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Car and Driver: Threemium Model: Musk Says Affordable Tesla Model 3 Won’t Get Free Supercharging

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2018 Tesla Model 3

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If you’re one of the 300,000-plus customers on the pre-order list for the “affordable” Tesla Model 3, we have some bad news for you: Access to Tesla’s innovative network of Superchargers, which are currently free to all Tesla owners, will cost you. Automotive News reports that during yesterday’s annual shareholder meeting, Tesla CEO Elon Musk acknowledged as much, stating that “The obvious thing to do is [to] decouple [the cost of Supercharging] from the cost of the Model 3.” Currently, owners of the Tesla Model S sedan and the Model X crossover SUV have free access to the company’s cross-country network of Supercharging stations that can add approximately 170 miles of range to the vehicles’ battery pack in as little as 30 minutes. 

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Fret not, though, because Model 3 customers will still have the option to unlock lifetime access to the Tesla’s Superchargers as part of an undisclosed package. The cost of this package, and what other features it may or may not come with, were not revealed; however, Musk added that those who choose not to opt for lifetime Supercharger access will find the cost of Supercharging to be “very cheap, and far cheaper than gasoline.”

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With the company’s recently announced plans to sell a million vehicles by 2020, it appears the crushing weight of capitalism is taking a hit on Tesla’s dreams. Originally conceived to be solar powered, almost all Supercharger stations are currently connected to the grid. Meanwhile, the company’s much-touted 90-second battery swap program from earlier this decade has long since been abandoned. Free recharging appears to be one more utopian dream that’s jettisoned on the road to (eventual) profitability.

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