Want Unlimited, Free Supercharging From Tesla? Buy a Used Model S, Model X Made Before 1/14/17

From the moment Tesla launched the Model S electric car back in 2012 to the present time, anyone buying a (Supercharger-equipped) Tesla Model S or Model X has been able to look forward to free, unlimited charging at Tesla’s global network of Supercharger stations.

After January 15, all new Tesla cars will have limits placed on their free supercharging.

Crisscrossing North America, Europe and most of Asia, Tesla’s Supercharger network has finally made long-distance electric car travel practical and affordable, but come January 14, Tesla will end its free, unlimited Supercharger policy for all new Model S and Model X cars. As we detailed recently, anyone purchasing a new Tesla Model S or Model X after that point will find themselves restricted to just 400 kilowatt-hours of free Supercharger use per year (equivalent to 1,000 miles of free travel). And while Tesla customers who fall under the new rules will be able to purchase additional Supercharger credits in order to continue to use the Supercharger network at an as-yet unannounced cost, only those who already own their Tesla will be able to make take advantage of Tesla’s free, unlimited Supercharging.

If you want to make use of free, unlimited Superchargers, buy a used Tesla.

Except, it appears, those who purchase a certified pre-owned Tesla Model S or Tesla Model X originally delivered before January 14, 2017.

That’s according to Tesla’s President of Sales, Jon McNeill, who confirmed yesterday on Twitter that anyone buying a certified pre-owned Tesla, since Tesla has chosen to attach the Supercharging privilege to the car rather than the customer. McNeill, who isn’t quite as vocal on Twitter about Tesla products as Tesla CEO Elon Musk, was responding to a report from the Tesla Model 3 Owner’s Club forum, which incorrectly claimed that Certified Pre Owned Tesla Model S and Tesla Model X cars purchased after December 31, 2016 would fall under the same Supercharger usage restrictions as new models.

McNeill, responding to the erroneous tweet, clarified that Tesla would continue to offer unlimited free supercharging to all used Model S and Model X cars.

“not [sic] correct. CPO’s [sic] carry lifetime Supercharging with the car,” he tweeted at @Model3Owners, adding in a subsequent tweet asking for a “firm answer” on the topic that “All Teslas purchased with Supercharging for life carry that benefit for the life of the car.”

Telsa says Supercharger privilege follows the car for its life.

While this has upset some Tesla fans — who say that Supercharging privileges should follow owners rather than cars and feel that Tesla will effectively penalize existing loyal customers who upgrade to a newer model — the policy should help keep the value of certified pre-owned and privately-sold Tesla Model S and Tesla Model X cars from falling in value too dramatically.

Yet while Tesla is continuing to honor Supercharger access for older Model S and Model X even after they change hands, it’s worth noting that certified pre-owned Tesla Model S and Tesla Model X cars are still well beyond the affordability price point for many electric car fans.

At the time of writing, the cheapest CPO Tesla Model S available (a 2013 Tesla Model S 85 with nearly 26,000 miles on the clock) is being sold for $55,000. The cheapest private-sale Model S we’ve encountered is about $10,000 cheaper, putting even a used Model S above the price of the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV.

Still, if you’re someone who makes regular long-distance trips — and you don’t mind about having an older Model S without the more advanced features of newer models — it’s possible that you might be able to secure yourself a truly long-distance capable car.

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  • Matthew Johnson

    You did not clarify in your article if used Teslas that ARE NOT CPO will also carry their free supercharging for life.
    I personally would be more inclined to buy a used Model S privately for 5k-10k less than directly through Tesla.
    If buying CPO exclusively through Tesla was the only way to ensure free supercharging than perhaps that would be worth it.