Tesla is donating chargers to companies and commercial property owners throughout the U.S. under a new program that aims to give its customers more places to charge their electric vehicles.
The idea behind the “workplace charging” program is similar to Tesla’s investment in installing destination chargers at hotels and restaurants. But under this new program, Tesla is also trying to target—or attract—customers who live in apartments that don’t have on-site charging. The move makes sense for a company trying to evolve from niche luxury car maker to manufacturer with a wider-ranging portfolio of vehicles and, in turn, more diverse customer base.
Tesla is not setting up its network of fast-chargers, known as Superchargers, at these locations. Instead, the electric automaker is sending companies its Tesla wall connectors, the same units that owners install in their homes. The wall connector is hardwired directly into a home or business’s electrical system and is designed for 208-240 volt power supplies.
Tesla didn’t say how much it plans to invest in the program; nor did it identify the companies that have already signed up for the free wall connectors, which normally cost $500 a pop. Tesla says it will install the systems. The electricity costs will be the responsibility of the property owner or business.
Tesla wouldn’t say which companies will receive these free wall connectors. But the company has apparently already started shipping equipment.
Tesla is also taking steps to avoid conflicts between employees and outsiders looking for a charger. The charging program, which only works on Tesla vehicles, will not be available to the public, nor will they be seen on any public Tesla maps.