Free Tesla Supercharging for all Model S and X

Published: 06 August 2019

► Free Supercharging for Model S and X
► V3 Supercharging coming this year

► Could speed up charging by 50%

All Tesla Model S and Model X electric cars will now come with free Supercharging for life, in the latest offer to stimulate demand. At first, Supercharging was free for all, then it restricted users to 400kWh each year before charging users from November 2018. Current owners will still have to pay as they go.

The news was announced on Twitter this week:

Tesla Superchargers are slowly becoming a common sight in service stations and car parks across the UK, and according to the EV maker there are currently more than 12,800 of the charging points worldwide. They're one of the reasons that Tesla electric car ownership has been so viable, even for the early adopters. The company claims that owners of its cars have now driven more than 10 billion all-electric miles since the Model S launched way back in 2013.

Now, alongside the growing infrastructure, Tesla has revealed plans for V3 Supercharging, a new type of charging point that could see charging times reduced by an average of 50%. In fact, Tesla claims the new high-speed ultra-rapid charging could add as much range as 1000 miles per hour. If it can deliver at scale, it could be a game-changer...

Further electric car charging reading 

Tesla Supercharger

You'll probably have seen the banks of futuristic-looking, white Tesla Superchargers at motorway service stations dotted around the UK's main trunk road network. Owners can see where the stations are on their sat-nav, which even indicates which chargers are in use and which are free.

So what is Tesla V3 Supercharging?

V3 Supercharging uses the same principle as Tesla’s current Superchargers, but adds a 1MW power cabinet to the equation. That means 250kW peak charging rates per car, wth Tesla saying a Long Range Model 3 can theoretically top-up 75 miles of range in just five minutes.

What’s more, V3 charging also means no shared power – so charging speed won’t be hindered when two Teslas charge up together. Handy for thos peak busy hours.

Tesla Supercharger

According to Tesla, V3 Superchargers will arrive in the UK and Asia in Q4 2019, following a US launch in Q2 and Q3 this year.

What else is new?

Alongside the infrastructure upgrades, Tesla is also rolling out an OTA update called On-Route Battery Warm-up. Batteries are essentially portable chemical reactions, and their efficiency is sensitive to heat, you see.

Tesla’s new warm-up feature gets the cells at the exact temperature for charging on the way to the charger, and that means when the car is connected the Supercharger, power transfer is as efficient as possible – right from the start. The result? More miles for your time stationary.

Tesla Supercharger

And one more thing, charge rates for the current V2 Superchargers should also be climbing to 145kW in the near future. 

How much does Supercharging cost?

Tesla EVs used to come with free Supercharging, but for the past few years the company has been phasing that out. Still, you’ll find Supercharging is still considerably cheaper than using petrol. Just like running EVs compared to their ICE counterparts. 

When running a Tesla Model S long-termer, CAR consumed £294 of power over 5600 miles, the equivalent of just 5p a mile. That's cracking value and the 85D's 200-mile usable range meant we could easily take it on long trips to the other end of the country – so long as we factored in detour time for finding working charging points en route. Normally that's quite easy, but there are still large swathes of rural Britain where charging up is not as easy as it should be.

How to plan a trip with Tesla Superchargers

Tesla has launched a journey planner which helps you map out any route with your EV. And because the tool is specific to Tesla, it’s able to carefully calculate your route based on the range of your car. It’ll also favour Tesla’s own speedier Supercharger network, too. You can try the tool out here.

By Curtis Moldrich

CAR's online editor and racing-sim enthusiast