Buy a Tesla Before January 1, 2017 If You Want Free Supercharger Access

The carmaker will begin charging for the system starting next year—but only for new buyers.

Tesla Supercharger
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

One of Tesla's most popular features will soon no longer be offered free of charge (no pun intended). Tesla owners who purchase their cars in 2017 will be charged for using the previously-free fast-charging Supercharger network.

Tesla announced Monday that cars ordered after January 1st, 2017 will only be allowed 400 kilowatt-hours of free charging per year, which Tesla claims allows for around 1,000 miles of driving. If those owners climb above the 400 kWh mark, they will be charged based on their usage of the fast charger. Powering up at Superchargers will still be cheaper than filling up a gas-powered vehicle, the company said.

Owners who purchased cars before the beginning of 2017 and take delivery before April 1st will not have their Supercharger access affected. Specific details on the revised system have not yet been released.

"While prices may fluctuate over time and vary regionally based on the cost of electricity, our Supercharger Network will never be a profit center," Tesla said in a blog post Monday.

Tesla's Superchargers have been free to use since the first units were planted four years ago. There are currently more than 4,600 of the fast chargers located around the globe.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has previously spoken about how he plans to charge for Supercharger access on the upcoming Tesla Model 3. The CEO said the company could potentially make Model 3 buyers purchase an additional package for access to the quick chargers.

"It will not be free long-distance charging for life unless you purchase that package," said Musk at a shareholders meeting in May.

Tesla said it will share more information on the new payment system sometime later this year.