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Power Transportation Technology

Tesla Is Prohibiting Commercial Drivers From Using Its Supercharger Stations (theverge.com) 282

Tesla has issued a new policy called Supercharger Fair Use, which prohibits new commercial drivers from using the red-and-white charging ports. The reason behind this new policy is to help alleviate congestion and improve the experience for others who rely on the Supercharging services. The Verge reports: Tesla says that the stations are intended for drivers who don't have ready options for charging at home or at work, and that when they're not used for this purpose, "it negatively impacts the availability of Supercharging services for others." Thus, the new policy says that for vehicles purchased after December 15th, drivers who plan to use their vehicles as a taxi, for ridesharing, commercial delivery or transportation, governmental purposes, or other commercial ventures won't be permitted to use the free stations. The company tracks usage and driver behavior, and if they find that someone isn't complying with the policy, they might be asked to stop, and simply limit or block one's vehicle from the stations in certain instances. The policy went into effect on Friday, December 15th, 2017. A Tesla spokesperson said that the company does "encourage the use of Teslas for commercial purposes," and that they will work with drivers to find other places to charge their vehicles. The policy carve out an exception, saying that some stations might be excluded, depending on local circumstances.
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Tesla Is Prohibiting Commercial Drivers From Using Its Supercharger Stations

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  • by bobbied ( 2522392 ) on Monday December 18, 2017 @05:22PM (#55764301)

    What about my Uber business? I don't have a charger at home guys but I got to Uber to eat!

    • by scottme ( 584888 )

      You'll just have to find some other location to plug your car in to charge it. Like overnight while you are not driving: it's perfectly possible to fully charge a Tesla overnight on a "slow" AC charger. Do a deal with some place that has an outlet you can use.

      • Sarcasm is lost on you I guess... Who would use a tesla to drive Uber? It would be a Horrible business idea...

        • by darkain ( 749283 )

          Funny enough, I got an UberPOOL from the San Jose airport last year, and it ended up being a Tesla Model S.

        • You might be surprised. There are definitely some Uber Tesla cars.

          • Never said nobody would do it, only that it was a bad business decision. I'm not surprised if folks driving for Uber make bad business decisions. It's not like driving for Uber is some kind of dream business or attracts the best and brightest.
        • Oh sure, we are losing money on every trip...
          but we're going to make it up in volume!
    • Then sell your $100,000 car and you'll be able to eat for several years.

      Seriously, no one with a Tesla is going to starve if they can't charge at the free stations.

      • Man, that sarcasm I tried must not be very obvious...

        • The sarcasm didn't escape me. I just wanted to add emphasis to the point that there's no such thing as a poor Tesla owner.

          Would anyone think it an outrage if Mercedez or BMW stopped giving away free gas for commercial use?

    • by tsqr ( 808554 )

      What about my Uber business? I don't have a charger at home guys but I got to Uber to eat!

      This quote from Tesla's "Fair Use" policy appears to indicate that you're screwed:

      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:

      • as a taxi;
      • for ridesourcing or ridesharing (through Uber, Lyft or similar services);
      • to commercially deliver or transport goods;
      • for government purposes; or
      • for any other commercial venture.
      • Which is quite weird given the fact that they are actively advertising [tesla.com] that, "soon", you will be able to let your Tesla generate income for you driving other people around on autopilot while you are at work or on vacation.

        OK, I do understand that they don't want you to drive around taxis for free, but surely if you pay for it, there shouldn't be any problem? The way I read it, you can't even use superchargers at all, not even if you pay for the electricity. I thought they considered taxi companies to be gre

        • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

          Which is quite weird given the fact that they are actively advertising [tesla.com] that, "soon", you will be able to let your Tesla generate income for you driving other people around on autopilot while you are at work or on vacation.

          But if you read the terms and conditions, it says that it may only be used in that way on Tesla's ride-sharing network, not Uber or Lyft. So they get a cut. :-)

    • What about my Uber business? I don't have a charger at home guys but I got to Uber to eat!

      Ehmm. Get a job and stop working for organized crime?

      Or if you like to continue doing crime and working for organized crime, have you considered selling drugs?

  • Car ownership? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The more I read about how Tesla treats their customers and the cars the "sell" to them, it really looks like you lose nearly all privacy and that the car you spent a ton of money on is never, ever truly yours.

    Electric, self-driving cars, are where the future is headed, however, all of this tracking will make me never purchase Tesla or any other car that tracks this much data. They have no right to know I stopped by "dildos r us" right before I went to visit my friend in prison.

    • Re:Car ownership? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by polar red ( 215081 ) on Monday December 18, 2017 @05:32PM (#55764407)

      Do you have a smartphone ?

      • >Do you have a cellphone?

        Fixed that for you. Smartphones are certainly far worse about it, making it relatively easy for world+dog to track you 24/7 if you install their app, but any cellphone will provide for moderately detailed tracking by the provider as a necessary part of its functioning. You can't receive phone calls unless they know where you are at all times.

        Furthermore, as I recall *all* cell phones sold for the last many years in the US are required by law to have GPS trackers built in under

      • Do you have a smartphone ?

        Yeah, but it comes with a portable charger that I own, and don't need to loan from someone in order for my phone to be useful.

    • by green1 ( 322787 )

      The problem isn't electric vehicles, it's a scummy company that abuses their technology, but that is hardly limited to one company at this point it's pretty much universal that all companies these days believe they are entitled to all the benefits of a full sale (full payment, no obligations for maintenance, or liability for the product after the date of sale) with none of the drawbacks (lack of control of how the item is used, inability to gain additional revenue from the product after sale, inability to c

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 18, 2017 @05:31PM (#55764403)

    This is a tell about the future of automobile transport:

    The company tracks usage and driver behavior, and if they find that someone isn't complying with the policy, they might be asked to stop, and simply limit or block one's vehicle from the stations in certain instances.

    Just as privacy was destroyed in personal communication, so to shall it be for transportation. I own a 1996 Chevy. I do not have to tell Chevy where I drive, nor do they get a say in where I go. They cannot block my car from certain destinations even if they wanted to.

    We are on the cusp of a world where companies track everyone's driving. Arguably telecom companies already do that, but it's rapidly expanding in car companies, with GM Onstar, the Tesla system above, etc. Not only that, they will grant themselves veto power over your use of your automobile. Violate the Terms of Service? No more driving for you.

    The ownership era is drawing to a close in every area, from phones, to cars, to appliances, to (legally owned) entertainment media.

    • I do not have to tell Chevy where I drive, nor do they get a say in where I go.

      Tesla is not talking about limiting where people can drive, they're talking about limiting their ability to use free charging stations. So the proper comparison would be that right from the moment you bought your car, Chevy told you that you couldn't go to their free gas stations.

  • All you can eat [1] buffet.

    [1] Small print: Does not apply to fuckmungous fat bastards.

    • by TWX ( 665546 )

      One thin mint?

    • by green1 ( 322787 )

      If only Tesla had thought to put fine print on their "Free, unlimited, supercharging for life" claim you'd be right. But they didn't.

      That said, it seems this only applies to new purchasers, so for once they aren't illegally screwing over their existing customers like they've done so many other times in the past.

  • When is the last time you saw a big rig pull up to your local Chevron to fill up its gas tank? They are merely trying to separate commercial fleets from non-commercial fleets. Just like with normal ICE taxis, big rigs, construction, etc.
    • > When is the last time you saw a big rig pull up to your local Chevron to fill up its gas tank?

      Never, because it's not sized for big rigs.

      However I've seen plenty of U-Hauls, taxis, delivery vans, and so forth .

  • Elon Musk is a smart guy, but he's pricing charging-equipped parking spaces below market equilibrium and then wonders why people sit in them all day.

    All he has to do is install sensors and price each charging-equipped parking space a variable rate that maintains a roughly 15% vacancy at all times, like what San Francisco does [sfpark.org]. This encourages turnover and serves the maximum possible number of people.

    It's like the tunnel he wants to build to bypass Los Angeles traffic. What will he do when that new tunnel ge

  • by quantaman ( 517394 ) on Monday December 18, 2017 @06:32PM (#55764925)

    Tesla says that the stations are intended for drivers who don't have ready options for charging at home or at work, and that when they're not used for this purpose, "it negatively impacts the availability of Supercharging services for others." Thus, the new policy says that for vehicles purchased after December 15th, drivers who plan to use their vehicles as a taxi, for ridesharing, commercial delivery or transportation, governmental purposes, or other commercial ventures won't be permitted to use the free stations.

    If there's anyone who needs fast-charging stations I'd expect it to be the commercial drivers. A typical commuter can easily recharge at home or work after they parked. But a commercial driver can have 8+ hours of sustained use during the day. Unless they can swap cars part way they're going to have to re-charge during the work day. And the time spent re-charging is directly counted in their pay.

    If commercial drivers are swamping the fast-charging stations it's because they desperately need them for their Teslas to be a viable option.

    • by steveha ( 103154 ) on Monday December 18, 2017 @07:17PM (#55765217) Homepage

      If there's anyone who needs fast-charging stations I'd expect it to be the commercial drivers.

      If there's anyone who should be paying for their own electricity instead of getting it for free, I'd expect it to be the commercial drivers.

      Unless they can swap cars part way they're going to have to re-charge during the work day.

      A $500 Tesla wall charger can charge at one-quarter the speed of a Supercharger. A private commercial Supercharger is available that can charge at half the speed of a Tesla public Supercharger.

      If commercial drivers are swamping the fast-charging stations it's because they desperately need them for their Teslas to be a viable option.

      0) The change isn't retroactive, so current users can continue to do what they have been doing.

      1) The cost for electricity to run a Tesla is roughly one-third the cost of gasoline to run a similar gasoline car. A commercial user will save money operating a Tesla even if they need to invest in a private charging solution.

      2) For the Tesla semi truck, they will build out special truck charging stations with the new truck charging connector. Those will not offer unlimited free power, but Tesla says that the new semi will pay for itself within two years just on the cost savings vs. buying diesel fuel for a conventional semi truck.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      If commercial drivers are swamping the fast-charging stations it's because they desperately need them for their Teslas to be a viable option.

      1. Offer free service
      2. Make it pay service
      3. PR backlash
      vs
      1. Offer free service
      2. Cancel free service
      3. Drivers: OMG the sky is falling
      4. Tesla: Well, okaaaaaaay... on a limited, commercial basis
      5. Drivers: OMG that's a lifesaver

      After all, many non-supercharger hogging commercial drivers probably have the same long tail problems regular consumers have. When you really need a supercharge vs. being stuck for hours on a slow charger you're probably quite willing to pay for those exceptions. I'll be completely

  • by steveha ( 103154 ) on Monday December 18, 2017 @07:08PM (#55765161) Homepage

    I've read through the commentary so far. Sheesh, people, did Tesla kill your father [youtube.com] or something?

    Tesla has offered unlimited use of the Superchargers to most of their customers. They initially offered it to everyone, then they announced a change ahead of time (and not retroactive). Then they decided to make their deal more generous, and just to make sure the more-generous deal applied to everyone they announced a one-time retroactive change [electrek.co] to give unlimited Supercharger use to all Model S and Model X customers as of that date.

    Unlimited use of the Supercharger goes with the car, so every car that ever had it still has it. Buy a used Tesla that has unlimited Supercharger use, you get that benefit. This hasn't changed.

    Now they announced their "Supercharger Fair Use" policy [tesla.com] that commercial users will no longer be permitted unlimited free use of the Superchargers... and that's only on new sales of Tesla cars, so anyone who has already been running a business and using the Superchargers is still being allowed to continue doing it.

    What if you want to buy a Tesla in 2018 and use it for a business? You still can, just install a Tesla wall connector [tesla.com] and you can charge the car from empty to full in less time than it takes you to get a good night's sleep. (If you have a 240 Volt circuit with enough Watts you can charge a Tesla at one-quarter the speed of a Supercharger... at your home or business!)

    What if you want to operate a whole fleet of Teslas as a taxi service or something? Tesla will sell you a private Supercharger station you can set up. Rumor has it a two-station Supercharger costs about $60K, and rumor has it that Tesla might give it free with a bulk purchase of 10 cars:

    https://electrek.co/2016/10/03/tesla-to-deliver-its-largest-privately-owned-supercharger-station-to-a-taxi-fleet-in-montreal/ [electrek.co]

    To those of you wailing that Tesla can control who uses their Supercharger stations: yeah, they can, but so far they haven't abused this in any way; and they can't stop you (and don't want to stop you) from setting up your own charging solution.

    It's true that gas stations don't control who can get gas there. But they don't give the gas for free to anyone... they charge money which is why they don't care who gets it. Also, gas stations are pretty well built-out everywhere, while Tesla is frantically building new Supercharger stations; IMHO Tesla is looking after their ordinary customers by trying to keep a few users from disproportionately using the Superchargers.

    And note that all Telsas can use all the other charging stations for all the other cars, with an adapter. If you are so worried about the Supercharger, get a CHAdeMO adapter [tesla.com]; this will charge a Tesla about half as fast as a Supercharger station, which is still pretty darn fast.

    If you read all the above and you still think Tesla is doing something wrong here, I'm really curious as to just what it might be. Maybe you think Tesla should promise to just give free unlimited power forever to everyone without limit? That doesn't seem very reasonable to me.

  • I once saw an animation of how one would drive a Tesla up to the charging station where a robot arm reaches up from below and swaps out the depleted battery for a charged one. Did they not go with that? It seems that would eliminate the wait times hogging a charging cord.

  • Bitcoin miners (Score:5, Interesting)

    by manu0601 ( 2221348 ) on Monday December 18, 2017 @09:50PM (#55766083)

    Do they forbid the use of Tesla chargers to mine bitcoins, just like some people abuse subsided electricity in Venezuela [businessinsider.fr]?

  • by John Jorsett ( 171560 ) on Monday December 18, 2017 @10:13PM (#55766211)
    Anyone else get a little creeped out at the implications of Tesla "tracking usage and driver behavior" and controlling what you can do with the car accordingly? It has the feel of a software license or website's Terms Of Service. What other future behavior might they decide to prohibit? "Oh, look, you exceeded the speed limit twelve times. Reckless behavior voids your warranty."

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