Are Public Tesla Chargers Free?

One of the first things Tesla owners want to know after purchasing a Tesla vehicle is whether they qualify for free charging. Even though Teslas are pretty expensive to buy, this doesn’t mean to say that their owners aren’t inclined towards free charging.

So, can you get a free charge from a public Tesla Supercharger? Let’s find out: 

Tesla no longer offers free charging stations. Previously, customers relied on Tesla’s referral program to get unlimited vehicle charges but Tesla discontinued this program in September 2021 as they moved toward maintaining their profits.

While Tesla doesn’t offer free charging stations, you can still find some third-party free charging stations for all EVs around the country. However, there’s a lot of research that goes with finding free charging stations, and some of these stations have fluctuating rates.

In this guide, we’ll take a look at Tesla’s supercharging network and where you might be able to find free third-party charging stations for your Tesla.  

How To Check If You Qualify For Free Tesla Supercharging

According to Tesla, you might be eligible for free Supercharging miles if you previously participated in its referral program. To check whether you qualify for free Supercharging miles,  make a Tesla account and confirm your eligibility along with the expiry date.

Step 1: Enter your Tesla Account information.

Step 2: Select Manage → View Details next to the car connected to your account.

The app will show the available Supercharging status under Car Details. Supercharging may be free, pay-per-use, or time-limited.

Where To Find Free Charging Stations

As previously mentioned, finding free charging stations for a Tesla is not always that straightforward. However, we have included several locations where you may be able to charge your Tesla for free.

National Parks

As part of its Green Parks Plan, the National Park Service (NPS) engages with partners and networks to provide free EV charging for park visitors, workers, and commercial vehicles.  Charging stations have been built at visitor centers, lodges, and partner sites, allowing visitors to recharge in various places across the park. 

Since you can charge your Tesla anywhere you find a power outlet, these parks are often a convenient way of charging your EV for free. While not all national parks provide free EV charging stations, several popular national parks, such as Cape Cod National Seashore in Massachusetts and Everglades National Park in Florida, do. 


Tesla owners can also find free charging stations at hotels that have built and marked a Tesla charger as free. Typically, you can only avail free charging if you’re a hotel customer. However, some places would gladly let you charge your Tesla even if you’re not a customer as long as you agree to pay for the electricity cost. 

Shopping Centers

Various shopping centers and malls in the United States provide their customers with free electric vehicle charging stations. Some grocery shops like Fred Meyer and Stop & Shop offer multiple charging points in their parking spaces to entice consumers. 

The majority of these charging stations are manufactured by Volta Industries, which has collaborated with several shopping malls around the United States to offer free EV charging stations.

Tesla Supercharging Stations

Tesla offers supercharging stations for its vehicles so that they no longer have to depend on third-party charging networks, as most EV manufacturers do.

Tesla Superchargers use DC fast charging, which is still the quickest way to charge an electric car. That said, you cannot install Tesla superchargers at your home as they draw incredibly high amounts of electricity and power.

Tesla Supercharging Cost

Tesla superchargers can charge different amounts due to various factors, such as available power on the grid, peak and off-peak hours, and the amount of electricity transferred. This means that the price of charging your vehicle will fluctuate every time you use a Tesla supercharger. 

However, you can check how much a supercharging station charges by entering its pin on your Tesla navigation screen. The total amount you will be charged is also shown on the touchscreen while charging your vehicle. Typically, you will be charged for the energy provided to your vehicle.

Tesla provides Time of Use (ToU) to tell users how much they will get charged per session. As a Tesla owner, you can monitor your vehicle’s charging level using the Tesla app. The app alerts you when the charging level is full to avoid idle fees. 

The payment is made through your available Tesla credits, meaning you don’t require a credit card to use supercharging stations. However, you will get charged directly from your credit card if you don’t have any Tesla credits. 

Idle Fees Cost

Tesla has implemented idle fee chargers to prevent Tesla owners from over-utilizing the supercharging stations. This method allows those looking to charge their vehicle in an available charging station more efficiently, improving network efficiency. 

You start getting charged for a full charging session when the station is about 50% full. However, the price is eliminated if you remove your vehicle from the charging station within 5 minutes after your charging is complete. 

The idle fee when the station is 50% occupied amounts to $0.50 per minute, whereas if the station is fully occupied, the idle fee rises to $1.00 per minute.


How Long Does It Take To Charge A Tesla At A Supercharging Station?

Since Tesla superchargers use DC fast charging, you can expect your vehicle to be charged for around 200 miles in 15-20 minutes.

Should I Charge My Tesla To 100%?

You should only charge your Tesla to 100% if you plan on going on a long journey. Otherwise, Tesla recommends that you only charge your vehicle to around 90% for daily use.

How Much Does A Tesla Replacement Battery Cost?

Tesla replacements are pretty expensive and can cost you approximately $14,000. The Model S premium sedan’s battery can cost you about $20,000


While it’s unfortunate that Tesla discontinued the availability of free supercharging networks, you can still charge a Tesla from third-party charging stations free of cost. These charging stations are commonly found at hotels, supermarkets, and national parks.

In most cases, however, you will have to pay a small fee to use public chargers for your Tesla.

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