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Supercharger - "free for life" or "free for the life of Model S"?

Discussion in 'Model S: Battery & Charging' started by andrew kelsey, Dec 26, 2013.

  1. andrew kelsey

    andrew kelsey Member

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    When Elon launched the Superchargers he said they were "free for life". To me this meant free for as long as the car was on the road. This could mean twenty or thirty years. Essentially Elon's boast was that you would never have to pay to use a supercharger. He didn't say anything about "free for the life of the Model S" did he? It's certainly not what I heard.

    Now I notice that the FAQs state; "free for the life of Model S". This is a completely different thing. The life of any given model of car is likely to be much shorter than the useful life of a particular car. That's why you still see a lot of older model cars on the roads.

    Anyone who saw the launch of the Superchargers would have thought that they'd get free Supercharger electricity for as long as they had their car. It's what Elon said and he should stick to it. If the Model S is discontinued in say 5 years and they launch a Model T, or whatever, a lot of Model S owners are going to be pretty surprised and disappointed if their "free" Supercharger deal ends. I don't own a Model S, unfortunately, and haven't seen the terms of Supercharger use but I think there's an issue here that should be clarified at least. The public announcements don't seem to match the latest FAQs.
     
  2. MikeC

    MikeC Active Member

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    I read it as free for the life of the Model S that I bought.
     
  3. Zythryn

    Zythryn MS 70D, MX 90D

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    I think you are overthinking this.
    But if you have a concern, I would suggest emailing Ownership with you question as they are more likely to be able to answer your question than the people here:)
     
  4. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    Definitely overthinking. The whole point about the way the Supercharger works is that you have the hardware, so you can charge. You pay Tesla $2k up front (directly or indirectly), it goes into a big Supercharger pot/is reinvested in Tesla/etc,etc and you get "lifetime" charging, where "lifetime" is the life of your car. It's cheap to build, cheap to maintain, cheap to run and Tesla will continue to work on improving it.
     
  5. dave

    dave Member

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    I was thinking lifetime meant as long as me or any of my offspring were alive.
     
  6. NoMoGas

    NoMoGas Member

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    No it isn't.

    Dude, you are making no sense at all. The life of the car is the life of the car for however long the car stays on the road functioning as a vehicle if it lasts 100 years then it lasts a hundred years. By making it the life of the car it means that if you sell a car that has supercharger access paid for it follows the car and does not die with the owner.


    It also means that if you bought supercharger access on one car you can't buy another one and then put it on the supercharger without paying for a service as well.


    This is a perfect example of making something up it simply is not there
     
  7. miimura

    miimura Active Member

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    However, "free for the life of Model S" may mean that future cars like Model E (or whatever the Gen3 car is called) may not get SuperCharger access with no energy fee. I would be positively shocked if this happened, but it is within the reasonable interpretation of the statement.
     
  8. AmpedRealtor

    AmpedRealtor Active Member

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    Supercharging capability stays with the car, not the owner.
     
  9. sp4rk

    sp4rk Banned

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    He can't call ownership. He isn't an owner.
     
  10. MartinAustin

    MartinAustin Active Member

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    IMO Tesla may start to charge for supercharging on the cheaper cars. You will get billed later for using them, rather like going through tolls; there is some sort of VIN-style identifier on your car and when you plug it in, you end up getting a bill for n kilowatt-hours.

    The Model S will remain immune to this charge, and that will be part of the bonus you get for paying so much in the first place. As more and more Tesla cars are produced, there will be more and more demand for Superchargers, and it may become normal to see them all full and a line of Tesla cars waiting to use them at all times. Especially since the cheaper cars have less battery capacity and need more charge-ups.

    IMO assuming Tesla is still manufacturing the Model S 15 years from now, they will not have significantly dropped the base price of it even though battery and other manufacturing costs have fallen; it will be a profit center just like other high-cost cars. It'll be the place where new features in the range are introduced first, for example autopiloting, faster data access, newly-increased battery capacities.

    Therefore, charging will be a free perk - but not Model E. If you buy a used Model S... supercharging it will remain free, as it is now.

    I haven't got a prediction about the Model X a.t.m.. If we see they are clearly avoiding the same "charge for free forever" statement in regard to the Model X, then the cat will be out of the bag, pretty much. Since the Model X is almost out (and a Detroit Motor Show appearance is guaranteed), the time is getting close to bring up the subject. We should get them to say it one way or the other, perhaps at the next TESLIVE.

    I will be delighted to be proven wrong about this theory :)
     
  11. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    The point of Superchargers is that they make an electric car equivalent to a gas car in terms of trips (or will eventually). If the Model X and E don't get the benefits then that's a pretty big stake to the heart of EV adoption. I can see them building more Superchargers, but I don't see them charging for use other than the initial one-time fee for the low end model(s).
     
  12. richkae

    richkae VIN587

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    Having a fee for use won't prevent Model E owners from using the supercharger.
    I think Tesla will find that free just does not scale and it is a mistake that will need correction.
    Making superchargers free for premium vehicles and have a fee for use for others may scale.
     
  13. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    3G/4G/LTE were never intended to be free in the first place (except for Sig owners who were supposed to get it free for a year--I sure hope they mean a year after everyone else starts paying or there will be another peasant uprising. The only reason we aren't paying for 3G/4G/LTE now is that Tesla hasn't finalized a contract, and Wi-Fi wasn't offered. I expect that early next year there will be a fee as soon as the Wi-Fi becomes 100% stable and a contract is worked out.

    Once Supercharger stations have solar panels installed, they will start paying for themselves.
     
  14. Mayhemm

    Mayhemm Model S P85+ "Lola"

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    #15 Mayhemm, Dec 28, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2013
    ^^^^THIS^^^^is something that most people seem to forget about. Tesla always intended the Superchargers to be near-zero net cost or possibly even start to turn a profit at some locations (admittedly more unlikely).

    Mind you, they don't have a single working model of this yet *cough* batteryswap *cough*, so who knows if it will actually work in the end.
     
  15. evme

    evme Member

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    Look at it this way, when Musk was asked if he would consider licensing supercharger technology to competitors. He said it might be an option but it would be upfront licensing on the sale of the car and cars charge for free. If Musk is saying that he plans to make it so for competitors (if they decide to do that), then he is obviously thinking free for life for all Tesla cars.

    Musk's plan is pretty simple. Include the cost of building, maintaining and powering the supercharger in the purchase price. The power will come from solar, solar has a fixed cost. The solar arrays are all paid for in the cost of the car. So unless the earth gets covered with a giant cloud isolating us from the sun for years, (but then we would have bigger issues to worry about) there should be no issue powering all the cars.
     
  16. David_Cary

    David_Cary Member

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    The problem with the solar argument is you still need to be grid tied or have large batteries that get cycled a lot. Inverters cost money and wear out. Solar does not just have the one time cost and then they are "free for life". Inverter replacement cost can be easily a penny per kwh that goes through it. And you would always need to be grid tied for the string of cloudy days (or have a generator). With my PV system, my grid cost is $400 a year and that is reasonable. With the commercial nature of a supercharger and the high peak demands, it would be much higher. 4 bays pulling 120kw would equal a $100,000 annual charge with my utility. And note that I live in a cheaper than average electric area where I pay $.05 a kwh at night.

    So solar helps but doesn't eliminate ongoing costs. Has anyone done the math to see how big a busy supercharger's solar array would have to be to cover 100% of charging?

    Supercharging needs to be charged per use when you get to Gen III. People will take advantage of supercharging that is not charged per use. IMO - for the Model S, it is just a marketing gimmick. It is unfair to people who live outside CA. I could never/would never use a SC more than 10 times a year. Charge me $20 per use rather than $2k at purchase price.
     
  17. evme

    evme Member

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    Well first of all, your going to have to have large batteries anyways. Because there is no way your going to pull that much power from the grid to power the superchargers. The superchargers work on batteries from my understanding.

    Have you also considered that Tesla can just buy electricity from solarcity? And Tesla plans to install superchargers everywhere, not just CA. The superchargers will be placed between cities, so people are not going to drive out of their way for a few bucks.

    And charging per use is not going to work, for same reason why many public chargers are struggling. EV owners mostly charge at home, that 1% of the time they charge is not enough revenue to fund the superchargers. Your not paying 2k for charging, your paying 2k for a peace of mind. That is why Tesla offers an option for the 60kwh, supercharger or no supercharger.
     
  18. NoMoGas

    NoMoGas Member

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    The only thing I think you may be "wrong" about is range assumptions. Elon has said repeatedly that the technology is pretty much there to significantly extend range at significantly lower costs within 5 years. If that holds don't be surprised if the Model E ends up being a 300 mile plus car. Range will obviously play a big roll in Supercharger usage and as Tesla continues to innovate the charging stations I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see us at 200 mile charge in 5 minutes in 5 years. It is crystal clear that the two places where the highest concentration of innovation will be in speed of charge and capacity, much like computers.

    I anticipate you are correct that charging will be "free" only for the S and I would guess the X as well.
     
  19. evme

    evme Member

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    How about a middle ground?

    Tesla will use a hybrid battery that has 200 miles using Lion cells and 200 miles using low cycle lifespan metal-air cells. The standard charging would be free for 30 minute charging. But would cost you $$ for charging the metal-air battery in 5 minutes (200 miles on metal-air and 33 miles on lion). It would be very similar to the current battery swap model.

    Even if the metal-air battery has 100-200 cycles, if people use it only once a blue moon, it would last them 10 years easily.
     

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