There are loads of benefits associated with EV ownership, and they've become quite clear of late. However, many people may have never realised that the potential to provide free DC fast charging amid a disaster would be added to the list of positives. However, Tesla is offering free Supercharging to people impacted by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
In fact, with what likely amounts to the push of a button, Tesla regularly offers free Supercharging for its owners for a variety of reasons, though allowing people to quickly charge and flee a disaster is certainly the best reason. In this most recent case, Tesla is not only offering free Supercharging for its vehicle owners, but rather, owners of all EVs, regardless of the brand. According to Teslarati, the automaker wrote in an email to local owners:
“Charge for free in parts of Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary. Beginning Monday, we are temporarily enabling free Supercharging for both Tesla and Non-Tesla vehicles at sites in areas impacted by the recent situation in Ukraine. Starting with: Trzebownisko, Poland, Košice, Slovakia, (as well as Miskolc and Debrecen in) Hungary. We hope that this helps give you the peace of mind to get to a safe location.”
Before moving on, we'd like to point out the first thing we always think of when we hear that Tesla is offering free Supercharging in times of need, "Where's the free petrol?"
You'd better bet that the vast majority of Ukrainians don't own an EV – in 2021, about 27,000 EVs were present on Ukraine's roads – however, those who do may find it easier to get "juiced up" at a Supercharger than those waiting in long lines at petrol stations. Moreover, while the cost of petrol is rising, EV owners in areas around Ukraine can fast-charge for free, at least temporarily.
In the past, Tesla has also offered additional battery capacity as temporary assistance to owners fleeing a disaster. Again, we thought, "Where are the petrol tank capacity upgrades?"
Obviously, this would never be viable, so people have to resort to filling up petrol cans, or various containers (often unapproved to transport fuel), to take them along for the ride, just in case there's no option to get more petrol later. This creates a very dangerous situation, especially in an area where battles are underway.
Hopefully, Tesla is setting an example that other charging infrastructure companies will also follow going forward.