All across the U.S., parking fees can add up.
Teslas are able to park in a number of lots and garages at no cost.
Let’s look into how and where Tesla owners get free parking.
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Can Teslas Park for Free?
Teslas can park for free in many public and private areas. Teslas can park for free at several supermarkets, urban charge stations, and even public parking lots. Your local Tesla dealer will help you get a list of places you can park for free.
Do New Tesla Owners Get Free Parking?
New Tesla owners can get free parking in many public lots and garages across the country. This serves as an incentive for more people to go electric.
Various websites make it possible to find out where you can park your Tesla for free. These are constantly updated so that you can make important decisions about where you park.
While some cities offer the deals to anyone, others require you to be a resident.
When you buy a Tesla, many dealerships will provide you with a list of where you can get free parking in the city. Of course, this list can change rapidly depending on where you live. It means you’ll need to stay on top of the parking offers on your own.
Do Teslas Get More Free Parking Than Other Electric Cars?
Teslas tend to get more free parking than others because of being a fully electric car.
The rules vary from city to city – and even from lot to lot.
In many instances, Teslas don’t get any added treatment for driving a Tesla over any other type of electric vehicle.
The greater focus is on hybrids versus electric cars. Some areas will allow hybrids to park for free. Other areas limit the free parking solely to those with fully electric vehicles.
The only reason that you typically hear of free parking for Teslas is that it is widely known as an electric car. Other electric vehicles are often EV versions of gas-powered models. However, most parking that is identified as being free for electric vehicles includes Teslas as well as models from other manufacturers.
If you work at Tesla as an employee you will obviously also get free parking. However, contrary to popular belief, very few Tesla employees get a Tesla.
Is Parking Generally Cheaper for Electric Cars?
Electric cars typically pay less for parking than other cars for a few reasons.
With so many cities offering incentives, free or discounted parking is given to those with electric cars. Those incentives are often given to those who drive hybrid vehicles, too.
Much of the parking that is dedicated to EVs is on a first come, first serve basis. In cities where there are a large number of drivers using Teslas and other EVs, it may still be necessary to pay for parking.
For example, in some cities where they have spots marked in green for EVs, which are free, there is only a limited number. If a person drives up in a Tesla only to find the spots are gone, they would have to pay for parking.
There are also many places around the U.S. that still don’t distinguish between types of vehicles. Teslas, EVs, hybrids, and gas cars alike are all charged the same fees. This is particularly common in airports.
The airport parking fees are focused on the time that you are in the parking garage as opposed to the vehicle you are driving.
Do Tesla Owners Enjoy Other Special Perks?
If you happen to own a Tesla (or are thinking of buying one), it’s important to look at the special perks you might be able to take advantage of.
While most parking is for all EVs and not just Teslas, that’s not the case with chargers.
Tesla has its own charging unit that is exclusive to Tesla owners. And Tesla supercharging stations are extensive – with the network constantly growing. There are over 25,000 superchargers, and it can charge a Tesla for about 200 miles in 15 minutes.
These Tesla-exclusive chargers are no longer free, however. You’ll have to use a credit card that’s loaded into the car’s computer to pay either by the minute or the kilowatt.
There are a few other perks that you get with being a Tesla owner. However, these focus more on the overall convenience of being behind the wheel of a Tesla. Such “perks” include:
- Reverse summon for finding parking spots
- Enhanced acceleration
- Bioweapon defense mode
- Dog mode (so your dog can chill while you run into a store)
While more EVs are adding perks for its owners, Tesla seems to be adding even more. While it might not necessarily save you money around town, many will argue that it helps to add to the “cool factor” as you drive.
Do You Get Free Parking if You Buy an Older Tesla?
Teslas get free parking regardless of the model year. The deals in various cities and venues are based on the Tesla being an electric vehicle.
The only difference between buying an older Tesla and a newer one may be the features of the vehicle itself. For example, you may get more help with parking in a newer vehicle – but it doesn’t prevent you from getting free parking when available.
Even when you are required to fill out a permit application, the entities are looking at what kind of vehicle you own. They’ll want to know the make and model. The model year doesn’t have any bearing on whether your application is approved.
You can buy a Tesla Model S, X, Y, or 3 and be eligible for free parking offered to EVs. Buy a 2022 model year or a used 2012 model year. You’ll find the same EV benefits apply to you.
There may be a few differences based on where you buy your Tesla.
If you buy directly from a Tesla dealership, new or used, you may gain info about free parking. This may not be available if you buy from an individual.
There’s an easy way to get around that, however. Visit your local Tesla dealership. Find out if they know about any free parking or other perks that you can take advantage of.
Why Have Some Cities Gotten Rid of Free EV Parking?
It seems that there should be more cities providing free parking for Teslas and other EVs, not less. Unfortunately, some cities did pilot programs and have eliminated the parking.
There are a few reasons why the parking solutions have failed:
- Regulating the time proved to be difficult
- There are more EVs on the road
- Hybrids don’t get the same privileges
- There’s upkeep for those parking spaces
Even without free parking, there are still benefits. And in some instances, you may have to pay for parking but can take advantage of free charging.
Where Can You Park a Tesla for Free?
Parking your Tesla for free is becoming easier because cities want to offer incentives. There is a significant push to buy electric so that it reduces air pollution.
Some cities offer All-Electric Vehicle Incentive Programs. One such is from the City of Cincinnati. They have a permit program that provides free parking to Teslas and other EVs at any city-owned parking meter and kiosk throughout the city.
The amount of time that you get for free is set based on the meter restrictions. EVs will get the free parking for the time stated. After that, you will have to either pay or move your EV.
For the permit program in the City of Cincinnati, there is an EV Permit Application that must be filled out. The permit must be visible in order to take advantage of the free parking when you’re in your Tesla.
Other cities are starting to roll out similar programs.
There are other places where you can park a Tesla for free without a permit. Some places to explore include:
- Downtown San Antonio
- Parking garages in Sacramento
- City streets in New Haven, CT
Some parking isn’t specific to a city but rather a college campus. In fact, quite a few college campuses are offering incentives that include free parking AND free charging for up to four hours.
A permit has to be obtained, but after that, the free parking and charging can be utilized.
Some of the campuses with such programs are:
- Boston University
- Colorado State University
- University of California
- Texas A&M University
If you’re a college student, find out if there are free parking options for your Tesla. You might find that there’s an option that could save you quite a bit of money.
College student or not, find out what is available near you. And if your city doesn’t offer any kind of free parking incentive, it may be time to ask for one. Get your city council involved.
Some cities used to offer free parking incentives and got rid of them.
Don’t be afraid to find out what the added perks are of driving a Tesla in your city.
There may be hidden perks based on individual parking lots, college campuses, and even attraction lots. It never hurts to ask, and if it can save you parking fees, it’s even better.