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Supercharging ROI

Discussion in 'Model S: Battery & Charging' started by scaesare, Dec 2, 2013.

  1. scaesare

    scaesare Active Member

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    I just passed my six-month mark for ownership of my S85 last week. It so happens that 3 days later I had opportunity to try the new superchargers at then Glen Allen, VA location during a road trip and got my first taste of 120Kw charging.

    This got me to thinking about the usefulness of the superchargers, the expansion plans, and the value it provides for owners. For me, the value looks to be significant.

    In the first half-year of owning my S, I've used the SC's 6 times. As mentioned, I then used on for the 7th time 3 days in to the second half of my first year. That puts me on track to use the SC's a dozen times in a year. One of the trips was a little unusual and unexpected, so I'll lower the projection to 10 times/yr on average.

    In each of those cases, supercharging enabled me to take the Model S on a road trip that normally we would have taken in the family SUV, a Toyota Sequoia, which gets ~15-17MPG. Each of those trips would have required an initial fuel-up of the Sequoia's 25 gallon tank. Fuel has been near $4 around hear earlier this year, but is now about $3.25. Using $3.50 as an average, I'll avoid paying $875 this year in road-trip fuel costs. Of course, my cost to charge the S before leaving is about $8, so I'm still in excess of $800 ahead.

    In each of those cases I am able able to supercharge the S along the way for free. In many of those cases I would have needed another gas stop for the SUV. Because the range of the SUV is ~400 miles, as opposed to ~265 for the S, I'll try to be conservative and say only half of the time I would need the second fuel-up. Avoiding that will me and additional $437.50.

    So assuming that my experience thus far for the year hold, and my projections are at least in the ball park, I'll be ahead to the tune of $1312.50. Let's call it $1250, again to be conservative.

    Now obviously, Your Mileage Will Vary... literally. If your "other ICE car" gets better mileage it could easily be well less. Ditto if you travel less. On the other hand for some folks who travel more frequently on road trips it could be significantly more. It's not unreasonable to think that supercharging enables annual savings in the $500-2000 range for a good portion of people.

    In my case I'll pay for the capability in just over 18 months (assuming gas prices don't rise, in which case it will be even earlier), assuming the $2,000 it's valued at. Over the 6-yr loan duration of the car, I could be nearly $6,000 to the good. If I keep the car even longer, it's simply more money in my pocket.

    In my opinion it's a no-brainer to add as an option to the 60Kwh model... and in realty makes consideration of the 85Kwh model that includes the SC option for free one to consider very closely for those on the fence. And the 85 also includes the unlimited mileage battery warranty.

    Provided that Tesla is able to flesh out it's supercharging plan completely, and continue to make it financially viable to make them free (and convenient) for the long term, the supercharging infrastructure is an immensely valuable part of the equation... both to Tesla and for owners. It really is a remarkable strategy.
     
  2. Lou Olsen

    Lou Olsen Member

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    Thanks for the in-depth analysis scaesare! I completely agree with your conclusion. The Superchargers make long-distance travel in the MS both easy and cheap. I live in California and recently drove from San Jose (Bay Area) to San Diego and back. Total driving distance for the trip was about 1200 miles and the total cost was $24.00 for a Blink charger at the hotel we stayed at. The Superchargers were all of the 90 kWh variety (unless they upgraded without changing the markings). We used the ones along I-5 and the whole experience was flawless. Charging added about 2 hours to the trip, but I could justify at least 45 minutes of that to a lunch break and 15 minutes to normal pit stops along the way. My ICE car is a hybrid, and at 40MPG I still saved about $129.00 for the trip. If I took 10 trips (similar to your example), that would be a savings of $1,290/year. Wow! All that, and fun too :)
     
  3. lolachampcar

    lolachampcar Active Member

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    #3 lolachampcar, Dec 2, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2013
    From the Tesla and TSLA side, just think of the barrier to entry or competitive advantage the SC network will provide Tesla once fully fleshed (flushed) out. Vision!
     
  4. scaesare

    scaesare Active Member

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    Agreed. My boy and I were discussing that (on that 7th road trip where we used the new supercharger, as a matter of fact), and ultimately, their first-mover advantage in the SC network may ultimately prove to be as valuable as the car technology itself...

    (as an aside, I hope they really don't "flush" the network :) )
     
  5. JohnQ

    JohnQ Active Member

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    I saved an estimated $350 on my 1,800 mile round trip last week (assuming 22mpg at $3.50/gal for premium). Nice added bonus.
     
  6. electrode

    electrode Member

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    How reliable are the superchargers? Anybody experienced a nonworking station when you arrive or have to waited since all stations are full? Is there an option to check the status of the superchargers in advance? like how many stations or how many are unoccupied?
    Thanks for your insights.
     
  7. scaesare

    scaesare Active Member

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    Thus far, I've only experienced a single charger at a site not working. That was my recent trip to the Glen Allen, VA location. We moved to another unoccupied charging bayand charged successfully. (actually we had them all to ourselves as it was Thanksgiving day, and the Model S that was there when we arrived drove off as we pulled in). We called the Tesla customer service phone umber posted on the charger and reported the non-working unit.

    There are no ways to check availability ahead of time as of yet... but I've seen discussions here of ideas people had in that regard. There is telemetry data going back to Tesla about them, as evidenced on the flat-screen displays they have at the headquarters sites... so they might be able to incorporate something in the future.
     
  8. JohnQ

    JohnQ Active Member

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    Newark, DE was full (4 bays) at 6:30pm on Saturday. I was getting another 5 minutes of charge when two additional cars pulled up. Fortunately, neither of them had to wait more than 10 minutes. As I was leaving the person next to me said he was leaving in 5 more minutes.

    Other locations have had a wait, notably in CA. No current way to know status of SCs except through road trippers using Twitter and other electronic media. Unreliable, though.
     
  9. scaesare

    scaesare Active Member

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    Lou Olsen & JohnQ... interesting to see your #'s as well... thanks for sharing those.

    Having seen significant discussion about the payback for home charging/payback... but not much regarding SC #'s, it's useful to get some perspective on their value I think. The range of the Model S along with the SC network really are enablers that set them apart from other EV's. I hope others can chime in on how they are using them and what the value is in their situation.
     
  10. David_Cary

    David_Cary Member

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    Except that Nissan (as an example) could install 500 superchargers in 3 months if they really wanted to at dealer locations. Not all perfect locations but pretty good as most are probably near a highway (they are in my area). Throw in free coffee as a perk.

    If an Infiniti comes out in 2015 with a 50kw pack and free included supercharging for $40k, Tesla would have some competition. They could do it in a second. Of course, the chademo is not quite as fast as a Tesla's but it isn't horrible either. Apparently the geometry is good for 100 KW.
     
  11. roblab

    roblab Active Member

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    While driving through part of the Mojave Desert on route to Phoenix, I noticed a large lake off to my left. Looking at the center display map, I saw no lake, so I zoomed in. Still no lake. A mirage? Then I noticed the roads running in straight lines across it, and finally figured it was an absolutely HUGE solar installation. Milli and I then began noticing the power lines coming across the desert, and then the for sale signs, "20,000 acres solar site".

    Wiki says there are 180 square miles on the books for solar installations. The Gummint is trying to keep them where they will have lower impact on resident life (but personally, as a lizard, I think I might like having some shade once in a while), but these are growing. Mojave has twice the insolation as some other areas of the USA.

    I imagine that if Tesla bought up a few cheap acres and put up another lake, think of the benefits. Of course, the car owners can now drive for free for ever, but the impact of less imported oil, or less oil, coal and nat gas might be an even bigger benefit.
     
  12. scaesare

    scaesare Active Member

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    #12 scaesare, Dec 2, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2013
    Certainly there's nothing to prevent others from getting in to the game as you mention... which is why I called it a "first-mover advantage" for Tesla as opposed to a barrier to entry for others. I do, however, think that there are a few factors that make it unlikely that Nissan could do it "in a second"... as well as some that make that scenario somewhat less desirable.

    Namely:

    1) LOCATION: While it's certainly true Nissan has lots of locations, I'm not sure they are really located as optimally as one might think from "near a highway". The ones near me are not too far from a highway either, most of them easily 10-15 minutes away. Adding another 30 minutes to navigate to/from the dealership on "car row" for a charge might make a substantial number of these locations less than desirable. This was the case the one time I had to use a Nissan dealership to charge. It was nearly 20 minutes from the freeway with traffic. So far the superchargers I've visited were less than 5 minutes off the highway, or even at a rest stop ON the highway.

    The second facet is that ideally the locations would outside major city limits in-between destinations. This eliminates another significant number of locations for Nissan dealerships that I've seen.

    2) INSTALLATION: While having dealership locations you own/lease eliminates the need to negotiate for land usage rights, it doesn't eliminate the need for permitting, planning, logistics, contracting, etc... Some locations may be able to accommodate another 400KW of electrical usage, others might require the same new transformer drop, power upgrade, etc... that Tesla sites may need. That's going to take time to coordinate on a national scale.

    Then you have to pay for them. Tesla is already well along the way of working to offset the long-term cost with solar installation, and they have some direct contacts to folks in that biz. This is also a huge effort, likely requiring years of up-front planning. Certainly Nissan could do the same, but I think they are several years behind even if they were to start today.

    3) VEHICLES: This is why I said earlier that "The range of the Model S along with the SC network really are enablers that set them apart from other EV's." Frankly today the Leaf, at 75 miles, doesn't have the range to make this work. The charging scenario would be a non-starter (see #4 below)

    Now you mention a hypothetical 50KWh Infiniti in 2015 for $40K. You are talking about a car that's similar to a Tesla Gen III, but 2-3 years before Tesla believes they can do it for a similar price, despite the fact that Nissan has no experience building a car using commodity 16850 cells. You also state they could do so a year from today (the 2014's are out now). How long do you think it would take to plan, engineer, build, test and mass-produce such a car that leapfrogs Tesla by a full generation? There are also battery supplier issues. Tesla already has challenges with procurement, and they have pre-existing relationships in place.

    Could Nissan have already been doing this for several years in total secrecy? I suppose. But I suspect it's not only unlikely, but likely impossible with battery prices as they are.

    4) CHARGING: Again for the Leaf, with it's range, you get about
    an hour of highway driving by the time you need to navigate off the highway for a charge. They can accept up to 44KWh from a Chademo charger to get to 80% charge in half an hour. Combine that time with the non-optimal dealer locations (see #1 above), and you have 45-60 minutes of charge time for just an hour of highway time. That's a non-starter.

    The hypothetical 50KWh Infiniti has twice the battery capacity of the Leaf, but is also a luxury brand and likely larger/heaver. Let's allow for a range of 150 miles on a charge (2X the Leaf). Allowing for the non-optimal location of many of the dealerships, you might soak up 10-15 of those miles getting to/from a charge location. You are now back in the neighborhood of 2 hours of highway time for nearly an hour of off-highway charge time.

    Admittedly a 50KWh pack is close to the 60KWh model S territory... but with a range of 180 miles or so, and superchargers less than 5 minutes of the highway on locations purposefully-selected for long distance travel, the 60KWh S is still about the bottom-end of what I suspect most people will find convenient for road-trip style travel. And this doesn't even factor in cold-weather reductions...


    So, while there's nothing that prevents another manufacturer from mimicking what Tesla has done, it's going to take time, effort, experience, and money to do so. Thus
    I suggest your assertion "they could do it in a second"​ is wildly optimistic.

    I suspect Tesla is easily 3-5 years ahead of the competition. By that time, Tesla will have covered 99% of the country with free Superchargers, and likely be well on their way in the solar installations that will start offsetting their cost. The Gen III will be in production by then, and Tesla will have a huge advantage in economies of scale in production, as well as wealth of experience in the vehicle production and infrastructure logistics side of things.


     
  13. roblab

    roblab Active Member

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    +1. Well said.
     
  14. David_Cary

    David_Cary Member

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    They could do it very quickly if not a second. They have the resources to do it. Not saying they are going to but they could.

    Certainly regional but in NC, they are on highways generally. Within 5 minutes often. Lots of intercity rural dealerships.

    Nissan doesn't use 16850 cells.

    Nissan makes no secret that they have an Infiniti EV planned. The upcoming model got put on hold presumably because of Tesla. Makes sense that they would take time to copy Tesla's gameplan.

    Certainly that could be just 2 years away. They have the tech.

    A $40k Infiniti with a 48k pack would be a bit of a loss initially but perhaps worth it to trump the Gen III. Given a 24kw pack with a Leaf starts at $28k with perhaps $8k in extra battery costs and you can get around $45k today with pretty good content. No battery cost drop. No need for 25% margins.
     
  15. Gizmotoy

    Gizmotoy Active Member

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    I don't think there is any speculation here. They are already doing it. Many Nissan dealerships have CHAdeMO stations. They're roughly half as fast as our Superchargers in their current 62.5kW iterations, but there's a lot more of them. The standard was originally developed to support up to 100kW, so there may also be extensions to the format down the road. They often subsidize third parties to install them (they donated one for installation in the heart of downtown Napa, CA, for example) to expand their reach beyond dealerships. They have 300 of them installed in the US.

    To say that Nissan isn't currently executing a fast-charging strategy just because it doesn't look like Tesla's is ignoring what's actually happening. Nissan's optimizing for charging within the city, and Tesla for between cities, playing to the strengths of their respective EVs. Both will converge to full coverage eventually presuming they remain successful.

    As Model S owners, we're lucky in that once the adapter launches we'll be able to take advantage of both companies' strategies.
     
  16. nwdiver

    nwdiver Active Member

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    What Nissan Dealerships have CHAdeMO? Similar subject... did you guys know that Tesla has a Supercharger squirreled away in their back parking lot at HQ in Palo Alto? Noticed it last time I was there when I turned too soon. Probably not technically "public" but it's accessible (and YES it's NOT a HPWC... I have one of those and know the difference... I don't work for CNN)
     
  17. scaesare

    scaesare Active Member

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    #17 scaesare, Dec 2, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2013
    Tesla's method seems to be "just outside major destinations and specifically at major highway intersections". Now admittedly I haven't canvassed a significant number of Nissan dealership locations, but I remain unconvinced that enough of them that weren't specifically chosen with the goal of major corridor-travel matched to the charging parameters of their cars are going to happen to fall in the right locations to match the 99%coverage goal of Tesla's supercharger plan, and also happen to be convenient.

    My experience of where they are located in the two cities nearest me, as well as the city in which I work makes them rather unsuitable. Another example: The newest SC in VA is 3 minutes off 95 just north of Richmond. The two nearest Nissan dealerships are 8-10 miles either East or West. The next nearest one North of Richmond on I-95 is 52.6 miles away in Fredericksburg.

    This also ignores the other crux of my argument: you are implying that simply having locations they own means they can drop in 500 Chademo chargers at the drop of a hat. The other logistics issues I mentioned make this unlikely. Sure they have resources... but things like permits take time regardless of customer (after a point).


    That likely makes their battery cost up to twice as expensive, making the hypothetical 50kWh Inifiniti fir $40K even less likely.


    If they are copying Tesla's game plan, then they are moving to 18650 cells, and they are back to now building a first gen car with that tech and having no previous experience. If they aren't, then they are further behind in the price curve.


    Firstly, I see nothing that says they do for the price points you hypothesize without switching battery tech which means they actually don't currently have the tech, as you state. Secondly, your estimate of 1 year ("in a second") is now two years. Thirdly, in that time frame, the X will likely already have been out, and Tesla will be well on their way to Gen III while Nissan is at Gen I.


    I find it unlikely that a 2X increase in battery capacity (24 to 48kW), as well as moving from an economy to luxury car brand will only increase the car cost by $12K. Just going from a 60 to an 85kWh (a similar jump in capacity) on the Tesla costs $10K, and that's with using the widely-acknowledged lower-cost 16850 cells.


    Certainly Nissan could decide to take a big loss on cars in order to try and beat Tesla's planned cost/performance curve ... but that's largely dictated by the state of technology. Nissan has to abide by that as well. My point is that you suggested that Nissan could do it in practically no time. Now you are stating 2 years out. I still suggest that's rather optimistic using your parameters.
     
  18. ajros1

    ajros1 Member

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    I did the Texas Triangle over the weekend and all went without a hitch. I drove Dallas-San Antonio with brief stops at the Waco and San Marcos Superchargers (290 miles for this leg), then to Houston a few days later (200 miles) with a stop in Columbus at the SC there, then back to Dallas today with brief stops in Huntsville and Corsicana (260 miles). I figured it sa

    - - - Updated - - -

    I figured it saved me $180 in gas - 50 gallons for about $3.50. Thanks, Elon!
     
  19. scaesare

    scaesare Active Member

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    So this is interesting...and non speculative. Nissan could be taking a different tack here and deciding to not focus on intercity type trips as you say... in essence not going after the Tesla model.

    Anybody know folks who use these and in what situations? It begs the question of how they are used assuming one has charging available at their home/start-point...
     
  20. SCW-Greg

    SCW-Greg Active Member

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    The interesting thing is now we can drive to Palm Springs... for free! Two day (17 hour) drive of about 1050 miles. See some country as you go, and have an awesome car to drive while we're there.

    OR... Spend an hour driving to and parking at the airport. Wait 10 min for transporter bus, ride for another 10 minutes. Haul your luggage up to the terminal. Spend 30 minutes going through security line, derobing, emptying your bag, repacking, putting your clothes back on. Wait for 90 or so minutes before plane finally comes. Rush to get on plane first, throw your luggage overhead, then sit for 25 more minutes before push back. Spending $200 to $300 (per person), on cheap tickets mind you, stop over in SanFran, wait more time for connecting flight (or spend more money for two hour direct flight). Take time to get a crappy funny smelling rental car @ $50/day, or step up and drop $100+/day. Be sure to factor some time out on your way to turn it back in - to top off - to keep that tank full. And then lather, rinse, and repeat the whole process returning home. A whole lot of hassle, hustle, elbows, and more than half your day is gone in the process.

    Some hidden ROI vs. alt opportunity costs. ;)
     

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