Tesla occasionally offers free Supercharging on new EV purchases in an effort to jumpstart sales. This recently happened in late 2023 with a promotion offering free Supercharging for six months with the purchase of a new Model 3 or Model Y before December 31st.

While the deal sounds enticing, what does six months of free supercharging really mean for the average driver?

Which EV models get free charging?

For Tesla, it varies based on wherever the company's sales goals lie and can often fairly limited. For example, in December 2023, it only included Model 3 and Model Y, but excluded vehicles used for commercial purposes, including rideshare and delivery services. Further, Tesla specifically reserves the right “to remove the free Supercharging from your vehicle in the event of excessive charging.” No details are given as to what exactly qualifies as “excessive charging.”

Tesla is not the only automaker to lure buyers with free charging. These models include some form of free charging through Electrify America: first 30 minutes of each charging session for 2-3 years or 250-500 kWh of charging credits.

  • Audi e-tron, e-tron GT, Q4 e-tron
  • BMW i4, iX
  • Ford F-150, Mach-E, E-transit
  • Genesis GV60, GV70
  • Hyundai Ioniq 5, Ioniq 6, Kona
  • KIA EV6, Niro,
  • Mercedes EQB, EQE, EQS
  • Polestar 2, Porche Macan, Taycan
  • VW ID.4
  • Volvo C40, CX40

Some models opt for the EVgo network, including Cadillac Lyriq, Chevy Bolt, Nissan Aryia.

How often will you actually charge?

The value of "free charging" comes down to how often you'll use public charging.

Let’s take a look at the charging habits of the typical EV driver. Most people charge their vehicles frequently in small amounts at home. One large study found that over 80% of charging was done at home. An informal survey of our Recurrent community found that to be the case. One of our team members reported that 96% of their charging was done at home, according to their Tesla app. Another team member reported 97%. Generally, supercharging accounted for 5% or less of all charging. 

For drivers who did charge away from home, most preferred to charge at a few favorite stations, often at the workplace. In fact, on work days, 98% of charging was done at home or work. About 70% of EV charge cycles are 10 kWh or less. For those who prefer not to charge daily, most charge their EVs two or three times a week, if that.

New EV drivers often have trouble predicting how much they’ll use public charging, let alone supercharging. Most people do use public charging sometimes, just not as often as they expected before owning an electric car.

Regardless, free public charging may not be as valuable to the average driver. But for those who are determined to make the most of a good deal, let’s see how far that free Supercharging can stretch. 

Free public charging may not be as valuable to the average driver

The higher value of free EV charging

Let’s say you want to charge your new Tesla three times a week, and you’ll only charge at the Supercharger station. The average American drives 1,124 miles per month, or about 375 kWh per month.

Over six months, that’s about 2,250 kWh.

Like many charging stations, the Tesla Supercharger station near me adjusts the price per kWh depending on the time of day.

Time of Day
  • 5:00pm - 8:00am
  • 8:00am - 12:00pm
  • 12:00pm - 5:00pm
Price per kWh
  • $0.27
  • $0.39
  • $0.55

To get the most bang for your buck, let’s assume you charge your Tesla during the prime time afternoon hours at a cost of $0.55 per kWh. The six months of free charging would net you about $1237.50 in savings if you exclusively use public charging. That’s not nothing, but given the cost (before incentives) of a new Model 3 is about $45,000 and a new Model Y is about $50,000, it’s not exactly a huge discount either.

The typical value of free EV charging

If 80% of charging is done at home, that’s roughly 1,800 kWh over the course of 6 months. That leaves about 450 kWh to be powered up at Tesla Supercharging stations. Again, assuming you charge at the most expensive time of day, that’s a total savings of $247.50.

Charging Scenario
  • Exclusively Supercharging
  • Typical 80% Home Charging
Total Value
  • $1237.50
  • $247.50

It’s definitely possible to save some money with Tesla’s supercharging discount, but, realistically, that offer won’t save most EV drivers much, depending on your local home charging and public charging rates.

Supercharger vs Electrify America

Tesla isn’t the only company to offer free charging. Seventeen other automakers include free charging with the purchase of a new vehicle. Offers vary, but some offer free charging for up to three years. An Electrify America station near me charges $0.43 per kWh for DC Fast Charging. Comparing the different types of common offers, we can see the kinds of savings to be had by each.

  • 6mo of Supercharging
  • Up to 250 kWh at EA
  • Up to 500 kWh at EA
  • Up to 1000 kWh at EA
  • 2 years at EA
  • 3 years at EA
  • 6,750
  • 750
  • 1,500
  • 3,000
  • 27,000
  • 40,500
Max Value
  • $1237.50
  • $107.50
  • $215
  • $430
  • $3,870
  • $5,805

Tesla’s offer is comparable to other automakers. However, it doesn’t offer colossal savings by any means.

If you were hoping to buy a new Model 3 or Model Y anyway, jumping on the deal before the end of the year might be a good plan. It could save you a couple hundred dollars. If, however, you were on the fence about buying a Tesla, don’t let their free Supercharging offer push you into a purchase. It won’t make or break your wallet.