By on January 13, 2017

Tesla Supercharger

After lulling everyone into a false sense of security, Tesla Motors recently announced that it will begin billing new customers for making use of its Supercharging stations. The promise of free charging was replaced with the promise that the company wouldn’t profit from the powering fee — instead, it would use the money to expand its growing network of stations.

While the pricing structure is about as rigid as boiled spaghetti, the EV manufacturer does appear to be respecting the nature of the new deal. Announced Thursday, all Tesla vehicles ordered after January 15th will receive around 1,000 miles worth of charging credits, updated annually, before becoming subject to the company’s new charging monetization.

Unfortunately, due to state regulations and regional demand for power, pricing will vary greatly depending on where you plug in. 

Tesla’s official announcement states, “In North America, pricing is fixed within each state or province; overseas, pricing is fixed within each country.”

That means the majority of owners will be paying per kilowatt hour, which can vary rather dramatically. While some of the Southern states currently hover around 10 cents per kWh, prices in Northeast can be twice as high. However, due to local regulations, some states will be required to charge per minute of usage.

Tesla says that the Supercharging fee equates to a $15 for a road trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles or about $120 for a cross-country trip from Los Angeles to New York.

Supercharging stations are typically located at or near highways, intended to alleviate range anxiety and make longer-range EV trips possible. With around 800 locations worldwide, Tesla can’t be faulted too harshly if a penny or two goes into expanding that charging network, especially as the Model 3 approaches and plug-in spaces begin to dwindle.

[Image: Tesla]

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50 Comments on “Tesla Rolls out a Pricing Plan for Its No-longer-free Supercharging Stations...”


  • avatar
    FreedMike

    What, $15 bucks to “fill up” my $100,000 Model S?

    Outrageous!

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

    Trump’s fault.

  • avatar
    whitworth

    So with “non-profit” charging stations it costs about the same to run as filling up a Prius from a “for profit” gas station?

    Not that I’m complaining, but when it’s said and done, I don’t think electrical vehicles are going to offer much in the way of cost savings to run. And it will just be another form of fossil fuels that overwhelmingly creates the electricity to run them.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      whitworth,
      Bloomberg has had a series of articles you might find interesting. Bottom line is that in the next 5 years, solar will be the cheapest form of energy for nearly every area of the US (and globally). Our economy is quickly switching to renewable energy sources, not because of liberals, or government handouts, or SJWs, or Obamacare.

      But because renewables are more efficient and the free market is making the shift.

      • 0 avatar
        whitworth

        I’ve been hearing that for a while now.

        I WANT solar power to succeed, I love the idea of not paying my utility company and buying a solar panel, but people have incredibly unrealistic expectations about what part of the grid solar is actually going to be powering and what it can do. Right now it’s less than 1%.

        It’s sort of like saying how cheap you can make BioDiesel and how it’s going to put oil companies out of business.

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          Solar panel costs are declining rapidly. Here in New England, they are everywhere – parking lots, alongside highways, and of course on home roofs. This isn’t some far off dream; it’s reality.

          Biodiesel on the other hand IS a pipedream. It’s just way too cheap and easy to pull oil out of the ground vs. trying to re-create it from plants.

          • 0 avatar
            whitworth

            Any bets on what % of solar generated electricity will be a part of our grid in 10 years?

            That’s just it, even with LOTS of solar panels up right now, very little electricity is actually generated. And then what do you do when it’s cloudy or at night. A solar panel system on my roof during the peak generation couldn’t power my home’s AC.

            The reason you see lots of solar panels in places like New England is they are heavily subsidized by the state governments. Which then have to jack up utility rates for people not using solar to pay for them.

            Again, if right now the free market makes solar the winner and the cheapest, why are people complaining when they talk about removing subsidies? Probably because it’s mostly smoke and mirrors.

            When the free market makes solar the winner without handouts, you won’t have to worry about solar adoption by the masses.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            “When the free market makes solar the winner without handouts, you won’t have to worry about solar adoption by the masses.”

            I don’t. The trend is obvious to anyone who does their research.

        • 0 avatar
          Thinkin...

          I put solar panels on my roof. They cover approximately 110% of my electric usage. The payback period for me to recoup my costs for the panels is 9.5 years, assuming electricity prices stay flat. The panels and inverter are warranted for 25 years, so the economics are there, at least in my area.

          • 0 avatar
            whitworth

            Thinkin,

            Do you get any government incentives for solar use, like say net metering?

            I don’t doubt you can make a financial case WITH government incentives, but that’s true for anything. At least for people on the receiving end of it.

            You could also make a solid financial case for a business like Solyndra as long as the free government graft kept coming in.

          • 0 avatar
            WalterRohrl

            In your calculations, what return did you calculate for the money you spent IF you hadn’t spent it on solar and invested it instead?

            That’s where the model tends to fall down, people tend to use 0% as a return. Attach a more realistic number (say, what you have been seeing in your retirement fund savings over the last whatever number of years) and usually that no longer holds up.

        • 0 avatar
          Ol Shel

          Those who proclain theor love for ‘free markets’ the loudest tend to live in red states and support legislators who are making laws that say that if you put solar on your property, you have to pay privately-owned electric utilities for the pleasure. Yes, you have to subsidize private business if you wish to use less of it.

          To these rubes, ‘free markets’ are ones that transfer public money to private corporations and individuals that give campaign kickbacks to their preferred party.

          “It’s a rigged game, folks”. He was right about that, but the fools actually believed he’d change it, not strengthen it.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            their definition of “Free Market” is “privatize profits, socialize liabilities.”

          • 0 avatar
            desertsoldier22

            Real conservatives believe in total private property rights, don’t mistake the crony capitalist establishment on both sides of the aisle with the views of most conservatives.

      • 0 avatar
        stingray65

        Bloomberg analysis of renewables is faulty because it does not include the costs of maintaining conventional power sources for the times when the sun does not shine or the wind does not blow. For a more balanced approach the following are much more accurate:

        http://www.forbes.com/sites/markpmills/2017/01/09/new-york-to-close-indian-point-tilt-at-windmills-and-burn-more-oil/#53f68ca756e7

        http://manhattancontrarian.com/blog/2016/8/16/how-much-do-the-climate-crusaders-plan-to-raise-your-cost-of-electricity

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          >”For a more balanced approach…”

          >Links the Manhattan Contrarian

          • 0 avatar
            stingray65

            I would be very happy if you could demonstrate how the Contrarians figures are incorrect. Also note that I included another link to Forbes – an again I would be very happy to see a demonstration of how that one is also wrong.

      • 0 avatar
        redmondjp

        Um, good try. Talk to a wind farm technician and see if he thinks any of the turbines will still be running in 10-20 years. My friend is one – wind turbines are wicked expensive to maintain and 100x more complicated than a hydro plant.

        Every time something major fails on a turbine, you have to get a 300′ crane truck out there to yank it down. And most wind farms are out in the middle of nowhere and they don’t have their own cranes – they come from the urban areas.

      • 0 avatar
        Da Coyote

        Won’t happen. I’d love it to happen, but methinks Bloomberg didn’t get past fifth grade physics.

    • 0 avatar
      kam327

      Who ever expected electric cars were going to save you tons of money? Besides the cost of electricity, you’re paying thousands more for the technology. $30k plus for a Chevy Bolt? It’s probably equivalent to a $22-23k conventionally-powered car.

      And I love how the Obama administration is touting how the new CAFE standards are going to save you money at the pump. They forget to mention how the technology necessary to meet the standards is going to add thousands to the cost of each car.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        OK, kam, let’s do some math together, OK?

        Let’s say you are correct that a $22.5K ICE car is equivalent to a $30K Bolt. Over 150K miles, the ICE car will consumer 5,000 gallons of gas (at 30 MPG), costing $15K at an average of $3/gallon.

        Typically, electricity costs about one-third of gas (your rate may vary), so over the same 150K miles, you’d pay $5K for electricity, saving $10K.

        Now keep in mind, the Bolt will cost you about half the maintenance costs of a conventional ICE car, so maybe you save another $5K.

        Meaning you would save $15K over the car’s lifetime by paying an extra $7,500 for the Bolt. You would double your money.

        • 0 avatar
          ToddAtlasF1

          As long as you don’t know about the time value of money and gas doesn’t remain as cheap as it has over most of the past 35 years.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Toddie,
            I traded interest rate derivatives when you were diapers. I get the time value of money. I also know that due our current president, interest rates have been at historic lows. Interest payments on $7,500 in the example are miniscule compared to the savings from switching to future power.

        • 0 avatar
          stingray65

          VoGo – your math is again wrong. Virtually no one keeps a car for 10+ years, so “lifetime” payback periods are totally unrealistic. Of course if the resale value of electrics was higher than conventional cars, it might still work out, but unfortunately electrics have terrible resale value. Unless the payback is 2-3 years or less, most consumers will not pay a premium for green products.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @Stingray: VoGo didn’t say 10+ years, he said 150K miles. On a rough average, that’s how many miles I’ve put on each of my last four cars, each purchased brand-new. In the case of one of those cars where I put 160,000 miles on it in roughly 4 years AND taking into consideration the then-fuel prices vs electrical rates, a Tesla Model S would have saved me as much in fuel costs as the price of the car I was driving at the time, including the maintenance said car required during that four-year period.

            Now granted, I don’t drive nearly as much now, but I do keep my cars longer as a result.

          • 0 avatar
            Dave M.

            Perhaps you haven’t been reading up on how long people are keeping their cars lately. I’m a “10+ years” kinda guy. My siblings are as well. Most of the other folks I know keep their cars at least 6-7 years.

            Personally whatever is “next” for me in the fleet will either be a hybrid or electric. And I don’t mind paying a little more to save a lot of gas.

        • 0 avatar
          whitworth

          What price are you using for gas?

          Right now, the US national average is $2.35 a gallon. Not $3.00 So right off the bat you’ve started with some bad data that is going to skew the numbers.

          What price are you using per KWh? Where is this coming from that “electricity costs 1/3 the price of gasoline? ”

          “Now keep in mind, the Bolt will cost you about half the maintenance costs of a conventional ICE car, so maybe you save another $5K.”

          What evidence do you have of this? Did you put in that equation the price of a new battery pack?

          You’re making a lot of assumptions that put your vehicle choice in the best possible light.

          What about the time value of money?

          Also, let’s be honest, the GM Bolt is the ICE equivalent of like a Chevy Sonic or Cruze, where the initial savings are far more pronounced between the two. You could almost buy two of them for the price of one GM Bolt.

          • 0 avatar

            @Whitworth

            Back of napkin calculations and the inevitable difference in gas and electricity costs makes comparisons pretty much fruitless.

            Before buying my LEAF 5 years ago I used multiple factors to see how it added up.

            There is a spreadsheet you can use at my blog that customizes to your specific situation.

            http://wp.me/p1sK3k-i

            WHat works for me may not work for you and visa versa. IOW YMMV.

          • 0 avatar
            whitworth

            JPWhite,

            I took a look at your site with your analysis of the LEAF you owned. Thank you, it was interesting

            This was the money quote

            “If it wasn’t for the Government incentives, the financial case for the EV doesn’t add up. “

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            A): The price of gas is rising as we speak; I witnessed a 20¢ jump in gas prices just this past weekend. So an estimated average of $3/gallon over 150K miles is not unreasonable.
            B): The calculation of the price of electricity is not just the amount per kWh; you have to determine the price as it would relate to miles per gallon. Since gasoline is currently, as you say, $2.35/gallon and the reference vehicle is using a 30mpg basis, the cost there is obvious. The calculation then comes down to how much energy is used per mile by the BEV and calculate how many kWh is required to travel that 30 miles.
            According to figures from two different Tesla forums, the heavy Model S uses roughly 0.300kWh per mile±. That multiplies out to 9kWh at a US average of 12¢ per kWh or about $1.08 for the same range in a car that is roughly twice the weight of the reference vehicle. If we then go back to my statement in A), that would be roughly ⅓ the price of gasoline over the long term even as it’s slightly below ½ the current price of gasoline. BTW, the nearest equivalent vehicle to the Model S today in weight and aerodynamics would be a Mercedes S-class or BMW 7-class, which both use premium gas at roughly $2.65/gallon and only achieving about 24-26mpg, emphasizing the savings in fuel costs.
            C) The Bolt, as the example car used by both you and VoGo, has no need for the regular changing of fluids such as oil or water and if the regenerative braking is used, even brake service can be reduced by 75-80% or if we assume a brake job of $500 per axle (a low figure as I’ve paid over $1K per axle more than once) then we’ve saved something like $4000. Over 150,000 miles, this means roughly 50 oil changes avoided (assuming you use most brands’ recommended 3,000 mile cycle) at about $25 per oil change or $1250.
            — Keep in mind these figures are all estimates and individual circumstances WILL vary.
            D): Why are we worrying about battery pack replacement? Tesla has already proven that it’s battery packs can hold up over 150,000 miles with less than 10% degradation and the consensus is that 30% reduction would declare the battery depleted enough to require replacement. Yes, the early Toyota Prius required replacements sooner but they weren’t the same formulation as modern batteries nor were they thermally controlled or conditioned the way modern systems are doing (namely Tesla’s.) The Leaf’s early versions suffered also from the lack of thermal management and conditioning. I think we can assume LG’s new packs at least attempt to emulate Tesla’s thermal management and battery conditioning as Tesla’s own (and a third party’s) testing have postulated a 20-25 year operational life of their battery packs, barring defective cells or physical damage to those cells.

            In other words, the assumptions being made are as much yours as VoGo’s and have little substance to back them up compared to VoGo’s. I do agree that we are still far too new into the BEV paradigm to have developed a real-world reference but so far the Tesla is proving an economy that overrides its higher up-front cost by a large margin.

          • 0 avatar
            Snooder

            You wanna know WHY gas is so cheap?

            Because demand is low, relatively. Without CAFE and innovation pushing people toward fuel efficient cars, demand would be higher, and prices corresponding higher.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Snooder gets it.

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        Re: ” They forget to mention how the technology (…) is going to add thousands to the cost of each car”

        Car prices have always tracked income very closely. Why do you suppose that is?

        Why do you suppose that competing brands all price their cars the same, within the same segment? Could it be that selling price is not related to production cost?

        I went car shopping with my sister a few years back. She’s not a brand-snob, and she wanted to try them all. It became a running joke that every car she looked at (all of them four-door hatches) was the exact same price all-in, within a hundred or so. Didn’t matter if they were new designs, old designs, five-star safety, death trap, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      @whitworth: Supercharging is the exception to using a Tesla, not the rule. So if the cost of Supercharging is on par with gasoline, that’s OK with me.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    381 miles from LA to SF for $15.00 in a Tesla. At current CA unleaded prices that works out to the equivalent of 71 miles per gallon. Thus a Prius would have about the same fuel cost to cover the distance, but would not need to stop for a 20 minute refueling. A BMW 7 Series could make the trip non-stop at a cost of $35 at 30 mpg, so the question is whether it is worth $20 bucks extra to not have to worry about finding a functioning and available supercharger during my trip. Interesting that CA is the biggest Tesla market in the US, but also has among the highest electricity prices because of all that “free” renewable energy that Governor Moonbeam has mandated.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      I don’t think that most Tesla owners are worried about the $15. Contrary to what some people claim, saving money is a minor selling point for $100K exotics.

      A 20 minute stop during a 400 mile trip seems like something most humans would do. Not all, mind you, but most.

    • 0 avatar
      TheDoctorIsOut

      Can’t blame Governor Brown for this, which is just pure laziness for those who just don’t like California anyway. Fact is our rates went completely over the top when his Republican and Democratic predecessors deregulated the state’s energy market believing that free market rates would drive the cost of energy lower, and it was Gov. Gray Davis who ineptly attempted to fix it by signing a sucker deal with the power companies that allowed the higher rates to be permanently written into place. Today the ongoing blame can be assigned to the California Public Utilities Commission, our so-called regulator, who is more interested in keeping Wall Street happy promising to keep the profits of these publicly held utilities, and their shareholders, high and happy.

      • 0 avatar
        whitworth

        Why not “re-regulate it” if that’s the solution, it’s not like there’s any free market opposition in the state anymore.

        It’s the most over regulated state in the union, you really think they are taking a “hands off” approch to something like energy?

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      @stingray65: It wouldn’t have to be a full 20 minute stop. On a trip where there is just one stop and if I was in a hurry, I’d just charge the car to make it to the destination with a little padding. That might only mean a 10-minute charge on a 381-mile trip. That’s how I do it now if I’m in a hurry.

      Also, keep in mind that with the new charging standards on the way, that 20-minute charging time will get cut in half in the early 2020s. The charging is also unattended, so you can go to the bathroom, get food, or catch up on email.

      Personally, for that kind of distance I just fly. If I was concerned about a 20-minute delay for charging, I’d be even more concerned about the 5+ hours on the road in a car. With my current driving habits, when I upgrade to a P1xxD or a Mission-E, I’d never need charging at any sort of public charger.

      • 0 avatar
        stingray65

        MCS – yes of course I will buy an EV today because in 5 years it MIGHT be possible to recharge it in 10 minutes instead of 20-30 today – assuming such infrastructure is actually built, and super fast charging won’t send batteries up in smoke, and my 5 year old EV has a plug and hardware compatible with the super-super-superchargers network of 2022. And of course while you are enjoying a leisurely lunch as your car recharges there is no chance that someone will unplug your car because they feel they need it more than you do, or just because they are assholes. I also find it interesting that “environmental” EV owners are so anxious to jump on jets for any trips outside the range of their EVs – a couple of “unnecessary” jet trips is all it takes to wipe out any environmental benefit your EV provides.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Frankly, if I was in CA I would buy a Tesla just to be able to drive solo in the carpool lanes. THAT would be far more valuable than any “savings” from not buying gas.

      I believe I said a couple of years ago that there was no way that Tesla could keep letting people use their charging network for free and I was poo-poo’d. Color me unsurprised at this development.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    The Supercharging costs in PA are dirt cheap. If I ever get my Model 3, I expect to utilize Supercharging only a few times a year, so I’m OK with paying a nominal fee for it.

  • avatar
    Whittaker

    The Chevy Bolt cost $37,495.
    The possibility that part of that cost will be subsidized by one’s fellow citizens should not allow one to say the Bolt cost $30,000 when comparing the societal economic value of electric vs ICE.

    • 0 avatar
      stingray65

      Whittaker,

      Apparently you don’t understand green economics – subsidies are “free” money created by good intentions and fairy dust. In the case of the Bolt, it isn’t just taxpayers that get to help Bolt buyers feel green, it is also GM shareholders because the $37,000 Bolt actually costs GM $46,000 to produce. Of course if the pension funds that own GM stock get poor returns due to Bolt subsidies, I’m sure they can expect to receive some “free” subsidy money of their very own – so it all works out in the end.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      Whittaker,
      What I am about to tell you is going to completely blow your mind. There are OTHER government subsidies besides the $7,500. No wait, it’s true. In fact, without government handouts, GM would not even be around. Really!

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    Can you say “bait and switch?”
    .
    .

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Tesla never said that every vehicle they make for all time would receive free Supercharging forever, but they did say that current buyers would still enjoy the benefit if purchased prior to January 15, 2017.

      So no, this is not a bait and switch moment. Bait and switch would mean the product or service is altered at delivery, or afterward.

      Everybody buying after January 15th knows what they’re getting.

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