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Do supercharger users not care about price?

bradtem

Robocar consultant
Dec 18, 2018
359
524
Sunnyvale, CA
I also noticed the difference in price between the nearby Cupertino Superchargers. However, it doesn't matter to me since I have home charging and free L2 charging within walking distance of my home. The only time I use Superchargers is when we're traveling away from home. When traveling, the services around the charging site are far more important than the fee for charging.
You talking about Apple? Pretty impressive, a bank of 70 free level 2 chargers at the Apple store, though they shut down at 7pm. Even though I can walk there I don't use them as I have 5kw at home which is more than anybody needs, and it turned out 1.8kw which I used for 2 years was also enough.

As such, I have not used these chargers, but I see them on my map all the time and they are full with other people, who presumably can't even get L1 at home and thus should care more.

When I have been by, I do see some model S and X, but the bulk are 3s and Ys, which don't have unlimited charging. And referral free charging stopped a while ago too (though I still have about 2,000 miles of it.) I figure better to save it for actual road trips than use it at home, since after it runs out, I will be paying the price, sometimes the 48cents, which as noted is more than gasoline in the hybrid car I would otherwise own. I don't like the idea of paying more than the cost of gasoline in my EV. (Though with the new price of gasoline it's less likely.)
 

bradtem

Robocar consultant
Dec 18, 2018
359
524
Sunnyvale, CA
I get 95% of my electrons at home, so when I’m picking a SC I look for the one that will give me the shortest stop (arrive with low state-of-charge), without any regard for price. In fact, I was somewhat happy to see Tesla raise SC prices somewhat (unpopular, I know). Why? Because it reduces the number of people who use the SCs as convenience chargers. But what about the people who need to use SCs for regular charging? I suspect that Tesla will end up offering subscription pricing for them.
As I noted, the cheaper charger is 250kw. The more expensive one 150kw shared between each pair. You want a faster charge (and lower price) you would want the Target one.

Now, I think Cupertino Main Street is a really great place to put a supercharger, and I wonder if that is enough of a factor? If your plan is to just hang out in a space where there is activity (mostly younger) it's much better, semi-urban, with cafes and desert places etc.

On the other hand, if you are a local, the cheaper/faster charger has a Target, Whole Foods, Asian grocery store, TJ Max, Staples etc. If I were supercharging 1-2 times/week because I had no charging at home, I would coordinate shopping visits to these stores with my charge and it would be a superior choice to Cupertino Main Street. So it remains puzzling.
 
Some will shop for the least expensive SuperCharger, while others will shop for the most convenient.

That is a pretty rich community, and paying an extra $ for a convenient charge while having a nice dinner or shopping experience will not cause them to drive to another, less expensive place.

Same with gas stations. Not everyone shops at the cheapest place. Some value convenience.
 

bradtem

Robocar consultant
Dec 18, 2018
359
524
Sunnyvale, CA
Some will shop for the least expensive SuperCharger, while others will shop for the most convenient.

That is a pretty rich community, and paying an extra $ for a convenient charge while having a nice dinner or shopping experience will not cause them to drive to another, less expensive place.

Same with gas stations. Not everyone shops at the cheapest place. Some value convenience.
Obviously some are this way -- and some have old Model S with unlimited charging -- but the ratio exceeds what I expect, even accounting for that. Indeed, when you look around the map you see that Tesla has deliberately put in the peak double-price charging at some stations and left it low price at others, and it seems to do this to get people to move -- but only a few are moving.

Yes, some people buy the expensive gasoline. I have not seen a survey to see who they are, whether they are on corporate credit cards or whatever. People are actually provably irrational in that they will spend $2 in driving to save $1 on gasoline. Though not all people, clearly.
 
But, thats the thing. The real interesting piece of data that would be totally relevant to that, is how many of those people in the more expensive supercharger are actually PAYING (and thus care), vs "free unlimited supercharging" and thus dont care.

If you are not paying at all, how much it costs doesnt matter but amenities around the station do matter. If you are traveling, the amenities matter, and might outweigh the difference in cost (traveling = vacation).

The only time they dont matter is if someone is paying, and not traveling (a local without home charging).
I think most are paying. The FUSC was, I believe, only granted to 2019 and earlier Model S and Model X cars. Model 3 and Model Y outnumber these cars by at least a factor of 10 if not more. But you are right if you have FUSC you charge at the most convenient place anytime you want.
 
This can be a factor, but there is no "dig." Just click on the supercharger (which you must do to nav to it) and it tells you the price.
But also, these are the locals who charge here all the time, not road trippers. There are no road trippers going through Cupertino at 7pm.
Could you tell me more about this. to get the price per kWh at a supercharge all I have to do is touch the icon for that location on the screen in my car? Thanks
 

bradtem

Robocar consultant
Dec 18, 2018
359
524
Sunnyvale, CA
I mean when your traveling what choice do you have. It’s like gas stations on holidays, they raise prices and if your traveling what choice do you have. For folks that use Super Chargers in lieu of home charging SC’er rates will NEVER be as cheap.
Most road trip gas stations come in clusters with some competition. Prices vary but rarely by a large margin. Certainly never anything remotely like 2:1. I predict that with two gas stations with a 2:1 price ratio, both without a line, the double price station would see next to no traffic. Of course gas stations (especially roadside ones) put their prices on giant signs and are required to have them somewhat prominent, and gasoline drivers all have some awareness of the current normal prices, and would blanch if they went to a station showing double. As people in this thread have pointed out, and as I already was aware, EV drivers care a great deal less about this, but neither do they care nothing about it.
 

avs007

Active Member
May 14, 2021
1,020
944
PacNW
Depends how pressed for time I am... If I'm pressed for time, I'll just go to whichever one is more convenient and/or is faster... If I have time, or have the luxury to preplan for things, I'll go to the cheaper one... For example, I go on business trips pretty frequently... If I have time in the morning, I can charge at the SC near the office, and only pay 18 cents/kw. However, if I don't have time to charge in the morning, I'll have to charge in the evening... Sometimes I'll do other stuff and wait till after 8pm to pay 18 cents/kw, but sometimes I don't have the luxury of time, and I'll just pay the 37 cents/kw.
 
I don't care per se as I charge at home and thus only use SCs on road trips. But, living in Canada where we're on the dumb time-based system it's kind of annoying how much it costs compared to what it would be if we could pay by the kWh.

I drove about 400km this weekend and it worked out to be only about half the price of gas per km. At home it's more like 1/8.
 
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Big Dog

Active Member
Mar 7, 2016
1,839
2,028
Irvine, CA
I use the Stevens Creek SC when I visit my D in Sunnyvale, but disagree strongly that its a 7 out of ten. There is target adn target adjacent. Otherwise, one needs to walk around target, down the block and cross the street (which is what I do and head to Philz). That said, Cupertino is an upscale and popular mall. Plenty of dinner establishments adn bars. (There's a reason that the SC is busy during dinner time!)

btw: My D lives near downtown Sunnyvale, so the downtown SC (in a Target parking garage) is even closer, but it usually has a line. I'd rather drive a few miles down the road to get the 250 charge with no waiting, and walk to Philz. Others prefer to pay for convenience.
 

bradtem

Robocar consultant
Dec 18, 2018
359
524
Sunnyvale, CA
I use the Stevens Creek SC when I visit my D in Sunnyvale, but disagree strongly that its a 7 out of ten. There is target adn target adjacent. Otherwise, one needs to walk around target, down the block and cross the street (which is what I do and head to Philz). That said, Cupertino is an upscale and popular mall. Plenty of dinner establishments adn bars. (There's a reason that the SC is busy during dinner time!)

btw: My D lives near downtown Sunnyvale, so the downtown SC (in a Target parking garage) is even closer, but it usually has a line. I'd rather drive a few miles down the road to get the 250 charge with no waiting, and walk to Philz. Others prefer to pay for convenience.
Depends on what you plan to do while charging. I almost never just hang around, but if I did, CMS would be nicer as you say. If I want to have dinner CMS is also nicer, but the Target plaza is no slouch with a Habit Burger, Panera Bread, Paris Bagette, Decent Japanese, average Dim Sum and Ramen, Excellent middle eastern, and the food in the Whole Foods. Also a Starbucks, a Philz, Mr Sun Tea and good Pho if you want to walk a bit, and the lobby of the Aloft hotel. This is a cut above 90% of superchargers I have seen, while CSM is in the top few percentiles.

But for my weekly shopping, the big Target, Whole Foods and Marina foods are good and CMS.

However, this is local nitpick. As @avs007 says, they want faster and more convenient, and the Target plaza is 250kw chargers and no waiting. Yet tonight when I checked it had 5 free and CMS had a "short wait" -- at double the price.
 

avs007

Active Member
May 14, 2021
1,020
944
PacNW
Depends on what you plan to do while charging. I almost never just hang around, but if I did, CMS would be nicer as you say. If I want to have dinner CMS is also nicer, but the Target plaza is no slouch with a Habit Burger, Panera Bread, Paris Bagette, Decent Japanese, average Dim Sum and Ramen, Excellent middle eastern, and the food in the Whole Foods. Also a Starbucks, a Philz, Mr Sun Tea and good Pho if you want to walk a bit, and the lobby of the Aloft hotel. This is a cut above 90% of superchargers I have seen, while CSM is in the top few percentiles.

But for my weekly shopping, the big Target, Whole Foods and Marina foods are good and CMS.

However, this is local nitpick. As @avs007 says, they want faster and more convenient, and the Target plaza is 250kw chargers and no waiting. Yet tonight when I checked it had 5 free and CMS had a "short wait" -- at double the price.
I took a quick peek at the Target one you are talking about... I probably wouldn't go there either. My wife hates the supercharger that's in a Target parking lot over here. She says it's too far of a walk, and its usually at the far end of the lot, so she doesn't feel as safe... She also hates starbucks that are inside other businesses, she says they never make the drinks right... I happen to like philz better anyways, but when I looked at the map, all those places you mentioned are on the far side... I'm also pretty picky with Pho and Ramen, and I actually don't like Afuri, so to me the food options are quite limited there.
 

bradtem

Robocar consultant
Dec 18, 2018
359
524
Sunnyvale, CA
I took a quick peek at the Target one you are talking about... I probably wouldn't go there either. My wife hates the supercharger that's in a Target parking lot over here. She says it's too far of a walk, and its usually at the far end of the lot, so she doesn't feel as safe... She also hates starbucks that are inside other businesses, she says they never make the drinks right... I happen to like philz better anyways, but when I looked at the map, all those places you mentioned are on the far side... I'm also pretty picky with Pho and Ramen, and I actually don't like Afuri, so to me the food options are quite limited there.
I agree I think Tesla gets poor placement on chargers. I've seen much worse than this. The Monterey mall charger is very deep in the lot and a long walk from the better restaurants. This area of Cupertino is pretty safe. The other one is just on the 2nd floor of a large parking garage, though you can walk to the elevator and get down to an interesting place. The Starbucks is not in a business, and the Philz is closer. However, in my charging philosophy those are not places are go. I go to places where I have 30 minutes of stuff to do, and that's not coffee shops usually, but it's restaurants, or stores I want to shop at. The Whole Foods is oriented the other way which does make it about 6 minutes, though this is par for the course at most superchargers. It has an EVGo as well which someday will give you 150kw when the CCS adapter comes -- though probably more pricey than Tesla.

I guess I will have to do some asking. I charge at home, so I only supercharge on road trips, and in that case I would like either of these stations at different times, though mostly the 250kw and lower price would attract me, and the risk of a line is a dealbraker. (When I approach a town looking for a charge and it has multiple chargers I am always checking which one has more free stalls, in fact at V2 chargers I am always trying to find one with <50% occupancy so I'm not paired with somebody.) Obviously people who care about that aren't looking at this too closely.
 

miimura

Well-Known Member
Aug 21, 2013
7,314
7,293
Los Altos, CA
I agree I think Tesla gets poor placement on chargers. I've seen much worse than this. The Monterey mall charger is very deep in the lot and a long walk from the better restaurants. This area of Cupertino is pretty safe. The other one is just on the 2nd floor of a large parking garage, though you can walk to the elevator and get down to an interesting place. The Starbucks is not in a business, and the Philz is closer. However, in my charging philosophy those are not places are go. I go to places where I have 30 minutes of stuff to do, and that's not coffee shops usually, but it's restaurants, or stores I want to shop at. The Whole Foods is oriented the other way which does make it about 6 minutes, though this is par for the course at most superchargers. It has an EVGo as well which someday will give you 150kw when the CCS adapter comes -- though probably more pricey than Tesla.

I guess I will have to do some asking. I charge at home, so I only supercharge on road trips, and in that case I would like either of these stations at different times, though mostly the 250kw and lower price would attract me, and the risk of a line is a dealbraker. (When I approach a town looking for a charge and it has multiple chargers I am always checking which one has more free stalls, in fact at V2 chargers I am always trying to find one with <50% occupancy so I'm not paired with somebody.) Obviously people who care about that aren't looking at this too closely.
Not to pick nits, but the Cupertino Whole Foods EVgo site is very old (mid 2014). It has ABB 50kW chargers, one of which has the bolted on Tesla adapter. EVgo is installing new sites with high power chargers, but they have not done many, if any, upgrades to high power chargers at old sites.
 

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