Welcome to Tesla Motors Club
Discuss Tesla's Model S, Model 3, Model X, Model Y, Cybertruck, Roadster and More.
Register

Supercharging now more expensive than ICE

Well they are obviously not the same thing.

After pondering @bradtem 's comments, I finally reached a simple conclusion: he is right. And the rightness of his statement is not merely a reflection of the current state of affairs; it will always be that way regardless of the maturity of the EV market.

If you're paying for just energy at a supercharger then the value of a supercharger is no different from plugging in at your basic household L1 and waiting all day. And that is clearly not the case. We want L3 chargers because they are fast and we don't want to wait. Time is money, after all. Hopefully we can agree at least until this point?

So the rate at which energy is delivered, that thing we call power, is what we are after with L3. Whether you want to argue semantics of product vs service is up to you. The way I see it, the energy is a product, and the delivery of it (whether fast or slow) is a service.

Going back to my post where I used a stick of gum is a product as an analogy: yes the gum is a product, but what I was not seeing is that when I buy that stick of gum I choose a delivery service: drive there, instacart, first class mail, fedex? Whether delivery is a service or it's own product is moot: it is an inescapable part of acquiring the product and has value of its own that needs to be paid for, regardless of the value of the product being delivered.

So now "relative' means "the same thing"

Okay...lol....I feel like I'm debating mental midgets here. Electricity is absolutely a commodity. That was my point in the first place. Trying to disprove that is nothing but noise. So feel free to be noisy, okay?
 
  • Informative
Reactions: Jane4

ucmndd

Well-Known Member
Mar 10, 2016
10,146
19,923
California
So now "relative' means "the same thing"

Okay...lol....I feel like I'm debating mental midgets here. Electricity is absolutely a commodity. That was my point in the first place. Trying to disprove that is nothing but noise. So feel free to be noisy, okay?

Sure, grid-scale electricity - bought, sold, and generated at utility scale - is a commodity. That doesn’t mean the pricing of that commodity is particularly relevant at all to the cost required to distribute it in significant quantity and at significant power levels.

There’s essentially zero price correlation between consuming 100kwh of commoditized electricity over 12 hours vs. consuming the same amount of said commodity in ~12 minutes. That’s the point trying to be made.
 

bradtem

Robocar consultant
Dec 18, 2018
932
1,064
Sunnyvale, CA
Sure, grid-scale electricity - bought, sold, and generated at utility scale - is a commodity. That doesn’t mean the pricing of that commodity is particularly relevant at all to the cost required to distribute it in significant quantity and at significant power levels.

There’s essentially zero price correlation between consuming 100kwh of commoditized electricity over 12 hours vs. consuming the same amount of said commodity in ~12 minutes. That’s the point trying to be made.
Don't feed the trolls.
 
So now "relative' means "the same thing"

Okay...lol....I feel like I'm debating mental midgets here. Electricity is absolutely a commodity. That was my point in the first place. Trying to disprove that is nothing but noise. So feel free to be noisy, okay?
I agree with you that charging is more than just the electricity. I have posted a similar response in the past--that as an older female, issues like safety and accessibility play into my choice of a charger. E.G. if traveling alone, I wouldn't choose an isolated, dark area to charge at. Luckily, We have not had to consider options like that. Tesla is ahead of the game party because of the bright, spacious locations ,near shopping and hotels. Adding some amenities like garbage cans and window washing (like at the old service statins) would be helpful.--but not a deal breaker.
 

bradtem

Robocar consultant
Dec 18, 2018
932
1,064
Sunnyvale, CA
I am giving thought to trying to change the vocabulary around EVs. Today we commonly measure power in kilowatts and energy in kilowatt-hours and this is usually how electrical engineers do it but it does cause some confusion. (Tons of times I will also see people write kilowatt when they meant kilowatt-hour, even when they understand the difference.)

An alternate approach would be to use the scientist's unit of energy, the joule, or in particular the megajoule, or MJ. Possibly even calling it the "em-jay" rather than the megajoule.

Why? In the USA, there's a happy accident. An MJ is 278 watt-hours. Which happens to be very close to the average energy used by EVs to travel a mile. In fact, the Tesla Model Y is almost exactly that. A model 3 is a bit better and gets around 1.15 miles/MJ, at least mine does. On the other hand Ford F150s are bad and get about 0.6 miles/MJ.

But for owners of EV sedans they would have the advantage that they can pretty comfortably just treat MJ as miles, and indeed our cars show that on the display and even display charge rates in miles/hour which is, for many of us, MJ/hour. Not that hours have much to do with anything other than that we are used to measuring speed in distance/hour. Very long charging sessions can be an hour, for example at 50kW stations or with big batteries.

Of course this mile to MJ equivalency is a coincidence, and is not there where they use km, which is most of the world. Though those pickup trucks are not far from one MJ per km. By another coincidence, the MJ as very close to the BTU, the official English/American unit of energy, but it is rarely used outside of heating/cooling equipment because it was designed for that.

And while a watt is defined as a joule per second and a watt-hour is 3600 joules, people are less likely to be confused between an MJ and a kW, they will clearly see they are different things.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: cleverscreenam
Ya it sucks. Especially for those who live without home charging. It must totally suck not only having to wait 40 mins to charge and the inconvenience of it, but paying more than gas. I would not but a model 3 if I can’t charge. BUTTTT you know what I charge for free at home soooooo. EV can be a big opportunity but there’s some negatives.
 

Earl

Member
Jan 22, 2014
801
1,152
USA
I am giving thought to trying to change the vocabulary around EVs. Today we commonly measure power in kilowatts and energy in kilowatt-hours and this is usually how electrical engineers do it but it does cause some confusion. (Tons of times I will also see people write kilowatt when they meant kilowatt-hour, even when they understand the difference.)

An alternate approach would be to use the scientist's unit of energy, the joule, or in particular the megajoule, or MJ. Possibly even calling it the "em-jay" rather than the megajoule.

Why? In the USA, there's a happy accident. An MJ is 278 watt-hours. Which happens to be very close to the average energy used by EVs to travel a mile. In fact, the Tesla Model Y is almost exactly that. A model 3 is a bit better and gets around 1.15 miles/MJ, at least mine does. On the other hand Ford F150s are bad and get about 0.6 miles/MJ.

But for owners of EV sedans they would have the advantage that they can pretty comfortably just treat MJ as miles, and indeed our cars show that on the display and even display charge rates in miles/hour which is, for many of us, MJ/hour. Not that hours have much to do with anything other than that we are used to measuring speed in distance/hour. Very long charging sessions can be an hour, for example at 50kW stations or with big batteries.

Of course this mile to MJ equivalency is a coincidence, and is not there where they use km, which is most of the world. Though those pickup trucks are not far from one MJ per km. By another coincidence, the MJ as very close to the BTU, the official English/American unit of energy, but it is rarely used outside of heating/cooling equipment because it was designed for that.

And while a watt is defined as a joule per second and a watt-hour is 3600 joules, people are less likely to be confused between an MJ and a kW, they will clearly see they are different things.
This idea has merit, however, remember that all of us are used to Amps and Volts from the breakers in our home service panels. This naturally leads towards use of Watts (= Volts X Amps) or Kilowatts when that product gets big.
 

bradtem

Robocar consultant
Dec 18, 2018
932
1,064
Sunnyvale, CA
This idea has merit, however, remember that all of us are used to Amps and Volts from the breakers in our home service panels. This naturally leads towards use of Watts (= Volts X Amps) or Kilowatts when that product gets big.
Yes, and watts, amps and volts are all the correct unit for power, current and potential. I'm talking about our unit for energy. In science, the unit is the joule. In electrical engineering and EVs it is more common to use the watt-hour. While the difference between watts and watt-hours is fairly clear to the educated, I see it constantly muddled in public discussion.

With ICE, the unit of energy is the gallon of gasoline, and the unit of power the horsepower, at least in the public vernacular. We still use HP with EVs but only for motive power, not charging power. We could rate chargers in HP (1 HP = 746 watts) but that would just confuse people more I think.
It is not unusual to see EVs talk about MPGe. One gallon of gasoline equivalent is 34 kWh or 121 MJ, but that's converting all the energy in the gasoline perfectly to electrical energy, which of course is not remotely possible -- an ICE tends to get 30-40% of it for motive power.

But all this would confuse many folks, but we still use all these units, kWH and miles (MJ) and gallons and gallon-equivalents for energy, MPG and MPGe and watt-hours/mile for efficiency, and kW, miles per hour (charging rate, not speed) and horsepower for power. It could be more normalized.
 
Last edited:

Earl

Member
Jan 22, 2014
801
1,152
USA
I find that Wh can be explained fairly easy by talking about the 60 Watt lightbulb with which we are (were) all familiar. If I'm going to run a 60 Watt lightbulb for an hour, the battery is going to have to provide 60 Wh of energy.
I do agree that it is a bit confusing but the leap from what we're familiar with (watts, volts, amps) to joules is a bit tougher to explain.
 

RTPEV

Active Member
Mar 21, 2016
1,916
2,630
Durham, NC
I find that Wh can be explained fairly easy by talking about the 60 Watt lightbulb with which we are (were) all familiar. If I'm going to run a 60 Watt lightbulb for an hour, the battery is going to have to provide 60 Wh of energy.
I do agree that it is a bit confusing but the leap from what we're familiar with (watts, volts, amps) to joules is a bit tougher to explain.
Yeah, okay, the lightbulb explanation is a bit helpful, but in that case, it's not like you can equate the energy stored in your car's battery with burning a 60W lightbulb for 1000 hours (if that analogy is even meaningful to someone--it's not like you can actually see or touch that energy).

Perhaps a more meaningful analogy is in terms of volume or containers. We express liquid volume in terms of gallons, not in terms of some flow rate times the time it takes to fill the container...that would even sound funny, as it would be something like gallons per minute times minutes.

I think this is maybe what Brad is getting at with the MJ proposal. Divorce the energy units from the power units to avoid confusion. Like a gas pump shows you how many gallons of fuel have been pumped into the tank, what if the charging station displayed how many MJ of energy have been "pumped" into the battery? (rather than kWh as is sometimes shown today).

I'm not sure that would necessarily solve anything, as it would probably still be confusing to the general public AND those that have gotten used to kWh's. But I guess if you want to start a trend, now's the time to do it...if you have the ability to sway the public into using that unit.
 
  • Like
Reactions: cleverscreenam
Backing up a bit, just what problem are we trying to solve? I'm all for switching to J for discussing EV energy (and have said so elsewhere). I'm not sure, though, what it would take to actually make that happen. Most people who drive cars are not reading internet forums about cars, and of those who do I am guessing the majority have more pressing matters, like when will they get a firmware update, or whether to get white seats?

I would think the most effective way to get people to switch to J (or kJ or MJ, I think the prefix is less important), would be to get the car companies to make that the unit of energy displayed in the car, or to get legislation requiring that be the unit of billing at 3rd-party chargers (for example, the same legislation that requires credit card readers and a display).

Otherwise, regardless of intentions, I'm skeptical that change would happen. Too many people slept through, skipped, or forgot that part of high-school physics that explained energy and power are not the same. In colloquial use they are, unfortunately, all too interchangeable, and it doesn't matter because you know exactly what somebody meant when they complain about how much they paid for electrical "power" last month. Not to mention that electrical energy is billed by kWh (in the US at least).

Having said all that, I think it would be a good change, and if somebody convinced me it is more than tilting at windmills I would ask "What can I do to help?".
 
  • Like
Reactions: cleverscreenam
BTW: I agree that MJ would be ideal. Note because of how close that is to the energy for one mile of travel (I didn't realize that association before, and agree that it's cute), but because the numbers are more manageable. Instead of selling me an 82kWh battery, sell me a 295MJ battery. But 295200kJ would be unwieldy.
 

bradtem

Robocar consultant
Dec 18, 2018
932
1,064
Sunnyvale, CA
I find that Wh can be explained fairly easy by talking about the 60 Watt lightbulb with which we are (were) all familiar. If I'm going to run a 60 Watt lightbulb for an hour, the battery is going to have to provide 60 Wh of energy.
I do agree that it is a bit confusing but the leap from what we're familiar with (watts, volts, amps) to joules is a bit tougher to explain.
There is no difficulty in understanding joules vs. watt-hours. They are very similar. A joule is in fact a watt-second, and a watt-hour is well, a watt-hour. If you can understand a watt-hour you can understand a watt-second. There are of course 3,600 joules (watt-seconds) in a watt-hour, and 3.6 MJ in a kWh.

Now when I say a joule is a watt-second, in fact more correctly a watt is a joule/second, as that is how it is defined. While a watt is volts times amps, volts are Joules/Coulomb and amps are Coulombs/Second.

Not that any of this matters on the question of how to make units usable by the public. Both MJ and kWh are roughly relatable amounts of energy. My main thought is the MJ might be more relatable because of how it is so close to the mile in a Tesla model Y.
 

bradtem

Robocar consultant
Dec 18, 2018
932
1,064
Sunnyvale, CA
Why don't we all just agree that 1kWh of electricity is a "gallon"
That would make no sense. As you may know the EPA defined a gallon as 33.7kWh, which is an impossible 100% conversion rate, and they did this to make EVs look better than they are. They are still very good, but just not that good. If you burn a gallon of gasoline in a generator you will get 10-15 kWh of electricity out.
 

CyberGus

Not Just a Member
May 5, 2020
1,582
3,611
Austin, TX
That would make no sense. As you may know the EPA defined a gallon as 33.7kWh, which is an impossible 100% conversion rate, and they did this to make EVs look better than they are. They are still very good, but just not that good. If you burn a gallon of gasoline in a generator you will get 10-15 kWh of electricity out.

I'd be willing to compromise with "quart"

just none of this metric crap
 

bradtem

Robocar consultant
Dec 18, 2018
932
1,064
Sunnyvale, CA
I'd be willing to compromise with "quart"

just none of this metric crap
You should go to to a v3 supercharger that can charge up to 335 horsepower, then you could perhaps fill your car up with 200,000 BTUs to give you another 230 miles of range. In English units, a gallon is 5 quarts of course, though in the American version it's less, but gallons of gasoline are only used as a unit of energy when people talk about MPG.
 
IMHO, one of the complicating factors of all of this is that while power is a rate, the unit of power is not described in terms of a rate, it sounds like a non-derived unit in the same way that energy is described (they have the feeling of being standalone quantities, 0th order derivatives, both in the calculus sense and in the sense that they don't sound like they are derived from more fundamental units). The most intuitive way to describe a quantity that is a rate is "something per something else" (miles per hour, gallons per minute, volts per meter, etc.). This would definitely never happen, but perhaps more useful would be to refer to 1 Watt as 1 Joule per second. Describing Watts as J/s would definitely highlight the inanity of the unit kWh (J/s-h).
 
I’m one of those lucky folks that have free supercharging. Still, I’m very interested in the topic for lots of reasons. I have a late 2017 MS 100D, so roughly the same range as you. I did a little bit of research after reading your post. I will caveat my thoughts with again noting, this is not a topic I’ve studied extensively. That said:
  • It appears rates vary by geography, so your analysis may differ by locale. Unless it is the case that the price differential between Tesla’s rates and local gas rates is the same everywhere. I’d like more data to know if that is generally true or not. Also, it appears rates may differ by time of day, so you might factor that in if you are able to arrive at a SuperCharger during off-peak times. And I saw another poster pointed out using Destination Chargers, which I have done. In fact I try to pick hotels that have them
  • My experience driving a Tesla vs any other car for long distances causes me to prefer a Tesla 90% of the time with cost the same or even more. I might reconsider if the cost was a lot more (1.5x - 2x depending on distances). We have an ICE SUV purchased before the MY was available
  • Reasons why I prefer Tesla 90% of the time:
    • I have EAP, which is basically FSD except for city streets, albeit the latest release of FSD may now offer more functionality. When FSD goes GA, if I understand correctly, I should get the camera version for highway only - but maybe not. Even w/o it, as is, it is a HUGE benefit to me. The level of driver fatigue is greatly reduced using this feature. Have not experienced anything like it in an ICE vehicle
    • Ability to easily pass and slow back down again on the highway. Unless you have a stick sports car, there is no comparison
    • Safety. If you are unfamiliar, look it up
    • Stereo - unless I spend thousands extra for hi fidelity, nothing comes close (our other car is a Porsche SUV - it’s nice but not the same)
    • Fun factor - I love driving the car. I could give more examples but this is enough
  • Reasons why I would choose an ICE
    • Potential for off road or otherwise poor road conditions, e.g., flooding. This may not be an issue since you have the Y
    • Might need more cargo space. We just took a vacation across the country (flew there). Would have loved renting a Tesla, and probably would have paid the premium, but would have needed the X. We rented a Ford Expedition, for part of the trip and an Infinity Q80 for the rest (2 different destinations). 6 people + luggage. Btw, Expedition was head and shoulders better than the Infinity - I’ve no bias as I had never been in either. Boy did I miss my MS driving up a mountain to 10,000 ft.
I LOVE the ability sth speed up or slow down using that little rolling ball on the steering wheel (WHAT is that called?). I had occasion be the driver on NM64, which is very curvy and filled with white service company trucks and very large logging trucks and 25mph curves. I drove just using the toggle,never touching the break or gas and felt very relaxed and in control. In the old days in a gas vehicle, I would have been stressed out from breaking, etc. But I actually enjoyed the drive. And of course, I love the acceleration the Tesla affords when you have to get around traffic on the interstate. I am 76, so a bit old school.
 
  • Like
Reactions: TunaBug

2101Guy

Breaker of Ignore Buttons
Jan 6, 2020
4,719
7,247
USA
Was in Halifax, NC (I think that’s where it was) on a Sunday. Newer 250kw station. Beautiful. But 44 cents per kWh. But fast!
 

Attachments

  • CDD96BC4-DD32-4E34-A9C1-8FAB9AAB6D83.jpeg
    CDD96BC4-DD32-4E34-A9C1-8FAB9AAB6D83.jpeg
    175.7 KB · Views: 22

About Us

Formed in 2006, Tesla Motors Club (TMC) was the first independent online Tesla community. Today it remains the largest and most dynamic community of Tesla enthusiasts. Learn more.

Do you value your experience at TMC? Consider becoming a Supporting Member of Tesla Motors Club. As a thank you for your contribution, you'll get nearly no ads in the Community and Groups sections. Additional perks are available depending on the level of contribution. Please visit the Account Upgrades page for more details.


SUPPORT TMC
Top