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Limited Expectations of Realistic Supercharger Network Expansion

Discussion in 'North America' started by gnuarm, Jan 20, 2019.

  1. gnuarm

    gnuarm Model X 100 with 72 kW chargers

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    Given that the reservation list in the US is pretty much exhausted and sales of high end model 3s are starting to lag to the point that Tesla is laying off workers to cut costs so they can produce the model 3 base version profitably, it seems to me 2019 is going to be yet another year where Tesla promises to double the number of chargers, but fails admirably.

    Recently I drove 1000 miles in two days, long, arduous days, mostly dragged out by the problems of charging where and when it makes sense for the trip but instead having to charge because that's where the chargers are. I have been very pro-Tesla until now. But my enthusiasm is starting to wain quite a bit.

    I'm very frustrated with quality problems with the car, but still, one of the biggest problems is not being able to constructively charge the car on trips. When driving a 500 mile day, it works best if you can drive 250 miles and then stop to eat while charging, then drive the remaining 250 miles to complete the trip. But this just isn't practical. Instead the location of the Superchargers totally dictate that my trip be a couple of hours at a time and charging for 25 or 30 minutes with no opportunity to sit in a comfortable restaurant and have a bite.

    The trip yesterday took over 12 hours and involved stopping no less than four times for an average of 100 miles on each leg. Admittedly, the first stop was because I couldn't get a full charge overnight. Still, three stops averaging 125 miles on each leg is still not something many people will be willing to tolerate.

    Until there are chargers around 25 miles apart for driving on highways, I just can't see the market penetration reaching even 10%. At the current rate of Supercharger expansion, that will take over 15 years.
     
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  2. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Well-Known Member

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    40 miles should be good enough. And if you see what they're doing, you can see the separation distances decreasing.

    They'll probably fall short of targets, as they always do, but I don't anticipate a slowdown as happened in 2018Q3. I think the Supercharger price increase is Tesla's way to avoid a repetition of that.
     
  3. BillO

    BillO Member

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    It is interesting how everyone is so different. I really like a cadence of 100 - 125 miles and then charge for 20 to 25 minutes. Walk a bit, go to the bathroom, stretch, grab a quick bite, and repeat. I find a full meal on a roadtrip puts me to sleep...
     
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  4. SageBrush

    SageBrush REJECT Fascism

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    Why is that a given ?
    You don't think any people on the list are waiting for the SR model ?
     
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  5. gnuarm

    gnuarm Model X 100 with 72 kW chargers

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    Sorry, I should have said "until the $35,000 version is ready". But that's a bit the point. We may or may not see a $35,000 version. There is no guarantee it will ever be profitable and so will be out... much like full self driving mode or even working auto-matic windshield wipers.
     
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  6. SageBrush

    SageBrush REJECT Fascism

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    And that is my point: hardly a given.
    Although from one POV it is: Tesla refuses to be a low volume manufacturer and has already bet the farm on not being one by taking on the debt required to build Gigafactories. Since 40k+ vehicles are a low volume business, under $40k vehicles en-masse are inevitable if Tesla is to flourish (or even survive.)
     
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  7. ewoodrick

    ewoodrick Well-Known Member

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    Your experience seems to be quite opposite from mine, and we don't live that far apart. I took a 700 mile trip from Ft Lauderdale to Atlanta and only once did I have to stop without a need to eat.

    If your average distance was 100 miles between chargers, why were you stopping that often? Couldn't you skip chargers? Even if it meant slowing down a little on the Interstate to make the overall trip better?

    Every 25 miles is really aggressive, 50 may be all that's realistic, although I'm not quote sure why 100 mile spacing is a big problem. Sure, there are some Superchargers that need to be moved to places with better facilities around them, but that's often the older ones where Tesla didn't quite have their priorities straight yet.
     
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  8. gnuarm

    gnuarm Model X 100 with 72 kW chargers

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    I don't follow your reasoning. The fact that they need to produce a lower priced version of the car doesn't mean they will be able to do that profitably. That is not a given.

    Tesla is a new auto company and the competition is not. Much about the cars Tesla makes is decreed by Musk without regard to cost or even functionality. The car doesn't even have intermittent wipers because of Musk. Unfortunately Musk can't decree there to be profit on a $35,000 car.

    There is not much doubt in my mind that Tesla will eventually produce a "profitable" low end model 3. I wonder how soon they will be able to make it and how much profit it will generate. If you read the email Musk sent to the workforce he talks of the smaller Q4 profit to be announced and talks about addressing new market in May, but skips any mention of Q1. I'm expecting no profit that quarter and a big drop in the stock price.
     
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  9. SageBrush

    SageBrush REJECT Fascism

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    Most certainly not a given. But if they do, that segment of the reservation holders will come into play, as will the larger market that did not place reservations two years ago.

    So your argument that started from 'givens' is on shaky ground.
     
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  10. gnuarm

    gnuarm Model X 100 with 72 kW chargers

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    There was never sufficient range to skip the next charger. Some of the issues were socially generated. We didn't start with a full tank because I had just driven 500 miles the day before, so we stopped at the first opportunity to get some charging done. Since we could then have breakfast with a friend we spent the time to fill the tank even though the next charge would be one stop away.

    I expect your trip was in the summer when range is a lot better. We also had rain most of the way which oddly seems to impact the range. It is one of the inputs to abetterrouteplanner.com

    After the Asheville stop I tried to skip Columbia and make it to Florence, but even though that was not even 200 miles we had to stop at Columbia which is not even along the route, requiring a few miles of detour.


    We are all very enthusiastic, early adopters. We (for the most part) are willing to accept limitations in the car. The mainstream car driver isn't. Some of the limitations take some practical experience to be fully realized. I've been berated for not using the car properly such as not charging to 100% when needed to improve the range. That's fine if I am at home with days to charge, but I didn't charge 100% in Asheville (which may have allowed me to skip the Columbia charger) because it was taking so bloody long and I'm sitting in the car with nothing else to do. They put the chargers at the far end of the mall with nothing next to them. A Waffle House is up the hill, but they have no wifi so I couldn't even use the computer. Taking the extra 25 minutes to charge to 100% so I can avoid the 15 minute detour to the Columbia charger just wasn't worth it.

    If you can get all the planets to align so you can get over 200 miles between charges (preferably closer to 250) and actually have a decent place to eat, trips become much more tolerable rather than what seem to be short hops between all the chargers along the way.

    I suppose faster charging would do the job too, or longer range batteries. But those are a long way off. What can be done and needs to be done is to greatly expand the Supercharger network to allow the existing batteries to be fully utilized. What's the point of having a 100 kWh battery if you can only ever use 50% of it.
     
  11. gnuarm

    gnuarm Model X 100 with 72 kW chargers

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    The reservation issue is not a cornerstone of any argument. Just stating a fact that most of the reservation holders who will actually buy a car have already done so. In fact, at this point the reservation is of no value. Anyone can place an order at any time with the same priority as a reservation holder and at the same level of commitment. Musk was actually claiming that there were some cars available at dealers to buy on the spot last quarter!
     
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  12. SageBrush

    SageBrush REJECT Fascism

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    Perhaps you should restate your argument. As for the reservation list, I have no idea what fraction was built from people waiting for a $35 car, and I do not know why the list would not come into play again when $35k cars start to roll-out.
     
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  13. gnuarm

    gnuarm Model X 100 with 72 kW chargers

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    Because it doesn't reserve anything that isn't available to anyone walking in off the street saying, I want to buy the low end model 3. The utility of the reservation list ended months ago when they opened up sales to anyone with no priority to the reservation list.
     
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