Tesla is prohibiting commercial drivers from using its Supercharger stations

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

If you plan to buy a Tesla for your job, you won’t be able to use the company’s Supercharger stations anymore. The company recently released a new policy called Supercharger Fair Use, which prohibits new commercial drivers from using the red-and-white charging ports.

Tesla has been working to expand its network of charging stations, announcing in April that it hoped to have more than 10,000 Supercharger stations by the end of 2017. The expansion is needed to alleviate heavy traffic at the stations, which have become a congestion point for drivers. Last year, the company announced fees for charging, and said that it will begin charging drivers an additional fee if they leave their cars at the stations after they’ve finished charging.

Tesla says that the stations are intended for drivers who don’t have ready options for charging at home or at work, and that when they’re not used for this purpose, “it negatively impacts the availability of Supercharging services for others.” Thus, the new policy says that for vehicles purchased after December 15th, drivers who plan to use their vehicles as a taxi, for ridesharing, commercial delivery or transportation, governmental purposes, or other commercial ventures won’t be permitted to use the free stations.

The company tracks usage and driver behavior, and if they find that someone isn’t complying with the policy, they might be asked to stop, and simply limit or block one’s vehicle from the stations in certain instances. The policy went into effect on Friday, December 15th, 2017.

A Tesla spokesperson said that the company does “encourage the use of Teslas for commercial purposes,” and that they will work with drivers to find other places to charge their vehicles. The policy carve out an exception, saying that some stations might be excluded, depending on local circumstances.

Update December 17th, 2017, 2:30PM: A Tesla spokesperson clarified that the policy applies to new Tesla drivers as of December 15th, 2017.


Tesla has done a great job continuing to roll out or upgrade super charger capacity. There are still bottlenecks, especially during holiday travel. It’s a growing process, but I think the urban style chargers are going to really help reduce congestion.
I’ve personally never had to wait to charge. However, sometimes I’ve seen some stations charge abnormally slow.

I really think these charging points need to be faster (under 10 minutes to full charge) and standardized. I mean, why not charge everyone equally? It’s the same electricity.

Most charging is done at home so it isn’t that big of a deal.

And it’s not always the same electricity. Level 2 chargers transmit AC while Level 3 chargers do DC. Level 3 chargers also transmit at different powerlevels so the one receiving must have a battery capable of withstanding such a powerful charge. Otherwise they would be forced to charge slower, thus wasting more time at the charger.

Level 2 charging is fairly standardized though.

The superchargers are the only thing that actually makes commercial use of Teslas viable. Taking supercharging away takes away valuable time that you could spend working and instead forces you to wait around forever for it to charge. Time is money for commercial applications.

You’re absolutely right and they should buy a private supercharger from Tesla directly and quite clogging up charging spots for consumers who need it to travel long distances.

There should be some sort of option, like a higher monthly membership commercial drivers can pay to use the supercharger station. From the text of the article it sounds like they’re simply banned.

Plus, this policy definitely screws over mixed-use people, who may use the same car for business and private use. Not sure there’s a way to fix that though.

Is that something people can actually buy right now for a home? I was under the impression that it would draw too much power for residential lines. Not true?

I just looked this up and it appears you need DC to provide the power for supercharging, and that is not available via the AC transmission that goes to a home. Though I wonder if in the future people would just be able to chain powerwalls or some competing variant to burst charge a tesla car just like a standard supercharger.

It’s not only the power, but the phase it is supplied in – a level 3 charger supplies about 100 amps (half of a whole breaker box in most new homes) but it does so in three phases (most residential runs single phase) and at 480V (most homes in the U.S. are fed 2×120v lines).

A cursory look around the internet suggests it won’t fly with the power company unless you’re in an industrial area that already carries three phase. You can apparently use aftermarket chargers (chademo?) to get to roughly 150 miles/hour in charging, and still fit on a residential 200 amp box (and it takes the whole box).

Three-phase electricity is a pretty standard connection for bigger houses or flats, and is needed for some ‘hobby’ equipment like pottery kilns and large power tools, so you should be able to order it for any property. But I guess it’s up to the local power company how much they charge (and whether the infrastructure is already there, or needs installing)

So Tesla tracks your driving habits and can stop your car from charging….hmm. doesn’t sound like something I want to own. I’ll stuck with my gas car that can’t be tracked.

Keep telling yourself that bud.

Every modern car comes with a cellphone radio that can be tracked just an fyi. Tesla also can only stop you from charging at their superchargers, you can still charge in other places.

whine, whine, whine. the sound of my violin softly playing "My Heart Bleeds For You" NOT!!!!!!.
Let’s see.
They DON’t PAY any FUEL taxes, but they demand good roads.
Using the Google chargers they don’t even pay for the electricity.
Using "public’ (TAXPAYER FUNDED) chargers they don’t pay for the electricity.
If they put a charger in their business garage they write off the installation of the charger on their federal return.
They garage off on their federal return.
They also get a deduction for that
They got a deduction on their federal return for buying an an electric vehicle.
They are probably still taking the standard mileage deduction on the Federal Taxes..
Whine, whine, whine..

If you don’t like how the system is set up, complain to your local representatives.
Don’t hate on people who buy electric cars and take advantage of the benefits.

I wish they’d eliminate all those benefits and just charge everyone who drives a gas vehicle an appropriate tax for polluting the air we all breathe.

All you do is come to the comments on like every article and whine about your fundamental misunderstanding of government. Whine, whine, whine..

They DON’t PAY any FUEL taxes, but they demand good roads.

Depends where you live. Some places assess a separate infrastructure fee for electric vehicles.

If they put a charger in their business garage they write off the installation of the charger on their federal return.

What? The network is not for people who don’t have somewhere to charge at home. It’s to enable longer distance journeys. At least, that was the argument when they started charging for it, which I think would be fair for commercial drivers, although they’re right to complain if they expected otherwise.

The rationale here is simple: commercial users need to incorporate the cost of charging into their business models and not assume "unlimited" free charging from the same system used by consumers. Tesla will happily sell them the equipment needed to operate commercial charge stations.

The trouble is that many (quite a few) commercial users don’t have a place to install said equipment. L3 chargers required three phase lines, something only mostly available in industrial parks. What Telsa should do (if they aren’t already) is put estimated queue times in their super charger apps, then have commercial drivers apply for license that tracks their charging and alerts them for times when a queue is low (ie zero wait time) and they could use a charge. It’s not until the stations are at capacity that commercial drivers become a substantial issue – I can’t imagine the cost of electricity is what draws them to the station, but instead the impressive time savings of a L3 charger.

3-Phase power is also available for commercial buildings (like stores, and garages, and office buildings, and malls, and and and), and schools, and apartment buildings, and just about anything that isn’t a "standard detached home". IOW, it’s available pretty much everywhere, except maybe a trailer park.

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