What Tesla gives, Tesla also takes

Tesla’s pricing for its models is going down, but the automaker is making up from those prospective losses by raising the prices for using its Supercharger network. That appears to be the case after a report from the Aussie website CarExpert indicated that charging at any of Tesla’s 35 Supercharger stations in the Land Down Under will now cost AUD0.52 (USD0.37) per kilowatt-hour. That’s an increase from the AUD0.42/kWh (USD0.30) that Tesla was charging as recently as September. Since 2017, the cost of charging a Tesla in Australia has gone up by as much as 23 percent, and with Tesla’s model price cuts continuing, don’t expect the cost of using the Supercharger network to flatten out, either.

Should we have seen this coming?

Tesla Cars Might Be Getting Cheaper, But Supercharging Is Getting More Expensive Exterior
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We probably should, though the news does still come as a bit of a surprise. S

ee, there once was a time when buying a Tesla meant that you could tap into federal tax incentives to lower your purchase cost.

But those tax incentives are gone, as is the healthy economy that we used to have until the coronavirus pandemic beat that to a bloody pulp. With both factors gone, fewer people are buying cars, let alone electric vehicles that carried price tags ranging from $40,000 to $100,000. This new reality is what prompted Tesla, and a host of other automakers, to find ways to make car-buying still appealing. That’s just on the sales side, too.

Tesla Cars Might Be Getting Cheaper, But Supercharging Is Getting More Expensive
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If we had read the tea leaves earlier, we would’ve realized that the Supercharger price hike was set into motion when Tesla stopped offering free use of the network to car owners. The automaker phased that perk out in recent years, but at one point, the automaker only charged Supercharger customers to recharge their batteries.

That changed, too, earlier this year, when Tesla started charging for the electricity used to power systems like the battery heater and the HVAC when charging, as well as the actual electricity that was used to charge the vehicle’s battery.

Now, the price of charging through the Supercharger network is rising, and with Tesla trying to squeeze as much revenue as it can from as many sources as it can find, it’s hard to think that we’ve seen the last of these price hikes.

There are other ways to charge a Tesla model, right?

There are relatively cheaper charging options compared to using Tesla’s Supercharger network. I say “relatively” because pricing for electricity varies depending on the state, so it’s best to have an understanding of the costs that come with charging your Teslas. The downside to charging outside of the Supercharger network is the length of time it takes to charge a Tesla’s battery.

If, for example, you’re using a regular 120-volt outlet in your home, charging a Tesla’s battery from zero to 100 percent can take anywhere from 14 to 27 hours depending on the model of your Tesla. You can significantly cut charge time if you have 240-volt units at home, but it’s still a painstaking ordeal that can last anywhere from seven to 15 hours.

Tesla Cars Might Be Getting Cheaper, But Supercharging Is Getting More Expensive
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That’s the advantage of the Supercharger network.

With a 480V direct-current system that sends all the juice directly to your batteries, using the Supercharger network can fill up your battery with all the electricity it needs in as little as 20 minutes.

It used to be the best choice when Tesla didn’t charge for its use, but now that it does — and with the price of its use continuing to rise — it’s time to find the most suitable option for your Tesla that also won’t burn holes in your pockets.

Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read More
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