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Tesla rewarding timely holiday travelers with free supercharging

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Drivers on certain route paths will get free power starting December 23rd through 26th

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales

Tesla announced an early Christmas present for all those pre-dawn road trippers: free vehicle charging at certain Supercharger locations if you get there before 10AM (or after 7PM if you’re more of a night rider).

The announcement comes right before peak holiday travel season, when an estimated 100 million Americans will be on the road to visit family or friends. For those using electric cars, this can also mean delays at any of the almost 7,000 DC fast charging stations in the US as the country continues building out its charging infrastructure.

For Tesla drivers, in particular, it’s quite common to see delays at certain choke points in routes that have fewer supercharging options. And the problem may only get worse should Tesla follow through on its plans to open up its network to non-Tesla EV owners.

Tesla’s solution to combat congestion this year is to offer free off-peak charging. This deal is only available at 75 supercharging destinations out of about 1,400 Tesla Supercharger locations in the US.

Most of the eligible stations are clustered in California, which accounted for more than half of all Tesla registrations in the US between April and June 2021. Long lines are frequent at the state’s Supercharger stations, where wait times can exceed two hours.

PlugShare app route comparing the well-covered I-95 corridor to the ~200-mile stretch on routes 81 and 78 heading towards NYC from western PA.
Screenshot by Umar Shakir / The Verge

On the East Coast, only three stations in Pennsylvania are eligible, located along an almost 200-mile route leading to New York City. Drivers using this route often hail from Pittsburgh, Columbus, Cincinnati, and more — hitting these “slower” V2 charging stations.

The following states and stations are free before 10AM and after 7PM December 23rd through December 26th:

  • Arizona — Buckeye, Casa Grande, Ehrenberg, Gila Bend, Kingman, Quartzsite, Tacna, White Hills, Wickenburg, and Yuma.
  • California — Baker, Bakersfield - Copus Road, Bakersfield - I-5, Barstow, Beaumont, Bishop, Buttonwillow, Cabazon, Corning, El Centro, Firebaugh, Gustine, Harris Ranch, Indio, Inyokern, Inyokern - Locust Avenue, Kettleman City, Kettleman City - Bernard Drive, Lone Pine, Mammoth Lakes, Mojave, Mount Shasta - 111 Morgan Way, Mount Shasta - 134 Morgan Way, Needles, Palm Springs, Patterson - Speno Dr, Rancho Mirage, Red Bluff - Belle Mill Road, Tejon Ranch, Tejon Ranch - Outlets at Tejon Pkwy, Williams - 6th Street, Yermo, and Yreka.
  • Colorado — Trinidad.
  • Florida — Gainesville, Lake City, and Ocala.
  • Nevada — Henderson, Las Vegas - Bridger Avenue, Las Vegas - Grand Central Parkway, Las Vegas - High Roller at LINQ, Las Vegas - Las Vegas Blvd South, Mesquite, and Primm.
  • New Mexico — Albuquerque, Las Vegas, and Santa Fe.
  • Oklahoma — Ardmore and Oklahoma City.
  • Oregon — Grants Pass, Medford, Myrtle Creek, and Springfield - Kruse Way.
  • Pennsylvania — Allentown, Carlisle, and Harrisburg.
  • Texas — Denton.
  • Utah — Beaver, Beaver - 525 W, Cedar City, Draper, Nephi, St. George, St. George - Convention Center Drive, and Tremonton.