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Hacker uncovers controversial feature included in new Tesla software update: 'I can see this coming up often'

"I hope that this policy can differentiate here."

“I hope that this policy can differentiate here."

Photo Credit: Getty Images

A notable Tesla hacker has done some digging and found a controversial new addition in the company's latest electric vehicle software update.

When looking at the 2023.38 code, the hacker, known as Green, found that Tesla intends to add a fee when people continue charging beyond 80% at busy Supercharger sites.

This "congestion charge" would prevent drivers from taking up time and space at Supercharger spots, as the final 20% of battery charge takes a lot longer than other periods of refueling. 

Green's discovery was picked up by Electrek, and the outlet noted Tesla had taken steps in 2019 to shorten charging times at Supercharger stations during peak times, limiting users to an 80% charge. 

Electrek said Tesla then changed the feature to allow customers to tweak the settings to allow them to go all the way to 100%. But now, it seems Tesla is taking the policy a step further.

It's not yet clear what the fee will be, but Tesla already applies extra costs for idle cars at Supercharger stations, so it's not out of the ordinary for the brand.

Commenters on Electrek's website had some thoughts about Tesla's expected plans. 

"The solution is to build enough chargers so there isn't any congestion," one user suggested. "Gas stations don't charge more if there is constantly a line at the pump. Instead, a competitor opens across the street to take that overflow business."

"Make it revenue-neutral by simultaneously lowering the price of the 0-80% range (by a bit less, since volume is higher), and then most people would be OK with the price increase in the 80-100% range," another added

Meanwhile, some users were concerned about what this would do to their range anxiety.

"I have had to charge up past 95% several times to make it to the next charger along my route," one user said. "I hope that this policy can differentiate here. I can see this coming up often for those with SR models."

But even with the fee, charging a Tesla will still likely be significantly cheaper than refueling a dirty-fuel-powered car. 

According to CNBC, and using data from Fueleconomy.gov, the annual charging costs of a Tesla Model Y are around $600, compared to the $2,800 needed to keep an Audi Q5 running for a year.

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