By on June 1, 2016

Tesla Supercharger With Model S At Tesla Dealership

Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk plans to turn off the free electricity taps at his company’s Supercharger stations for owners of the upcoming Model 3.

Musk made the announcement last night during a question and answer session at the company’s annual shareholders meeting.

Paying to use the Tesla-financed recharging network isn’t something the roughly 373,000 reservation holders want, but the decision comes down to basic economics, said Musk.

Model S and X owners already pay for the privilege of fast (and free) roadside fill-ups, he said, because it’s built into the lofty purchase price of their vehicles. Having the network in place was key to making the models viable.

The Model 3 starts at $35,000, and that price doesn’t allow for many gee-gosh perks. We’re Tesla, but we’re not friggin’ wizards, people.

“I don’t want to make this some big news headline, but the obvious thing to do is decouple (the network) from the cost of the Model 3,” Musk said. “In order to achieve the economics, we must have users pay for charging stations.”

Model 3 buyers will be able to buy an option package for free Supercharger access.

Musk’s history-heavy speech, which was long enough to allow online viewers to cook and eat dinner, saw the CEO fire back at his critics.

For starters, Tesla is sticking with its plans to ramp up production to 500,000 units per year by 2018.

“We’ve made much higher leaps than this in the past,” Musk said. “It’s certainly going to be a challenge with the Model 3. It’s going to be hard … but it’s something we can make happen.”

All those government incentives? “(They’re) tiny in proportion to what Tesla receives from investors and people buying vehicles,” explained Musk, adding that the company doesn’t inflate vehicle prices to turn those incentives into profit.

The billion-plus dollars in tax incentives offered to Tesla’s Gigafactory by the state of Nevada amount to “a one percent discount for us,” said Musk. Those incentives are essentially equal to the sales and use tax on the battery factory’s equipment, he added.

Throughout the speech, Musk acknowledged the embarrassing problems faced by Model X owners, and said that imminent software updates should stop that model’s doors from going Maximum Overdrive on its owners. Going big on technology in the first version of the vehicle was a big mistake, he said.

“We should have taken those ‘awesome’ features and tabled them for a future version,” said Musk. “It was a case of being overconfident. The door system was complex and difficult to refine. I think we’re almost there in making the doors useful.”

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67 Comments on “You’ll Pay to Juice Up Your Model 3, Musk Tells Tesla Buyers...”


  • avatar
    JimZ

    this should surprise no reasonable person.

    • 0 avatar
      duffman13

      The only thing I would say is it had better cost less than 15 gallons of gas at $2/gallon to charge up. Otherwise, what’s the point? Just buy a gas car and be done with it.

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        Back of the envelope numbers:

        Average electricity price: $0.10/kWh

        Possible Model 3 battery size: 60 kWh

        That’s $6.00 to completely fill ‘er up.

        Figure less than half or a third that amount for a partial charge and off-peak rates.

      • 0 avatar
        Thinkin...

        The problem is that due to archaic utility laws, it is illegal to resell electricity in most states. So the only way that Tesla, or anybody else, can make people pay for EV charging, is to set a price per minute plugged in. Since companies aren’t allowed to set a fee structure based on kWh, they have to do so by the minute, which invariably overcharges people, since cars can’t charge at the same rate all the time.

        Outside of the Tesla ecosystem, this legal oversight really hits certain EVs that only offer “slow” Level 2 charging. If you drive a Ford Focus EV, Volt, or other car with a max 3.6 amp onboard charger, you pay twice as much at most public chargers; whereas a Leaf, i3, or Tesla can all charge at 7.2 amps or higher, thus getting twice as much juice during any given time at the same charger.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        @duffman Otherwise, what’s the point? Just buy a gas car and be done with it.

        EVs have a lot more to offer than just saving money. For some of us, it’s the torque, smoothness, and quiet that we like. Four cylinders coupled to CVTs just aren’t our thing.

        Besides, with a 200 mile range EV, you might not really need supercharging. For me, I’m not even sure I’d ever need public charging at all. With my 100+ mile Leaf, public charging is pretty rare. I’m almost exclusively charging at home or at a work location.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    “Model S and X owners already pay for the privilege of fast (and free) roadside fill-ups, he said, because it’s built into the lofty purchase price of their vehicles. Having the network in place was key to making the models viable.”

    It sure would have been nice/ethical/expected/courteous/transparent of Musk to mention this prior to taking “go-fund-me” like pre-pre-deposits of $1,000 on the “to-maybe-be-built-if-the-stars-and-moons-line-up” announcement and Carnival Barking Model 3 crowdfunder of glued together golf-cart prototype Model 3s circling an indoor track.

    • 0 avatar
      orenwolf

      If people care that much they’ll cancel their reservation. It’s not like you can’t get the money out or something.

      Many of these people, remember, deposited *before the reveal*. It’s not like they had a full spec sheet to begin with. They still don’t.

      I wager most won’t care. You “gas up” at home.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      This. I saw posts from more than one Internet Person claiming supercharging was one of the reasons they put a reservation in for a Model 3.

      • 0 avatar
        HotPotato

        Sure, *availability* of the system, because it’s the best and most comprehensive fast-charge network out there, and it doesn’t work with non-Tesla cars. But nothing in Tesla’s history would suggest that access would be free with purchase of a bargain-basement Tesla. It wasn’t free on the 40 or 60 kWh Model S. You had to go upmarket to the 70, 85 or 90 kWh Model S if you didn’t want to pay separately for Supercharger access.

    • 0 avatar
      tekdemon

      He did mention it, years ago when he launched the Model S. It’s been mentioned on multiple occasions that when the future Model 3 did come out it wouldn’t have free Supercharger access for life like the Model S. When I was waiting on line to put down my deposit there was a younger guy (probably the youngest person there-mid 20s) who was under the impression that it’d be free and I tried several times to tell him that it’s not going to be free but I guess some people just want to hear what they want to hear. I knew it wasn’t going to be free but it’s not a big deal if I have to pay for the option, and realistically I don’t even think I’m going to take that many long trips in an EV.

  • avatar
    Dan

    “The billion-plus dollars in tax incentives offered to Tesla’s Gigafactory by the state of Nevada amount to “a one percent discount for us,” said Musk. Those incentives are essentially equal to the sales and use tax on the battery factory’s equipment, he added.”

    So it’s a 100 billion dollar factory now? A liar this good should be a politician.

  • avatar

    We recharge at JFK SUPERCHARGER
    I made videos about it.
    There’s only 4 stalls.
    When more people have EV it will only get crowded for long periods of time.

    Some fanboy might say:

    “O but you don’t have to fill up”

    To which I’d reply:

    BUT THE AVERAGE PERSON WILL – unless they have a time constraint.

    Until there are 3x as many charging points as their are now, EV has a rough way to go.

    On the bright side, installing a charge point is 1000x easier than installing a gas station.

    My electrician charged me $3500.

    Had it done in 3 weeks.

    • 0 avatar

      A regular 240 volt charge station is cheap. High speed DC charging is still cheaper then a gas station but it does requires some serious infrastructure. I’m kind of surprised some of the independent gas stations haven’t installed chargers yet.

      • 0 avatar
        rocketrodeo

        Who wants to go to a gas station to refuel an electric vehicle? I can imagine a lot of BEV buyers would have zero interest in buying electricity from a petroleum company. I think that allied lifestyle brands, like Starbucks, would have better luck with that.

        • 0 avatar
          heavy handle

          Gas stations are just convenience stores with pumps. They would love to get rid of the pumps. They would also love to have refills take 20-30 minutes. That’ll sell a lot of chips, pop and scratch tickets.

          • 0 avatar
            bumpy ii

            *ding* “Gas stations” make almost nothing on selling gas. Selling the snacks and such is what pays the bills. Now, if you have to hang around for 20-30 minutes anyway, you might as well buy a sandwich or three made on-site. More $$$.

          • 0 avatar
            orenwolf

            Completely agree. I have little doubt personally that this will be what “gas stations” will become in the future, though this will probably be offset by an increase in parking-lot power terminals as the number of electric cars increases.

            Most people will charge at home, then, with any luck, top off at work once electric cars become ubiquitous. But even that won’t be necessary for most people, since their commute will be far shorter than their battery range. That leaves day-trippers, road-trippers, and weekend getaways as primary business (and, of course, taxi/ridesharing folk).

            So, less “gas stations”, but with more amenities.

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        Bumpy II already beat me to it, but I was talking to higher ups at Sheetz a few years ago that were converting almost all their stations that they could manage into 16-24 bay larger lot stations. I was totally surprised since for the longest times, big stations like that were truck stops only. They mostly pointed to expanding services and becoming a modest fast food company in the process but conceded that it was cheaper to buy and grow bit in 2008-2012 knowing EVs were coming and would be ready by around the first major remodel time (15-20 years) to convert most pumps to charging stations and getting people used to 15-30 minute stops for food and waiting was the smart move.

        They were largely trying to future-proof their model. It seems to be coming to fruition since you have to figure the first remodels won’t begin to emerge until 2020-2025, just about when EVs will most likely be penetrating at a 10-15% of the market and thus actually be a requirement for further expansion.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      Ouch. What amperage did you get?

      I had a 30 amp 240 volt outlet installed in my garage. It cost $700.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      What is that old saying…oh yeah…you got screwed paying $3500 to have a charger installed unless that included ripping out significant amounts of dry wall to run it from one end of the house to the other with no access to an attic or crawl space and if that is the case most electricians would have told you to get someone that specializes in drywall to do that part.

      Figure $100 for the permit, he did get a permit and have it inspected didn’t he? Or did he screw you and leave you with a house with a building code violation?

      $50 for materials other than wire and maybe $2.50-$3.00/ft for the wire.

      So $250-$300 for materials and over $3000 for a 1/2 day of labor.

    • 0 avatar
      Felix Hoenikker

      A 30 amp 240 VAC outlet is the same as an electric clothes dryer circuit. When we remodeled, I had to upgrade the old dryer line from the three wire to four wires. I only had to run about 25 feet of wire from the outlet to the CB box. Total cost of the whole circuit was about $75 for materials. I reused the old circuit breaker, but that would have only added $25 to the cost.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      O but you don’t have to fill up”To which I’d reply:BUT THE AVERAGE PERSON WILL – unless they have a time constraint.

      Today, that’s what I did because I just didn’t want to wait around a long time. I had to make an unexpected 80 mile trip on a less than 100% charge. I stopped about halfway for 10 minutes at a CHAdeMO charger to add an extra cushion and to let traffic die down a bit. First CHAdeMO charge since February. I only 10 minutes for a little padding, so why stick around any longer.

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    At least for the first 3 yrs of ownership.

  • avatar
    xflowgolf

    As a prospective 3 buyer, I guess I never assumed I’d be charging for free to begin with.

    Don’t most owners do the majority of their charging at home overnight anyways?

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      I do, everyone who I know who has a LEAF does, and all available statistics say that the vast majority of EVs are primarily charged overnight at the owner’s place of residence.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve65

      “the vast majority of EVs are primarily charged overnight at the owner’s place of residence.”

      Which is why BEVs are primarily a luxury for suburban homeowners, and will remain such until the builders stop pursuing the “range” red herring, and start addressing the real world limitation: refueling time.

      I can’t charge at home, and I work somewhere different every day. Get back to me when there’s a BEV that can refuel at something even vaguely approaching the 1600MPH refueling rate of my slow to fill work truck.

  • avatar
    zerofoo

    None of my ICE cars came with free fuel for the life of the vehicle. Why anyone would expect free fuel for a $35,000 vehicle is beyond comprehension.

    I’m happy to PAYGO for charging stations.

    • 0 avatar
      here4aSammich

      Cmon, we’ve got a candidate for president promising all kinds of free stuff. Healthcare, college degrees… There’s a large subset of people who think many things should be free. And while probably not a majority, many dropped a deposit on a Model 3 for that very reason. They’ve got their “Re-elect Bernie” stickers ready for the car.

  • avatar
    cos999

    How much $$$$ to charge a Tesla at a charging station? $5? $20? $50

  • avatar
    Acd

    It’s nice that Tesla is now finally “…almost there in making the doors useful” in their $100,000+ vehicle although I’m pretty sure that every crossover (or all cars for that matter) already had fully functional doors that were useful the day they went on sale, even the ones that cost well under $100,000 by companies that use old-tech internal combustion engines.

    Maybe Takata should adopt that line and say that their shrapnel shooting airbags are almost useful. Chrysler could have apologized to millions of buyers in the 1990’s by telling them we’re almost there in making your air conditioning and transmission in your LH car useful. General Motors could have told the first several year buyers of X-cars that they were almost useful and we’ll proved it when the mechanically similar A-bodies come out for 1982. Throughout the 1970’s Jaguar could have explained the horrible electrical problems that plagued them by saying that we’re almost there in making your headlights useful.

    It is a brilliant line that explains away a multitude of automotive sins if used correctly like Elon Musk does!

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      I think that after all the anti-Tesla hate is appropriately digested, we’ll find that the Tesla X in its first year has similar levels of defect resolution to the Maserati Levant, first generation BMW X5 (the most recalled vehicle in US market history), the Bentley Bentayga and any brand new RR in its first model year.

      • 0 avatar
        Acd

        I’ll check to see if the X5 was ever recalled because the doors weren’t functional. And say what you want about the quality of a modern Maserati but I’m pretty sure that their conventionally hinged and latched doors both open and close based on the needs of its owner/driver/passengers and are already useful without the need for further development and testing.

        You’ve also opened up a new way of marketing what have historically been fussy, temperamental cars with questionable reliability. Let’s try out this tagline: “Maserati: Now With as Many Defects as a Tesla!”

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          As it turns out, the X5 did indeed have a door latch recall:

          Summary

          BMW of North America, LLC (BMW) is recalling certain model year 2014 X5 SAV vehicles manufactured December 12, 2013, through March 10, 2014, and equipped with the Soft Close Automatic (SCA) option. The rear side door lock mechanisms may not have been manufactured to correct tolerances and when the inside door handle is pulled, the previously engaged child safety lock can disengage.
          Consequence

          A disengaged child safety lock would allow the rear seat occupant to pull the door handle twice and open the door while the vehicle is parked or in motion, increasing the risk of injury.
          What Owners Should Do

          BMW will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the rear side door locks and any affected door locks will be replaced, free of charge. Owners may contact BMW customer service at 1-800-525-7417.

          • 0 avatar
            Acd

            Wow putting doors on cars must be difficult. Here’s another ad idea: “Tesla: The Same Reliability As Expensive European Cars That Break A Lot”.

          • 0 avatar
            orenwolf

            Except this will be corrected with a software patch uploaded to your car overnight. Try THAT in another car.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Next up: Elon to tell possible, on-day-maybe Model 3 “deposit” placers that wheels, steering wheel and A/C will not be standard in Model 3 as they are in “higher priced” Teslas.

    Musk should just get it over with and re-name the Model 3 as my contempt-for-our-even-larger-loss-inducing, lower priced, “Model Scum.”

    • 0 avatar
      orenwolf

      Hyperbolic statement from DW. No surprise.

      Lots of $35k cars with $100k car options out there, hm? No option packs for other $35k cars?

      Oh wait, we must apply a different standard here.

      Lucky for all the deceived depositors that they can get a refund in a couple of clicks. Except I’ll bet most didn’t expect to get a model S with of features for a third the price.

    • 0 avatar
      healthy skeptic

      @DeadWeight

      All they did was announce that the price of the car will not include free fuel, just like every other car out there. As a res holder, I never expected it. It’d be a nice-to-have, but I’ll be charging from home 98% of the time anyway.

      Even you know there’s no scandal here.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    “You want free fillups? Buy a Model S, you cheapskates.”

  • avatar
    derekson

    Did people really not see this coming?

    The Model 3 also won’t have concierge service with a loaner driving to your house, and other benefits that come with a 6 figure boutique Tesla.

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    A little primer on home EV charging, for those who are interested:

    The device that you typically plug into the car is officially called an EVSE, which stands for Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment. It connects the car’s onboard charger to a source of AC power. Every EV I’ve ever heard of comes with some sort of EVSE. Most, except for Tesla, come with one that plugs into a 120 volt 15 amp circuit. Model S’s come with a cord that acts as an EVSE and can accept multiple voltages and higher amperages. DC fast chargers, such as Tesla’s supercharger or the CHAdeMo units that some LEAFs can use could be considered chargers as they supply DC current direct to the batteries. They require commercial level electric service and the cheapest one I’ve heard of is $10,000 so let’s leave them out of this discussion.

    How quickly you can recharge an EV depends on both the source of the electricity and the ability of the car. A good rule of thumb is that an EV will go 3 miles per kWh of electricity added. I’ve found I can do a little better than that, but it’s a good value for planning. Most plugin hybrids and early Nissan LEAFs have a 3.3 kW onboard charger, Later model LEAFs and many other EVs come with chargers that can accept 6.6kW, and Model S’s can accept 10kW.

    My car has a 3.3 kW charger, so if I connect it to an EVSE that can provide 3.3 kW, it will add 11 miles of range per hour charging. Since watts = amps x volts, 3.3 kW will require a 240 volt circuit that can provide 13.75 amps. If all you have is a US standard 120 volt 15 amp circuit, that would be 1800 watts, or 1.8 kW. However, there’s a little complication in that the national electrical code considers a car charging station to be a continuous load, and continuous load items are not allowed to exceed 80 percent of the rated amperage, so you only have 1.4 kw available, which should get you a little more than 4 miles per hour of charging.

    Common circuit sizes in residential construction the US include 120 volt 15 and 20 amp, and 240 volt 30 and 50 amp. A 240 volt 30 amp circuit provides 5.7 KW, and a 240 volt 50 amp circuit provides 9.6 kw, which is what a standard Model S can accept. That’s 17 and 29 miles respectively.

    I came to the conclusion that 5.7 kW would be more than I’d ever need. We have an 8 hour overnight window where electricity is super cheap, and I can’t think of a situation where I’d be driving around enough to where 8 x 17 = 136 miles of daily range would not be enough. A 240 volt 30 amp circuit is typically what’s used for an electric clothes dryer and isn’t too expensive to install.

    • 0 avatar
      orenwolf

      Thank you for this well-researched and informative comment.

      If one could add 136 miles of “gas” at home every night, we’d see far less gas station use to be sure.

      Can you estimate what your out-of-pocket cost is for that overnight electricity?

      • 0 avatar
        FormerFF

        Including all the adjustments, fuel costs, other “tariffs”, and taxes, it comes out to about 4.5 cents per kWh. My car is a plug in hybrid, and I find I drive about 30 EV miles per day, at a cost of 1.5 cents per mile for overnight electricity,, about 2.5 cents per mile for non-peak electricity, as opposed to 5.5 cents per mile for gasoline. If it were a conventional engined Fusion, I would be spending around 10 cents a mile for gasoline.

        There’s a peak rate as well, weekdays 2 PM to 7 PM, June through September, where electricity is expensive. I never charge then.

        • 0 avatar
          orenwolf

          So, worst case, in your area, a full overnight charge to roughly 136 miles would cost you about $3.40, or about 1.5 gallons at $2.29 US average price. That’d get you about 53 miles on a hypothetical 35MPG (presumably highway) trip in an ICE car, best case.

          So, you can look at it as “fuel” costing about 2.5x less than gasoline in a 35mpg use case. Pretty compelling.

          • 0 avatar
            FormerFF

            Plus, in town driving, the EV mode is so much more enjoyable than driving an ICE car. The response to the accelerator is just perfect. The Fusion has a limited amount of EV acceleration available, it’s enough to get ahead of traffic, especially below 40 mph, since you have all the torque available from zero mph. I have a couple of coworkers who have LEAFs, and they’re downright quick feeling,

        • 0 avatar

          Pretty good rates here in New England the rates are awful (with a few exceptions) I peaked at 20 cents a KWH over a year ago but even with falling rates my cost is still almost 14 cents a KWH (delivered with all fees etc)

          • 0 avatar
            FormerFF

            Those rates are on the electric vehicle rate schedule, which are actually available to all residential customers, they’re just more favorable to those of us do use a decent chunk of electricity overnight. The other side of the coin is that the summer weekday afternoon electricity is something like 25 cents per kwh. Regular rates go between 8 and 13 cents depending on the time of year and how much you use.

          • 0 avatar

            Here in CT the residential is only one rate no off peak etc.

  • avatar
    stuki

    Is it still a truism that it takes about 40 IQ, to be able to properly open a door? :)

  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    Its odd that every Tesla article I read on TTAC has some many folks defending everything Musk does. Just a thought.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    If it’s true that the vast majority of EV owners charge at home (and that would include Tesla owners), why would Musk care if Model 3 owners get free charging? That doesn’t make any sense, particularly since it’s the kind of perk that would sway more than a few to buy the things.

    All I can do is guess he doesn’t want to run the risk of alienating the more expensive Tesla drivers if the anticipated huge throngs of Model 3 drivers begin flocking to the free chargers and the pricier Tesla guys have to start waiting to get their turn. Frankly, I’m thinking that when Model 3 sales turn out to be a whole lot less than what Musk predicts, he’ll quickly change his tune on shutting them out of the free charging.

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