Tesla’s network of Supercharger stations across the United States has facilitated the lives of many Tesla owners due to its fast and cheap charging. However, building this type of infrastructure was meant to benefit all Tesla owners and not just a handful. Tesla is keen on fining drivers who leave their cars parked at the Supercharger stations after the charging is complete.
Tesla customers have issued a number of complaints about how they couldn’t recharge their cars due to the fact that their stations were crowded with parked cars and no drivers in sight. Although the Tesla Supercharger stations are faster than conventional ones, they are not nearly as fast a gas station. A Model S Tesla needs around thirty minutes for a 50 percent charge with a full one taking nearly an hour. As such, many drivers leave their cars parked and engage in other activities, only returning much later to retrieve the car.
Tesla is also starting to get frustrated by this type of behavior, stating that the same rules at a gas station where people wouldn’t leave their cars parked while filling the tank should also apply to the Supercharger stations. To combat this behavior and enforce the rules, Tesla has announced a new idle fee for their stations.
Drivers who will leave their cars parked at the charging station after more than five minutes after it has been fully charged, they will suffer a fee of $0.40 per minute. The fee also applies retroactively for the first five minutes, if the driver has not moved the car in that period. Drivers will be informed of the charging status of their car through their Tesla mobile app, so that they will know when it will be time to pick the car up or how big the fine they have been charged with is.
Tesla has stated that the idle fee’s only purpose is to increase customer happiness by making crowded Supercharger stations more available, rather than being a system to make money. Elon Musk went on to clarify that the idle fee will be applied only if most of the bays at the station are occupied. As such, if the supercharger station is empty, then no fee will be applied.
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