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A Tesla electric car is recharged at a Tesla Motor Supercharging station at a rest stop on Interstate 95 in Darien, Conn., Sept. 18, 2016. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

The big perk for Tesla owners will disappear soon. At least for new buyers.



The big perk for Tesla owners may soon disappear. 

For a long time, Tesla Motors Inc. allowed drivers to use its network of 735 charging stations for free. 

But just before Tesla Motors Inc. is scheduled to begin selling the mass-market $35,000 Model 3, the company decided to stop offering unlimited free use of those charging stations. 

Instead, the company said cars ordered after Jan. 1, 2017, will receive roughly 1,000 miles of supercharging credits. Beyond that, owners will have to pay a small fee to use the charging stations. 

Tesla didn't specify what that fee would be but added that the fee would cost less than the price of filling up a gasoline-powered car. 

The company noted in a press release that the prices may fluctuate over time and may vary regionally based on the cost of electricity. 

Those who order or purchased their vehicles on or before Jan. 1 would still get unlimited, free charging.

Tasha Keeney, an analyst for the industrial innovation fund at ARK Invest, said this move likely will not hurt Tesla's sales because the company is still the market leader for electric vehicles. On top of that, for the most part, Teslas owners charge their vehicles at home so they would only have to pay for the charging stations when they go on longer trips. 

Tesla said the move will allow the company to expand its supercharger network. 

The Supercharger stations, which are mostly located in densely populated areas, give cars up to 170 miles of range in just half an hour. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 


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