Tesla Motors is head and shoulders above any other electric-car maker in providing a network of charging stations for its drivers to use during their travels.
It's best known for its Supercharger DC quick-charging sites, but it also provides lower-power "destination chargers" at hotels and other sites where its owners are likely to spend time.
The company has said from Day One that charging is free at these locations for anyone who buys a Tesla Model S or Model X.
DON'T MISS: Tesla Model S Owner Loyalty Probably Unparalleled In Industry
So it's a bit of a surprise to learn that at least some Tesla charging sites in China are now apparently imposing a fee for their use.
At least, that seems to be the case in photos posted in late June by CarTek, a manufacturer of auto filters and brake discs, on the Chinese site Leiphone (via Shanghaiist).
UPDATE: Ricardo Reyes, vice president of communications at Tesla Motors, responded to Green Car Reports' inquiries with the following statement:
The sign is not a Tesla sign. The angle of the picture makes it look like it is our sign, but it is not. Local regulations require the notice. It refers to third-party charging stations that were installed immediately next to our Beijing Yizhuang service-plus location.
Sign at Tesla charging station in China specifying fees for usage, Jun 2015 [Leiphone]
The notice visible in the photo above cites fees that include 10 yuan for electricity, plus a five-yuan service fee.
And, most interesting, the last line translates as, "Our charging service is open to electric cars from any other brands."
To date, Tesla charging stations in North America are usable only by Tesla Model S cars, which have a different charging plug than either the J-1772 connector used for 240-Volt Level 2 charging or the CHAdeMO and CCS connectors used by every other vehicle capable of DC fast charging.
ALSO SEE: Uber CEO To Tesla: Sell Me Half A Million Autonomous Electric Cars In 2020
Tesla now has roughly 200 Supercharger sites installed in China, and another 1,300 destination chargers in locations including Beijing-Shanghai Line, Beijing, Tianjin, the Yangtze River Delta and the Pearl River Delta.
According to Shanghaiist, "A Tesla customer service representative said that if car owners find destination chargers that are over-charging, Tesla will help to adjust the prices."
From the articles, it's unclear if the fees are charged to drivers of all electric cars, including Teslas, or just to non-Tesla drivers--and which kind of charger they apply to.
Tesla Supercharger site in Newburgh, New York, up and running - June 2015
And because the charging station itself is not shown--just the sign--i's also unclear whether this is a destination charger or a Supercharger. Because the sign is next to what appears to be a garage door with a Tesla sign over it, we presume it's a Supercharger.
We strongly suspect, however, that Tesla will work to keep its Superchargers free to buyers of its cars--a distinguishing feature of a Tesla that other makers have attempted to emulate after the fact.
Green Car Reports has reached out to Tesla Motors for more details on its China charger policy, and will update this story if we get more detailed information.
[hat tip: Brian Henderson]