In December 2017, Tesla introduced the Supercharger Fair use Policy.
While understand that the primary focus is to prevent taxi and develiery companies from clogging up Superchargers, The language on Tesla’s legal site locks out “any other commercial venture” as well.
To help ensure that Superchargers are available for their intended use, we ask that you not charge your vehicle using a Supercharger if your vehicle is being used: (…) for any other commercial venture.
To be clear: this doesn’t only affect the free supercharging (that current Tesla Models aren’t sold with anyway), but even paid charging. Tesla also further states that:
If you charge your vehicle in a manner that does not comply with this Supercharger Fair Use Policy, we may ask you to modify this behavior. We may also take additional action to protect the availability of Superchargers for their intended purpose, such as limiting or blocking your vehicle’s ability to use Supercharger stations.
This raises a few questions: Does Tesla track your behavior? Do they analyze your movement pattern and then run AI algorithms over them to determine what is commercial and what isn’t? I understand that they might want to prevent excessive usage (e.g. supercharging 5 times a day, like a long-range deliver/taxi company would), but blocking any commercial usage seems unnecessary, especially considering that Tesla promotes Teslas for Company Fleets. In fact, they state, contradicting their Fair Use Policy:
Benefits for your company and your drivers (…) Low operating costs and access to the Tesla Supercharger network
So essentially, Tesla is saying “we would love you to buy Teslas for your Company, and they’re awesome because they have access to the Superchargers”, but the fine print then says “you can’t use Superchargers for your Company.”.
And here’s a Real-World use-case: a consulting company purchased a Tesla Model 3 Long-Range as a company car for use by the CEO and Employees. Most travels are local and can be covered by local charging, but occasionally, a couple of times a week in average, they’re visiting clients in locations that not have destination charging and are too far away for a round-trip on a single battery charge. They approved the purchase of the vehicle with the understanding that in this case, the conveniently located Superchargers could be used to extend the range in this case. Nothing charges a Tesla as fast as the Supercharger. But with the “Fair Use Policy”, they now have the following options:
- Continue Supercharging in this case and risk a breach of Contract by Tesla and Tesla disabling supercharging for the Vehicle. Since the vehicle is also used for personal travels (which are taxed properly as fringe benetifs), superchargers would then also be disabled for these long-distance trips.
- Stop supercharging and pay traveling engineers by the hour for waiting at slower chargers. This potentially means hundreds of dollars difference of additional paid waiting time for a couple of consultants/engineers sent to a customer location. Per trip.
Imagine you have a ICE company car to visit clients. Imagine you would have to worry about the different terms of service for different gas stations. Imagine, all gas station next to the Freeway would prohibit commercial use.
Tesla is promoting electric mobility, but this policy does the oppositite. I think, to really push electric mobility, we can’t get into an uncanny valley where people are insecure about where and why they can charge. An ICE car can be refueled at any gas station for any reason. Electric cars should be the same.