If you pulled up to a Tesla Supercharger, the only way to pay for your charging session was to have a credit card saved in your Tesla account online (or have free Supercharger credits). You would simply pull up, plug in, finish your charge and be on your way.
Now Tesla has added a new way, allowing you to pay using your in-car display.
First spotted by Ryan Levenson, host of The Kilowatts, the new payment option appears when you have no payment method saved in your account. Instead, a new button pops up on your display, ‘Payment Method Requested’, where you can enter your credit card information, and then click the “PAY NOW” button.
In the video below, shared first with Drive Tesla you can watch the whole process from beginning to end (the credit card information is edited out), and it all takes less than one minute.
As it is currently implemented, it appears you can charge one time without a payment method on file, but future Supercharging sessions will be cut off. You can see this on the image below where it says “Supercharging unavailable. Add payment method to re-enable”, and the subsequent message sent to the Tesla mobile app.
As Levenson put it, “They aren’t going to force you to pay if you can’t, but you can’t come back and eat for free again.”
Levenson also confirmed this is a one-time payment, and the new credit card information is not saved to your Tesla account.
While this is less user-friendly than having a credit card saved in your Tesla account, which makes the Supercharging experience seamless, this is another step towards Tesla’s future Robotaxi network, which Elon Musk believes could still happen this year.
It is also a benefit for anyone who puts their car on a car-sharing network like Turo.
With in-car payment options, you can simply have the person renting your vehicle pay for their charging sessions, instead of charging it to your credit card.
Another benefit for owners who share their car, Tesla also recently updated their website to include a new “Car Access” feature, which allows Tesla owners to give driving access to up to 5 different people, all with a few clicks of a mouse.
It is likely that most Tesla owners either have free Supercharging credits, or a credit card on their account, so probably not many have encountered this.
Let us know in the comments below if you’ve seen this new payment option in your Tesla.
Update June 16 6:08pm PST: The original version of this article was updated with the new image from the Tesla mobile app.