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How many Model 3s will it take to turn Superchargers into positive cashflow?

sooner

Member
Aug 19, 2016
222
225
Ohio
The superchargers are presently an untapped revenue source. Nearly all Model S and Model X owners connect to these at no cost. This leads to a negative cash flow for Tesla, but it has great potential. Imagine a gas car manufacturer also selling the gas to their customers.

This pass ends with the advent of the Model 3, where using a Supercharger will cost money, localized to electric costs, with some profit built in. The question is then, how much saturation will it take, of Model 3s nationally, before the Supercharger cash flow is reversed into a positive direction?

But of course, one is not required to charge exclusively at a Supercharger, and a high percentage of all charging will be done at home. But road trips will likely require a trip to the local Supercharger. I know I have already looked at common vacation spots that I take for weekend camping or longer trips to see locations of Superchargers to test the viability of taking the Model 3 over my gas powered vehicle.

I think likely, assuming most Model 3 owners do not use them for their main charger, that the number needed to turn Superchargers profitable will be well over 100k, maybe even a number verging on the total number of reservations (~300k-500k).
 

MP3Mike

Well-Known Member
Feb 1, 2016
15,619
34,394
Oregon
I'm not sure it will happen at all. S&X drivers are much more likely to use a Supercharger than Model 3 users because it is free. They are also less efficient so they use more energy to go the same distance.

Then of course there is the question of if they even make a profit on the individual Model 3 charging sessions. They likely don't in California which is where most of the Supercharging happens in the US.

And then finally hasn't Tesla said that they aren't going to make the Superchargers a profit center?
 
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cizUK

Member
Mar 13, 2017
316
272
UK
Profit making charging are more expensive than Tesla's superchargers
I doubt they'll ever make a profit
 

Marsnaut

Member
Apr 7, 2016
311
276
NYC
It'll be hard to make a profit considering how much they spend on building the infrastructure in the first place. Even though the rates to the consumer are higher than what Tesla pays for it, the mere maintenance of the supercharging stations will likely wipe out any excess profits.
 
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McRat

Well-Known Member
Jan 20, 2016
5,771
5,414
LA
Even after the price bump, the likelihood of Tesla turning the SC network into a profit center are very slim.
They have to pay for ones even if they are not used much (capital costs, taxes if applicable).
Demand Based tariffs add a large overhead before paying for the kWh.
Maintenance and vandalism.
In California, the average price of juice is .18/kWh not including demand fees. .25/kWh isn't going to come close.
 
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rhaekar

Member
Nov 9, 2017
455
367
San Diego
Even if the model 3 was the best selling car in the country, I don't think superchargers would make a profit.

Superchargers != gas stations. Most people are going to charge at home and/or work. Superchargers are there for people to travel and to increase the brand recognition. No other EV has the capability to travel long distances with the minimum inconvenience of charging as quickly as Tesla.

The Bolt reduces the number of times people have to charge their car but you still can't travel long distances. DC fast chargers aren't that common and often they will be out of service.
 
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McRat

Well-Known Member
Jan 20, 2016
5,771
5,414
LA
...

The Bolt reduces the number of times people have to charge their car but you still can't travel long distances. DC fast chargers aren't that common and often they will be out of service.

If you are in San Diego, check the number of Superchargers between Fallbrook and Tijuana. One.
Check the number of SAE CCS stations. 27.

You charge your EV once a day normally.
 

JeffK

Well-Known Member
Apr 27, 2016
6,997
6,653
Indianapolis
I hate when people have this line of thinking, especially this early in the EV game. I agree with Elon in that Supercharging shouldn't be a for-profit venture.

It's more about freedom of travel and security in knowing you have a place to charge.
 

Trips

"Boring bonehead questions are not cool. Next?"
Sep 22, 2015
1,215
1,406
Omaha, NE
It seems like they could find a way to charge the location for getting customers there. I am thinking of a store like Hy-Vee in the Midwest paying Tesla $xx/minute and in return they can provide Supercharger Credits for their loyalty program. Right now they are already paying gas companies for the Fuel Saver program so why not pay Tesla.
 

rhaekar

Member
Nov 9, 2017
455
367
San Diego
If you are in San Diego, check the number of Superchargers between Fallbrook and Tijuana. One.
Check the number of SAE CCS stations. 27.

You charge your EV once a day normally.

That's like 60-70 miles, why would you need to supercharge between there? If you're coming from up north to Mexico the Sorrento Valley supercharger would suffice.

There are about 8 upcoming superchargers to San Diego County in 2018.

I don't charge my EV daily, maybe once a week if that.
 

McRat

Well-Known Member
Jan 20, 2016
5,771
5,414
LA
I hate when people have this line of thinking, especially this early in the EV game. I agree with Elon in that Supercharging shouldn't be a for-profit venture.

It's more about freedom of travel and security in knowing you have a place to charge.

It all depends on how fast you want the network to expand. Just making up numbers:
Let's say I want to spend $200m ($1m each) to build and maintain DCFCs a year. Say it costs 5% to support DCFCs.
If I set them up for 5 years I get to build 154 for my money in year 5.
But what if I recover 5% instead?
In year 5, I can build 254 new stations.

By year 10, it approaches 3 times as many new stations a year as the Free Charging model. For a 5% return reinvested into new sites.

So you want more coverage? Pay something. You want less coverage? Lobby for free charging.
 

McRat

Well-Known Member
Jan 20, 2016
5,771
5,414
LA
That's like 60-70 miles, why would you need to supercharge between there? If you're coming from up north to Mexico the Sorrento Valley supercharger would suffice.

There are about 8 upcoming superchargers to San Diego County in 2018.

I don't charge my EV daily, maybe once a week if that.

Because not everybody lives in San Diego, and not everybody wants to charge in North County. Heck, maybe, just maybe somebody likes Mission Bay or Balboa Park or Old Town?

For me it's just routine. I park and plug. Sort of like turning off the car, or closing the door. That way if it's cold or hot, I can just precondition the car with my phone without worry.
 

Uncle Paul

Well-Known Member
Nov 1, 2013
6,286
6,827
Canyon Lake,CA
Elon has mentioned that the purpose of Superchargers are not to be a profit center, but to provide a better ownership experience to it's customers.

Long term, most Superchargers will also include Solar panels to allow owners to run on sunshine...the ultimate goal.
 

Lasttoy

Active Member
Mar 24, 2017
1,595
850
St Augustine, Fl
A neighbor said he couldn't wait for others to make EVs. I laughed, "where do you think you are going to charge it on a long trip? "
I visited 20 states last year. Try that in a Leaf . Or Porche.
As elon said , its the experience. Peace of mind. I go on a trip a month, its nice not worry about juice.
I will bet every competitor has bought a S and taken it apart.
 

comanchepilot

Member
Oct 3, 2017
404
324
SoCal - EAST
All Tesla needs to do is offer the Supercharger network to Porsche and Mercedes for their EVs - and then offer - for a small licensing fee- to put a Tesla charging plug in the vehicle - and then charge either the customers or Porsche or MB for the use of the power. And you charge the Porsche or MB at say 48 amps only - with some advertising telling the non-Tesla owner that they could be charging 50% faster if they owned a Tesla.

There are ways for Tesla to turn those into a money making and advertising bonanza. . . .

It makes little to zero sense for Porsche and MB to reinvent the wheel with charging stations - plus - in order to certify legal charging status for the car - they get data they can repackage and sell to the car makers on the driving habits of their customer.
 

roblab

Active Member
Jul 15, 2008
3,470
2,521
Angwin (Napa Valley) CA
If you are in San Diego, check the number of Superchargers between Fallbrook and Tijuana. One.
Check the number of SAE CCS stations. 27.

You charge your EV once a day normally.

Let's say you live halfway between those two spots. It is 60 miles to TJ or Fallbrook. Even in my 90D I can make it that far. Or if I charge in FB, I can easily make it to TJ and back to SD.

ONE is all you need, as the answer to your question is that you charge at home.

Now add a few million M3s. They charge at home. Hardly ever take a trip over 300 miles, but have more range than that. Sorry. Your argument is moot. Even if Tesla IS adding more chargers for people who can't charge at home, it's not for M3s.

I actually charged at a SC yesterday afternoon, for 10 minutes. No cars, eight stalls. Hmmm. Wonder where all those M3s will charge? (at home during the 23 hours a day you're not driving.)
 

roblab

Active Member
Jul 15, 2008
3,470
2,521
Angwin (Napa Valley) CA
And you charge the Porsche or MB at say 48 amps only - with some advertising telling the non-Tesla owner that they could be charging 50% faster if they owned a Tesla.

I was charging yesterday at 95 amps. That's four times faster than your hypothetical Porsche or MB. No, they don't have to reinvent the charger, but the battery.
 

McRat

Well-Known Member
Jan 20, 2016
5,771
5,414
LA
Let's say you live halfway between those two spots. It is 60 miles to TJ or Fallbrook. Even in my 90D I can make it that far. Or if I charge in FB, I can easily make it to TJ and back to SD.

ONE is all you need, as the answer to your question is that you charge at home.

...

The point is, unless you are in Montana, you don't drive 60 miles out of your way to refuel. In San Diego, you don't drive 5 miles.
 

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