Clean Transport Tesla Supercharger Stations

Published on January 29th, 2016 | by James Ayre

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Tesla Supercharger Stalls Increased 71% In 2015

January 29th, 2016 by  

Originally published on EV Obsession.

Tesla’s already quite impressive Supercharger network of charging stations grew by around 50% in 2015, going by the latest figures from the company. The company’s DC fast-charging network now includes 593 stations and 3439 individual stalls — spread across North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.

Those numbers represent a roughly 48% year-on-year increase in location numbers, and a 71% year-on-year increase in charging plug numbers. The company recently noted that it’ll be increasing plug numbers at many stations, presumably in anticipation of the launch of the Model 3 and rising sales.

Supercharger end of 2015

On that subject Green Car Reports recently had some interesting comments:

Some of those extra plugs may be crucially needed, as demand for Superchargers remains high during peak usage periods. Over the holiday season, increased traffic led to congestion at several Supercharger sites during one of the busiest times for travel of the year.

At the Tejon Ranch Supercharger site in Lebec, California, as many as 15 cars queued up at a time — and drivers waited up to two hours to plug in. Scenarios like this aren’t the norm for Supercharger users, but Tesla will likely have to continue coping increased congestion in the coming years.

A good point, though the Supercharger network is set to continue to grow rapidly over the next few years. (Take a look at the image below, depicting stations expected to be done by the end of the year.) That said, if Tesla does manage to sell half a million cars a year by 2020, then the network will need to grow exponentially before then.

Supercharger 2016

 
 
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About the Author

's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.



  • Illuminati

    A rule that should apply to all Model 3 buyers: “All Superchargers are accessible, free of charge, except those which are located within 50 miles of your home.”

    This will limit congestion in Supercharger stations located near major urban centers as most Model 3 owners will be “forced” to recharge their cars at home. But they will have free access to the rest of the network when they will leave on a trip. The primary purpose for Superchargers is to allow long distance travel.

  • Carl Raymond S

    There are a number of comments below expressing concern over the long term funding of supercharging stations, especially when the Model 3 lowers the entry barrier. Situations such as Uber drivers using the stations daily, or flat-dwellers using the stations as their only means of charging, effectively ‘game’ the system.

    One way to overcome this would be to offer new car buyers 100 free uses, thereafter they would be required to prepay – say $70 for 10 uses, using a credit card linked account – just like an e-toll account. It should be a relatively simple matter to fully automate such a billing system. It would require only that the car could detect that it was being supercharged, and report/tally this OTA.

    For the vast majority of drivers, 100 free uses is effectively the same as free-for-life. The limit would only serve to ensure Tesla (i.e. their fair minded customers) were not left picking up Uber’s ‘fuel’ bill. $7 for a ‘tank’ is still much cheaper than petroleum, so even if Uber drivers were forced to pay, they still take home more ‘pay’ than if they were driving an ICEV.

    • Bob_Wallace

      I think the number of annual uses needs to be high enough for a ‘normal’ driver to do all of their charging.

      Just some quick numbers. 13,000 miles per year, 0.3 kWh per mile, 4.5 average solar hours. Need about 2,500 watts of panels. Utility solar is around $1.40/watt. $3,500 (and dropping).

      $2,000 to buy into the Supercharger system. $20,000 for a bay and one bay per 100 cars. $200 of the $2k for the charger, $1,800 for solar panels. As long as no more than about one out of three are 13,000 miles per year users Tesla’s model should work just fine.

      If ~13k drivers can’t access the system for free it would likely suppress sales. Even people who have a place to charge today might worry that they might have to move sometime in the future and have to dump their car because they might end up living without an outlet.

  • Who does all of the installations of these Super charger stations?

    • Bob_Wallace

      Local contractors. Tesla must have a staff that scouts locations and arranges for space leases and installation.

      • Nice, I would like to install them in Colorado if those Tesla employees are reading this! 🙂

      • neroden

        There’s actually a master contractor now. I didn’t find out who it is. Tesla contracted with one master contractor to do the leasing, permitting, and hiring of local subcontractors. (Found this out from leaked information on Tesla Motors Club.) Tesla still picks generic locations but the master contractor does the detail work.

  • alec

    Kind question for Tesla experts are all superchargers on the map really supplied with electricity produced with solar energy?

    • Bob_Wallace

      My guess is ‘not at this time’.

      I suspect all the $2k per sale is going to installing Superchargers and needed electricity is being purchased from the grid. Once the SC system is largely in place I suspect further ‘$2k’s will be used to purchase solar farms. Perhaps wind farms as well

    • neroden

      Absolutely not. Tesla has only put up solar on one or two sites so far. I think there’s a financing issue. I suspect the solar will be financed through SolarCity eventually.

      • Ivor O’Connor

        Local solar can never get close to supplying the energy needed at the site. Maybe some small percentage of 1 percent. Solar from another location is put on the net to offset the charging centers.

        • neroden

          At many of the sites, local solar can supply the amount the energy needed *NET* — a lot of the sites out in the countryside really don’t get used that often — but there’s a time-shifting issue. The solar power is generating continuously during the day every day, while the cars are charging in short bursts sometimes at night! It would require large batteries to really provide local supply.

          In some states Tesla can contract to inject solar from another location to offset the Superchargers. In other states they can’t do that yet.

          • Ivor O’Connor

            Well, a busy stall would theoretically need about 1,300 340kWh panels. I don’t see thousands upon thousands of solar panels at any super charger site. Do you?

  • Joe Viocoe

    Go to supercharge dot info… click on map options, and select Way Back. Really cool.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Really cool. Interesting to see how the US is being built out. (Run it fast.)

  • newnodm

    I think the M3 will have “free” charging, but a use limit per month or per year. If Tesla does not have a limit, Livery and other full time drivers will swamp the supercharger network, especially in heavily populated areas.
    I expect supercharging to continue to be free on their expensive cars.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Or limit high demand time blocks to ‘out of area’ EVs. Give people on a trip priority during meal times on busy days. Let locals charge during low demand hours.

      There might need to be a max use per year limit, but set it at a level which would allow someone with no other place to plug in to use an EV. 13,000 mile with 170 mile half-hour charging would take about 80 charges per year. Set the limit at something higher and then sell an unlimited use plan to taxi/delivery drivers.

  • Ivor O’Connor

    With Tesla you would expect the superchargers to have a web interface allowing you to:
    1) Determine if there is a queue.
    2) How many cars are in the queue.
    3) Your estimated wait time before you are on the road again if you charge there.
    4) Historical data in a 3D chart for trip scheduling.
    * X axis 0-24 for hours in the day
    * Y axis for average queued time
    * Z axis, for past days, weeks, and months.

    With point 4 you could easily determine when you’d want to hit the charger. Allowing Tesla customers to make minimize their time. This would also allow Tesla to in less stalls since customers would naturally start maximizing their usage around the clock. So more data is a win-win situation for the customers and Tesla. I don’t imagine it would be hard to put in the above displays.

    • Joe Viocoe

      I think they are working on this in a future software update

    • neroden

      There isn’t much savings to Tesla in putting in fewer stalls, except in places where they simply don’t have the physical room to put in more stalls. A lot of the cost is per-site cost (for the utility company connection, permitting, engineering, earthmoving, concrete pouring, etc.)

      That said, there are enough places with physical constraints on putting in more stalls that Tesla will probably do something like you suggest.

  • JIMMYLIMO

    The need for Superchargers won’t increase exponentially at the rate of Model 3 production. Superchargers are necessary on long trips, but most Model 3 usage will be commuting to work, shopping, etc… If they can squeeze 250-300 miles range out of the 3, then most people will charge them at home, overnight, when rates are lowest. Still, we’ll lead a lot more Superchargers…

    • Dragon

      Tesla is predicting an exponential increase in Model 3 sales, at least for awhile, so the network needs to increase exponentially as well. There have been a lot of hints that Model 3 will have 300 mile range but even if it only has 200, that’s comparable to the Model S 60 which many people (including myself) use for long trips. Thus I don’t think Model 3 owners will be much, if any, less likely to take long trips than S owners.

      • Bob_Wallace

        Mod3 drivers may be more likely to use their cars for long trips. People who can afford a ModS are more likely to fly.

      • newnodm

        Every new product has an exponential sales growth. Obviously the supercharger network will not have exponential growth, at least for a few years after M3 launch.

      • neroden

        FWIW a large portion of the cost of Supercharger sites is site setup. I think they figured out that it doesn’t cost much more to put in 24 stalls than it does to put in 6 stalls, which is why sites are being built with lots of stalls. There’s a huge overhead in getting the electrical transformer connection, doing the civil engineering work, etc.

    • Carl Raymond S

      Agree with Dragon. The ratio of cars (Teslas) to supercharging berths won’t change much. Can’t see any reason wealthy people take road trips more than regular people. Rich people more likely to stay at a swanky hotel with destination charging. Perhaps rich people have an alternate car, but it seems people prefer clocking up the miles on autopilot.

      I think road trips and driving past the airport will become more common, full stop – when you get to spend the fuel money on accommodation.

      • eveee

        Carl – I agree. Air travel has historically been the favorite of those with the ability to pay. Those without, take car or bus. If fuel costs rise, both auto and air transport falters.

  • Carl Raymond S

    I read these exponential growth stories and simultaneously experience hope and fear. The hope is that the growth rate continues, therefore, mathematically, EV defeats ICEV with just seven more doublings. The fear comes from the fact that Tesla remains alone* in this quest, and that they will make an accounting blunder where they draw down (to fund something not related to supercharging) on the supercharger maintenance fund – the size of which must also grow exponentially.

    *Yes, Tesla is dragging others into the EV game, but should Tesla fail, the game is over till we have another market driver. That could take years.

    • Steve Grinwis

      GM and Nissan will beat Tesla to the 200 mile mass market electric.

      There is hope if Tesla tanks.

      • Carl Raymond S

        The Leaf and Bolt, without supercharging capability, are regional cars. They will make great second cars for families. To kill the ICE stone dead will require a car with similar range with half hour recharge.

        I’ve asked all around the place and nobody seems to know if the Bolt battery inherently cannot be supercharged, or merely lacks the charger (car-side and station-side, plus interface) to supercharge it.

        If it’s the latter, and I hope GM have been this ‘clever’ (devious), then competition will hot up rapidly when GM decide it’s time to compete head to head with the Model 3.

        • Steve Grinwis

          Right now, we’ve sold 100k leafs as with 60 mile ranges. With 200 mile ranges, we should easily be able to sell a million, as there is almost no commute in the world that can’t be done on 200 mile range, even in the coldest winter day, and with side trips.

          And it’s not like the Bolt can’t be quick charged. It’s just that in its present guise, it isn’t fast charging quite as fast as a modern Tesla, which I honestly find somewhat surprising to be honest. It’s not clear what the limitations is… Battery cooling / chemistry? Port? Lack of an available charger faster enough? It’s not clear…

          However, it’d still be really easy to do 400 – 500 miles in a day. 180 miles, stop for breakfast at a quick charger, drive another 180, stop for lunch, drive another 180, stop for dinner, then another 180. It just means your breakfast / lunch / dinner break is going to be an hour instead of 40 minutes a compared with a Tesla. If the Bolt comes in thousands of dollars cheaper than a Telsa, or it’s way more reliable, or more available, or whatever, that would easily matter more than saving 20 minutes on that one day you decide to road trip in your EV.

          Don’t forget that originally, a P85 being charged with a 90kW supercharger took longer than an hour for a full charge, and an 80% charge was closer to 45 minutes, and no one complained.

          Given that people have travelled across the west coast in a leaf with a 60 mile range on DC fast chargers, it’ll be a lot easier to do in a 200 mile range cars.

          The supercharger network is impressive, and probably one of the best things about Tesla. I think it’s only a matter of time until a competing network springs up, for that very reason.

          • eveee

            Here is what Mary Barra said.

            “After all, GM does plan to offer an optional CCS quick-charging port for the Bolt.

            “We are not actively working on providing infrastructure,” CEO Mary Barra recently told Green Car Reports.

            “We believe all our customers should benefit from any infrastructure spending,” said Executive Chief Engineer for Electrified Vehicles Pam Fletcher.”

            https://chargedevs.com/newswire/the-bolt-ev-is-on-the-way-but-gm-has-no-plans-to-invest-in-fast-charging-infrastructure/

            So she isn’t showing her cards on DCFC limitations, but claiming GM doesn’t want to invest in DCFC.

            Even if the Bolt were charge limited, the DCFC available would place that limit. The SAE chargers can have greater charging capabilities, but there now there are few or no 100kw SAE DCFC. Most are 50kw or less.
            Right now, I don’t think you could take a cross country trip easily on SAE DCFC anyway. They are too few across the underpopulated West. Same with Chademo.
            Maybe that will change soon. I hope.
            http://www.plugshare.com

      • Joe Viocoe

        They will certainly beat Tesla to an ‘affordable’ 200 mile EV. But with Model S sales reaching 50,000… Tesla will have its affordable 200+ mile EV BEFORE GM and Nissan sell their affordable 200 mile EV to the masses. It will take a few years to ramp up production, by that time, Tesla will have joined the party. Tesla will be behind, but only by a few tens of thousand vehicles.

        • Steve Grinwis

          Ahh yes, that age old debating technique.

          Moving the goal posts.

          I’d argue GM has more ability to scale up compared to Tesla. They have more plants, and LG is already ramping up production of cells at their Michigan plant, and I’ve heard rumors that they will launch a Canadian plant as well…

          • Joe Viocoe

            If you look at my comments on greencarreports/is_chevy_bolt_evs_main_mission_to_marginalize_tesla_electric_cars/
            You will find me less than willing to accept LG Chem’s claims.

            They have become like Audi in my eyes. Lots of grandiose hype today about future achievements.
            Ever since they declared themselves “The largest Supplier of EV Batteries”… while they are in far 3rd place behind Panasonic and AESC.
            They merely inked more deals with more automakers for really small packs.
            And they also have a habit of making claims about production capacity measured in number of packs, but without saying how big the packs are. They avoid making projections on MWh production, because that would reveal their modest levels.

            Yes, they are growing very fast, and have impressive ambitions…. but they haven’t scaled up yet.

            So their claims of very fast ramp up are taken with a bucket of salt.

          • Steve Grinwis

            Fair enough. The proof is in the pudding as they say.

          • eveee

            I agree. I don’t get how it works with LGChem making the batteries and the motor and electronics. Then they share all of those with every manufacturer. Aren’t they in competition with their own customers? Whats to stop LG from creating their own EV? Wont later competitors have the edge with EV component development amortized by GM and LG? Can the auto mfr maintain the sheen of individuality and claim their vehicles are differentiated while using the same components? What will one mfr do when the others try to hog LGs volume? Will they stand idly as competitors shut them out? LG Chem wants to be the one stop shop for EV makers and sell to everyone. Their battery prices and performance are the next best thing to Tesla and are independent. Lets see how AESC (NEC), Panasonic, and others respond.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Ability doesn’t do a lot if there’s no desire. The fact that GM hasn’t addressed the rapid charging issue makes me question their desire to go head to head with Tesla. Feels like GM’s desire is to beat out the other traditional manufacturers when it comes to EVs but they’re comfortable with ceding the lead to Tes.a

          • Steve Grinwis

            All slightly faster fast charging gets you is slightly faster road trips, that are already going to be plagued by long pauses even in a Tesla. The difference between a 40 minute pause and an hour long pause isn’t that huge in the grand scheme of things.

            I don’t think it’s as big a gap as you are making it to be.

            Edit: Plus, honestly:

            In this crowd the Bolt could be the crowning achievement of civilization, and it would still be poo-poo’d.

          • Bob_Wallace

            There may be a psychological difference. Forty minutes is only a long half hour. $3.99 is a lot less than $4.

          • Steve Grinwis

            Alternatively, 40 minutes is taking a lunch, which is an hour anyways.

            It might make a bit of a difference, sure, and the supercharger network is awesome. But it’s not as much of a deciding factor as this forum thinks it is.

            After all, it wasn’t for the Leaf, was it?

          • Carl Raymond S

            Leaf versus Model S was about purchase price. I have a Leaf, because Model S was beyond my budget.

            Bolt v Model 3 a different situation. The biggest point of differentiation (other than existence/availability) appears to be supercharging. GM may or may not be able to neutralise this with better charging technology – nobody is saying what the LG battery is capable of.

          • Steve Grinwis

            The biggest points of differentiation will be Brand, reliability, serviceability, feature set, etc…

            The Model S is pretty spartan by 100k luxury car standards. WIll the Model 3 be as well? WIll the Chevy be really stripped down for $35k, or will it be fairly well optioned?

            The Models S has been plagued by reliability problems. With the Model 3 suffer the same fate? Is Joe Blow willing to trust a Tesla showroom over the Chevy dealer he’s bought every single car he’s ever owned? My father certainly wouldn’t but that’s a pretty small sample set.

            If the Bolt is as reliable as the Volt, and we have every reason to believe it will be, the the Bolt will be drop dead reliable on every front, right up there with the Prius.

            The Chevrolet brand has a lot more dealerships / sales fronts, and they’re getting used to selling electric cars with the Volt.

            And the feature set… This is one that I could see going either way, especially since I don’t think the Bolt will offer AWD. It all depends on how well Tesla manages to position the Model 3, and when, and how well they release it. If the Model 3 suffers too many delays, we might even see a 3 year refreshed Bolt competing against the first gen Model 3, which might turn things in the Bolts favor.

            Chevy has also been really good at getting first gen Volt buyers to return for the 2nd gen Volt. Can they do that with the Bolt? The Volt has had super high consumer ratings. Conversely, the people who buy a Model S aren’t going to want to sell it to buy a Model 3… They wouldn’t want to slum it with the help.

            It’s all up in the air, but I wouldn’t count either of them out yet. Both are going to be viable, and probably great cars. And in the end, everyone wins.

          • Carl Raymond S

            I’ll agree with all of that, but only if you can plug more than 62.5kW into the Bolt. Otherwise, you’re stopping for almost an hour every few hundred km. That’s enough to sway the buying decision towards Tesla. A/C check. Bluetooth music and phone, check. Sat-nav, check. Autopilot? A few enthusiasts might care about AWD. The rest is bells and whistles.

          • Steve Grinwis

            Road trips are relatively few and far between for most people. While I’m surprised the Bolt doesn’t quick charge in 30 minutes, like virtually every single other EV on the market, I don’t think it’ll be that big of a deal for most people.

            If you’re willing to wait 40 minutes every 300 km, it’s not that much of a stretch to wait an hour every 300 km.

          • Carl Raymond S

            When I was young, 1000km in a day was not that unusual. These days, flights are cheap and time is more precious. I concede, the Bolt’s in the running.

          • neroden

            I think “plagued by reliability problems” is a ridiculous statement. Sure, it isn’t a Toyota, but the Model S has been far more reliable than any Audi or BMW.

          • Dragon

            I still say Tesla takes 52.5 minutes from 10% to 80% in the real world and that Bolt will take 1:10 to 1:20 on the promised 50kw chargers. I think either figure is honestly large enough to scare most people off of using either one on a long trip. Most people are impatient and it will be hard to give up the freedom of 5 minute gas refuelings.

            The bigger problem is that Bolt doesn’t have a nationwide charger network. You can only use it to travel up and down the east and west coast. So that will scare off even more buyers.

            Also, if you look at plugshare.com, the SAE Combo fast chargers installed along the west coast (ie http://api.plugshare.com/view/location/73333 ) are only 24kw (as opposed to 120kw superchargers) so they’re dog slow for long trips. I thought they were supposed to be 50kw so maybe they’ll be upgraded but who knows. They also charge $0.14 per minute to park and $0.25 per kWh. Assuming Bolt has a 60kwh battery, it needs 42kwh to charge from 10% to 80% and 42 * $0.25 = $10.50 which is way way more expensive than gas. Charging at 24kw it would take 42/24 = 1.75 hours for a parking fee of 1.75 * 60 * $0.14 = $14.70. So you’re looking at paying $14.70 + $10.50 = $25.20 for every 42kw (about 140 miles) with a 1:45 wait time. Very few are going to take a Bolt on a long trip using the network as it stands today.

          • Steve Grinwis

            The non-supercharger networks definitely do have to get better, it’s true. But most of these cars are really going to be intended for putting around town, not long trips, and that should be fine. That they can occasionally go on the odd long trip, even if you have to pay a bit of extra money to do it should be fine. Hopefully, as sales of the Bolt ramps up, we’ll start seeing better deployments of larger chargers. 100 kW stations will hopefully be plentiful by 2019.

            My EV will only charge at 3.3 kW, which is slow even for level 2 charging, and I’ve gone on 200 km round trip voyages. 24 kW would have been a god-send, but I was still able to make the trip.

          • neroden

            Having taken a road trip with 90 kW Superchargers, and a road trip with 16 kW chargers (72 amp 220 volt)…. you have to be quite patient to tolerate 16 kW, but it’s cool if you’re on a relaxed road trip.

            You don’t have to be very patient at all with a 90 kW Supercharger. Enough time to stretch your legs, use the restroom, get a snack, and you’re ready to go. And I was consciously charging to full, which takes longer (because I didn’t have any charging at my destination).

            With 120 kW Superchargers and destination charging, only the most impatient crazies will complain that it’s too slow.

          • Ivor O’Connor

            I still say Tesla takes 52.5 minutes from 10% to 80% in the real world

            Not the 40 minutes claimed on the Tesla website?

          • Dragon

            Exactly. Real drivers have found 52.5 mins to be more realistic. Long discussion here: https://disqus.com/home/discussion/im-cleantechnica/chevy_bolt_unveiling_live_blog/#comment-2447667165

          • Ivor O’Connor

            Very informative. Thank you. Maybe you could do an article here on the information shown at https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/19khEGozqREIoAN6hd440o4qrzS2ADMVokv8G5FWmWSk/edit#gid=0

            I’m sure it would be greatly appreciated by most everybody.

          • Dragon

            I’m not sure I could stretch the info into a full article but maybe. What’s interesting is looking at the data that went towards producing that calculator. It was based on only 3 or 4 cars, so it’s a small sample. Yet I’ve used it on trips and found it to be accurate (if anything, _under_ estimating the time to charge even when I’m the only car charging) for my vehicle. The author of the calc posted it to a couple threads on different Tesla forums and actually got uncaring to somewhat hostile responses like who cares how long it actually takes to charge and just have patience and whatever. Nobody was actually willing to say if it fit their car or not. I guess when you buy an expensive car and it doesn’t perform like the manufacturer claims, the response is to deny it? I dunno. I’d be very interested to hear from other owners if it fits their car. I could at least get Kyle to do some experiments.

          • Ivor O’Connor

            There must be a name for the type of reaction exhibited on the Tesla forums. Similar to the Stockholm syndrome. Where the purchaser or wannabe purchaser vociferously defends the product while ignoring to vigorously denying the negatives. Despite the fact that when all is rationally examined the product would be chosen in the end by most people. I will call it the “Lust syndrome”. I think Musk waters it down and calls it simply “compelling”.

            It might not be good to mess with this Lust syndrome. Keep in mind the greater good. That of getting BEVs accepted as fast as possible.

          • eveee

            Its not 40 minute vs an hour. The SAE DCFC is twice as long. its 170 miles for a half hour, or less than half of that for a half hour. For an EV, if you reach that half hour, approx 200 mile mark, you are at limits for the average adult for rest stops. The half hour stop doesn’t cause much delay. If you change those numbers to over an hour for 200 miles, it changes everything. It negates the purpose of large batteries. A 125 mile range EV that costs less would make more sense if it doesn’t have real fast charge. The extra battery is a useless expense. Its like Level 2 home charging on a 260 mile range Tesla. Nice, but does it really make sense? Worse, because the extra batteries cost more.

          • neroden

            “Level 2” charging at home on a 260 mile range Tesla REALLY makes sense. It means that when I’ve driven all day and come home empty, I’ve still got a full battery in the morning for the next day’s excessive driving requirements.

            That would be 240 V 50 Amp (40 amp) charging. Cost about $200 to install. Well worth it. It’s the difference between 16 hours from 0-full and 8 hours from 0-full, which matters.

          • eveee

            Where it matters is return home from a long trip, if you skip a SC charge near home. Where it doesn’t matter is in city driving. I am curious. What kind of driving do you do where you return home with a nearly discharged Tesla?

          • eveee

            I take back some of what I said. And agree with you more, too. I should have said Level 2 charger makes sense. Why not? Its not that much more and you might need it sometimes. As long as you can dial back on charge rates and control charge times to avoid costs, its great.
            On the other side, we (and I mean I a lot) keep getting caught in this full charge thing. Rarely does an EV need a truly 100% full charge. (or is fully discharged) Even when you got back from that daily 260 mile trip (some driving you are doing, there, eh 🙂 ,
            you don’t have to fully charge unless you are traveling another 260 miles the next day
            or the overnight charge is too low to get you to an SC station.
            Thats a lot of ifs. Is your driving model really that extreme? I really am curious. I have found that there are some surprising circumstances that are perfectly logical. I just want to understand it better.

          • Carl Raymond S

            “The half hour stop doesn’t cause much delay”

            Thanks evee. Something was bugging me about this declaration that 35mins and 55mins were in the same ballpark, and you’ve crystallised it.

            A – ICE car road trip stop: 10 mins to fuel, 20 mins to eat, 5 mins bathroom.

            B – Tesla stop: Plug in. 30 mins to eat (take it easy), 5 mins bathroom, go.

            C – Bolt stop: Plug in. 30 mins to eat (take it easy), 5 mins bathroom. “Dad, why are we waiting”. 20 mins later, go.

            A and B are much of a muchness. B and C, are not. Every minute after the meal and bathroom break is dead time. It’s that critical path thing.

          • eveee

            Great. You get it. I have been trying to explain this. Go as fast as humans can go. Any faster, and there is less and less benefit. Actually, you will probably stop for an hour for lunch and an hour for dinner. Its even a bit more complex and the comparison needs some more discussion. Bolt charges only 85 miles in a half hour. But that doesn’t mean it charges 190 miles in an hour. No. It will probably take over an hour to charge 180 miles, because charging slows as you reach near full charge. Thats where its bad. No such problem with the Tesla. 170 miles in a half hour. Another 15 minutes and your are over 200.
            So its more like 45 minutes for 200 miles with the Tesla, and maybe 80 minutes for the Bolt. Thats what over 120kw vs 50kw charging does to you. Now you see it? You can always travel slower or stop more often going only 170 miles and driving 2.5 hours. But having over an hour to charge 200 miles is going to slow you down.
            There are some other niggles. Travelling all day after lunch you have 5 hours until dinner. Thats two charges. Each 200 miles is 3 hours. So the second charge is less than 200 miles. So that charge is faster.
            Its hard to remember that charging time is a function of both how much you are discharged and how far you want to go.
            Starting to see there is an optimum. Once the charger slows, the advantage of more range is lost because the overall trip time could decay.

          • neroden

            It is absolutely clear that Tesla/Panasonic has more ability to scale up than LG/GM. LG’s working at it but they’re behind Panasonic already…

        • Carl Raymond S

          How many Model 3’s does it take to change the world? I think the answer is ‘one’…

          Because that’s all it will take for the public to start drooling and the automakers to see the writing on the wall for steam age, sorry, ICE age cars.

          I’m not bothered by who wins the race to 100,000 (or any other number) sales. Proof of concept, along with conviction that there will be follow through, is enough.

          In fact, I’d be surprised if there’s an automaker on the planet who isn’t already working overtime on their new EV. If there is – they’re asleep at the wheel.

          • Steve Grinwis

            I think there is, and I think their name is Toyota. They seem totally committed to the fuel cell concept.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I’d be extremely surprised if Toyota doesn’t have an active EV design team working. They have to be watching the lack of interest their FCEV. And they’ve admitted that the cost per mile to drive is very high.

            Toyota’s, IMHO, building a compliance car with their Mirai. They had a lot of money invested in FCEVs and by building a few hundred they can get around the CA regs and get some of their money back.

            If Toyota were serious about FCEVs wouldn’t they also be serious about fueling? Where’s Toyota’s hydrogen ‘Superchargers’?

            Here’s my guess. Toyota decided to use their bound for extinction FCEV program rather than building a low mileage EV. Saved them some money. In the meantime Toyota is working on their long range EV that they’ll introduce once battery prices are low enough

          • Carl Raymond S

            Saw something on a episode of Fully Charged about wind powered self contained hydrogen stations. I think there’s one in Britain.
            Standing by for Toyota’s EV announcement. Sony did eventually produce a VHS VCR.

          • Steve Grinwis

            Totally possible. Just surprised we’ve heard absolutely zero about it. GM had EV concepts going back, well… literally decades.

          • Dragon

            Remember Toyota already has the RAV4 EV as a compliance car and adapting the plug in Prius to have more batteries shouldn’t be that difficult. They don’t want the EV revolution to happen (they even limit plug-in prius production well below the number of people that want it) so they keep any EVs they have ready a secret, but I’m sure they’re ready to move on EV when it becomes absolutely necessary to compete in the market.

          • Steven F

            Toyota ended production of the RAV4 EV in 2014. All they have right now for compliance cars are plug in hybrids with minimal EV only range and the totally unafordable fuel cell vehicle.

          • Dragon

            I realize they stopped making RAV4 but that doesn’t mean they forgot how to start making it again when they’re forced to.

          • Carl Raymond S

            I’ve owned a Prius and a Leaf, and they have a very different feel about them – like the difference between a coke can and a can of beans. I can’t imagine the Prius becoming a heavyweight.

          • eveee

            But will they still be committed to the FCEV after the Model 3 is successful? It hinges on whether the Model 3 is successful. I think they will be forced to market an EV just to stop other companies from making inroads in their markets. The shareholders will revolt if they don’t.

          • eveee

            And a few like Apple and Faraday that never built a car before. 🙂

          • Carl Raymond S

            Yes, they are fun to watch. If they get it right, people will look at Tesla and think ‘any silicon valley bunch could have done it’. If they get it wrong – Musk, Straubel and co become legends. It’s rare to meet people who understand IT and physics/mechanics. Musk was a perfect storm, talented in both, rich, and ballsy enough to back himself.

          • eveee

            Actually, IMO, Apple has some kind of ethic for solar. So the head of Apple may have some vision like Musk. Its just that Musk is singularly focused on it. He is not distracted. He designed the business to achieve his aim.

          • neroden

            Musk also understands corporate finance *and* marketing — a rare combination for an engineer.

    • Joe Viocoe

      Do you fear other ‘accounting blunders’ from any other company?

      Instead of worrying about failure, which has become less and less of a probability for Tesla… worry about other automakers failing to keep up.

      • Carl Raymond S

        “Do you fear other ‘accounting blunders’ from any other company?”

        No, because it’s unusual to have a pay now, use later scheme that isn’t government regulated. e.g. In Australia, superannuation payments are made into external super-funds. Businesses must demonstrate during annual audit how they have allocated funds for employee long service leave, holidays and sick leave.

        All that money coming in for superchargers – has to be put aside to pay for the supercharging of each vehicle of the life of the vehicle. Nobody even knows yet how long a Tesla lasts. And then you read about people using the car for Uber – using the supercharger not for occasional road trips, but to provide free energy for their business.

        So far it’s a bit reliant on scruples and high percentage of home charging. Will the Model 3 market have the same percentage of home charging? There’s bound to be more flat-dwellers for a start. I’d like to see the supercharging department completely divorced from the Tesla accounts, and third party audited. Perhaps that’s already the case. I just don’t know, hence the fear.

        • Steve Grinwis

          Home charging is sooo convenient, that I have to believe the overwhelming majority will home charge. It’s right there. YOu get home, you plug in, right before you go through you front door to unplug.

          It just feels right.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Some of the money, probably a very small portion, goes to paying for the Supercharger system. Right now most of the money may be used for infrastructure in order to get it built up ASAP.

          My understanding is that the SC system will be run with solar power. My guess is that once the infrastructure is largely in place then future new owner buy-ins will go to purchasing solar farms. (Remember the Musk – SolarCity relationship.) Tesla owned solar farms’ PPAs could produce the money needed for purchasing electricity during non-solar hours and for system maintenance.

        • Dragon

          That’s an excellent point. I see Uber’s success as yet another sign of there being too few jobs in the world. Anyone can basically become a discount taxi driver. Even Tesla now uses Uber to ferry people home while their cars are serviced. So of course the more Uber drivers that can buy a Model S or Model 3, if they can make more money by charging it free on the Supercharger network, they will.

          • Carl Raymond S

            I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong in doing more with less, which is what Uber achieves (one car, two roles). It balances out the times when it’s necessary to use more to achieve less, such as when forcing into play a new technology e.g. solar panels or lithium battery powered cars. Ultimately, GDP goes up and those who have managed to align their skills to those that the world still needs achieve a higher standard of living.
            I don’t see a shortage of jobs. I see a massive amount of work to be done to build a sustainable global economy. Jobs and work are two sides of the same coin.
            Nobody would build their house in such a way that it maximised jobs (put the kitchen as far away from the garage as possible, there’s a job – grocery transporter). I think it’s helpful to view the economy as just a big house – minimise the work – so there’s time to tend the garden.

          • Dragon

            I have a couple problems with Uber. As a recent Cleantechnica article pointed out, Uber seems to increase CO2 emissions. We’ll have to see if that continues to hold true after further study.

            The second problem is they are replacing higher paying taxi driver jobs with lower paying, part time, no benefits jobs with untrained drivers and no safety regulations. I really doubt that anyone is earning enough driving their car as an Uber driver to pay for the cost of living and the car’s maintenance and eventual replacement in the long term. It might be a good way to earn a quick buck in times of need, but as a career I think it’s a losing game. These assumptions are based on zero research, so feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

          • Carl Raymond S

            Thanks Dragon. I stuck the word ‘inherently’ in there, fearing there may be labour rights issues. Can’t take back the technology, so it’s time for Uber workers to form a union – so they at least have a voice.

          • Dragon

            I don’t think a union is possible with Uber. The whole business is geared towards letting anyone with no experience act as a taxi driver, so even if all the existing drivers got together and a miraculous 90% went on strike, I don’t think it would take long for new drivers to take over, especially if Uber offers them bonuses or something (which they already do for new drivers). From http://rideshareapps.com/uber-vehicle-requirements-for-2016/#_Initial_driverrequirements_for_Uber the only requirements to drive are:

            * You must drive a vehicle that is either a four-door car, truck or minivan. Manual transmission is accepted.

            * You are required to be 21 years of age or older (23 depending on your city).

            * The intended driver is required to be on the insurance for the vehicle used.

            * You must pass a background check.

            * A minimum of three years driving experience is mandatory.

            * Your vehicle must be fit to pass an inspection from Uber.

            * You are required to have a clean driving record.

            The background check is the only thing that could conceivably delay new drivers taking over.

            I also found this article where Uber has already been found to be “deactivating” drivers whose ratings drop below 4.7/5 stars: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/01/27/the-mysterious-way-uber-bans-drivers.html

            So if the crop of 4.7 star drivers goes on strike, all they need do is activate the 3.0-4.6 star drivers waiting in the wings.

            Uber also has a policy of raising prices enormously if the number of drivers becomes too low, meaning Uber itself doesn’t lose much money by losing drivers: http://therideshareguy.com/uber-deactivated-a-bunch-of-drivers-as-an-intimidation-tactic/

          • Ivor O’Connor

            Local priest around here is an Uber driver. I quizzed him on it and he does well driving. Much better than say working at Walmart. He does put away about a third of his profits for maintenance and a new car.

          • neroden

            Most zoning basically puts work as far away from home as possible in order to maximize transportation use. Which is crazy.

        • eveee

          Musk has dealt with miscreants before. He dealt with a dishonest reporter. All Teslas and SCs have great communication links with the office. Musk has sent a letter informing owners that abuses will be stopped. My guess – he means it. Cutting abusers off at SC stations will be technically easy.

          • Ivor O’Connor

            People who use the SC as their primary charging solution are not “miscreants” to me. They were told they could and they did. Now they are being harassed for doing as they were told they could.

            Sure hope there is a “no commercial operation” clause there. However if there isn’t so be it. Musk needs to honor his contracts and not change them willy nilly.

            So if you think Uber are a bunch of quasi criminal thugs what do you think of the traditional taxi system? They must really piss you off.

          • eveee

            I never said people who use SC as their primary charging solution are miscreants. People that knowingly use the SC system as a commercial enterprise are abusing their privileges at the expense of others. Thats not cool. Even a car rental will prohibit that. Tesla will have to institute a no commercial use clause. Rideshare can go 300 miles a day easy.
            I can tell you most people are really unhappy with cabs. No joke. Like cabbie that promise they will take credit cards then take riders to an ATM and won’t budge until they get cash. So yes, its a tossup which is worse uber or cab. Uber is cheap, but not ethical, and sometimes not safe for driver or passenger. They usually start illegally in every new location, then pay the fines. Sleazy. Their standards are lower for screening drivers.
            Its a terrible job. No benefits, high risk, low pay, long hours, little legal protection.

            “The accelerated use by employers of the independent contractor loophole is causing a rapid erosion of the safety net for workers and families”

            http://billmoyers.com/2015/07/27/the-future-of-work-in-the-uber-economy/

          • Ivor O’Connor

            I only read half the article. It is a difficult issue. I can certainly appreciate the employers view that they want to pay for performance and keep it simple. On the other hand is the employee expecting a life of school, college, and working x decades at a firm for a chance at retirement. Without taking sides I’d say things will be changing and it will be interesting to watch. I’d say the whole thing revolves around integrity. A simple solution ensuring integrity that protects both employer and employee has yet to be found. To quote a pretentious posing charlatan, “The Time They Are A Changin'”

          • eveee

            I can dig it.

        • Ivor O’Connor

          I’d like to see their SC network start billing customers, the price of the Tesla’s to go down as a result, and the SC networks grow based on their own profits.

      • Ivor O’Connor

        too big to fail?

        • Joe Viocoe

          No, just no indication of fail. That’s a very specific blunder that could happen, but lightning could strike the CFO too.

    • neroden

      Supercharger maintenance costs practically nothing. Think about it: how much maintenance costs do you have on the electric lines inside your house? How often does the utility company come by to maintain the transformer? Less than once a year, probably?

      If they set up a billing system, THAT would require maintenance. Which is why… they didn’t. All the parts of the Superchargers are heavy, robust, last-for-decades without maintenance stuff.

  • Dragon

    It seems like it will be very difficult to keep enough chargers open for peak use holidays as the number of EVs grows. Seems like you would need to overbuild the network by, I don’t know, 500%, maybe 1000% just to support those few holiday travel days a year and I don’t know if that’s economically possible. I know they make portable chargers… Might make sense to roll those out to popular locations on big travel days but I’m not sure if that would save any money.

    • nakedChimp

      Yeah building for peak demand seldom-ly works out well economically.. see the Australian electricity grid.

    • eveee

      Which puts the emphasis back to where I thought it would be all along. Designing EVs to have better efficiency in range per kwhr. A Tesla Model S doesn’t do that. A Model 3 should be better. I wonder if its good enough. Should be capable of over 4 miles per kwhr. A 50kwhr pack should get you 200 miles. Wouldn’t need 100kw charger. The number of chargers could be doubled if they were 50kw. IMO, Tesla cannot continue to use higher currents to charge quicker instead of increasing efficiency. It limits the number of cars that can be charged simultaneously at a single location.

      • phineasjw

        There is an emphasis on more miles per kWh, but that’s specifically to reduce vehicle COST, not to change the number of chargers needed.

        There is a belief (as you mentioned) that Tesla is aiming for 200 miles on a 50kWh pack for the Model 3. How do you get there? A number of ways, but one of them is to reduce air resistance. And, as such, there are strong rumors that Musk has been pushing his Model 3 team to reduce the drag coefficient of the car to 0.20, which, if true, would put the car in elite company.

        Tesla needs to get better efficiency to hit their vehicle cost metrics ($35K/200miles), and since the battery is the majority of the cost, better efficiency allows you to use a smaller battery.

        Once EVs truly go mass market, charging ports will be standardized, and charging stations will be ubiquitous and run by 3rd parties, just as gas stations are today. Swipe your credit card (or automatically bill your account), charge, move on. It won’t be a big deal.

        • eveee

          You got it. I think the realization of SC car volume limitations connection to range/kwhr is only slowly and recently dawning. But it will only get more evident as time goes on and SC stations are overburdened.
          Teslas SC station are an initial solution, but IMO, they are not a final one. I don’t think a high volume of long distance transport can be maintained under the model.
          There needs to be a way of charging more cars faster, not just more charge stations.
          And that credit card, – you don’t need one. The model should be like express tolls that don’t require any.

          • Bob_Wallace

            On the busiest travel day of the year what percentage of EVs would you expect to be driving more than their “200” mile range?

            Five percent? One SC bay can charge five EVs over a three hour block. Lunch time charging scheduled between 11 AM and 2 PM. First to reserve get their choice of the time blocks. One SC bay per 100 EVs.

            People driving ~100 miles over their limit wouldn’t need to be included. They could stop for a shorter period earlier in the day after they’ve burned off the >200 mile portion and grab a top up.

            If the number is 5% and $2k per car purchase price goes to the charging system that’s $200,000 per SC bay collected. I’ve read <$20k per bay cost. $180,000 for electricity purchase (likely solar farm investment) and maintenance.

            And over time individual cars will go to the crusher, replacement cars come to the roads and bringing their $2k but no new SC bay will be needed to charge them.

          • eveee

            On the busiest travel days? Travelers use different modes on different days. Christmas is probably more air travel. But some of the other holidays, like Memorial Day or Labor day see heavy vehicle traffic. Its important to note that this kind of long distance travel is probably not really cross country, vacation style. Its more like city to city style visits to relatives. There are still a lot of people who will drive over 100 miles to visit that won’t go by air. The limit is probably around 400 miles, but it depends a lot on location. Rural areas could further.
            I like your analysis. Its good to realize that not all the cars at SC are charging from zero to full. Most are not, IMO. If you think about it, the SC station intervals are about right so that less than full charge is needed between stops. It would be good to hear from Tesla users how discharged they are before they charge. Charging from zero charge is the equivalent of trying to get your car to the gas station on fumes. A risky and unwise business.
            The SC bays will be paid for, I don’t think there is any question. The question is how many cars can you support with SC once a higher volume of EVs are sold. There have been some SC charge stations that have had queues on holidays between LA and SF. I think its understandable. Thats a high congestion area. I just think there will be pressure to charge more cars more quickly to relieve it. Could be done by many means.

        • neroden

          What people have not figured out is that electricity is too cheap. Do people charge you money to plug in your cellphone? Nope.

          • phineasjw

            What people have not figured out is that charging your cellphone is different than charging the massive battery in your car.

            0.02kWh vs 50kWh

            The cost of electricity to fill a typical EV would be:

            50kWh at $0.20/kWh = $10

            However, people have this myopic mental focus that the COST of electricity is related to the PRICE that can be charged.

            If you’re the only charging station on the highway, because everyone else decided electricity was “too cheap to meter”, then you can charge whatever you want. That’s how the free market works.

            So, let’s say you charge $1/kWh.

            That’s $50 to fill up your Tesla Model 3 or Chevy Bolt, and the charging company just made a $40 profit.

            Adjust the number as needed, however, over time, that’s worth a lot more than the empty parking spaces at a Cumberland Farms highway rest-stop.

      • Dragon

        As far as I’m aware, all the cars more efficient than Model S are efficient because they’re lighter. Either they have smaller batteries (limited range) or expensive carbon fiber bodies. Model 3 should be a bit more efficient with a smaller body but I don’t think it’s possible to increase efficiency enough to reduce the power of chargers significantly.

        Tesla is smart to increase charger power because it means more cars can cycle through each charger faster. Of course they’ll run up against limits on the local electricity grid at some point. If they start citing a solar and wind farm and batteries near the chargers, it would help, and hopefully in bad conditions where solar and wind are low traffic to the chargers will also be lower.

        • eveee

          Yes, they will run up against local grid limits pretty fast. SuperCharger kind of power is not ordinary. It was the easy way at first. Just saying getting there from both directions will be good. A wind farm near the site might help, but really its the high power demands that make things difficult. Its always better to smooth the flow and charge slower. Peak power is expensive.

          Both city and highway drain will reduce 20%. 5 Model 3 per Model S. In fact, the other cars are not as efficient as the Model S. I think the Bolt is going to have more highway drag than a Tesla Model S. The Model 3 will go farther with 50kwhr than a Bolt with 60kwhr. In fact, the highway range of a Bolt on 60kwhr will be less than a Model S 60. Thats because its frontal area is the same, but its aero drag is worse. I believe the Bolt will have better city range than the S 60, really good, at about 250 miles, but worse highway range at just below 200. Its really only highway range that matters for EVs, since they just won’t travel that far daily at slow speed.

          • Dragon

            Tesla is already installing big batteries to smooth peak demand. Their newest supercharger at Mammoth Lake includes five giant battery blocks. As the gigafactory produces cheaper batteries, it will make more and more sense to put more of those blocks at supercharger locations and suck up power from wind farms overnight to support high charging speeds during the day.

            As to how fast or economically that can scale, I don’t know. But at least they can get the best price by using their own battery packs and own technology.

          • eveee

            Yes. I thought of that, too. Seems like that has limits, too. I mean you need as much storage as the cars lining up to get charged. So for each charger, charging once every half hour, and if you wanted to charge overnight, lets say 12 hours, you might use 24 equivalent auto packs. That makes about 2.4MWhr. Actually, its a bit better, because you could charge some of those packs while the others are charging cars. So a bit better guess would be about half as many. Still pretty big at 1.2MWhr. Thats about the size of the PowerPack, about ten PowerWalls. Since Musk says its $250/kwhr, its 250k for the batteries. Maybe it would work. Interesting.

  • Mike Dill

    As Elon Musk recently noted, Tesla motors had doubled cumulative production each tear for the past four years. Given that trend, i would expect the supercharger network to continue to expand at nearly the same rate.

    The question becomes one of will there be an extra charge for the Supercharger network for the model 3, or will it be a pay-per-use, or a lump sum prepay. With the current models the usage is built into the cost of the car. I think that perhaps you could get a model 3 for less without the prepay, and pay for use. This would allow more vehicles, and perhaps more model 3 users would charge at home.

    • Pay per use complicates things. You’d have to accept payments, have customer service to deal with billing errors and enquiries. That’s a lot of overhead. Musk will no doubt keep it prepaid with the car purchase.

      • Otis11

        Yes, Musk has said before that he really doesn’t like the pay-per-use model… (Not sure his preference will win out if there’s solid reasons against it, but I think it holds, and as such, his preference will win)

        That said, I really wish they would extend the SC network faster here in the US. It’s great east of the Mississippi, on both coasts, and even driving from one coast to the other at just about any latitude… But for the people who live between the west coast and the Mississippi, it can be difficult to go North/South in any semblance of a direct path.

        • Yes. Arkansas and Mississippi have no SC’s open or planned at this time. There is a SC desert between Nashville and Oklahoma City. The only other states without a SC right now are North Dakota and West Virginia. Even though sales of Tesla’s may not be high in Mississippi or Arkansas, many may want to make a journey through these states. It’s quite a big gap.

          • Dragon

            You’ll notice that in the 2016 planned locations map, they’ve completely filled in the empty area where Arkansas is.

          • Joe Viocoe
          • Joe Viocoe

            It is planned. Just not permitted or specific locations sited yet.

          • Joe Viocoe
          • Roger863

            And Nebraska!! Somehow we who live in Nebraska are always forgotten by everyone.

          • ROBwithaB

            Except Berkshire Hathaway.

            Maybe you could ask Uncle Warren to build your dream? 😉

          • Brent Jatko

            That’s in part because NE does not have an early Presidential caucus.

            Iowa has one and look at the attention they get, including ridiculous farm subsidies.

          • CornSomething

            What is this place, Nebraska you speak of? LOL, just kidding 🙂

          • Steven F

            One notable gap on the west cost is highway 97 in eastern oregon. A lot of people turn off of I 5 at weed California to get to eastern Oregon and it is a really busy highway. Currently the supper charger network is only along interstate 5 (west of the cascade mountain) and interstate 84 (along the Columbia river between Oregon and Washington). They only just recently installed a supper charger in bend. The only one for all of eastern Oregon.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Yes, the system is far from complete. But remember the “Green Highway” project which was supposed to provide EV charging along I-5 from Canada to Mexico? That started years back and I don’t think has been completed. Tesla is putting their system in a mind-blistering speed.

          • Otis11

            Exactly – I was talking to a friend about purchasing a Model S, but he’s from Texas and regularly drives North through Arkansas to visit family for the holidays. While in reality he’d probably be better off to get one and then just get a rental when he needs one (or better yet – just take the wife’s car), it was simply a non-starter for him. Told me to remind him when the network has full coverage.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Tesla is in the planning process for Eureka and Crescent City, CA. That is not ‘main highway’ stuff.

            I’d guess the area inside the Kansas City, Nashville, Mobile, Houston, Oklahoma city loop will be serviced before long. There are red dots there in the ‘End of 2016’ Supercharger map.

          • Otis11

            Sure… Tesla webpage is down at the moment (I was just there a second ago!).

            Anyway. To my memory – I don’t think I can drive from Houston to Des Moines, Iowa along a supercharged route (without significant detours) even by the end of 2016. And yes, I do drive that route often – this isn’t simply a cherry picked case.

            I agree, they are getting there, but there’s still quite a bit of room to grow.

          • neroden

            There’s also a hole in northern Pennsylvania and southern New York. The gap in Erie, PA means you can’t make a road trip on I-90 in the winter.

            Hopefully Tesla will get all these gaps filled soon. Next problem: huge geographical gaps in the Service Center network.

      • Dragon

        I still fear that the lower priced Model 3 will be sold to the kind of buyer that feels it’s worth saving money by plugging in to a local supercharger at every opportunity as long as it’s free and unlimited. This has caused congestion and consternation as people plug in to Nissan “no charge to charge” locations and go shopping when they already have 90%+ charge. Tesla really needs to charge per use, limit uses per year or uses per charger, or come up with some other method to prevent crowding.

        • nakedChimp

          When the car can park itself and they get the snake plug rolled out.. the car will be able to unplug and park itself somewhere else and the next can charge.
          Might even become a no-manual-handling-allowed zone around some of those stalls then?

          • Dragon

            I wouldn’t assume base Model 3 is going to have autopilot given they’re trying to cut the cost down as much as possible. Plus I imagine that during holiday travel, almost everyone is trying to get somewhere and not wanting to stay on the chargers longer than they have to, especially seeing 15 cars waiting in line. So autopilot pulling them off the charger as soon as they’re done might cut the wait time a little but won’t solve the problem.

        • Cheapskates buy Model S’s too.

          http://jpwhitenissanleaf.com/2015/05/02/cheeky-tesla-driver-prompts-newton-nissan-to-padlock-their-dc-quick-charge-unit/

          I think it’s rather unfair to categorize potential Model 3 owners as having a predilection for SC abuse.

          • Dragon

            Of course some S owners are gaming the system, but:

            A) Saving $50-100 a month in electricity is a lot more important to someone making $300/mo car payments than to someone making $1000/mo car payments.

            B) The problem I described is already a problem amongst LEAF owners, so I can only assume it will be a problem amongst Model 3 owners.

          • Your comments are rather elitist and infer that things will get worse once the riff-raff start buying Tesla’s Somehow the well to heel are less likely to game the system?

            I am a LEAF owner and I do *not* experience the problem you ascribe to us all.

            When the number of vehicles exceed the supply of any charging network we will see problems. Be that network SC, CHAdeMo or CCS. Where I live supply exceeds demand so all is good, and yes where I live we have Nissan no charge to charge and were on the first wave of cities to get it.

            Musk sent emails to Tesla owners telling them that using a SC for local trips was ‘not cool’.

            As a cross section of society, Tesla owners are neither more nor less likely to game a system. We might like to think we are better than those around us (and we often do). But it simply isn’t true.

          • Dragon

            I thought I was trying to make a future prediction based on two arguments, the first based on logic and the second based on observation. My logic or observations could be wrong, but neither proves I’m secretly feeling superior to anyone driving a less expensive EV.

            As to my A argument, you haven’t said anything to deny my logic. Instead, you accuse me of secretly looking down on the poor. I’ve lived at low income, and I’ve lived at high income, and low again, and high again, and when at high income I’ve personally spent less time trying to take advantage of free offers. It seems reasonable and logical to me – nothing elitist about it. Maybe I’m weird. Actually I know I’m weird. But my argument still makes logical sense, in my opinion.

            My B argument was based on complaints I’ve read made by others so I’m glad to hear you haven’t seen that effect yourself. We need more data to know which of our observations is more accurate.

          • dogphlap dogphlap

            I agree. My experience is that the more money someone has the tighter they are.

        • Roger863

          I think the unlimited usage model should stay in place, but with very precise rules for local superchargers. If a person goes over a certain amount of uses per year for the local supercharger, then they shall be charged a certain amount for each additional use. That’s how I imagine it being in the future. It would keep in place the unlimited aspect, while giving very clear guidelines for acceptable behavior for local supercharging, so as to not have the confusion/outrage that we have seen previously in respect to local supercharging. “The best of both worlds” as it were.

          • Bob_Wallace

            There are likely a number of ways to play it out. For example, restrict charging at local Superchargers to low demand times. Leave the SCs free for people traveling.

            Do that and someone who can’t charge where they park could do all their charging at a SC while they go to the gym or buy groceries in the evening.
            Create a reservation system for people on trips. When they enter their destination and start driving let the system determine when and where they recharge and have a bay reserved for them when they arrive. Turn on a red light over the bay so that other drivers know that they won’t be able to use the bay.

          • Frank

            Right, and lets not assume that every single appartment dweller can charge at home, or at work. That shouldn’t prevent them from owning an electric car. Electricity is cheaper than gas. I don’t think paying will be a problem for them.

      • phineasjw

        Overhead? How much trouble is it to swipe a credit card at a random gas station?

        Once EVs take off, there will be 3rd parties putting credit card super chargers along highways and advertising their price per kWh. They’ll be mainstream by the 2020s.

        • Steve Grinwis

          I was all set to argue… but.. Ya, I think you’re right.

          They’ll also start competing on charge speed / availability / charger reservation for that big trip, integrated trip planning apps along the Esso Electric Highway, or whatever.

          This will totally be a thing.

          • phineasjw

            You’re seeing the future. 🙂

          • Carl Raymond S

            But will they accept Tesla’s? (Given that the convenience isn’t reciprocated). Cash is cash, business is business. This has implications for just how many supercharging spots Tesla must provide to cover peak holiday times.

          • Steve Grinwis

            I imagine they’ll be combo SAE / ChaDeMo chargers, both of which scale past 200 kW. More than enough to supercharge a Tesla.

          • Carl Raymond S

            From Wikipedia:

            CHAdeMO is the trade name of a quick charging method for battery electric vehicles delivering up to 62.5 kW of high-voltage direct current via a special electrical connector. It is proposed as a global industry standard by an association of the same name.[1]

            Is this out of date?

          • Steve Grinwis

            Yes. Kia has already installed 100 kW ChaDeMo chargers, and the spec does scale well above that.

            http://insideevs.com/kia-installs-first-100-kw-chademo-dc-fast-chargers-europe/

          • Carl Raymond S

            Tesla started with 90kW, then went to 120kW. Rather than complain that Kia failed to leapfrog, I suppose we should just be happy that the trend is up, and soon it won’t be a black mark in the ICEV v EV decision making process.
            Bottom line, EV owners spend less time per annum energising their wheels.

          • Steve Grinwis

            Well, the current Gen Kia’s can’t use anything over 100 kW. SO there would be no point in oversizing them. They can be upgraded in a few years.

          • Steve Grinwis

            FastNed is preparing 150 kW and 300 kW chargers…

            http://insideevs.com/fastned-readies-for-150-kw-300-kw-charging/

          • Carl Raymond S

            Wow. At 240Wh per km, that’s 1250km of range per hour. Comparable to the speed of pumping petroleum – and you don’t have to stand there and hold the nozzle – on those 4 road trips per year. Lay down and die, ICEV.

          • Steve Grinwis

            YUP! It’s not quite as fast as petroleum, but it’s sure getting close, isn’t it?

          • JamesWimberley

            Watch out for the supercharger scene in the next James Bond movie. With 300 KW, he can fry the baddies quite efficiently, updating the worn exploding gas station trope.

            https://vimeo.com/24201361

          • Dragon

            I bet that during holiday travel companies will put up portable chargers compatible with every EV type and ask something ridiculous like $50 per 30 minutes for the convenience of not waiting at the crowded regular network spots.

          • Carl Raymond S

            And the generations who have never paid for petrol will groan “extortion”.

          • eveee

            Would they? Why would they do that if they have 260 mile range and could charge at home? It is only a consideration if their destinations are further than 260 miles. Thats an incentive for a DCFC reservation system. The first vendor that opened a guaranteed charge reservation system would kill the gougers incentives. Stragglers would behave just like gas users. Instead of a fill up at the costly stations, you buy enough to get to a station with better prices, if you are pinched. You don’t want to drive to a remote location only to find you have to wait hours to charge. Its needed for the occasional long range trip of 500 or 600 miles. A days travel is 3 hours in the morning, lunch, 3 hours in the afternoon. Dinner. 3 hours in the evening. Thats an all day long distance range of 600 miles. Not that much different than one can stand for traveling cross country using an ICE vehicle.

          • Roger863

            It could happen like that, but I hope it doesn’t. The last thing I want is a whole bunch of companies with their own rewards cards, having to choose which station to stop at, comparing prices, comparing charging speed, so on and so forth. I want a simple experience; I buy my car from Tesla, and Tesla superchargers are where I charge. No cards, no paying, no worrying about money, no cashiers asking me if I want a rewards card, no comparing charging speeds or prices. The last thing I want is to have to deal with a middleman!

          • Steve Grinwis

            … Tap your visa, and move on. Doesn’t seem like that big a deal to me.

          • eveee

            No need for a card. One would think the entire thing could be automated. You have an electrically connected device that is capable of communication with the car. The charger knows the car, the car knows the charger. Just like express toll. You are in the system.

          • Dragon

            Have you not looked at the current charger infrastructure? There are 4 or more major networks, each requiring you to carry a special card to swipe at those stations. You pay using money on the special card, not with a Visa. The card tends to be linked to your Visa behind the scenes where it will automatically add something like a $25 block of credits when needed. I’m not sure if they’ve started playing the “credits expire in X days” game yet.

            Worse, every charger on the network is different in price and power level. Sometimes it’s free, sometimes it’s over $25 to add 140 miles to a Bolt. Sometimes it’s 6.6kw, sometimes it’s 24kw, sometimes it’s 60kw. You can find all this info on plugshare.com depending where you’re going, but it makes trip planning far from simple.

        • dogphlap dogphlap

          I doubt that. Providing EV charging outlets is not a road to riches. The Tesla model works because it enables potential Tesla buyers to know their long distance charging needs will be met, so Tesla sell cars. That makes every kind of sense to Tesla, there is no reason for any other party to do what Tesla has done unless they also want to sell their own long distance capable EVs. Selling fast DC charging by the kWh is a poor investment (unless you can persuade the government to fund you as per H2 filling stations).
          Tesla knows the VIN of every car that uses the SuperCharger network and how many kWh were delt and when. It would not be beyond the wit of Tesla engineers to implement some rules to make regular local charging at SuperChargers non-viable. So far 90-95% of all Tesla charging is done at home so the 5-10% of charging covers all long distance travel use plus a very small number of owners taking advantage of local free charging at local SuperChargers i.e. this is not a problem yet (except for the Schiphol airport EV taxi fleet LOL).

          • phineasjw

            Eventually all EVs will be “long range”, just as all cars are today.

            Eventually all EVs will use a standard charging port, just as USB ports finally standardized the charging of cellphones (and soon laptops).

            The market will create a need for charging stations. People want the freedom to drive long distances and every carmaker is not going build their own non-profit network. Thus, 3rd party stations will exist and charge whatever they need to profit and survive.

            These stations may be very profitable (depending on the price charged), but they just need to be more profitable than the alternative, which could be, for example, unused, extra parking spaces at a roadside stop.

        • neroden

          The overhead is in having a credit card system at the site *at all*. Tesla saved a lot of trouble by *not installing payment systems at all*.

      • Radical Ignorant

        Like prepaid phone cards? Yeah – super complicated stuff. Unbiliveably complicated. Maybe solvable for some internet comentator but for guy who created pay pal? Nah. Too hard.

        • Bob_Wallace

          With the Tesla model EV owners furnish the capital to build the SC system and (IIRC) the solar farms needed to provide the electricity. Zero cost capital for Tesla.

        • If you’ve ever used a public charging station you soon realize payment systems are one of the leading reasons for someone not being able to get a charge.

          Making things complicated is easy.
          Making things simple is hard.

    • Joe Viocoe

      Pay per use, may seem equitable for the consumer…. but infrastructure costs a lot of money up front. And it needs up front investments from car buyers.
      It is better for the expansion of infrastructure if those who MIGHT use it, pay up front so that it will be built.

      Remember, Tesla drivers don’t just pay for kwh for each use… they pay for the peace of mind that a Supercharger is available when needed. Just like you pay for 911 emergency services… just to have it available when needed.

      • Steve Grinwis

        Agreed. I’d love to see other networks come online that do the same thing. Really, the supercharger networks is probably the best part of Tesla. It’s not impossible to reproduce, and not even all that costly. But no one else is doing it yet so…

    • Ivor O’Connor

      I’d be very surprised if the Model 3 does not follow a pay per use plan. The Model 3 will be owned by many people who do not have garages to charge up in. And only bought by customers living next to SC centers. It is very hard to imagine a scenario that can justify the costs of charging an EV for life for free. Eventually a billing method must be put in place that charges a fair cost for the electricity.

      • neroden

        Prepare to be very surprised.

        The Model 3 will definitely follow a prepaid use plan. It might not be “unlimited” — it might be something like “Supercharger usage, up to 50 usaes at each site each year”.

        • Ivor O’Connor

          Electricity is not cheap. That’s why Musk sent out those letters to people telling them not to abuse the supercharging. In a few years there will be hundreds of thousands of Model 3 Tesla’s in America. Doing the same thing since they don’t have garages.

          I’m sure Musk can bring down the payment system to something reasonable given his history with paypal and tech in general. There are numerous ways he could do it for next to nothing. Even if your worst numbers were to be used the system would pay for itself in less than 10 days with around the clock usage.

          The real problem for you here is the paradigm. You seem to think paying as you go is wrong. Why is that? Are you looking for something for free? Do you not want Tesla to put out more SC centers? Do you want to buy a Model S and be forced to pay for all the Model 3 owners that don’t have electricity to charge? It makes no sense. If you truly believe electricity is almost free you should have no problem paying for your almost free charges.

          • neroden

            No, electricity is cheap.

            The problem with “Supecharger abuse” wasn’t electricity. Electricity is cheap. The problem was *congestion*. Parking spaces fill up. People start waiting in line to get to the Superchargers. Not good.

            This is why I think the answer is going to be charging for parking… not charging for electricity.

            I’m very clear on what’s going on here. It’s simply not worth the overhead of metering electricity. Charge by the hour for blocking the parking spot, and you have a business model.

          • Ivor O’Connor

            I think Tesla’s in the future will be left in a queue and drive themselves into and out of the charging stalls.

          • neroden

            Maybe, but that slows down the amount of time it takes to get a charge. By a lot.

            Again, the problem is congestion. The solution is pay-by-the-hour for blocking the parking space.

          • Ivor O’Connor

            “slows down the amount of time it takes to get a charge”? Should I respond to the literal reading of that sentence or to the spirit of what you meant to say?

            If Tesla does the queuing and self drives each car in and out of a stall without human intervention things will obviously be much much faster than now. Now there are people who go off and eat and forget to come back…

            Musk is a capitalist first and foremost. He’ll price things in a way that pay for themselves yet reduce congestion.

          • neroden

            Well, true about the people who go off to eat and forget to come back. It’ll deal with *that*.

            But what I was thinking off was spending half an hour waiting in line for your car to get to the front of the queue, in addition to spending half an hour plugged in. Slower total time taken to get a charge.

          • Ivor O’Connor

            Software would make the usage of any charging stall more efficient. It is an upfront investment in software that keeps on paying for itself forever.

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