Tesla Retroactively Extends Free Lifetime Supercharging, Begins Referral Program

New owners are limited on their free annual charging but can receive lifetime credits through a referral program.

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One of the biggest incentives to becoming an early Tesla adopter was the free unlimited charging via Tesla's Supercharger network. Overtime, this model would not be sustainable to Tesla, especially since some users charge almost exclusively with Level 3 charging. After its previous announcement, Tesla has extended its lifetime free supercharging and has instated a referral program for new owners to receive the same benefit.

The good news is, if you've purchased a Model S or Model X from their launch until at least Friday night, your're eligible for supercharging throughout the lifetime of your vehicle, reports Electrek. There are no official details on how long this promotion will be effective, but more details are likely to follow with an official press release to clarify. New owners who purchase after the promotion ended will be credited 400 kWh of supercharging per year. That equates to about 1,000 miles of range in ideal conditions.

After the free credits are used up, drivers will be charged "a small fee" to use the network. Tesla then breaks out their pricing into two tiers. Tier 1 pricing reflects a charge from 0 kWh to 60 kWh, where as Tier 2 is any charge over 60 kWh. Some states will charge by the kW delivered to the vehicle and others charge per minute "at the pump", so to speak. There isn't a national governing standard, so Tesla has a handy list for each state. Current owners can provide new owners who are not eligible for the promotion with a referral code for their car. This code not only takes $1,000 off of the purchase price of a news Tesla, but also gives lifetime access to the supercharging network at no cost. This is limited to 5 referrals per current owner.

From San Francisco to New York City, you travel about 2900 miles over the course of 44 hours. Using a supercharger calculator, it becomes possible to estimate your cost of using the Supercharger network to make the cross-country trek. It is estimated that using an average of Tier 1 and Tier 2 rates across the states one might travel would result in an average cost of $76.55 to make the trip. Consequently, a car with an average fuel economy of 25 miles-per-gallon at the national average of $2.63 per gallon of gas would cost $305.08.

The trade off, of course, is time. It takes about an hour and a half to supercharge a depleted P85D according to this YouTube video where the owner filmed the charge process. With a range of 242 miles, owners would need to stop at least twelve times to charge their vehicle. This would result in the trip taking around 40% longer, or a total of 62 hours. These are of course rough calculations that might not match up in the real world, but provide a good insight into cost versus time when it comes to the Supercharger network.