Much like a daycare may sting you for being late to pick up your kids, Tesla will penalise you for being late picking up your car.

    The company is rolling out a Supercharger Congestion Fee at its US locations, which at certain locations will replace idle fees.

    Electric vehicle (EV) owners will be slugged US$1.00 (A$1.52) for every minute a vehicle remains plugged in at a busy Supercharger when its battery is above 90 per cent.

    Owners will receive an alert in the Tesla app and will be given a five-minute grace period to disconnect their vehicle.

    Tesla says the move is intended to encourage drivers to charge only as much as is needed for their trip, and therefore ensure more vehicle owners have access to charging, particularly at peak times.

    Congestion fees will apply to vehicle owners, even if they have free Supercharging or credits for use on the network.

    The company already charges idle fees, whereby owners are charged for every minute they remain plugged in when their vehicle is charged.

    In Australia, this is 50c per minute, or $1.00 per minute when the station is 100 per cent occupied.

    Tesla’s plans to roll out a congestion charge were first revealed by Tesla hacker Green, who found code in a software update.

    The company had already introduced an 80 per cent charge limit at popular Supercharger locations to help reduce congestion.

    Drivers can, however, manually adjust the charge limit to 100 per cent through the touchscreen or Tesla app if they require a 100 per cent charge. This new fee will impact drivers who do this.

    Charging speeds typically decrease when going from 80-100 per cent, which can mean longer wait times for other drivers in the charger queue.

    With Tesla opening up its Supercharger network to owners of other vehicles, congestion at its locations is a key concern.

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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