Charging a Tesla goes from free to dirt cheap now that there’s a Supercharger station fee

Charge it.
Charge it.
Image: Reuters/Sam Mircovich
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If you’re thinking about buying a Tesla take note: The company will soon start charging to power up vehicles purchased after Jan. 15.

The electric car maker this week unveiled new fees to charge Model S and Model X cars at Tesla’s Supercharger stations. Price will vary from country to country, and within the US, state to state. For example, stations in New York will charge $0.19 per kilowatt hour, $0.20 in California and $0.13 cents in Florida. New buyers will receive an annual 400-kilowatt hour Supercharging credit—worth about 1,000 miles—on each anniversary of their vehicle’s purchase, Tesla said. Unused credits do not rollover.

To put that in road-trip terms, Tesla estimates customers will pay around $15 for a trip between Los Angeles and San Francisco, which works out to about $0.04 a mile. That compares with around $45 for the same trip on gasoline based on current AAA gas rates and the national fuel economy average for 2015 model vehicles—which comes out to $0.12 a mile.

Based on Tesla’s pricing, it would cost $120 for a trip from Los Angeles to New York, €60 ($64) from Paris to Rome, and ¥400 ($58) from Beijing to Shanghai.

Tesla had announced the plan to start charging at the Supercharger stations in November 2016; the reason, the company said, is so that it could reinvest in the charging station network.