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Will Supercharging be free for Gen3?

Discussion in 'Model 3' started by aronth5, Feb 24, 2013.

  1. aronth5

    aronth5 Long Time Follower

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    There seems to be a general consensus that every Tesla model will include free Supercharging.
    As someone who will place a reservation for Gen3 at the first opportunity I am not assuming Supercharging will be free in 3-4 years.
    Even with the cost off set of solar panels will Tesla be able to afford the infrastructure cost to build out all the Supercharging stations and pay for the electricity once there are there are 250k-500k cars? Has Elon or Tesla actually stated free will be forever? I sure hope so.
     
  2. Grendal

    Grendal Active Member

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    I don't see why the same will not hold true for the Gen III. I expect the Performance and largest pack versions will be free. The mid-range pack version will have to pay a one time fee for unlimited charging and the smallest pack will be unable to participate unless the new version of batteries allow for it. I'm sure other factors may have an effect on my analysis.
     
  3. spatterso911

    spatterso911 MSP#7577 **--** MX#1891

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    I suppose it depends upon the range options offered. I would bet that it will be for whatever is capable of using the supercharger.
     
  4. stopcrazypp

    stopcrazypp Well-Known Member

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    Keep in mind they can always charge for the option of supercharging (like the $2000 option for 60kWh Model S). That option price can always be adjusted to account for maintenance/electricity costs.

    As for infrastructure cost, the entire 100 station supercharger network is expected to cost $20-30 million (each station costs about $250k) and I believe is part of the marketing budget for Tesla. It's relatively inexpensive.
    http://www.hybridcars.com/tesla-unveils-supercharger-charging-station-six-now-california-52460/

    Then it's all down to maintenance/electricity costs.
     
  5. Rodolfo Paiz

    Rodolfo Paiz P85 "Plug and Play"

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    I have the following thoughts:

    1. The cost of initially building out the Superchargers is not huge, and can be largely offset by initial charges like the $2000 currently levied on 60 kWh cars. So no problem there.

    2. The ongoing cost of electricity is of some concern to me since I don't know the economics of Tesla's PV arrays on top of the Superchargers. If the PV array can produce all or most of the energy needed by the SC's even at the point where they become heavily used, then yes, I'd expect "free fuel" to be a Tesla selling point for a long time.

    3. If they continue to advertise "free fuel", I wonder whether other manufacturers could reverse-engineer the SC connection so that they could also connect their cars to a Tesla SC. Sure there are technical hurdles to that, but those can surely be overcome. I wonder whether there are sufficient legal barriers against that.

    4. If I were running Tesla, I'd also be looking at the possibility of collecting some reasonable payment (say, $0.25/kWh) from Gen-3 cars for supercharging (heck, I'd have looked at it for Model S and X as well). One reason to charge for anything is the tragedy of the commons: that people will tend to abuse anything that's free. Another reason is that revenues from supercharging could eventually turn into a reasonable revenue source for Tesla, usable either for profit or to reinvest in further infrastructure growth.

    I'm guessing that Tesla has already looked at #4, because if they were going to charge for juice, they really should have started right away. I personally don't think anyone would have complained, especially since a Model S is still cheaper on a per-mile basis than an ICE even after paying $0.25/kWh (or whatever) for a supercharge. It's really hard to start charging for something once you initially made it free, so my speculation is that Tesla already looked at the idea, and decided that the "free fuel" angle was more attractive to them as a form of marketing. Therefore, my WAG is that Tesla will continue to offer free supercharging for all of their cars, with the supercharging capability being priced into the fully-loaded version of each car and other, less-equipped models having to pay an initial fee to supercharge.
     
  6. ChadS

    ChadS Petroleum is for sissies

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    #6 ChadS, Feb 24, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2013
    Agreed. I think the "free Supercharging" angle is important to Tesla for a couple of reasons.

    One is that problems always crop up when you try to charge for something. They wouldn't want to charge much for the electricity, but credit card processing requires hardware, transaction and service fees that add to the cost - they would have to add that to what they charge customers, or else they might as well skip it and just give the electricity away for free. The hardware needs to communicate to validate the credit card, which could be difficult (unreliable and/or expensive) in some remote places Tesla plans to place Superchargers. And worst of all, what if the credit processing fails - does that mean the driver can't charge? That would make for some really unhappy customers and bad press. Even best case, when they work, it's just another step that slows the customer down, and Tesla is trying to make this a very simple experience.

    The other is that charging is always going to take longer than getting gas. There are many reasons to drive electric, but our brains are wired to value what we might lose a lot more than what we might gain. What if some day I have to wait when I don't want to? People are really reluctant to switch because of the extra time for charging on road trips. (I don't think they should be because they can always fly or take another car if they are in a hurry, but reluctant they are). Tesla wants to leverage the strengths of electric driving to make some simple, obvious advantages to driving electric that gas can never match. Tesla road trips are solar-powered and free. Now imagine trying to get across the message "Tesla road trips are solar-powered and only 25 cents per kWh". Gas drivers wouldn't grok the savings; in fact many would be put off by having to learn about kWhs and how to translate it in to costs per trip. But "free" is simple - everybody understands that. (In fact we tend to put more value on "free" than we should. Especially when it's technically "included").

    If the costs really become an issue, as has been noted they can always adjust the "supercharger access" fees when you buy the car. That makes Supercharger deployment and usage easier AND gives Tesla the money up front. A far better plan, I think.
     
  7. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    Yes and no

    Yes, I think Supercharging will be free.
    No, I think Supercharging won't be available. ;)

    I expect that if we ever get the Gen III it won't support Supercharging. Supercharging will be for the luxury end. It's not about any exclusivity, it's about practicality. Even Supercharging takes too much time to deal with a large number of vehicles, so in order to keep availability up you have to limit the volume. You're already seeing volume issues in CA and it's not suprising to me that Tesla is working on increasing the charging rate.

    They could add a reservation system for limited slots but as Chad noted one of the smart things about the Supercharger system is that it's simple, there's no overhead and no middle man.

    The Gen 3 will (if they get there) have a good range, but that will be more about providing a good everyday driving radius, rather than to make long trips. Not needing support for Supercharging would also give them more flexibility to provide a low-cost battery solution that can provide a decent range without having to be concerned about ultra-fast charging. For example, they could use a hybrid battery system combining high energy-density cells with high-power-density cells. I'd simply hope that they'd be imaginative with a rental system so it could more easily be an owner's only car.
     
  8. T B

    T B President, Tesla Club Sweden

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    Free superchargers are an elegant way of silencing naysayers. It is a great response to people who complain about electric cars having short range and long charge time when traveling far. "Yes, but it's FREE"
     
  9. nikwest

    nikwest Member

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    I think at some point Tesla will charge for supercharging for cars sold later. Payment could be easily managed by associating a VIN with a credit card. No need to have some CC processing equipment at a supercharger location. A bit like iTunes. You might need to enter your password in order to get started or something similar.

    I don't think the solar panels would be able to produce anything closely to what's needed for a somewhat busy location. You might be able to charge 2-3 cars per day from it.
     
  10. ElSupreme

    ElSupreme Model S 03182

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    One reason why I opted for the 85kWh car is because I thought this exact thing might happen. I believe all the SC-able Model Ss now will be 'free' to supercharge for life. I do not know if this will be the case forever.

    On that note I do not think they will charge on a per use basis. I think it will be an option when you purchase the car. Half the cost will be for the extra copper and other hardware needed for supercharging. The other half of the cost will be for SC development (more cars that can supercharger means the need more superchargers) and electricity costs. I wouldn't be surprised if Tesla is getting some sweet deals from power providers on their electricity rates, or even assistance from nearby businesses and whatnot. I have a feeling everything but the maximum battery (where the cost will be baked in and hidden but still present) for every model will have a 'supercharger' option. And I would not be surprised if that option remains 'forever', or 'unlimited' but ends up being X years, or X years or [insert seemingly arbitrarily large number here] charges.

    Much in the way that mobile 'unlimited' internet plans started to become capped. (Sure T-Moblie and Sprint are still offering one, but they both need some market share).

    But the way Tesla is doing this is the correct way. Instead of paying a monthly supercharge power bill, they are putting out capital (which should be baked into the price of a SC capable car) expenses, in the form of solar panels. Where they should be able to control their ongoing costs. And in 20 years when they need to start getting new panels, they should be cheaper, but more importantly there should be other Fast DC charge systems out there where Superchargers might not be necessary.
     
  11. gregincal

    gregincal Active Member

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    I don't agree with this. The point of supercharging is to make electric cars more palatable for the mainstream (allow road trips). The point of Gen III is to sell cars to the mainstream. Not having it support supercharging makes no sense. Figuring out the volume thing is just something they're going to have to do. It will help when there are lots of other DC quickchargers besides superchargers.
     
  12. Norbert

    Norbert TSLA will win

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    My impression is that Tesla's current plan is that Supercharging will always be free, including for the Gen III. However, as for the Model S, it will be available only for certain battery sizes (EPA range above more than 200 miles), as an option for medium sizes, and included for large sizes.
     
  13. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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    Musk has said. Free charging from the sun, forever. He has also said that it was too much trouble to charge for filling so the price of the stations is build into the cars. GB (or JB) said that the money spent to build the Superchargers comes out of the Marketing budget.

    All those facts still do not answer the Blugenlllstar thread question. I would say that if Tesla's mass market car has the same three range packages as the S then I would imagine the same advantages and limitations will be applied.
     
  14. gjunky

    gjunky Waiting for the Model ☰

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    There is no sense for Tesla to build and promote the Supercharger infrastructure and then not let their volume cars use it. What would be the benefit for Tesla?

    I think the Model S smallest battery pack will go away after which all Model S cars can supercharge. I expect the same to happen with the Gen3. They might make an initial price leader with a small battery but I doubt they plan to support it in the long run. The Model X and the European cars don't have a 40Kwh option. I guess TM will charge a one time fee again as they did with the 60Kwh Model S.

    They could easily charge per use as I am sure the chargers recognize the cars somehow and they could just bill you (still leaving your wallet at home...). This will also keep non-Tesla cars from charging.
     
  15. constraint

    constraint Member

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    I guess i have a different take ( i tend to do that). First off Gen 3 will have SC available (if it didn't it would be a failed product) even with a 30-40 kwh pack (just might not be able to use the entire 120 kw charge).

    I see Tesla deploying the SC network as described on the map free at least until Gen 3 comes out. After that point either Tesla starts charging all EV cars or more likely they limit their network in the hopes that other companies either license their SC technology or deploy some other sort of L3 charging network (for cost). Right now only like 4 to 5 thousands Model S's have been produced but already I am seeing pictures on this forum with 4 bay SC full with 4 more S's waiting for charge. What happens when there are 100k cars being produced, will Tesla really continue to just add more sites or more bays without an tit for tat increase in their revenue?

    A 20 bay SC site is sure going to cost a lot of money in land, taxes and electrical infrastructure. While i think Elon is fairly reputable, he has a tendency of over promising on stuff. I wouldn't expect him to be able to keep the promise of free sunshine charging forever.
     
  16. K Hall

    K Hall Member

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    Model S is free for life on the supercharger. That is the only representation that Tesla has made.
     
  17. aronth5

    aronth5 Long Time Follower

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    Although this thread is about Gen3, I believe the understanding is that "free for life" also applies to the Model X.
    As far as Gen3 I think the only question is will there be a fee at some point or will Tesla be able to get the dollars they need to build out the large infrastructure up front when you purchase the car? Like they do with the 60 kWh battery for the S.
     
  18. GSP

    GSP Member

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    This promise is for today's cars.

    At some point Tesla could no longer include free supercharging with new cars. Like the price increase on the Model S, they will likely announce it ahead of time. I think this is likely at some point, but who knows if it is coming next year, or ten years from now.

    GSP
     
  19. Lloyd

    Lloyd Active Member

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    Will that be life of the car, or life of the owner? Transferable at some time in the future??
     
  20. Norbert

    Norbert TSLA will win

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    I think GeorgeB actually went as far saying it is for the life of the car. In any case, I believe the plan is to keep it free, and finance it (at least partially) with the surplus from the solar panels. Meaning, Tesla will be, in a sense, like a small solar power plant operator.
     

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