Tesla has been charging idling for years to free up its Superchargers and prevent traffic jams at charging stations. But now it is implementing a new congestion charge, which will replace the idle charge in some places.
In short, idle charging begins when the Supercharger station is at 50% capacity. This means that if a car is left plugged in after it is fully charged, the owner will have to pay 50 cents per minute until they leave. If the station is 100% full, the fee doubles to $1 per minute.
The Tesla app lets owners monitor their vehicle remotely, alerting them when the charging process is almost complete, and alerting them again when the charge limit is reached. If the vehicle is moved within five minutes, the fee is waived.
But in another effort to increase the availability of Superchargers, Tesla has now introduced congestion charging.
The congestion charge will replace idling charges at some Supercharger locations, although Tesla does not specify which one on its website. Congestion charge will be imposed when the station is busy and your car is connected and its battery is more than 90% charged.
Before the congestion charge is imposed, you will receive a five-minute warning through your Tesla app, during which time you can disconnect your car and leave to avoid payment.
If your car remains connected after the five-minute grace period, you will be charged for each minute it remains connected to the Supercharger. In America it will be $1 per minute.
“This fee encourages drivers to charge only what is needed for their trip rather than 100%,” Tesla said. “This increases the availability of Superchargers so everyone has access to one when they need it.”
As more automakers sign up to use the North American Charging Standard (NACS) used by Tesla, overcrowding at its Supercharger stations could become a growing problem. By encouraging drivers to leave the station once their car’s battery is sufficiently full, Tesla hopes it can ensure frustration-free trips to its charging facilities.