Congestion fees are now live at some Tesla Supercharger stations in the U.S.
Translation: Tesla says it will charge drivers an additional $1 per minute to juice their electric-vehicle batteries beyond 90%, but only when stations are "busy." The fees come ahead of the busiest travel period in the U.S. — in particular, the days before and after Thanksgiving.
The EV maker didn't say how busy a station must be before congestion fees kick in. However, the company wrote on a support page that congestion fees will replace its preexisting "idle fees" at some stations, and Tesla imposes idle fees once half a station's available chargers are occupied, after vehicles are fully charged.
Tesla's Idle Fee page previously stated, "this is purely about increasing customer happiness and we hope to never make any money from it." That language is not present on the automaker's updated support page.
As for why Tesla is imposing congestion fees, the company's expansion plans likely have something to do with it. Tesla is opening Superchargers to EVs from other automakers in order to tap into federal funds through the Inflation Reduction Act. The change could help the stations cope with an influx of vehicles.
Folks who get free charging with their Tesla are not immune to the fees, the company clarified.
Earlier reports said Tesla's congestion fees would kick in after vehicle batteries hit an 80% charge. Whether you're charging an EV or a smart phone, chargers slow around that capacity level to prevent overheating.