Earlier this year Tesla announced that its free fast-charging Supercharger network would be shifted to a pay-per-use system for vehicles built after the 1st of January 2017, and now the electric automaker has added an “Idle Fee” for vehicles left connected once they are fully charged.
The idea is to keep Supercharger stations ready for use, with owners in the US reporting long waits for access to the supercharger network as other owners leave fully charged vehicles unnattended and connected to the system, sometimes for hours at a time.
The new Idle Fee incentivises owners to return to their cars once their vehicle’s battery has been fully recharged, with Australian Tesla owners to be billed at a rate of 55 cents per minute until the vehicle is disconnected and moved.
If an owner makes it back to their car inside of five minutes from charging completion the Idle Fees are waived, but after five minutes charges will accumulate with no upper limit. Idle Fees only apply if a Supercharger station is at 50% capacity or more (ie: if half or more of the available bays are in use).
Owners will be notified via the Tesla smartphone app when their vehicle is almost fully charged, and again when charging is complete.
Tesla stresses that the Idle Fee isn’t an attempt to make money, but rather a move to keep the Supercharger network fair, open, and available to all users. In the longer-term, Tesla expects vehicles will be able to move themselves once charging is completed, so the Idle Fee is only a stop-gap measure until then.