Will all those Model 3 owners overwhelm Tesla's nationwide Supercharger network?

I've never had to wait to charge my Tesla Model S at one of the six Superchargers in a Hamilton, N.J., shopping center, above, but what will happen when thousands of Model 3s hit the road and compete for the same charging stations? 


On the day news broke that owners of the affordable Model 3 won't be gulping free juice at Tesla Superchargers, two Model S owners were speculating about the future.

Even if Tesla CEO Elon Musk doubles the number of Superchargers, as he promised at the unveiling of the Model 3, will there be room for owners of both models to charge without waiting?

The Model 3, which Tesla hopes to begin delivering in late 2017, is expected to have a $35,000 base price, compared to $75,000 for the Model S 70D, an all-wheel-drive, four-door luxury hatchback.

The Model S and more expensive Model X SUV now include free use of the company's extensive Supercharging network.

A $2,000 option

Musk said on Thursday Tesla can't afford to include free charging at the $35,000 base price, but that owners could purchase an option or package.

In April 2015, when I took delivery of my Tesla Model S 60, Supercharging was a $2,000 option, and I gladly paid it.

On Friday, at the Tesla showroom in Paramus, N.J., one Model S owner suggested the company could sell Model 3s with an adapter that would allow them to use only some -- but not all of -- the Superchargers at each shopping center or service area.

That would leave other Superchargers exclusively for the smaller number of Model S owners.

When I've used free Superchargers at shopping centers in Hamilton Township, N.J., or outside Albany, N.Y., I've been able to add 100 miles of range in about 15 minutes.

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