Is it true that many Tesla destination chargers are free to use?
Tesla gave businesses free Destination Chargers back when they were just getting started with the SuC network to help pave the way for trips, and most of the installations are V1 or V2 with no billing capability. They recently (~1year) began offering upgrades to V3 which have a billing capability. Most sites probably either don't know they have a charger, or aren't sweating the revenue as they see hotel or restaurant business from EV owners. So, the case for upgrading just to charge for use isn't strong.
Businesses that pay attention are learning they can appeal to a wider clientele by installing J plugs. State grants support J plug installs, but not Tesla.
Not sure how aggressive Tesla is with expanding Destination networks, according to AFDC, growth of L2 Tesla public charging has been minimal in the past year (also roughly when V3 chargers were becoming available). I have been tracking public charging stats for my local EV club newsletter:
These numbers are a little deceiving. Tesla AC plugs are much more common at hotels, J plugs are everywhere but hotels in many cases. Also, most Tesla owners I know claim hotels with destination chargers tend to be higher priced for the areas they are located, so it is not a slam dunk decision to carry an adapter. Tesla also offered to install Clipper Creek J1772 units at no cost to sites willing to install Destination Chargers, so some of these sites will have both. With only about 12% of public AC chargers being Tesla, chances are there are also J plugs in the area.
That said, if you frequently travel to places with Destination Chargers, the adapter can be a great option.
The V3 Destination Chargers apparently adopted some different signaling to accommodate billing. Previous versions adhered to the J1772 standard, but V3 varies a bit and reports of Lectron adapters not handling the V3 properly are circulating. Maybe if the V3 is not using billing it still follows J1772 (I understand there is a software, or DIP switch that turns this on/off), so it may be hit or miss on V3 compatibility. Tesla Tap claims their adapters are fully V3 compatible, not sure how.