By: Nick Gambino
Tesla runs a network of just under 2,000 Supercharger stations spread throughout the U.S. with nearly 22,000 individual chargers. With well over 1 million Teslas on the road in this country, those charging stations can get pretty busy, forcing drivers to wait for one to free up.
Ahead of the busy holiday, the EV company has rolled out a new congestion fee to help persuade drivers to move on before their car hits 100%. The new fee kicks in once the Tesla hits 90% and will charge $1 a minute for as long as it’s plugged in.
We’ve already had idle fees where you’ll get charged if you leave your car plugged in more than 5 minutes after it’s done charging. That idle fee is $.50 a minute when the Supercharging station is at 50% and $1 a minute if it’s at 100% capacity. The congestion fee will replace the idle fee at select busy Superchargers throughout the country but only when it’s actually busy.
Your Tesla’s screen will tell you at what battery level you’ll start being charged the fee. And like the idle fee, you’ll have a 5-minute grace period to move your car. Unlike the idle fee, Tesla has not clarified what is considered “busy.” If I had to take a guess, it’s probably when the Supercharger station is above 50% capacity.
“There were over 1.3 million Teslas delivered in 2022,” Andrew Tropeano, a technology expert with NWT Media (www.nwtmediagroup.com), explains. “By the end of 2023, Tesla is going to smoke that number. While their network of Superchargers are a big selling point for the company, they are delivering more cars than that network can support. The congestion fee will help, but they need more Superchargers and fast.”
Tesla is opening up their Superchargers to non-Tesla EVs which will put even more strain on the charging stations. If they don’t double their numbers soon, things are really going to start jamming up.
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