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Tesla Superchargers...a Monopoly?

Discussion in 'Tesla Motors' started by nrcooled, Jun 19, 2013.

  1. nrcooled

    nrcooled P#8946 VIN 03225

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    My wife and I were having a very interesting discussion about the roll-out of the SuperChargers and how it will be very nice for all Tesla owners. What came up was an interesting point about how Tesla can avoid the potential "monopoly" label by being the largest/only provider of a proprietary charging solution nationwide.

    The way I see it is that companies will start seeing the wide-spread adoption of Tesla cars due to the available superchagers. They will then Lease the technology to be able to use the superchargers on their EVs. Tesla will be the only game in town providing such a large infrastructure...does the ring any MaBell similarities? There will be no competitor in the EV charging space that can even come close to what Tesla has and Tesla will be the only company setting the price for EV manufacturers to access the SC network. With no market competition there is no market set price hence the possibility for the monopoly billing.

    Thoughts on this?

    Disclaimer: I am not assuming they are doing anything wrong or pointing fingers just interested in hearing different sides of this discussion.
     
  2. Zextraterrestrial

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    It's not a monopoly. You can't use all chargers for all cell phones can you?

    I can't charge an I pod using just a standard USB plug. I need an Apple monopolized charge cable right?

    just my thoughts

    I'd hate for other cars to be able to use the superchargers. It is part of the S pricing and benefits
     
  3. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    Well... let's see how the EU handles it. Didn't they require all cell phone makers to adopt micro USB charging? I think Apple even has to supply a dongle there.
     
  4. Zextraterrestrial

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    probably.

    Monopoly was kind of a fun game but always ends up being a mess at the end and someone gets screwed
     
  5. fastcars

    fastcars Member

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    I think big companies can create charging station if they see the market for EV. Right now, EV market is not big enough for giants like BMW or GM & others to commit fully.

    Also battery technology isn't prosperity and others have access to it.

    Tesla secret sauce is software which has edge compare to others. They can replace the battery in future and create whole new level for existing or old model s using software upgrades.
     
  6. bollar

    bollar Disgruntled Member

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    I would say Tesla could argue the barriers to entry are low and with a small investment, anyone could setup a charging infrastructure for their cars. This is unlike telephony, which required interoperability and ultimately created a monopoly.
     
  7. Citizen-T

    Citizen-T Active Member

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    The only thing I'm going to take way from this is that a few months ago I couldn't convince people that Tesla would survive 2013, now they are wondering if they might get into trouble for being a monopoly? High quality problem.
     
  8. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    I don't see how this could be a monopoly. The Superchargers are a service to their customers and you have the option of using the thousands of public chargers (granted almost all in cities and very slow) or buying a different EV or an ICE. Maybe if one day 90% of all cars are Tesla then maybe but right now, it is a very tiny segment of all cars sold and is free to use for their customers.
     
  9. twinklejet

    twinklejet Member

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    Competitor: Blink (not saying they are on par, but they are providing the same charging service, albeit at a snail's pace)
     
  10. Palpatine

    Palpatine Banned

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    I also don't see how anyone could call this a monopoly. Any car company could go around and setup their own DC Supercharger network. For a car company, the barriers to entry are low to copy Tesla on Superchargers.
     
  11. Teriyaki88

    Teriyaki88 Member

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    IMO if Tesla motors forced all Tesla owners to use only their Superchargers, then it might be a monopoly. However Tesla owners are free to use millions of 110 outlets, millions of 220 outlets, NEMA xxxx's, J1772's, etc.
     
  12. qwk

    qwk Model S P2681

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    It's not a monopoly, but a very smart business plan. Tesla knows that scaling up to making millions of cars and trucks takes time and intense capital.

    Step 1: build out a network of proprietary chargers across the US.
    Step 2: keep building more and more cars to use said network, and make network even bigger.
    Step 3: license the charging network to competitors as you grow.
    Step 4: Once big enough with plenty of cashflow, squeeze most of the competition out with high rates(they would be SOL BTW).

    Tesla will easily become the biggest automaker this way. The existing automakers are too busy ignoring this easy to imagine outcome, and potential Ev customers, because their business model has to include dealerships and vehicle repair maintenance to survive.

    - - - Updated - - -

    The barriers to entry are very high for existing automakers because they not only lack a decent EV, but they cannot and will not cannibalize their existing car lines. They can't lose money on both infastructure and 200 mile range EV vehicles, not to mention free charging. Nobody in their right mind will buy a competitors vehicle that has worse specs for the same price, and one you have to pay to get a fast charge for, when there is a Tesla.
     
  13. mitch672

    mitch672 Active Member

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    SuperChargers are one of Teslas "shadow" business's, and how they intend to profit off the replacement of the ICE.
    They simply license their technology (drivetrain, pack and lifetime Supercharger access) to whichever competitors want to step up and "Join us" (To quote Elon). Tesla gets a fixed fee which pays for even more Superchargers/Superswappers to be deployed, so it can be scaled up.

    They can (and will) actually make more money, giving away free electricity than building cars. They are constrained by their existing Fremont physical plant to about 400,000 vehicles/year, without spending massively on Capex, but if they license their technology to mfrs who can scale up to millions of cars/year, well you can see how they'll make more on licensing than building cars.

    It's hard to call them a monopoly, since they are giving away free lifetime charging, the price is built into the cost of every car.

    It's more just a brilliant, well thought out long term business plan :)
     
  14. qwk

    qwk Model S P2681

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    I'm pretty sure that other manufacturer's cars are not going to get free lifetime charging for a one time fee. Tesla would be shooting themselves in the foot doing that.
     
  15. mitch672

    mitch672 Active Member

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    That's there philosophy, and SuperChargers are not used all that often,
    They also currently have no way to charge for their usage.
    Have you read the Randy Carlson article, he laid it all out:
    Seeking Alpha
     
  16. PeterW

    PeterW Member

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    Why not? If they had to use Tesla tech to be capable of using the network.

    If Toyota decided to mass market the the RAV 4 EV, why couldn't part of the deal be access to the supercharger network.

    Elon's goal is to make all cars electric.
     
  17. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    Why would Tesla pay for the network and then let other manufactures use it for free even if they bought the powertrain from them? Toyota could always build out their own Supercharger network for the RAV4 and limit it just to their cars if they wanted but much cheaper for them to simply pay Tesla for the right to use their Superchargers or have their customers pay it.
     
  18. mitch672

    mitch672 Active Member

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    Tesla charges a "per vehicle manufactured" licensing fee for SuperCharger access, it's non-negotiable and part of the package, they charge the same $1,500 they bill themselves for each Model S using the SC network. Read Randy's article that I linked to a above, he goes into great detail (minutia really) about how he theorizes it to work.
     
  19. PeterW

    PeterW Member

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    I was replying to the 'one time fee' comment. It would be a one time fee per car the same as a Tesla. So the manufacturer would pay Tesla for the access (per
    car). Elon said join us or copy us. I think join us is better. When I fill up with gas I can stop at any station.

    "Sorry kids we are not stopping here for an icecream, this is a Toyota charging station. We will stop at the Tesla station 30 miles down the road."
     
  20. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    I see. That makes sense.
     

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