Tesla has announced that it will start to charge owners for using its Supercharger network from next year.

When the Supercharger network was first announced in 2012, the company offered its customers free use of the rapid-charging network. However, Tesla has now said that customers ordering vehicles after 1st January will only receive 400kWh of free energy per year – enough to power one of its vehicles for around 1,000 miles.

There is no word on how expensive the Superchargers will become, but a Tesla statement said customers would have to pay “a small fee, which will be changed incrementally”.

The company also said the new charge would cost less than filling up a comparable petrol-engined car.

According to Tesla, the pricing allows the manufacturer to “reinvest in the network, accelerate its growth and bring all owners the best Supercharging experience”.

Further details of the scheme will be revealed later this year, and though Tesla is keen to point out that the network will “never be a profit centre”, it does admit that “prices may fluctuate over time and vary regionally based on the cost of electricity”.

Customers who already own vehicles are not affected by the change, while those who place orders before January 1, 2017, will only dodge the charge if their vehicle is delivered before April 1.

As a result, it seems that customers will have to move quickly if they want to take advantage of free Superchargers. At present, a Model S ordered today would be expected to arrive in late February, while a Model X ordered now would not be expected to be with the customer until late March.