As The New Year Rolls In, Tesla Delays Changes To Supercharger Policy And Price Increases For UK Customers

It may only be the second day of 2017 (and the last day of the Holiday season thanks to the fact that New Year fell on a weekend), but that hasn’t stopped California automaker Tesla Motors from surprising its fans and customers by delaying two changes that were due to come into effect at the close of last year.

Tesla is delaying the change to its Supercharger access policy by two weeks.

The first, a change to Tesla’s Supercharger access policy, was due to come into effect at the end of 2016. It would have ended free, unlimited Supercharger access to all customers who ordered a new Tesla Model S or Tesla Model X electric car after December 31, 2016. As we explained back in November when the policy change was announced, Tesla had originally intended to replace the unlimited, free Supercharger access with a 400 kilowatt-hour per-year free allocation for every new Model S and Model X purchased after January 1, 2017. Once a customer had used up their free 400 kWh allocation for the year (enough for approximately 1,000 miles of travel), they would then have to purchase “Supercharger Credits” from Tesla in order to continue using the network.

Customers now have until January 14 to sneak their orders in before the policy change.

But as Electrek reported yesterday, Tesla has decided to delay the start of its new Supercharger policy by two weeks, meaning that anyone ordering a new Tesla Model S or Model X between now and January 14 will benefit from the same free-for-life, unlimited Supercharger access as existing customers. Those who order their new Tesla Model S or Tesla Model X from January 15 will find themselves constrained by Tesla’s 400 kWh free Supercharger quota policy.

It’s not sure why Tesla made the decision to shift the Supercharger policy change back by two weeks, but if we had to guess it’s designed to give Tesla a sales boost early on in Q1 2017 — a quarter where Tesla’s funds are expected to be thinly spread after the successful merger between SolarCity and Tesla last quarter.

That said, the delay could also be caused by a delay to pricing policy for Tesla Supercharger access. So far, Tesla has not disclosed how much it intends to charge customers per unit of Supercharger credits, which may either be based on per unit energy (kilowatt-hour) or unit time (minute) at a Supercharger station. Either way, the delay is good news for those who have yet to order a new car before the change in policy actually takes place.

Tesla has also delayed planned UK price increases by two weeks.

The second New Year surprise from Tesla comes in the form of delaying a publicised price increase for UK customers after the fall of the Pound Sterling against the U.S. Dollar during the latter half of 2016. The value of the Pound — which plummeted more than fifteen percent in value against the dollar after the UK’s voted to leave the European Union — meant that Tesla was essentially selling its cars to UK consumers at a far lower price than it was in other markets. Consequently, Tesla had planned to increase the price of all its UK-market cars by five percent on January first.

However, just like its surprise delay to the rollout of its new Supercharger policy, Tesla decided to delay its planned UK price increase by two weeks, giving customers who did not have time to finish their purchase before the end of 2016 a few extra days to finalize everything before the planned price hike.

Tesla says it made the decision to delay its price increase in order to accommodate high demand in the UK, but as with the delay to Supercharger policy change, we think it’s also likely designed to give Tesla a healthy spark to its early Q1 sales figures.

Regardless of the motivation behind it however, if you’re someone who is in the market for a new Tesla Model S or Model X, you’ve got an extra two weeks to finalize your purchase before owning a Tesla becomes a little more expensive.

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