At Tesla's annual shareholder's conference in Mountain View, California today, Elon Musk addressed a question from a young Model S P85D owner about how the company would handle an influx of Model 3s to its Supercharging stations, which are currently offered as a free service to Tesla customers. In response, Musk said "it will not be free long distance for life unless you purchase that package," though he didn't specify what the "package" was or how much it might cost as an add-on with the purchase of a Model 3.
Here's the full quote:
"Obviously, [free Supercharging] fundamentally has a cost. [...] The obvious thing to do is decouple that from the cost of the Model 3. So it will still be very cheap, and far cheaper than gasoline, to drive long-distance with the Model 3, but it will not be free long distance for life unless you purchase that package. I wish we could, but in order to achieve the economics, it has to be something like that."
Tesla had previously walked back language around the Model 3's Supercharging capabilities, changing "standard" to "capable" and clarifying that it had not yet decided whether use of the stations would be free to buyers. Now, it would seem that Musk has made a decision.
Supercharging is a popular feature for Model S and X owners, and some stations along key routes are already jam-packed without a much higher-volume and more affordable Tesla model on the road — so logic suggests that something had to give.