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Free supercharger or pay per use?

Discussion in 'Model 3' started by Gen3, Mar 2, 2016.

  1. Gen3

    Gen3 Member

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    With reports of some super chargers having long lineups, I was thinking about free/unlimited supercharger use (after paying the $2000). I notice the when something is free or unlimited, some people tend to abuse the system in order to get their money's worth or because they paid for it and they can. I know superchargers are intended for long distance travel but there is nothing stopping local use. I think there should be a per minute fee while in use to incentivize people to get out of the way when they have what they need, especially when the charging is done. There should also be a reservation system so you can count on an available stall when on a trip.

    I am am curious about other people's thoughts.
     
  2. Bimbels

    Bimbels GoldMember

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    There have been so many threads on this. Elon has said free. Many times.
     
  3. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    #3 ItsNotAboutTheMoney, Mar 2, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2016
    JB Straubel has said that they might have to consider charging a fee.

    But I think Tesla will try to make it work without one, because using the upfront fee helps simplify the system so much.
    If there's going to be a problem, it will be due to legislation that forces Tesla to allow people to pay per use.

    Personally, I feel that simply having pay-per-use is 100% completely and totally the wrong thing to do. It fails to recognize that chargers are low volume.
     
  4. Gen3

    Gen3 Member

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    I think free is great as long as they are not busy. I'm thinking in about 5 years how busy these superchargers will become. I know Elon wants free charging, but he has changed his mind before. I don't see any major obstacles with implementing a variable rate structure. It's just software that will automatically change your credit card or account.
     
  5. ZAKEEUS

    ZAKEEUS Member

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    As long as they keep building superchargers, it won't be a problem. Superchargers having long lines is by far the exception and not the rule.
     
  6. Max*

    Max* Autopilot != Autonomous

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    This. Exactly this. I don't understand why people don't understand this. This isn't a hard concept to grasp. If you increase the demand (EVs), you need to also increase the supply (SpCs).


    Superchargers are being build constantly. They're filling the gaps now, making more roads drive-able. Next they'll probably add more SpCs in between the current ones, to reduce congestion. They're increasing the size of the over-used superchargers or adding chargers in the vicinity to reduce congestion. By the time the Model 3 is out we'll probably have 50% more SpC than we do now. By the time the Model 3 ramps up to 500k units per year, I can't even imagine how many SpCs are going to be on the roads.
     
  7. wk057

    wk057 Senior Tinkerer

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    #7 wk057, Mar 2, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2016
    The lines are certainly common and predictable on busy travel days. I think a lot of people waiting hours in those lines would tend to agree that something should be done.

    I personally do not believe the included/free/one-time fee charging model should extend beyond the S/X. It should definitely be pay per kWh and/or pay per minute with some minimum cost per minute so people get out of the stalls when they're done. For example, if you're using 120 kW, your cost per kWh per minute will be higher than the per minute cost and you'll be charged that... once you get down to 15 kW or so (like 95% SoC), your cost per kWh per minute would be lower than the minimum per minute and you'd pay the time-based cost instead. If you want to hog a stall all day, by all means... but it's going to cost you. Combined with a "be towed if parked here and not charging/plugged in" law/rule and I think this would be quite effective.

    Long term the current model definitely does not seem sustainable to me, even with 10x more chargers online.
     
  8. Bimbels

    Bimbels GoldMember

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    #8 Bimbels, Mar 2, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2016
    Why would legislation be passed to force fee for use? Tesla paid for this infrastructure - no one else. Elon has said publicly (I believe at the 2015 shareholders meeting?) that they are totally open to other manufacturers using tesla superchargers. That they would first need to build vehicles that can accept the higher wattage, and agree on contributions for use. Meaning the manufacturers would have to pay Tesla to use the equipment. That cost could be passed on to their (the other manufacturers) customers. He also said he was at a loss as to why no one has done this yet.

    As for Tesla customers being charged, I still believe what Elon said time and again which is that superchargers will be free, for life. Expanding SC network will alleviate concerns about lines.

    Bigger question is when will other manufactures, or enterprising business venture, or our government start investing in a STANDARDIZED nationwide fast charging network? Why does Tesla have to be the only one to do it? Whether it's Tesla or someone else, eventually fast chargers will be as ubiquitous as gas stations.
     
  9. wk057

    wk057 Senior Tinkerer

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    While I certainly agree, unless even faster charging becomes common place (as fast as or faster than a gas tank fill) then these charging stations will have to have many more stalls than existing gas stations have pumps. Let's say at a busy gas station it takes 5 minutes to pump a tank of gas, and 30 minutes to charge an EV, on average. That station would need six times as many "pumps" to keep up, so 6 times as many places to park and charge vs park and pump, etc.

    So, while I think the supercharger network is great, it's not going to be enough long term without substantial improvements all around.
     
  10. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    Restrictive legislation has already been passed in Germany and Spain. The principle is trying to avoid competing networks that require membership. They want to see it open like gasoline stations.
    In CA if a charger requires payment it must accept a credit card as an alternative method of payment.

    Legislators are subject to lobbying and simply can't get their heads round the different nature of EV refueling.
     
  11. StapleGun

    StapleGun Member

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    As a model 3 buyer I hope they keep them free, but as an investor I hope they have some sort of escape in the clause just in case they really do reach their 1-million mile drive-train goal. Assuming half of the $2000 goes towards electricity, 280 wh/mile, and $0.13/kWh electricity each buyer pays for about 20,000 miles of supercharging (or 153 stops filling 50 kWh each). I'd guess 20,000 supercharged miles is around the average if the car lasts 150,000 miles, but if they go 1 million miles then Tesla could have a big liability. That's why I wish they would term it "Guaranteed free for 20 years" or something along those lines. That shouldn't affect the value proposition for people buying new vehicles but also caps their liability in case their projections of cost of supercharging are off.

    The good news is that with rapid sales growth it would take decades for this to catch up to them. Over those decades electricity should get cheaper thanks to solar+batteries, and the amount of people owning their own cars should shrink considerably if self-driving pans out.
     
  12. Bimbels

    Bimbels GoldMember

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    I totally agree. And I think improved technology will result in higher charging rates. I believe it was a Mercedes concept that I read about recently that will be able to charge fully in something like 15 minutes. Maybe that's wishful thinking with where we are today..but it will happen.
     
  13. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    The multiplier would be smaller. Long-range PEVs don't need to use OTR refueling for all of their miles. In the USA, one-way trips of 100+ miles only make up something like 15% of household miles traveled, and you only need miles not covered by home, destination and overnight charging. The eventual multiplier could be quite small, and since charging just needs the plug at the parking space, the actual space needed per car could be lower.
     
  14. Bimbels

    Bimbels GoldMember

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    Then it sounds what Elon said in the shareholders meeting would still pass muster- he doesn't want to require a membership. He wants the costs to be paid to tesla via the manufacturers, not the users. they would bake it into the price of the car. I do agree that chargers should be open like gas stations.
     
  15. Shopaholic

    Shopaholic Member

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    I think Tesla should license/sell super chargers to private party, say Starbucks or a fast food joint, hotels or who ever wants to put them up for their patrons. It will be an added attraction for the businesses
     
  16. Gen3

    Gen3 Member

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    When Elon talks about superchargers free for life, I understand it as free for those who purchased it as free for life, not that superchargers will always be free. I maintain that there needs to be an incentive to get out of the stall when the supercharger is busy. It would be great if the supercharger rollout kept up with demand on say long weekends, but I don't see that happening.
     
  17. MiamiNole

    MiamiNole Member

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    This. As long as the supercharger network continues to be built out in a manner which encourages use strictly for long-distance travel (i.e. along highways away from or at least on the outskirts of metro areas), then we should be fine. For those congested areas where lines are seen, ideally there would be other SCs built nearby with notifications on cues being available for drivers to make a decision on which one to use or when to stop.
     
  18. Cottonwood

    Cottonwood Roadster#433, Model S#S37

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    The solution that I have suggested in a few other threads is pretty simple, keeps the spirit of "Free" Supercharging, but adds a financial burden and cost to abusers. Here is the rough concept:

    • First 90 minutes, free. Keep normal use free. Send text warning at 15 min or so before free ends, and cost begins.
    • Next 60 minutes, $0.10 per minute cost. $6/hr is annoying, and gets attention, but is not burdensome. Send a text reminder half way through this phase, warning about current costs and upcoming costs.
    • After 2.5 hours total, $1 per minute cost. $60/hr will get most people to move their cars before this phase.
     
  19. Gen3

    Gen3 Member

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    $1 per minute cost. $60/hr will get most people to move their cars before this phase



    Something like like this would be good.

    - - - Updated - - -

    If they do change the policy I hope they do it before model 3 is sold. That way we can avoid something like "free superchargong for life" becoming "free for long distance travel"
     
  20. Max*

    Max* Autopilot != Autonomous

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    I like your idea, I'd make it much more strict.

    90 minutes = free
    At minute 91 you get charged $60
    At minute 151 you get charged an additional $60
    etc.

    Make it hurt to stay past 90 minutes, and not hurt a little, hurt a lot.
     

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