yet to be confirmed. Musk hopes to build 500,000 vehicles in 2018, including the Model S luxury car and Model X sports utility vehicle.

The Tesla Model 3 promises a range of 215 miles, space for five adults and a 0-60mph time of less than six seconds. The Ludicrous Speed mode and Autopilot upgrades seen on the Model S have been officially confirmed.

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