Tesla charging costs equal fueling of gas vehicles in California as it raises Supercharger prices and limits off-peak hours
In just the next of a series of Supercharger price increases, Tesla sent an email to owners in California to inform them that their charging rates will go higher at "select" stations. Not only that, but the off-peak hour windows are narrowing, too, for a double whammy of fast Tesla charging price increase. Tesla cites increased energy costs in California as the culprit.
One Tesla owner shared the Supercharger rate increase message on Reddit with the clarification that other fast charging networks like EVgo have also raised their prices in California. Tesla recently released a CCS adapter that allows its car owners to charge on other public networks in the US, but the electric car charging price inflation seems to be pan-Californian.
Starting Wednesday, September 28, charging rates and off-peak hours will change at select Superchargers. Avoid the rush and save on charging costs when you begin your charging session during off-peak hours. Tap the Supercharger map pins on your in-vehicle touch screen to view rates.
Some Tesla drivers are reporting Supercharger rates at up to $0.65 per kWh and narrowing of the off-peak hours to a 00:00-4:00 window. While those are extremes at highly trafficked locations, charging your average 0.25 kWh/mi Tesla hits parity with the current fuel costs to drive a 40MPG gas vehicle at about $0.60 per kWh. Plenty of Superchargers in California are reaching that threshold on a daily basis, unless owners stay up until midnight to use them because they can't charge at home, or somewhere cheaper.
Currently, electricity consumption from electric cars charging at stations like Tesla's Supercharger network, is just 1% of the total. That didn't stop the California Independent System Operator from asking EV drivers amid the recent heat wave to "avoid charging electric vehicles while the Flex Alert is in effect," or at least "charge electric vehicles and electronic devices before 4 p.m., when conservation begins to become most critical."
During a similar heat wave sweeping Texas back in the summer, Tesla itself asked its customers there to only use off-peak hours for charging. With the current drastic Supercharger rate increase in California, it might be encouraging drivers to top up at off-peak grid hours in order to preempt any statewide EV charging restrictions or mandates coming its way, as well as compensate for the high electricity prices in California.