Tesla Supercharger network now billing based on kWh in Canada
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EV Charging
Aug 4, 2023
Mehanaz Yakub

Tesla is taking advantage of a government pilot program that allows all charging station operators to bill customers on an energy-based kilowatt-hour (kWh) basis

Tesla is taking a step towards enhancing the charging experience for its Canadian customers by transitioning to an energy-based kilowatt-hour (kWh) billing structure at all its Supercharger stations across the country. Photo: Tesla

Government pilot program now allows all charging station operators to bill customers on an energy-use basis

Tesla is now billing Supercharger customers in Canada on a per kilowatt-hour basis, instead of per minute, confirms the company on social media. It is one of the first charging operators in the country to make the switch.

The Tesla announcement comes six months after Measurement Canada — the federal body responsible for setting billing standards — granted a temporary dispensation allowing charging providers of Level 3+ chargers the option to bill customers per kWh. (Level 2 and Level 1 chargers got approval to have kWh billing in October 2022.)

Many critics, including Tesla, said the former model of billing based on time spent at a charging station was an unfair practice.

“This is great news, as customers are now billed fairly for the energy they use, rather than the amount of time their vehicle is plugged in, which varies based on the vehicle and a variety of other factors,” says Audrey Dépault, senior advisor, public policy and business development at Tesla in a Linkedin post.

Adopting kWh billing

The government spent two years examining the issue of charging-station billing before deciding to implement the temporary dispensation order, which will remain in effect until December 31, 2029.

To adopt the new billing structure, EV station operators needed to seek approval from Measurement Canada by submitting written applications and meeting a 10-point list of requirements.

After getting approval from Measurement Canada earlier this week, Tesla’s app pricing automatically switched to per kWh billing for charging across Canada.

Tesla says on its website that “whenever possible, owners are billed per kWh (kilowatt-hour); in other areas, owners are billed per minute.”

The per-minute billing system has four tiers, with pricing increasing as the charging speed rises: below 60 kW; above 60 kW or below 100 kW; above 100 kW or below 180 kW; and above 180 kW.

Future mass market significance

There are over 1,490 Superchargers across Canada as of March 2023, according to data collected by Electric Autonomy.

Tesla drivers have had exclusive access to the Supercharger network since its establishment.

However, last fall, Tesla decided to release its EV charging connector design and specification files for other car makers to use. As a result, several automakers are now adopting the Tesla North American Charging Standard (NACS) connector. Drivers of cars featuring that connector may access to Tesla’s Supercharger network, starting as early as next year.

Major charging providers across Canada, such as FLO are still billing customers based on time spent charging at their DC-fast charger locations.

ChargePoint also has an extensive network of fast chargers in Canada but the company does not own or operate the stations, nor set the prices for charging services.

“The software solutions we offer our customers allow them to tailor the charging experience to the need of their business and customers,” says a spokesperson for Chargepoint in an email statement to Electric Autonomy. 

“This includes setting prices for charging services by time, session, or kWh. Customers wishing to switch to kWh-based pricing for their charging stations can easily do so using ChargePoint station management software once they have registered and been approved by Measurement Canada for temporary dispensation.”

Customers with access to the Tesla Superchargers will have the advantage of paying per kWh for charging until other operators decide to make the billing switch.

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