Tesla Introduces Supercharger Idling Fee To Discourage Bad Behavior (#ElonTweets Update)

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Following comments made last week by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, the company has gone ahead and introduced a Supercharger idling fee, meant to discourage users from leaving their vehicles in Supercharger bays well after charging has actually finished.

That said, there will be exceptions, according to a follow-up tweet from Elon:

Tesla Supercharger users are already informed by smartphone of their charging status, so there’s generally no good reason for Tesla drivers to leave their cars parked in a high-demand Supercharger spot for another 20+ minutes other than laziness or indifference. But some users, particularly in crowded parts of California, are known to do so anyways.

The new idling fee is meant to improve the situation, so that those needing to use a Supercharger aren’t held up because of the indifference of other users/owners.

The idling fee doesn’t seem to be particularly steep, but it isn’t cheap either. In the US, the fee is $0.40 a minute; in Canada, it’s CAD$0.50 a minute; in most of Europe, its €0.35 a minute; in the UK, it’s £0.30 a minute; in China, it’s CNY ¥ 2.60 a minute; and in Japan, it’s JPN ¥ 43.00. Idling fees in most other countries (Norway, Sweden, Poland, Czech Republic, Croatia, Australia, etc.) are at similar levels as the above-stated ones.


Notably, this fee is completely waived if the vehicle is moved within 5 minutes of charging completely. So all that you have to do to avoid idling charges is to head back to your car and move it after charging finishes.

In earlier discussions, some commentators have noted that the cars should just move themselves after charging is completed. In its blog post on the matter, Tesla acknowledges this as a future goal, but for now it’s entirely on the owner to move their own vehicles once charging is completed.

Here’s the bit in question: “We envision a future where cars move themselves once fully charged, enhancing network efficiency and the customer experience even further. Until then, we ask that vehicles be moved from the Supercharger once fully charged. A customer would never leave a car parked by the pump at a gas station and the same thinking applies with Superchargers.”

Here are some further details from the page on Tesla’s website on the matter:

How will I be billed?
You will be billed for any idle fees incurred at your next Service Center visit.

How do I know when I’ve incurred an idle fee?
The Tesla mobile app notifies you both when charging nears completion and again when fully done. Additional notifications will alert you when idle fees are incurred.

Which cars can incur idle fees?
All Model S and Model X cars can incur idle fees.

Does the idle fee charge anything while you’re still charging?
No, an idle fee is only applied once a charge session is complete. At this point, the car is no longer Supercharging and the spot should be made available for the next driver.

Do idle fees apply if there are Supercharger spots still available?
Yes, idle fees apply to any car occupying a Supercharger stall once the charge session is complete.

Is there an upper limit on the idle fee?
No, idle fees will continue to accrue if the car is not moved within five minutes after the charge session is complete.

Do taxes apply?
Supercharger idle fees include tax.

Do idle fees apply to Destination Charging locations?
No, idle fees only apply to Superchargers.

Overall, I’d say this is good news for Tesla owners (including future ones). The move was a necessary one, as was the move to charging a nominal fee for Supercharging use in general. If the network is going to remain as effective as it is now with 500,000 or so Teslas on the roads just 2 or so years from now, these changes are critical.

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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