Supercharge for Free on the July Fourth Weekend

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Tesla drivers in California, good news: Supercharging is free for the Fourth of July holiday. On June 28, Tesla sent out the following message to some Tesla owners through the Tesla App:

“Avoid the rush this 4th of July holiday and charge for free before 12pm and after 9pm at select California Superchargers between Friday, July 2 and Monday, July 5. For faster charging anytime, navigate to your destination using Trip Planner to optimize your route and automatically precondition your battery.”

Tesla does not provide a list of those “select California Superchargers” but you can easily check Supercharger site’s status and price on the in-car navigation map. (Tip: tap on the red pins with numbers on them.) Do mind that the free charging time slots are before 12pm and after 9pm, and presumably the idle fee will still apply, so don’t overstay when you are done charging.

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Using the Los Angeles area as an example, off-peak Supercharging generally costs $0.21/kWh. For charging from 10 to 80 percent, you will save about $10-12 on a Model 3/Y Long Range or Performance, and about $13-15 on a Model S/X. And $18.27 saving if you charge a Model S Plaid like we did for a test.

In general, electricity demand is higher from afternoon to evening when people are active and using appliances like A/C units during the heat of the day. Charging EVs during those times would then increase electrical grid load even more, especially fast charging. From a typical 220V stall, an EV only demands 6-12 kW, but easily 10 to 20 times higher at a Level 3 fast charger. This kind of sudden spike would force utilities to use less efficient or more polluting methods to generate power to meet grid load.

So charging EVs during off-peak hours helps reduce grid stress and is more environmentally friendly. And there’s even more incentive to do so when Tesla is paying for the electric bill. In California, Supercharger sites are often packed on holidays with Tesla drivers having to wait 15 to 30 minutes in line for a stall to become available. So if your travel plan allows you to go Supercharging in off-peak hours, you are saving both time and money.

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Happy holiday, safe travels, and don’t misuse Autopilot.

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