DETROIT (AP) – Electric car maker Tesla Motors says it will end unlimited free use of its worldwide charging station network.
The company says cars ordered after Jan. 1, 2017 will get roughly 1,000 miles worth of credits each year at the supercharging stations. After credits are used, owners will have to pay fees. Cars ordered or sold on or before Jan. 1 would still get free charging.
Tesla didn’t specify the fees but says charging would cost less than the price of filling a comparable gasoline car. The company says it will release fee details later this year. It says prices could fluctuate over time and vary by regional electricity costs.
This means that free charging won’t apply to the $35,000 Model 3, which is due to enter production in the second half of 2017. Tesla said 373,000 people put down $1,000 deposits for the Model 3 as of May.
Buyers of new cars ordered or sold on or before Jan. 1 must take delivery before April 1 in order to get the free charging.
Tesla has set up 734 charging stations worldwide that can give the cars 170 miles of range in a half hour. A 30-amp public charging station can only do 10 miles in a half hour, the company says on its website. In the U.S., charging stations are across the nation, but many are concentrated in population centers long the East and West Coasts.
The stations were set up to enable long-distance travel with the electric cars. The company’s Model S sedan can go from 219 miles per charge to 302 miles depending on battery and software options.
Tesla says the change will let it expand the supercharger network and it will not make a profit from the charging stations.