It might not be due to launch for another year or more, but the Tesla Model 3 — Tesla’s third mass-produced car and forth model in its ten-year history — is already creating a lot of buzz. In fact, with more than 375,000 customers around the world having already parted with $1,000 each to earn themselves a place in line to order a Model 3 when the order books open next year, the Tesla Model 3 is without doubt the most anticipated electric car in history to date.
Despite that however, there’s very little we know about the Model 3 beyond what we learned at the unveiling of the Model 3 prototype back in March this year. While we know its general appearance and form factor, approximate 0-60 time, range and entry-level price tag, we don’t know what the Model 3 option list will look like and how much Tesla will charge to activate autopilot or supercharger functionality.
The chances are we won’t hear answers to all of those questions until Tesla gets a little closer to the Model 3 launch, but this morning thanks to our friends over at Electrek we learned a new piece of information about the way Tesla intends to charge Model 3 owners for access to its network of Supercharger rapid charging stations: supercharger credits.
It appears that Tesla’s most recent update to the Model 3 reservation holder section of its website includes some new, currently-hidden code which hints at a credit-based system for Supercharging in which customers will be able to prepay for time at a Supercharger by associating a credit or debit card to their account, prepaying for charging sessions as needed.
<!– div class=”credit-text card-info-container cc-credits”>
<span>Supercharger Credits </span>
<span> kWh </span>
</div –> == $0
Importantly too, the code, which doesn’t yet do anything yet, shows that Tesla will charge not per unit of time spent at a Supercharger station but by kilowatt-hour, meaning that customers will only be charged for the amount of electricity they put into their car, not the amount of time they’re parked charging. And by charging credits rather than cash, we suspect Tesla may have figured out a way to circumvent laws in certain states that prevent anyone other than public utilities from charging for electricity.
How much Tesla will charge for each kilowatt hour of electricity is still an unknown however, but we should remind readers at this point that Tesla CEO Elon Musk has already dropped some pretty large hints that suggest electricity will be priced fairly at a rate that is commensurate with local utility prices, rather than the highly inflated prices that some charging network providers already charge customers to fast-charge their cars.
Also not known yet is the amount of money Tesla will charge its customers to activate Supercharging on their Model 3. It’s possible that turning on Supercharger capabilities for the first time will incur a one-off setup fee, but it’s also possible that Tesla will simply levy a smaller charge every time the car uses a Supercharger station.
At the time of writing, Tesla hasn’t issued any response to this story, but if there is an official statement made we’ll make sure you know.
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