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Importance of Superchargers in GM vs. Tesla

Discussion in 'Tesla Motors' started by snort, Mar 6, 2016.

  1. snort

    snort Member

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    #1 snort, Mar 6, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2016
    Tesla has made it difficult for other vendors to join by demanding that they share Tesla's "front loaded" pricing scheme. I think this is a huge mistake. It limits the Supercharger to premium cars. As far as I can tell, everything necessary is there in the existing network--all another EV would need is an appropriate connector and the software to use it (CHAdeMO and CCS demonstrate that their batteries and other innards can...the car may need to limit charge to 50KW or so but that's already part of the protocol). A pay per use scheme with separate billing would save $2-3K from the initial cost of the car. That front loaded cost is being used to build out the network, but the market is small enough that it's frustratingly slow. a bigger company would not have to wait.

    The Bolt is a big risk for Tesla. It's the first car that even comes close on any of the things that are special about Teslas, and if the 3 isn't competitive with it on price and convenience of long-trip charging, then Tesla risks losing a lot of market share fast. The X is so similar to the S that it's largely cannibalizing S market share instead of bringing new customers in. two fizzles in a row could kill Tesla. GM holds a lot of cards here: They could embrace supercharging and build a lot more supercharger stations, which would be good for both Tesla and the Bolt. OR, They could go with CHAdeMO or CCS and install 1000 long-trip charge stations in the US in a few months, which would pretty much force Tesla drivers to buy the adapter and undermine growth of the supercharger network for the foreseeable future--no matter how superior the technology may be, convenience and good enough will win. OR, they could do their own version of what Tesla is doing and build their own incompatible network, and make it very expensive for others to use it. I guarantee that there's a big faction in the marketing department at GM that wants to do this, and the possibility of killing Tesla is seen as a good thing by them. I hope wiser heads prevail, but it wouldn't be the first time greed for short term profits beat out the long term good of the industry at GM.

    --Snortybartfast
     
  2. dhanson865

    dhanson865 Active Member

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    Respectfully, you sound like you think the market for EVs is shrinking instead of growing. Tesla close to doubled production in 2015 compared to 2014 and likely will do similar for the coming years (see table below). The way I see it Chevy Bolt and Tesla Model 3 could both sell hundreds of thousands a year and not even come close to meeting demand.

    There is no risk to Tesla from the Bolt doing well. Because Chevy won't make 20 million Bolts. They'll just make tens or hundreds of thousands a year. Even if Chevy makes twice as many Bolts as Tesla can make Model 3 + Model S + Model X it still won't satisfy demand. There will be a wait list for Model 3 and Bolt and there will be people reselling cars for a profit and then buying another new one just because they can.

    US annual car sales 17.91 million in 2015. World annual car sales 72.35 million in 2015. Nothing any other car maker does with EVs will make a blip on the radar for Tesla sales. They'd have to start giving gas cars away below cost to stop EV sales from climbing and if they did the courts would step in.

    Besides sir, I know where my towel is. :)
     
  3. snort

    snort Member

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    Unfortunately, growing, even by a lot, is not by itself good enough. Car buying decisions are made on a lot of factors and if the Bolt has 5 times as many long range chargers available for an otherwise equal car, it's going to be harder to make the decision in favor of Tesla. It's tragic, but over the long haul, market share is more important than units and losing market share is generally seen by managers as the first step in losing, period. They are often (but not always) correct. If they wanted to, GM could easily afford to install 1000 Tesla-incompatible fast chargers around the country in a matter of months. at $100K each, that's barely .07% of their gross and 1% of their net. It's over 3% of Tesla's gross, and Tesla doesn't make a profit. If GM sees benefit in killing Tesla, doing this would crush them. GM makes about 10M cars a year worldwide. if they wanted to make 10% of them Bolts, they could probably do it in 3 years. If Tesla continues to double every year, which you'll notice they haven't quite been, it won't have a million car year until 2020, 2 years later.

    I don't think GM will be quite that cutthroat, especially after the ignition fiasco (the fine they paid is comparable to the cost of the entire supercharger net so far) and the 2009 bailout, but it is completely within their power and history to do so. if Musk&co are able to convince them to use the supercharger as-is or with a pay-per-use billing though, it's a huge boost for both...I'd put it as worth around $50M each way--GM customers get to see how it works in advance (this is /amazingly/ valuable), and Tesla customers get hundreds of new superchargers.


    Towels aren't just important for hitchhikers....

    --Snortybartfast.
     
  4. TNEVol

    TNEVol Member

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    Actually they do not have battery capacity for Bolt to make a M Bolts in 3 years. And why would they? Their proprietary basis is in transmissions and ICE engines. They have no ability to shift these in the short term. And are they actually producing the battery/electric components of the Bolt or contracting them out?
     
  5. Dave85D

    Dave85D Member

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    I believe when Elon said other cars must be capable of supercharging he meant at full power. 50kW wouldn't cut it because the charging stall will be occupied longer (lower utilization)
     
  6. S'toon

    S'toon Knows where his towel is

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    #6 S'toon, Mar 6, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2016
    Actually, GM has said right out they have no interest whatsoever in building a charging network. The CCS charger is not standard with the Bolt, it's an option. The CCS standard is not as fast as the Supercharger. The CCS charging stations are not as ubiquitous as the Supercharger network.

    GM Won't Fund CCS Fast-Charging Sites For 2017 Chevy Bolt EV

    Right now I live farther away from the nearest Supercharger than the range of any Tesla. The nearest CCS charging station is even further. Over a thousand km away. So, while there are people who drive the Tesla around here, for me it's not a viable option currently. The Bolt even though it's more my price range is even less of an option.

    Hey you, sass that hoopy Elon Musk? There's a frood who really knows where his towel is!
     
  7. Dwdnjck

    Dwdnjck Member

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    Tesla is not at all likely to cooperate with GM on superchargers.
     
  8. Dave85D

    Dave85D Member

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    I believe it's the other way around. In fact what other car company would want to with Tesla's name all over them?
     
  9. Clomer

    Clomer Member

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    Your entire premise seems to be based on the idea that GM will have more and/or better fast-charging options for long-range travel than Tesla. I believe this premise to be false. Superchargers are already substantially better than anything GM has put out for the Bolt, and will remain that way for the foreseeable future. A handful of ChaDeMo stations and CCS chargers of questionable reliability scattered about don't even come close to competing with the Supercharger network as it already exists, let alone how it will have expanded by the time the M3 is being produced in volume. I honestly think you've got it backwards in that even if the Bolt is superior in every other respect to the Model 3 (which is doubtful), the Model 3 will still do fine based on the Supercharger network enabling long-distance travel.

    In my case, the Bolt isn't even an option because of the lack of reliable and convenient long-distance charging options. GM really should be buying in to Tesla's offer to allow the Bolt to use Superchargers. If they were to do that, the Bolt would be a serious consideration for me for my next car.
     
  10. Skotty

    Skotty 2014 Model S P85

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    I don't see GM building a charging network anytime soon. And if they tried, they would be hampered by bureaucracy of getting permits and all that nonsense. I just don't see it happening anytime soon. As such, the Bolt, even with increased range, will still have the same problem every other non-Tesla EV has -- no viable means for long distance travel. Tesla will reign supreme for quite some time.
     
  11. McRat

    McRat Active Member

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    #11 McRat, Mar 6, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2016
    Pragmatically:

    GM already developed the Volt. This is a Monday through Friday EV commuter that has unlimited gas range on the weekends without any infrastructure changes. GM is aiming it at the Toyota Prius (see Chevy commercials). Why? Because Toyota doesn't need infrastructure.

    The Bolt is aimed at the Nissan Leaf. They want it bigger, sportier, with more range, at about the same price comparably equipped. Nissan can't build infrastructure for a 100 mi car that would be useful in the USA. So no need for Chevy to build infrastructure to compete with the Leaf.

    One thing people don't understand about Chevrolet (or GM in general), is that many of their engineers are hobby racers and serious car enthusiasts. As well as much of the management. Barra is a car freak, and has been one her whole life.

    GM does not really compete with the Euro brands, and seldom mentions them by name. Why? Euro shoppers are buying a badge in general, not a car. GM is willing to build superior performance cars to the Euro cars, but simply to sell performance not badging. Beat the crap out of a CTS-V around a track sometime, heck, an ATS base model even. Even the lowly Camaros do very well against cars twice their price. The Vette needs no descriptors.

    So why is that important in understanding Chevy and EVs?

    It was very important for the Volt to be a better driver's car than the Prius. Which is odd, because Prius buyers don't even think of driving dynamics.
    And it will be very important for the Bolt to smoke the Leaf in performance. Note where they did the Press Corp test drive, an AutoX course.
    It's a cultural thing, and very American in nature.

    But they don't have to compete with either one in infrastructure. So they aren't going to work in that direction until it is necessary.

    People think the Bolt is being built to compete with the Model 3. Do you understand how odd that sounds? The Bolt is already spec'd for the most part as a CUV with 200/200 range/HP to be better than the Leaf in all aspects. GM has no idea what a Model 3 is. They do know the Leaf is the #1 BEV though, and they know exactly what it is.
     
  12. purplewalt

    purplewalt Active Member

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    A couple of thoughts:
    IF the Bolt were to have access to a rapid charging system, it would need to have a fully temperature moderated battery system.
    Many times I have pulled into a Supercharger, and the A/C for the battery cranks up to manage the amount of heat being generated in the pack by the tremendous amount of electrons being dumped into it.

    If the Bolt (or any other manufacturer's vehicle) were to have access to the Supercharger network, each car should be charged a flat fee for the manifestation, development and maintenance of the Superchargers. It would be nonsense to have a second or third tier product plugged into a Supercharger, only to be charged as a one-sy "per use" basis. The Model S 60 was charged $2,000 before purchase in order for it to have unlimited access to the Supercharger Network. This "scheme" makes the most sense, as just allowing for single use charge at the convenience of single uses would be book-keeping nightmare.

    There has been a lot of time and effort with ground-work (and not all have successful conclusions) developing a Network of viable relationships with various Hotels, mall operators, food operators, etc. so that Superchargers have a place to be located. GM does have dealers, but they are not always in the best location for cross-country travel (access to freeways, restrooms, place to get a snack, etc.).

    I foresee a lot of the Bolts being sent to very specific states and their availability NOT being broadcast universally across the entire U.S., similar to what they have done with the EV-1 and the Spark so that the ZEV Credits are best utilized. This will save GM some money and allow them to continue to make (and sell) lots of Escalades, Yukons, Suburbans and Tahoes.

    But they will also only be sticking only a toe into the pool: they will constrained by the number of batteries and packs they can purchase and install. Tesla dove in head first, and has about three and a half laps (as of today) or so on the rest of the existing car manufacturers. The end of 2016 and the first Bolts to hit the showrooms and owner's driveways is another 10 months away, and that will put GM about four and a half laps ahead....

    The good news is, at least GM appears to be trying something.

    Really hope there are some serious and pointed meetings in some other Boardrooms that express a earnest and willingness to either get on board, or be left further behind.
     
  13. snort

    snort Member

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    If the Bolt is a Leaf/eGolf competitor only, then long range charging is not an issue. But I don't think their customers will allow that to be the case. even with 50kw charging, long distance travel in a 24kwh car is an hour of driving, half an hour of charging. Nobody who had another option would do it...and a lot of intercity chargers aren't even that fast. but a 60kwh battery changes this a lot. Bolt owners will want to go on trips and see their friends with Teslas doing it.

    CCS has been demonstrated at 150kw and is spec'ed for higher than that. there aren't many CCS sites that can do that (or even 50kw) yet, but Audi/VW and others have been talking about it. If Bolt owners demand it, it'll happen. I'm guessing GM's soft pedaling of fast charging is a headfake. $100M can buy a lot of misdirection, and a get a lot of chargers installed in a hurry. Their evasion might even be a cover for a GM/VW collaboration.

    -Snortybartfast
     
  14. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    Pay per use adds a bunch of overheads and legal issues. It makes the hardware cost recovery much slower, making it more expensive. It also makes the hardware more complicated, making it more expensive. The need to check for funds in an account also affects reliability, and slows down authorization, making charging slower, making the network more expensive. Pure PAYG is also hard to price, so you'd end up with a monthly subscription anyway, or a very high cost at point of use.

    Tesla's trying to make the charging process the cheapest and best that it can be. As long as the cost of free at POU is less than the cost of payment at POU, they'll continue. I really hope they can make the current system work since it's the best for customer experience. I'll be happy to pay the one-time fee.

    - - - Updated - - -

    CCS is only specified for high power at high Voltage. The Amperage limit is 200A. Pack Voltages would have to increase to allow faster charging.
    GM has only committed to 50kW charging in the Bolt at the moment.
     
  15. Saghost

    Saghost Active Member

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    This. I've been very happy with my Volt, and the Bolt looks to be more in the class and price range I'd normally buy. But the lack of reliable consistent fast charging/long range travel makes it a non-starter. I may wait for the 3, I might stretch all the way to an X - right now a CPO Autopilot S is looking most likely, if the weird hold on them goes away.
     
  16. gnxs

    gnxs Member

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    Tesla's SC Network is a quantum leap ahead of any Chademo network and I find it hard to even mention the two in the same breath. I've taken my Model S on quite a few road trips and from a charging perspective the only reliable constant was a Tesla SC. My experience using Chademo chargers has been spotty at best. Having to drive all over Harrisburg PA to actually find one that was functioning was an adventure from my last 2 trips from IL to NJ (an exercise I had to do twice each time, coming and going). I never take for granted the wonderful simplicity of getting juice from a Tesla SC. From the bulletproof reliability to the compact plug size to the instant start of the flow of electrons.

    Without an equally reliable, fast and efficient network, any other mfr. is just building a longer range city car. I view the Bolt as a longer range version of my wife's Ford Focus Electric. Her Focus takes care of most of her local driving needs. All the Chevy Bolt would do for us is allow her to make the run to O'Hare or Midway to pick up relatives when they fly in or make it into Chicago from our Western suburb home where the Focus could not make the round trip on a single charge. Any mfr. claiming their EV can be used for long distance travel by referencing the large network of Chademo and CCS charging stations is blowing smoke up their potential customers' asses. All you need to do is take a few road trips outside of the reach of the current SC network for confirmation. IMO Tesla is building out their SC network as fast as financially and technically feasible and will be pretty damn robust by the time the Model 3 hits the streets, in the US at least. The SC Network is a massive advantage for Tesla that I believe people still drastically underestimate.

    I have over $3,000 in credits built up on my GM card since 2009 (when I last used them on purchasing my CTS-V) so I'd be getting a substantial discount on whatever deal I made on a Bolt. How do I feel about the Bolt vs. the Model 3? I've got a $1,000 deposit all ready for a Model 3 on March 31st. :) The Model 3 should be available just about the time the lease is up on my wife's Focus Electric. While it's good to see other mfrs. stepping up to the plate, they're still miles behind the entire package that Tesla offers. I think the Bolt will stack up well with the Leaf, but it's not even worthy of mentioning as a comparison to the Model 3 (unless Tesla completely dropped the ball on the car they will show on March 31st).
     
  17. flankspeed8

    flankspeed8 Member

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    #17 flankspeed8, Mar 7, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2016

    Of course they have the ability. They are one of the largest auto manufactures in the world. The question is do they have the will to do so?
     
  18. Saghost

    Saghost Active Member

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    Not unless GM or LG have been silently building a huge battery facility they don't. Tesla is planning to double the whole industry's capacity from a couple years ago with the Nevada factory - to give them enough batteries for 500k cars. GM can't possibly match that without big investment in building batteries, which hasn't been publicly announced or hinted at that I've seen.
     
  19. McRat

    McRat Active Member

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    #19 McRat, Mar 7, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2016
    One path Tesla can take:

    Most non-Tesla charge stations are for-profit vending machines.

    If EV sales continue to expand, there is potential there.

    Tesla would sells a DCFC adapter in 2 flavors, CHAdeMO and CSS. These sell for an amount that must be calculated. Let's say 50% over cost.
    These devices have an annual subscription fee, again, calculated to be 50% profit for the average car.
    AFAIK, there is already a datalink at the Supercharger that will be able validate an adapter license. If not, firmware in the device will have a clock and the clock will expire unless brought to a Tesla Service Center for renewal.

    So without cooperation with other automakers, or significant investment by Tesla, Tesla becomes a "gas station company".

    Nobody ever went broke selling inkjet refills. An iPhone is mostly a vending machine. It is today's business model for success.
    Owners of other brands then get exposure to Teslas and Tesla's Service Centers, which is a form of marketing.

    Eventually, Tesla becomes the Standard Oil of the EV market, displacing ChargePoint and other competitors. The Supercharger stations will expand as is necessary, and become a profit center for Tesla.
     
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  20. S'toon

    S'toon Knows where his towel is

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    You're assuming a lot of things based on no evidence whatsoever.
     

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