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Tesla to End Free Supercharging Program for New Buyers

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On Monday, electric car maker Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA - Free Report) announced changes to its Supercharging network program: new customers who purchase a Tesla Model X or Model S after January 1, 2017 will now have to pay a “small fee” when filling up at a station.

The company has created a popular, convenient network of Supercharger stations over the years that allow Tesla owners to travel long distances; there are currently over 4,600 Superchargers in the network. But for any new Tesla models ordered after the new year, owners will be charged a small fee after a free, annual 400 kWh (about 1,000 miles) Supercharging credit is used up.

The charges will not impact current Tesla owners or any new models ordered before January 1, as long as delivery is taken before April 1, 2017. More details will be released later this year.

Tesla notes that filling up at a Supercharger station will “cost less than the price of filling up a comparable gas car.” However, its “Supercharger Network will never be a profit center,” the company continued. The fees charged to new owners will help subsidize the network’s future expansion. At the moment, there are about 734 Supercharger stations around the world; the chargers can add about 170 miles of driving range to a Tesla battery in about 30 minutes, or a full charge in 75 minutes.

These new charges should not come as a surprise, especially as Tesla begins to expedite production of its Model 3; the company still plans on producing 500,000 cars per year by the end of 2018.

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