TMC is an independent, primarily volunteer organization that relies on ad revenue to cover its operating costs. Please consider whitelisting TMC on your ad blocker and becoming a Supporting Member. For more info: Support TMC

The Cost of Super-Charging

Discussion in 'Model S: Battery & Charging' started by badboy1980, Jan 5, 2017.

  1. badboy1980

    badboy1980 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2015
    Messages:
    128
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    Dear all,

    Now that using super-chargers are not entirely free for those who purchase a vehicle from now on, does any body know what Tesla's payment/price plan will be? I live in the UK and fortunately own a Tesla which was brought before this policy was introduced.

    Looking forward to your comments....
     
  2. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2012
    Messages:
    8,981
    Location:
    Toronto, ON
    Wish I knew. My Model S is 4 years old and I've been toying with the idea of trading it in. It's almost unfair to announce the end of free Supercharging by a certain purchase date (now January 15th) without saying how much it will cost. I do a fair bit of road tripping and it could make a difference. I am weighing wait vs. buy now over this and the possibility of further incentives in my jurisdiction. There is talk of dropping provincial and possibly federal sales taxes in Ontario, Canada as well as "improved" purchase incentives.
     
  3. badboy1980

    badboy1980 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2015
    Messages:
    128
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    @mknox - I agree. The other thing is that whatever they do decide to charge now may change over time. Electricity may become the new gas/fuel.
     
  4. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2013
    Messages:
    12,576
    Location:
    San Mateo, CA
    As far as I know Tesla has not yet announced any pricing. Note that cars operating under the new "400kWh per year free Supercharging" have not been delivered yet.
     
  5. bob_p

    bob_p Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2012
    Messages:
    1,562
    In the 4 years I've had my P85, we likely would have exceeded 400 kwh in only one year, when we took a 2500+ mile road trip.

    For the other 3 years, we've taken 200-300 mile (one way) trips. Since we usually start the one way trips with a full (90 or 100%) overnight charge, we only use the superchargers if a full charge can't get us all the way to our destination. For these trips, most of the charging is provided by the overnight charging and not superchargers.

    Before getting too concerned about the loss of "unlimited free long distance" supercharging, potential owners should look at how they will likely use the cars for long distance, and I suspect Tesla knows that most owners won't exceed the 400 kwh credits in a year. [That might be an interesting number for them to publish - what percentage of the current cars exceed this threshold?]

    We don't know the details of the pricing - and hopefully Tesla will provide at least a couple of weeks between when they announce the details and the cutoff for getting the unlimited charging.

    Though, with a small tweak to their pricing plan, they could eliminate this concern for most drivers - if they would put a limit of 400 kwh per year for each metropolitan area (say superchargers within a 75 mile radius), charging owners only if their car used too much charging in the same area over a one year period. If they did that, that would restore "unlimited free long distance" charging for everyone, except those using the SCs for local charging.

    Marketing "unlimited free long distance" charging is a significant benefit over competitors - since Tesla will likely be the only manufacturer with their own charging network - and the only one who could offer free charging (actually, the price is built into the cost of the car).
     
  6. JohnQ

    JohnQ Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2012
    Messages:
    1,592
    Location:
    Redding, CT
    I drive about 6,000 miles per year where I rely on superchargers. Assume it's 333 Wh/mi so that's 2,000 kWh per year in supercharging. Less the 400 kWh free, and assuming $0.30 per kWh (a complete guess), it's $480 per year. My purchase decision would not be changed by that extra cost.
     
    • Like x 2
    • Informative x 1
  7. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2012
    Messages:
    8,981
    Location:
    Toronto, ON
    Agree. I had thought a reasonable solution to the "local charging/congestion" problem would have been to charge a fee, perhaps even a premium fee, to Superchargers within a certain radius of the car's registered address, then leave ones further afield free for road tripping.

    I actually track my Supercharger use and use almost exactly the same as you annually. The problem is that Tesla wouldn't even come close to breaking even at 30 cents/kWh. In my jurisdiction (Ontario, Canada) urban residential on-peak rates (taxes in) is about 23 cents / kWh and rural residential rates are much higher. But... these are commercial installations and would draw higher rates including utility demand charges. Not to mention the capital cost of station installation and ongoing maintenance costs associated with them. Now Tesla's goal may not be to make a profit here, or even break-even but we just don't know... and that is my point.

    It will also be interesting to see if Tesla lowers the cost of cars by $2,500, which was the premium to enable Supercharging on older 60's and the assumed amount built into other cars for this service.
     
    • Like x 2
  8. Az_Rael

    Az_Rael Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2016
    Messages:
    2,342
    Location:
    Palmdale, CA
    I doubt the price will be lowered, since they just raised prices a few months ago. As far as the original $2000 supercharger fee, it included access to the hardware. DCFC was $1500 to enable without supercharging, so if you do that math, the supercharger network access was only worth $500.
     
  9. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2012
    Messages:
    8,981
    Location:
    Toronto, ON
    Right. I was quoting Canadian prices which with our dollar as it is, are higher.
     
  10. Canuck

    Canuck Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2013
    Messages:
    4,955
    Location:
    South Surrey, BC
    Elon Musk said this back in May of 2016:

    "It will still be very cheap, and far cheaper than gasoline to drive long distance with the Model 3, but it will not be free long distance for life unless you purchase that package. . . it has to be something like that," said Musk. Tesla declined to elaborate on Musk's comments.

    Then it changed to (after 400 kWh of free Supercharging credits):

    ...there will be a small fee to Supercharge which will be charged incrementally and cost less than the price of filling up a comparable gas car. All cars will continue to come standard with the onboard hardware required for Supercharging.

    ...while prices may fluctuate over time and vary regionally based on the cost of electricity, our Supercharger Network will never be a profit center.

    So we've gone from "very cheap" and and "far cheaper" than gas, to "less than the price of filling up" - I would certainly hope so! As to the "will never be a profit center" -- we are also told that the service centers are not a profit center either but their prices are on par with profit center service centers so that doesn't mean anything either.
     
    • Like x 2
  11. Eclectic

    Eclectic Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2014
    Messages:
    424
    Location:
    Bay Area & Montana
    I use superchargers a lot more than 6,000 miles a year (lots of road trips between California and Montana) and even if it were only $480 a year more I'd still care. The fact that it would be more like $1,000 a year makes it even more of an issue. I use a variation of the pizza and beer calculation when I look at financial matters. Instead of asking how much beer and pizza I could have had for a certain amount I ask how many of my hobbies could be fed by a certain amount of money. For example, I have a seat in a duck blind that runs about $1,000 a year. So to me, if a car I'm considering ends up costing $1k more a year than I originally expected, it most certainly is an issue.

    In all likelihood, though, as time goes on and Tesla's pay for supercharging policy becomes the standard, very few people will remember when supercharging was "free" and the issue will be moot. Not in my mind, of course, but the odds of me buying another Tesla are very slim anyway.
     
  12. Naonak

    Naonak Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2015
    Messages:
    421
    Location:
    Kansas
    If it's anything more than $0.01 - $0.03 / kWH, it's going to be more expensive than fuel for many cars. Especially when you factor in a hybrid - though some of those advantages are lost on the highway, of course ... but of course Elon said a "comparable" car. I don't think that's a fair comparison. If the choice is paying $500 for Supercharging on a trip or $200 for gas/diesel, but I have to take a VW or Honda, I'm going with the VW/Honda. Even if the price is the same, it would definitely make the reconsider purchasing another Tesla going forward if everything else is equal.

    The free Supercharging was a big draw for me, since I travel a lot. There are no Superchargers in my area, sadly, so I never (have to worry about) using them locally; all of my SC is on road trips. But last year alone, I've probably done at least 15k miles in cross country trips via Superchargers. That is going to get costly.
     
    • Like x 1
  13. CSFTN

    CSFTN Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2014
    Messages:
    615
    Location:
    Memphis, TN
    Huh? Unless my math is wrong - and it could be - an average EV under average circumstances needs a bit more than 300W to go a mile, so thats roughly 3 miles per 1 kW. Make the math easy; $0.03/kw x 1kW/3 miles = $0.01/mile. Meanwhile, an average car getting 25 miles/gal at $2.50/gal costs 1gal/25 miles x $2.50/ga = $0.10/mile THATS 10X the cost to drive an average ICE compared to an average EV at the top end of your allowable SuC charge, and it doesn't include things like oil, oil filters, wear and tear on the ICE, etc. Just a fuel to fuel comparison.

    So, how is being 90% cheaper too expensive?
     
    • Like x 4
    • Helpful x 1
  14. CSFTN

    CSFTN Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2014
    Messages:
    615
    Location:
    Memphis, TN
    Using your WAG cost of SuC, your 6000 miles/year current on Superchargers costs you $480/year. Meanwhile, in the same average ICE I have discussed above, that 6000 miles costs you 6000 miles x 1 gal/25 miles x $2.50/gal = $600 So, under those circumstances by using the Tesla you save (just on those trips) 1- 480/600 = 20%

    Lastly, I'd bet $0.30/kW is probably a pretty fair guess. While Tesla may claim to not want a profit center, the best thing for EVs in general would be an explosion of free-market competitor DCFCs, which requires their owners to make a profit; Tesla can't undercut them by too much or they won't be able to survive. They need a profit to justify their existence, or a subsidy from elsewhere -- a government or another manufacturer.
     
  15. DarkMatter

    DarkMatter Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2016
    Messages:
    481
    Location:
    Olympia, WA
    What's up with the cost of Supercharging being seen as the cost of road trips? It's swamped by other costs for most people, namely depreciation. I guess if you plan to keep your car for a million miles but most people just don't. Let's say a 75k Tesla lasts you 200k and retains 25k of value at the end. That's still $0.25/mile in depreciation. If you're taking massive mileage in road trips the cost of the energy is really not your biggest expense.
     
    • x 3
    • x 2
    • x 1
    • x 1
    • x 1
  16. JohnQ

    JohnQ Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2012
    Messages:
    1,592
    Location:
    Redding, CT
    And that's exactly the point. If my uplift in cost is $480/yr on a ~$100k vehicle then It's not that big a deal. If it were, I'd be driving the aforementioned VW/Honda. I've already made the decision that driving a Model S is worth more to me than quite a number of things ...
     
    • Like x 1
  17. Naonak

    Naonak Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2015
    Messages:
    421
    Location:
    Kansas
    You make some fair points, here's how I arrived at my conclusion... which, upon rereading, I see why it was not clear at all, so I apologize:

    I based this off of my experience, which is more like 400ish W/M in the summer and closer to 500ish in the winter - my car is usually fully loaded with people and cargo when I'm on a road trip, so there's substantially more weight than average.

    So we are looking more like $0.02/mi. My previous ICE car(s) were always in the high 40's for fuel mileage (52 MPG record), so I base it off of that. So we are looking at around $0.05/mi for ICE. The ICE is cheaper to purchase and maintenance is about the same, if not cheaper over the life of the car (especially since I can work on the ICE myself - not so much with the Tesla, but even if I couldn't, a properly maintained ICE doesn't cost all that much to operate if you discount the use of fuel - most of the other consumables apply to both vehicles, with a few notable exceptions, but they don't need to be replaced that often - except oil, which comes to $40ish ever 10k - 20k miles, depending on driving habits - all other liquid consumables are replaced once or twice during the life of the vehicle, at most).

    For my last ICE, I spent about $15k in maintenance over a 250,000mi service life (car is still going strong, I just sold it at that point) - that includes two new transmissions - a Tesla would run more than $15k over 250,000 miles if you follow their service schedule, not including replacing any major components.

    In the end, the Tesla is as expensive if not more expensive to maintain than an ICE, for me personally. So maintenence is a wash cost wise. That leaves fuel - we have a $0.03 gap between the two vehicles. If Tesla charges $0.04 or more, it is so close to the cost of an ICE that the inconvenience of having to find charging locations, stop every 120 miles and charge, or so, makes it an unappealing option on a road trip. In my ICE, I can drive 10 hours straight or about 650 miles - not stopping once.

    This brings me to the point of Elons statement about a "comparable" car - if you want to say the ICE is not comparable to the Tesla, I would agree - but in the end, I don't find the Tesla significantly more comfortable to drive than the ICE, and I don't like stopping every 120 miles to charge, especially stopping every 120 miles for 15+ minutes, so on balance, traveling in the Tesla is less enjoyable than traveling in a "lesser" ICE. But since it's free, it makes it more appealing. Anything more than about $0.02/mi and it becomes an unappealing alternative for road trips.
     
    • Like x 2
  18. DarkMatter

    DarkMatter Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2016
    Messages:
    481
    Location:
    Olympia, WA
    Then why do you have a Tesla, if you're so unhappy with it that $15/day for energy on road trips is enough to make it unappealing?
     
  19. Naonak

    Naonak Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2015
    Messages:
    421
    Location:
    Kansas
    Did you just like not read anything I wrote?

    I said, if the road trips were not free, it's unappealing compared to an ICE, as it's more expensive if they charge >$0.03/kw/h.

    I never said I was unhappy with the Tesla, not even sure how you got that out of what I wrote - it's kind of mind boggling actually.

    The Tesla is a shitty road trip car, though, no two ways about it. Having to stop every ~100 miles to charge for 15m or more makes for miserable trips if you have to go any significant distance at all. It makes up for that by being essentially free to transport 4 people and gear across the country.

    If it costs the same to go in the Tesla or go in an ICE, I will choose the ICE, since it's more comfortable and you get there 2x as fast if not more. If your idea of a road trip is a leisurely drive around the country, taking your time to stop at every nook and cranny and neat antique shop from here to Albuquerque to Des Moines, with a quick stop in New York - that's great. That's not my idea of a road trip. My idea of a road trip is to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible. Yes, I could certainly fly, and I do... but it's far more expensive and I won't have my car when I get there. For shorter duration trips, generally 1000 miles or less, it's almost as fast to fly when you factor in everything required to fly - or at least it was in an ICE, in the Tesla that shrinks by about half. 500 miles or less and it's faster, otherwise, no.

    Driving around town here, the car is great. KC has free charging at 1700+ locations, citywide. I rarely, if ever, charge at home. I stop at a DCFC every couple days, hang out at Starbucks for ~1 hour and work on the laptop (or, to be honest, play Overwatch) and leave with a full charge until next time. Cost: $3.02 for my cup of tea, a nice hour of relaxation and a free "fill up" on my car. Would I have bought the tea anyway if it weren't for the free charge? No, probably not, at least not 100% of the time, so you can factor that in to the equation if you want.
     
  20. NeverEnough

    NeverEnough Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2012
    Messages:
    139
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Sorry to be pedantic, but this is a far too common mistake. You wrote kw/h when you meant kWh. A watt is power. So a watt per hour is a rate of change in energy and not what you meant. In fact, unless you are indicating some very specific characteristics of a system you will never need watts per hour. You meant kWh (kW•h) which is an energy unit. Since a watt is a joule (energy) per second, a watt over a second just gives you a joule. A watt per second is a joule per second squared.
     
    • Like x 3

Share This Page