Clean Transport

Published on April 10th, 2016 | by Kyle Field

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The Tesla Supercharging Crisis On The Horizon

April 10th, 2016 by  

With several affordable vehicles on the horizon that will be capable of 200 miles or more of all-electric range, the last major problem for EVs and EV manufacturers to truly solve is super fast public charging, or what we have dubbed Level 4 charging.

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Image courtesy Redditor Dakujem

Tesla is currently the only automaker to offer reasonable long-distance charging with its Superchargers running at ~135 kW, but that infrastructure is about to be pounded into the ground by hundreds of thousands of Tesla Model 3 owners unless something changes.

In the Model 3 unveiling last week, Elon Musk shared that Supercharging would be included with the Model 3 but stopped short of claiming that it would include free Supercharging, as has been the case with the Model S and X. This is a divergence from previous statements that Supercharging would be free for the Model 3.

Tragedy of the Commons

Looking at Supercharging, one of the key challenges is that it’s free. When humans can get something for free, even when it’s just a few bucks worth of power, we act irrationally and selfishly, which is a behavior captured in a theory call the “tragedy of the commons.” Per Wikipedia, the tragedy of the commons is:

“an economic theory of a situation within a shared-resource system where individual users acting independently and rationally according to their own self-interest behave contrary to the common good of all users by depleting that resource.”

Stories of wealthy Tesla drivers using Superchargers every day as their main charging solutions are on the forums and are evidence of this behavior. Spending 30 minutes every day to sit around to save $3 in electricity at home is not a logical behavior for someone driving a $100,000 car, and results in charging stations being unavailable for long-distance drivers.

Tesla has already reached out to frequent … excessive … abusive … and even some infrequent Supercharging users, asking them to take it easy … and this is just with the Model S putting load on the Supercharging network. Imagine when we have 2 more years of full production volume of the S and the X weighing down on  it… Tesla Superchargers could be in for a world of hurt in no time, as defined by long lines and general unreliability of the Supercharging network.

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Supercharging in Redondo Beach | Image Credit: Kyle Field

Why Supercharging

Fixing Supercharging doesn’t mean that all of a sudden everyone has to pay for Supercharging. Stepping back from the problem to look at why Supercharging exists in the first place helps us to understand what levers can be pulled to improve the system.

Tesla developed and deployed Supercharging to fill a functionality gap for EVs and to enable long-distance travel. That’s the base use case and in these early days of Level 4 infrastructure deployment, the key reason for Level 4 chargers. This is not saying that Superchargers are not great for a quick topup or for filling up after a long day of driving around town … but that’s not what Tesla built them for.

As Supercharging networks continue to grow, there will be a natural evolution of the system to support additional use cases, but in the meantime, there is an opportunity to leverage system controls to optimize system availability. Long-distance travel and fast charging become much more relevant considerations as EVs with more than 200 miles range become the norm — as long-distance travel with sub-100 mile range EVs is painful in most scenarios anyway.

The Radius Model

Finding the sweet spot in keeping the system functional while also assuring availability is a delicate balance but is not unsolvable. Implementing a system wherein charging closer to home is not free provides an incentive for EV owners to charge at home and lightens the load on the distributed public charging network that otherwise becomes clogged by the tragedy of the commons effect we typically see with free charging.

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Great availability, low utilization | Image Credit: Kyle Field

For local charging within 50 miles of home, it is critical to bill for EV charging, as this is where 90%+ of all driving takes place. When local charging is not regulated, EV drivers gravitate towards utilizing public charging stations instead of home charging, which consumes charging spaces that could otherwise be useful for long-distance travelers. A healthy price point for local charging would be to use peak electricity rates.

For mid-range charging at ranges of 50–100 miles from home, an EV driver can still round-trip a destination on a single charge, so public charging at these distances is not absolutely required. Charging pass-through rates for power at mid-range charging stations strikes a balance that allows EV drivers to charge remotely without a penalty but clearly removes the incentive to “convenience charge.”

For long-range charging over 100 miles from the home, Level 4 charging can remain free as this is the intended use-case.

Implementing a radius model to govern charging ensures that chargers are available for the base use case while also giving EV drivers the freedom to utilize public super fast charging stations if needed, with minimal penalty. For EV drivers without home chargers, workplace chargers provide the best balance between cost, availability, and charging time.

As the Level 4 charging network catches up with EV sales growth, models can be adjusted to strike the right balance between cost, availability, and charging time. Currently, the balance is tenuous at best, but with Tesla being the only EV manufacturer to truly invest in a Level 4 charging network and ensure integration with its fleet of EVs, the balance is sure to deteriorate as Model 3 comes online.

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Tesla Model 3 on the test track | Image Credit: Kyle Field

At the Model 3 unveiling last week, Tesla shared plans to double the Supercharging network by the end of 2017, and a parallel effort to improve the destination charging program with a planned four-fold increase in the same timing.

Building and managing Level 4 public charging is a key step to ensuring robust EV charging that meets the needs of EV drivers, but with Model 3 on the horizon, it is at a critical junction as EV adoption moves from the Early Adopters to the Early Majority and the volume of EVs on the road ramps up significantly. Left unmanaged, the volume of vehicles would quickly overwhelm the current and planned super fast charging network and render it effectively unusable.


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About the Author

I'm a tech geek passionately in search of actionable ways to reduce the negative impact my life has on the planet, save money and reduce stress. Live intentionally, make conscious decisions, love more, act responsibly, play. The more you know, the less you need. TSLA investor. Tesla referral link: http://ts.la/kyle623



  • Brett

    “The Tragedy of the Commons” more simply put: “People are Selfish A-holes”

    This is literally why we, as a species, can’t have nice things.

  • Illuminati

    I repeat this for months:

    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.

    • Joe Viocoe

      Not really forced…. since plenty of wealthy urbanites will still pay to charge closer to home. So instead of lots of poorer people clogging up the stations… we’ll have fewer wealthier drivers clogging up the stations. Better, but there will still be resentment happening.

      See my proposed model below.

  • Hank Pawlowicz

    Is there a place in the sales contract with Tesla that says SCs are only for long distance driving? Or is it sold as free for life? Have they stopped selling cars with the free option? I would find it hard to believe it is free if they charge for parking or charge time? That’s just not letting your left hand know what your right hand is doing! I imagine it would be in the contract that it is not for commercial use so taxies should be sol! I am not sure it can be done but cars left parked in a SCs lane for more than 75 to 90 minutes could have the charge drained back out by the hour and be told that’s what happens for not being courteous and they would need to charge at another location to get home. Or maybe as a deterrent Auto Pilot could drive the car home? I know maybe a bridge too far but you would only do it once? Maybe after say 2 hours total time parked the car call’s for a tow truck first $200.00 Tow Bill would probably stop the problem. After all you can’t park in a gas line without being moved. It is not public parking after all. Again it is not free charging if you paid $2000 for it. Elon says the SCs will use less than they produce for the year. I am sure he is trying to make it cost effective?

    • Joe Viocoe

      The SC station can actually call the owner’s phone with a audio clip, “No Soup For You!!”

  • Bob Fearn

    In Canada there have been free plugin outlets for hundreds of thousands of cars for decades. Unfortunately they were for heating your IC engine during the winters.

  • Joe Viocoe

    Great work Kyle on providing a detailed model.

    I proposed a somewhat different model that could maintain a $0 cost to owners, while providing fairness and incentive to charge at home.

    The Radius Model has the disadvantage of penalizing drivers who want to recharge after returning home from a long trip, and haven’t quite made it home yet, but are close enough to be within 50 miles.

    The Scheduling Model is more focused on eliminating abuse in the form of people using it much more often. It covers more edge cases well.

    The Scheduling Model:
    Every Tesla has a computer navigation system with up to date software. For holidays and heavily congested Supercharger locations, Tesla is looking to provide Supercharger status updates at the very least. This model would be an extension of that.

    • Mike

      Joe, thanks for sending the link. Only observations I have is:
      1. How does the “system” know one is an Apartment/condo dweller but still satisfy your concerns regarding privacy issues, and
      2. What prevents a tier 3 driver from simply showing up, being rude and plugging in?
      Thanks. Cheers. Mike

      • Joe Viocoe

        Hi Mike,
        1) The system doesn’t “know” someone is an apartment/condo dweller. It could infer based on frequency of charging at a single location. But it doesn’t need to know. It can treat any driver that frequents the same SC station every week exactly the same.

        2) When a tier 3 driver shows up to a SC without a reservation, and plugs in, the current simply doesn’t flow.
        At that time, there can be a display inside the car, saying to make a reservation. If that stall doesn’t have any upcoming reservations, then it can allow the tier 3 driver to begin charging. If the SC location is busy, the charge never starts.
        Yes, the tier 3 driver could just leave it parked there, rudely. But that would be like getting ICEd anyway.

        This will encourage tier 3 drivers to supercharge less frequently, to gain higher tier,… or to visit SC stations at off-peak times.

        • Mike

          Joe,
          I like your idea of an algorithm identifying an apartment/condo dweller by pattern of use of a single supercharger.
          The tier system got me to thinking of my RCAF days (been retired 10 years) when flight planning for trips from Southern Domestic Airspace (southern Canada, all USA) to the Euro-Control region https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurocontrol. When the supercharger system and in-vehicle navigation system is sufficiently developed, one will (indirectly) “flight-plan” a trip and gain “slot-times” for when one will be able to seamlessly plug into a supercharger with no wait in line. The in vehicle navigation system may “slow you down” or “speed you up” (within legal and safety protocols) to arrive at your slot just as the person ahead of you is departing.
          Sounds like an air traffic control type of scenario for sure, but the software logic already exists….no need to re-invent the wheel.
          Early days and exciting times ahead. Cheers.Mike.

          • Bob_Wallace

            On a moderately long trip, something like 350 miles, the system might send you to a Supercharger after you’ve driven 100 miles for a quick top up. That would give you the extra charge you need to get to your destination and move your SC use to the middle of the morning when demand was low.

            On a really busy travel day those who schedule their trip last may find that they will have to start early (6 am) or late (10 am) in order to have access to chargers.

            Wait to the last minute and the most convenient trains and planes are booked out.

  • J.H.

    I think the question here is what are the other EV manufactures going to do?

  • Your plan doesn’t work for urban areas, where the vast majority of apartments and condo complexes have parking spaces without circuit access.

    • Joe Viocoe

      Yes, his plan works.
      Those people can still use superchargers… but not for free. They pay. They would have had to pay for gasoline anyway.

      • The plan works, literally, but it also works as a deterrent to Tesla cars for those people.

        • Joe Viocoe

          yeah… my Schedule Model plan (see above) makes it just as cheap for apt/condo dwellers… but if prioritizes long distance travel.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Perhaps not right now but apartments and condos will likely get outlets for charging. Two California utilities (PG&E and SoCal Edison) have put up several million dollars to assist with installing charge outlets in apartment and workplace parking lots. IIRC Edison was aiming for 30,000 new park and charge outlets.

      Makes big sense for the utilities. New markets for them and markets large enough that they should replace market loss to end-user solar and efficiency.

      • That’s fantastic, but it will take a long, long time being familiar with both companies. I fully expect the today’s number of Model 3 pre-orders to be delivered before that 30,000 number is hit.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Over 50% of all US drivers have an available outlet where they park, most at home but some at work. That’s over 125 million potential Tesla buyers. There no market limit.

          • That’s great. Now what’s the percentage of drivers is available outlets that live in major urban areas? In large cities, the number you cite drops significantly, as a larger percentage of people live in apartments or condos that don’t give them access to power outlets.

          • Bob_Wallace

            What’s the percentage of people in cities that own cars compared to the ‘burbs and countryside?

            This is a pretty much meaningless drilling down into details. At least half of all drivers can buy an EV and plug it in. We don’t yet have the production ability to furnish 1% of all drivers with an EV.

            Over the coming years we’ll see more EVs on the road. Many of the places that don’t have a charging outlet will get one. And a few people might visit a public charger every week or so and charge up.

            As for apartments, a place to plug in will become necessary over time. Apartment managers will find their units harder to rent as the ICEV owner pool shrinks. Places with a charge outlet will rent faster and probably for a bit more money.

          • Considering that the majority of the population lives in major cities, I don’t see the details as “meaningless” like you do.

            If anything, the terms “over the coming years” and “over time” are meaningless. Rewiring a large apartment building’s parking garage to give electric access to every tenant would take over a decade in major cities.

            Out of curiosity, where do you live? And have you lived in any large cities?

          • Bob_Wallace

            The move to EVs will not happen overnight. People who have places to charge will be the first owners to purchase EVs. There are far, far enough of them at the moment.

            Over time charge outlets will be installed for others. We’re already seeing outlets charged in parking lots and parking garages. We’re already seeing charge outlets installed along streets.

            .

          • “The move to EVs will not happen overnight.” — Who said otherwise?

            “People who have places to charge will be the first owners to purchase EVs.” — Obviously.

            “There are far, far enough of them at the moment.” — According to whom? That’s a wonderfully complacent attitude to have while the environment continues to be damaged by excessive use of fossil fuels.

            Your last paragraph is again obvious and pointless.

          • Bob_Wallace

            There are over 200 million cars on the roads in the US. If over 50% have a place to charge then “There are far, far enough of them at the moment.” – more than 100 million potential buyers.

            Are you a serious questioner or trolling?

          • Bob_Wallace

            There are over 200 million cars on the roads in the US. If over 50% have a place to charge then “There are far, far enough of them at the moment.” – more than 100 million potential buyers.

            Are you a serious questioner or trolling?

          • I question your logic. You’re badly confusing your numbers and coming to dubious conclusions. You said 50 percent of drivers have access to electrical outlets. That number has nothing to do with 200-million cars on the road. There are more cars in urban areas. Some drivers own multiple cars. The way you try to use numbers is primitive. You also ignored my numbers and never answered my question. I can only conclude that you’re ignorant to the realities of urban living.

          • Bob_Wallace

            What a waste….

          • You have no point. Got it. Thanks!

  • winfield100

    did you think out the 50-100 mile one? I could take 2 hours to drive from Washington DC suburbs to Delaware, supercharge for an hour or so, drive back using at least 1/2 the electricity i gained and waste 5 hours at least. somefolks will game the system, others will think and decide otherwise. what is your time worth?

    • Joe Viocoe

      Nobody is going to do that, even if using a local SC costs 50 cents / kwh. Is $30 really worth it for people to spend 3 hours? Not really.

  • Ivor O’Connor

    Average mileage per year: 13,474
    Tesla Model 3 mileage: .31kWh/mile
    Electricity cost: 11c/kWh
    Half the Model 3 owners will likely need to use the SC 100% of time. So how much will it cost to keep a model 3

    ==> So it will be costing Tesla about $229/yr for just the electricty on each Model 3 they sell. Now figure in the cost of the land and equipment.

    • Joe Viocoe

      I’d assume the $2000 per vehicle is still applicable. So every Model 3 owner has essentially “prepaid” for almost 9 years of electricity, if they use it 100% of the time as you calculate. While the other half, prepaid for more years of electricity, and paid for land and equipment and maintenance too.

      It is not like Tesla is paying for everything out of some separate pot of money… they rely on baking costs into the sales.

      • Ivor O’Connor

        I think it was $2500 for 8 years. http://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0001/5660/products/supercharger1_1024x1024.jpg?v=1380852481

        And how come the superchargers don’t look anything like in their photos?
        http://shop.teslamotors.com/products/enable-supercharging

        You are right though, the $2500 baked into the cost more than covers the eight years.

        • neroden

          Tesla found that the solar canopies created a permitting thicket because they were above the height limit in a number of jurisdictions, so they postponed them. 😛

      • Bob_Wallace

        My guess is that Tesla needs one SC bay per 100 EVs. That’s $200,000 of which about $20,000 pays for the bay.

        $180,000 would buy a lot of solar or wind farm and the output would furnish electricity well after most of the cars had gone to the crusher.

        We’re moving toward $1/watt solar. $150,000 of the $180k would install 150 kW of panels. At 4.5 solar hours average per day that’s 246,375 kWh per year. 2,463 kWh per Tesla. At 0.3 miles per kWh that’s over 8,000 miles.

        Given that most Teslas are likely use the SC for a few hundred miles per year there would be a lot of power available for the high use drivers. In fact, one ‘vacation driver’ would probably furnish enough extra to cover one ‘13,000 miles per year charger’.

        • Joe Viocoe

          I calculated 75 a while back.

          • Bob_Wallace

            My thinking is that on the busiest driving day of the year (day before Thanksgiving or Christmas?) no more than 5 in 100 cars are going to drive ~500 miles. Between 11 am and 2 pm a SC bay could give 5 ‘lunchtime’ charges

            I would imagine Tesla has actual numbers. However long range driving might increase with lower priced Teslas. The people driving the higher priced versions might be more likely to fly than drive.

  • Peter Marcus

    Just make charging never free (except for people who already paid their life-time supercharging fee). If you make it, as you said, cost peak electricity rates, then anyone who can charge at home, overnight, will. Then, more areas should have a lower non-peak rate for night-time charging. My town does not have that.

  • Ivor O’Connor

    If I remember correctly Musk said he’ll be putting in more chargers in areas where there are more owners. I think his idea is many Model 3 owners will be living in areas that won’t have garages and will need to use the SC as their only method of charging. As such the chargers can no longer be free or access to SC when buying the car needs to be increased. I hope he changes to a pay as you use paradigm. And then starts building where there is the highest demand. So that it is profitable for him to build. Otherwise it will be unfair for those who rarely use the SCs. Worse yet it will be a mess at the SC centers because they will always be crowded. Though it would be fun in a way to see constant news about fights breaking out at SC centers.

    • Brunel

      Otherwise it will be a case of people who do not drive much subsidising those who do.

  • onesecond

    I like your radius model, sounds reasonable.

  • Keith Johnston

    i don’t think EVs will be cheaper than ICE in the long run as manufacturers and governments will seek to recoup their revenues. It is naive to think otherwise unless you have your own off-grid charging system. The market will then determine the optimum product and price mix according to demand and technology.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Your opinion runs counter to that in the large research organizations that work through the numbers.

      In a major 2013 analysis, “Global EV Outlook: Understanding the Electric Vehicle Landscape to 2020,” the International Energy Agency estimated that electric vehicles would achieve cost parity with internal combustion engine vehicles when battery costs hit $300 per kWh of storage capacity.

      http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/04/13/3646004/electric-car-batteries-price/

      http://www.iea.org/publications/globalevoutlook_2013.pdf

      “The single most important factor in achieving a compelling and affordable mass-market BEV [battery electric vehicle] is its relative cost,” Nykvist and Nilsson wrote. “It is commonly understood that the cost of battery packs needs to fall to below US$150 per kWh in order for BEVs to become cost-competitive on par with internal combustion vehicles.”

      http://arstechnica.com/science/2015/07/electric-vehicle-batteries-are-getting-cheaper-much-faster-than-we-expected/

      “The tipping point for the mass market to move from internal combustion engines to EVs is between $US250 and$US300/kWh. Once it gets to $US100/kWh, it is all over. I think we will get to $US250/kWh by 2020. By 2030, when batteries are at $100/kWh, gasoline vehicles will be obsolete. Not on their way out, obsolete,” said Mr. Seba to RENew Economy, while noting that he thinks that “mass migration” to EVs will start between 2018 to 2020.

      http://insideevs.com/at-100kwh-it-is-all-over-for-the-internal-combustion-engine-energy-expert/

      GM will be paying LG Chem $145/kWh for their Bolt batteries. The Panasonic/Tesla cells are expected to cost less.

      Governments don’t have much investment to recoup. And they have no control over car prices. Manufacturers may start selling EVs at a premium if demand is high (like it has been for Teslas). But as more brands come to market competition will push prices down.

      EVs should hit purchase price parity somewhere around 2020 and then become cheaper to produce.

    • Ivor O’Connor

      Remember most governments have been subsidizing the petroleum market for nearly a hundred years. Governments like to get into the middle of things. It’s truly naive to think otherwise.

  • ROBwithaB

    The “problem” isn’t really about electrons. It’s about time.
    Congestion happens because the cars are plugged in for 30-60 minutes at a time. If you could get a faster throughput of vehicles, you could obviously get away with far fewer superchargers. Hence the push towards faster charging.
    The other thing that will solve the problem is a greater geographical distribution of chargers. If supercharger stations are placed at more regular intervals, it is a lot less likely that any particular car will arrive at any particular charging station actually NEEDING a charge.
    Because statistics and stuff.

    • Ivor O’Connor

      True. If there were no home charging we would need every petro station to be replaced with a SC center. Actually since the average charge time at a SC center is probably 50 minutes and the refill time at a petro station is 5 minutes it could be argued there needs to be 10x SC centers for every existing petro center.

  • Bob_Wallace

    In some utility districts it’s against the law for secondary sales of electricity. Drivers could not be charged on a kWh basis.

    • Joe Viocoe

      Yeah… but spaces can be charged at time rates. And since SC operate within a band of power output… easy enough to do. And it penalizes loiterers too.

  • markogts

    Well, another possibility is a fixed amount of kWh for free. Say 400kWh/2000km free SC, for the average Joe summer and winter holiday. If you want more, you pay.

  • Necro Nomaken

    I wouldn’t care about the cost, i would care about the time it takes to charge. You gimme a super charger in my home and i’ll pay the electricity.

    • Brunel

      I doubt a house can extract more than 50kW from the grid.

      I wonder how thick the connection is from the grid to the house.

      • Bob_Wallace

        The standard these days is a 200 amp service for residences. That works out to about 48 kW.

        There’s more power at the road if someone wants to pay for a larger wire.

      • Necro Nomaken

        Typical house circuit breaker is 100 amps, so with 240 volts, that’s 24kW’s. Some houses have 200 amp circuit breakers, so 48. If we could convince the power company to run a few more lines down, it’d be doable, but yeah, to provide every home with a super charger, they’d need to retrofit the entire power grid.

        • The assumption you all are making is that the SC has to draw power directly from the grid.

          A reasonable solution would be to use the grid *and* a Tesla powerwall together allowing for a charge rate beyond what the domestic power service could do on its own and at the same time minimizing the number of powerwall’s you’d need.

          • Ivor O’Connor

            You would need several powerwalls to make this workable. That may cost more than alternative solutions.

          • Joe Viocoe

            The Powerwall does store energy… but you’ll need a whole lot to get up to 60 kwh. Like 10 of them.

            Also, they were designed for the relatively low power needs of a home,… no where near 120 KW. So again… about 10 of them might do it.

  • Brunel

    What is the situation with competing CHAdeMO chargers.

    Are they free to use.

    • Kyle Field

      Here in Southern California, CHAdeMO and SAE Combo are ~$10/30 minute session.

      • neroden

        Completely reasonable way to do it. Tesla could even undercut them by charging $5/30 minutes and it would still be enough of a deterrent. (While also being way cheaper than gasoline.)

    • Steven F

      Some are free, some are not, Just guessing but based on what I have seen most charge for the electricity used to charge the vehicle.

  • Brunel

    People buy BMW 5 series and 7 series with a diesel engine to save on the fuel bill.

    A lot of rich people are stingy.

    Hell, a lot of rich people refuse to get their kids vaccinated!

    How about that for illogical behaviour.

    • Kyle Field

      We see Teslas camping out at superchargers all the time here in southern california…so same thing. But there’s nothing like giving an illogical selfish cheapskate a solid whack to the sensitive parts, eh? 😀

    • Ivor O’Connor

      I don’t find it illogical.

      • Brunel

        What

        • Ivor O’Connor

          All three of the points you made have logical counter arguments of justifications that are logical in certain scenarios.

    • Michael B

      Don’t get us started on the vaccination issue!!

  • neroden

    For reference, Tesla will probably *never* charge for power. In many states it’s illegal to “sell electricity” without a massive collection of very expensive licenses.

    As a result, if Tesla does start charging a fee to deter overuse, it will be either a flat fee ($X per charging session) or a per-hour fee (like a parking meter).

    Since the problem is congestion, I support a per-hour fee, like a parking meter. Deterring “hogs” from occupying parking spaces forever is what parking meters are *for*.

    This is what Tesla should do. Supercharging — still free for life. But if you want to actually get into that crowded parking lot? You have to pay.

    The most overcrowded Superchargers are in big cities where parking is extremely expensive anyway. They should charge the going rate for parking.

    The Superchargers in rural areas where parking is free can remain entirely free.

    • Brunel

      Good point. Tesla can charge $10/hour for parking. So people who live in apartments can still buy a Tesla.

    • Steven F

      “In many states it’s illegal to “sell electricity” without a massive collection of very expensive licenses.”

      A lot of private Businesses have installed chargers in there parking lots. These chargers are typically own by another company and they typically charge for electricity.

      I don’t think many states have such a law. based on the wide spread level 1 and level 2 installations of chargers across the US.

      • Brunel

        Tesla could probably lobby the crazy states to make an exemption for EVs.

        Or call it a sale of data rather than a sale of electrons.

      • neroden

        The businesses didn’t get the licenses to sell electricity. Chargepoint, or Blink, or whoever, got the licenses to sell electricity.

        Most of them *don’t* actually charge per kwh.

    • Ivor O’Connor

      They are not selling electricity per se. They are recharging your battery. There are already many CHAdeMO and SAE charging centers that do this. However I’m sure the Tesla haters would try to use your argument to stop Tesla from expanding.

  • Craig Allen

    I wonder what percentage of drivers live in a residence where they are able to install a charger? As the cars become more affordable that proportion will presumably grow.

    • Bob_Wallace

      According to a survey by the Union of Concerned Scientists over 50% (54%?) of all US drivers now have an available outlet where they park. Most of them are home locations but some are workplace.

      It’s hard to say how many will be able to install outlets. Some apartment and workplace parking lots are having outlets installed. At least two utilities (PG&E and SoCal Edison) have put up significant money to assist with adding parking lot charging.

      I’d guess less than 20% of all cars are parked along streets at night. We may need curbside parking (posts or wireless) for them. Or they could charge at a Supercharger site. For a 13,000 mile driver it would mean charging about 6x a month.

      As solar installations grow I expect to see a big push for work/school charging. EVs can be a great dispatchable load that can be used to smooth out supply/demand problems.

      • Kyle Field

        Underlying this is the fact that Superchargers are not supposed to be for daily driving. That’s what makes me believe local charging should cost money…for folks who legitimately want to / need to charge locally…now they can, in a reasonable amount of time, at a reasonable cost.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Why is Tesla talking about putting SCs in city centers?

          • Kyle Field

            They aren’t just talking about it, they’re doing it. Colorado Springs SC is downtown in the city structure.
            To me, that means they are looking at it differently now…but they aren’t quite at the scale where they can reasonably say they are for ever day charging.
            Headed there, probably. There today, nope.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Kyle, have you played with the math for providing unlimited charging for all? Especially if Tesla invests in wind and solar farms to produce the electricity.

          Give it a try. I have and it looks to me like the cost is not high.

          Use realistic numbers for the percentage would would charge 1x or 2x daily (a very small number), the percentage who might do all their charging on a SC, and the percentage who might never use a SC.

          I really get the feeling that you guys who are talking about limiting use and how Tesla can’t provide free charging for all are not making your guesses based on analysis but the seat of your pants.

          • Kyle Field

            I’m only talking about limited use now because we are in startup mode. The ramp up spike will be painful if not managed perfectly…which is hard to do.
            I haven’t played with those numbers but like the concept…I’ll take a whack at it.

    • Brunel

      You mean unable?

  • Ronald Brakels

    This radius model seems pretty nifty. I’d also suggest an incentive to shift charging from busy to quite periods to prevent superchargers getting clogged during periods of high demand.

    And if some people are going to have to pay to use use superchargers, rather than for time spent charging, it should be for time parked at a supercharger. Or at least during busy periods it should be.

    • neroden

      It should absolutely be for time spent parked. Because that’s the actual problem — blocking the spaces. Not the electricity.

      • Kyle Field

        I’m on board with this. That’s how the L3 chargers work and it seems to keep them unblocked and available. I also like models that ratchet up over time…so the first 30 minutes are free, minutes 30-60 are $.25/min, 60-90 are $.50/min etc.

    • Joe Viocoe

      See my proposed scheduled charging model above.

  • Mike

    If your Tesla VIN is attached to an address that Google Earth shows/proves it has a private driveway and/or garage, the Tesla VIN will have its supercharger use monitored via a to-be-determined algorithm (TBDA).

    If the TBDA figures the VIN is being charged regularly by various local to the home address superchargers, the owner is told (via the Internet of things) that progressive supercharger use becomes longer (to attain the same rate of charge as a standard use would be).

    Upon ignoring the situation after three more uses, the fourth supercharger use (by a supercharger deemed by the TBDA to be local) is slower than a level 2 charger.

    Abuse stops because there is no time advantage gained by continuing to use the local to home supercharger.

    VINs located at condos, apartments and any other domicile that does not have private grid access are free to use the local to home superchargers.

    Not perfect, but a start.

    • Joe Viocoe

      See my proposed scheduled charging model above.

      I would rather not have the privacy implication of such location data gathering. Also, error prone since it assumes parking location can easily be powered, that you always park at the VIN’s registered address, etc.

      Throttling as a disincentive is not good, as it keeps abusers taking up the stall for longer. Nobody wins.

  • Mike Dill

    I believe that Kyle has the right idea here. With a model 3, I should be able to buy a 20 or 50 charge ‘ticket’ that I can apply to my car for the occasional road trip or vacation.

    • Bob_Wallace

      IMO the Mod 3 should come with enough annual free charges for the typical driver who has an outlet for charging where they park.

      Sell two levels of annual passes. One for the person who has no place to charge when parked and needs to use the chargers about six times a month. And a “as much as you want” for high use owners such as taxis.

      I’d rather see the Mod 3 priced so that it’s unlimited charging for all. I don’t think that would really add all that much to the cost of the car.

      • Mike Dill

        I agree. twenty charges should get you back and forth to your relatives or vacation a few times a year. Using the network more than that should incur some charge. If you want unlimited charging you should be able to pay up-front for it, but it may be at the ‘taxi’ rate.

        A taxi cab may put on 100K miles per year, and charge two or three times daily. That would be about $6K for the annual electric bill, but still less than half the cost of petrol.

        • Bob_Wallace

          As of 2012, in the United States: the total number of taxicab drivers is 233,900. Given that many drivers share taxis the number of vehicles may be half that or less. Let’s call it 150,000 in order to be overly safe.

          There were an estimated 255.8 million registered passenger vehicles in the United States in 2013. That means that one out of every 1,705 cars is a taxi.

          Even if taxis charged a couple times a day they probably wouldn’t increase the average annual electricity use enough to be noticeable.

          Think of the advertising value of having all those different people get a Tesla experience by simply standing at the curb and waving their arm.

          • ROBwithaB

            Those ownership ratios are likely to change. Once the technologies align to enable more efficient utilisation of existing vehicles (e.g. Uber, autonomy) one can anticipate that “taxis”(including many different models of car and ride sharing) will become much more common. In fact, we’re already seeing this starting to happen…

            Tesla, or any other network operator, could actually make a tidy profit off these vehicles, as long as they can be encouraged to charge off-peak. They would help to subsidise the rapid rollout of new charging stations. Let them charge at the marginal rate (i.e. electricity cost) plus a small premium whenever there are empty bays.
            However, one can expect them to be very price-sensitive customers. Depending on battery size, also very sensitive to charging time. If they need to sit idle to charge for half an hour twice a day, that’s a lot of potential income they’re missing out on.
            If I were building up an electric “taxi” fleet in a few years’ time, I’d be shopping around very aggressively for charging packages from the network operators.

          • Mike Dill

            If I was building a ‘taxi fleet’ for the future I would build a lot of superchargers for my fleet to make sure that they could stay on the road and not wait for chargers.

          • Eric Lukac-Kuruc

            Calling a Tesla taxi is already common in Amsterdam.

            http://cleantechnica.com/2014/10/21/amsterdam-airport-enlists-167-tesla-taxis/

          • Mike Dill

            Call me old fashioned. I believe everyone should pay their fair share.
            For the model S and X, the price of the supercharge network is built into the price of the vehicle. If supercharging ‘sessions’ becomes an add-on for the model 3 I, and most people, will not mind, if it keeps the price down.

      • Carl Raymond S

        There’s no need for any blunt instruments here. Nobody needs to sit in an office at Tesla doing spreadsheets. X free, then $Y per charge. Billing can be 100% automated. The cars know when they are being charged. The cars talk to mothership. Tesla has your credit card. It’s all ready to go. A week’s work for one of their hotshot developers.

        • Bob_Wallace

          There’s no question that billing could be done with very minimal effort. The question is whether charging will or will not be free for all Teslas. We’ll have to wait for Tesla to tell us.

          • Carl Raymond S

            Given the number of orders (they can afford the odd cancellation), and the way it was covered at the unveiling (“supercharging capability”, not “supercharging included”), and the speed at which Model 3 (higher proportion of Uber drivers and flat dwellers) will match existing models with numbers, I will be shocked if there isn’t some pay-for-excess-use model.

    • Charles

      But if you only pay a tiny amount for a certain period of time, there will be overload when everyone want to use them at the same time (before and after long weekends, Christmas/Easter, etc) If they had ~$2000 upfront (either an optional extra with the vehicle, or a token amount from each sale from higher spec vehicles where it is included) they could build out the network in advance. The network needs to be built to cope with peak demand, since a queue at a supercharger is extremely bad PR and can easily add an hour or more to a trip.
      It’s not the energy that is the big cost – it’s the construction of the sites.

      • Carl Raymond S

        Tesla seem quite at home carrying debt. Can’t see that the interest on superchargers under construction is going to trouble them. People using a bay 200 times a year rather than 20 – I think that will trouble them.

      • Bob_Wallace

        What’s your guess as to how many Teslas out of 100 might be driving ~500 miles on the busiest travel day of the year? I guess 5.

        During lunchtime, 11 am to 2 pm a Supercharger bay could charge 5 EVs (30 minutes each plus some switchover time). One Supercharger bay per 100 EVs.

        Cost of a Supercharger bay seems to be less than $20,000. If the ratio is 1:100 then the cost per car comes to $200.

        At some point Tesla may need to add scheduling to their system so that cars can charge without long waiting time.

        As autonomous driving becomes the norm cars can simply drive out of the bay when charged and the next car drive itself in.

      • ROBwithaB

        You are right in saying that the infrastructure cost is more germane to the problem than the electricity cost.
        The solution is to utilise the network more efficiently, by giving drivers incentives to charge “off-peak” or at less-frequented sites.

        Relatively small changes to pricing structures can lead to big differences in behaviour.

        • Charles

          Tesla owners are already being asked to slightly adjust their schedule to allow for fewer charging locations than typical petrol refuelling stations, and to allow for the 20-40 minute typical charging stop instead of a 5 minute refuelling.
          They have, in general, been pretty happy with this, but I think further restrictions as to where and when they can (or should) charge may be pushing it a little to far.
          Talking of pricing structures is a little premature – bear in mind they don’t have a pricing structure at all at the moment, or a billing system, and developing one is just another cost they would need to recoup.

          • ROBwithaB

            The existing owners would obviously need to be “grandfathered” in to the “unlimited and free” protocol.
            I was thinking more along the lines of the Model 3 owners.
            They would be able to select a “free” bundle when they purchase the car, that would entail almost zero inconvenience to the average user with home/work charging.
            To those with no convenient home or work charging, there would be only a small inconvenience, requiring them to perhaps make a trip to the local mall in the evening, once or twice a week. With the prospect of free fuel for life, I suspect many people would be prepared to make such small sacrifices.
            For anyone not prepared to make any sacrifices, they could purchase a “bundle” that suits their specific usage pattern.

      • Mike Dill

        I feel that if you can plan, then you can find the off-peak charging time. The software will tell you where open supercharger locations are, so there should not be much of a problem. Tesla is building out the network, although it may not be fast enough based on the reservations for the Model 3.

  • JamesWimberley

    It’s untrue that every unpriced good leads to abuse. A typical hotel breakfast is an all-you-can eat buffet: people have finite appetites. A few people get drunk at weddings, but a minority. The tragedy of the commons strictly speaking arises when the incentives create a positive feedback loop: overfishing leads to higher prices for fish, so it does not pay to stop. Charging for things also creates often unacknowledged problems: administrative overhead (compare US and British health care), speculation, and conspicuous consumption.

    • Ernie

      Very insightful!

    • Brunel

      I use McDonald’s drive thru and pay $3-5 with PayPass so Tesla can do the same with supercharging.

      • Carl Raymond S

        No pass is even required. The cars know when they are being supercharged. The cars talk to Tesla. Tesla has your credit card. All the pieces exist.

        • Brunel

          Why does Tesla have the credit card details for…for the 4G data usage?

          • Carl Raymond S

            I don’t know if they do, but Tesla is offering the service – they make the rules. If people don’t like the rules, they will vote with their feet (or wheels, as is the case).

            There is hardly a car in Sydney that hasn’t given the Tollways people their CC details. The model is well established.

          • Brunel

            I do not think Tesla will outsell BYD or Nissan.

            And then there is the electric motorcycle market in Vietnam, South Asia, Indonesia.

          • Mike Dill

            The Tesla ‘goal’ is that the world gets off of fossil fuels. If BYD owns a majority of the electric car market Tesla, or at least Elon Musk, will be happy for them.

        • ROBwithaB

          Individual micro-transactions with separate billing don’t make a lot of sense.
          I foresee a situation of contracted monthly “bundles”, much like cellphone airtime bundles. As long as you remain under your threshold of “free” monthly minutes, you tend not to even look at the bill.

          • Carl Raymond S

            That’s exactly what I was thinking, but I’ve noticed comprehension varies inversely with word count.

          • Brunel

            I am on prepaid for my mobile phone.

          • ROBwithaB

            Many people prefer not to be bound by a monthly contract, and any system should cater to them too.
            Even with prepaid airtime, one buys “bundles”. The idea of prepaid bundles of charging would be similar.
            But can you imagine being billed individually for every single call and text? Sounds like an administrative nightmare.

            How is the prepaid bundle structured on your mobile? Do you get a certain amount of minutes of call time as well as defined number of texts and megabytes data? Do the numbers change according to time of use? For instance, here in SA, one can get prepaid bundles that allow for “free” calls between midnight and 5am. I think texts are much cheaper at those times too.

            The whole idea is to avoid congestion on the network. And to do it in a way that doesn’t require a complicated an expensive series of micro-transactions, with all the customer interface this implies.

          • Brunel

            I am on Vodafone AU prepaid and the recharge lasts 30 days.

            Petrol stations have been selling petrol for decades.

            So if you want 5 litres, you swipe your card, enter your pin, put the nozzle in the tank and put in 5L.

            Electrons can be sold in $2 chunks.

            There is no problem.

          • ROBwithaB

            Yeah, the current petrol station model works just fine.
            Except if you actually own a petrol station.
            Land values in high traffic areas are expensive, leading to high rentals. Infrastructure costs are huge. Margins are small. You’re expected to provide a 24 hour service, but most of the time there are no customers to cover your overheads. In practice, it is often the convenience store that generates most of the profits. But individual transactions are small, so there’s a higher proportion of each transaction that goes to cover the flat fee of the credit card company.

            Whilst there is no actual “problem” with the model you suggest, it is not optimal, and does not solve the congestion problem. Tesla is committed to providing charging for an entire fleet of electric cars numbering in the millions. If they could spread out the load, they would only need perhaps 1,000 chargers. If they decide to have a charger available for every single car on that one Sunday afternoon of a holiday weekend, they’ve got a problem.
            At this point, the cost of building out the network is substantially more onerous than the cost of the electrons. So the main challenge is not in finding ways to make money on the sale of electrons (Tesla has noted that the cost of electricity is “immaterial”). The main challenge is to limit congestion of the available superchargers, by encouraging people to use the existing chargers during off-peak times.

            I don’t have a crystal ball. Perhaps they’ll simply have credit card swiping facilities at every charge point. I personally doubt that that’s the way they’ll do it. Transaction costs are high. Even if they bypassed the credit card companies and the cellphone networks and simply used their own virtual Tesla currency, I foresee problems with a COD type payment system.
            Time will tell….

          • Brunel

            There is a petrol station near me that is not open 24×7.

            There is no obligation to open 24×7.

            Nor is there an obligation to provide a tyre inflating facility. Ditto windscreen cleaning water.

            Tesla need to think about how people will inflate tyres and clean windscreens.

          • neroden

            I say Tesla will locate the Superchargers inside paid parking garages run by others, thus giving someone else the payment problem…

          • David Taylor

            Or just provide longer cords so they can park further away and will not inconvenience others trying to charge. It’s not that hard to make six plugs for every charger and charge the least charged vehicle first/in tandem with the next least charged vehicle…

    • Shane 2

      Someone who has their car parked more than 3 hours in a supercharger spot should pay for being a jerk. Have them towed out of the space clamp them and make them pay big bucks to get the clamp taken off.

      • David Taylor

        Meant to post here…Or just provide longer cords so they can park further away and will not inconvenience others trying to charge. It’s not that hard to make six plugs for every charger and charge the least charged vehicle first/in tandem with the next least charged vehicle…

    • ROBwithaB

      Yes.
      The whole “tragedy of the commons” concept is frequently oversimplified.
      The one “law” that one can bank on in economics is the law of unintended consequences. Tesla has a LOT of data relating to charging behaviour. I have no doubt that, armed with this data, they will be able to design a workable situation.

      Perhaps something like “bundles” of monthly charging capacity, similar to the carefully structured airtime bundles that cellphone providers use to entice customers.
      The basic bundle is free, and gets you 100kWh of supercharging per month, anywhere, anytime. Plus an additional 400 kWh of “road trip” charging per year, using superchargers at least 100 km from home.
      The second bundle is also free, and it gets you 200kWh a month, but you’re only allowed 50 during peak times. (Certain hours per day, published in advance and subject to change with a month’s notice.)
      The third bundle is also free, but you’re limited in terms of how many times you can charge per month at any one station. Or perhaps certain high-volume stations are completely off limits to you.
      Then you can also purchase bundles that allow up to 500kWh or 800kWh or 1,000kWh, or even unlimited “free” charging per month.
      Much like cellphone contracts, users can always “upgrade” to a different package if their needs change.
      In the rare instance that someone exceeds their allotted bundle of “free” monthly electrons, any additional charging minutes (or kWh) are charged at the retail rate plus a slight penalty for the additional administrative hassle.
      The car starts letting you know that you are approaching your charging limit. It might let you get away with it once or twice with no penalty other than warnings on the screen. After that, you need to start paying the additional penalty rate. You could always have a Tesla account of virtual Tesla dollars that you top up from time to time.

      Basically, you want to provide incentives for people to utilise the existing infrastructure more efficiently. And disincentives to clog up the network at congested nodes or times. Instead of having millions of overly complicated individual billing transactions based on time-of-use pricing, you have one transaction per vehicle, at purchase. And then occasional top-ups and modifications as use patterns change over the life of the car.

      One does not need to re-invent the wheel. The mobile phone network operators have already worked out how to do this.
      The connectivity of the car is what makes this system possible. Existing petrol filling stations are terribly inefficiently utilised. They are over-built, to handle the rush-hour peaks. Most of the time, they sit almost empty. And a few times a year there are long queues. Very wasteful.

      Public supercharging will always be very cheap if the networks can ensure effective utilisation of the infrastructure. Tesla has the right basic idea, now they just need to tweak the system a bit to spread the load.
      And improve coverage.

    • Peter Marcus

      I think all-you-can-eat buffets are actually a great example. My sister was saying in Florida she saw people taking entire plates of king crab legs. And she asked for a smaller piece of steak, and the chef said that was the first time anyone has asked for that.

    • Burnerjack

      If the overhead and cost of free supercharging wasn’t built into the purchase price of the vehicle, well, that leads me to believe Elon isn’t quite the businessman he should be, despite being a visionary.

  • dfgsdgdgsdf

    save $3 in electricity at home is not a logical behavior for someone driving a $100,000

    fu&% tesla you promised free and i will charge whenever and whereever i want

    • Graphite Gus

      … and that is why they are going to start charging for charging

      • Bob_Wallace

        You’re fibbin’, Gus.

      • Ronald Brakels

        I’m guessing you mean new users and not people who have been promised and paid for free supercharging for the life of their vehicles.

        • Mike Dill

          I think Tesla will honor the ‘free’ supercharge language for the S and the X. To bring the price down on the 3, they may need to make that a separate item.

        • Graphite Gus

          if he charges new users, he will create second class citizens. maybe he’ll say “frequent users go to the back of the line” its free if you are will to wait an extra hour. or “if you are within 50 miles of your house, and you have enough juice to get home”
          i see weasel words coming

          • Ronald Brakels

            CUSTOMER: I’d like to buy a Tesla 3 with free supercharging.
            TESLA: Sorry, this model doesn’t come with free supercharging.
            CUSTOMER: Now I know exactly what it feels like to be an indigenous Australian prior to 1962 or a non-white South African before 1994.
            TESLA: Second class citizenship now comes standard with every model 3.

          • David Taylor

            Uhhh, no. Comparing TRUE second class citizenry to #firstworldproblems isn’t even effing close. If you’re paying less than half the price of a model S, expect less free shit. It’s pretty simple.

    • Brunel

      More like $21.

      70kWh x $0.30 = $21.

      • Kyle Field

        Depends on the price of power…and how far they run down the battery. 26 mile avg round trip commute @ 3 mi/kWh = 9kWh @ $.15/kWh = $1.35. Should we talk exchange rates too? 😀 Quite a few variables up or down but I would be impressed if you could pull a solid 70 kWh battery.

        • Brunel

          Power is costly in California and Hawaii.

          Cannot blame Tesla drivers in Hawaii not charging at home!

          • neroden

            In the long run, the price of solar power will bring down the price of electricity. You can’t price the grid above the price of rooftop solar or everyone will go off-grid.

            The price of rooftop solar varies by location but it’s lower than the Hawaiian utility rates. Even when you add batteries, it’s lower than the Hawaiian utility rates…

    • jeffhre

      Yes! That is exactly the tragedy of the commons?

      Except you forgot “for as long as I want and no matter how many times I destroy the schedules of people on long trips and tight schedules – even though I have cheap charging available a few minutes away and am in no particular hurry to get anyplace, I’ll be the guy that messes up the whole system for everyone.”

      • ROBwithaB

        I’d be curious to find out the demographic overlap for this. Do older people have more time to kill?
        How much is the customer’s time worth? The lower that number, the more likely it is that they’ll be prepared to save a few bucks by abusing the supercharger network.
        This entire “free Tesla supercharging” challenge is a fascinating theoretical problem, that will no doubt become a textbook exercise for future students of economics.
        I trust that Tesla will get it right. They certainly have the resources. Low infrastructure cost and overheads, relative to fossil fuel (or worse, HYDROGEN) refuelling infrastructure. Flexibility (relatively easy to re-allocate transformers and chargers). Lots of hard data relating to the chargers themselves, the cars, and the behaviour of the people who drive them. And they certainly seem to have a firm grasp of economics.

        My money is on it all being a bit of an anti-climax. They will get by with far fewer superchargers than people imagine, I suspect.
        More workplace charging (a complete no-brainer). More destination charging. A denser geographic network, providing more options. Some (third party?) pay-to-use chargers. Bigger batteries. Faster charging. More efficient usage of existing infrastructure, by providing incentives to charge outside the defined rush hours.

        • Brunel

          It reminds me of the Tata Nano actually.

          I thought that 3rd world cities will be jam packed because of the $2500 car.

          But it turns out that Indians would rather buy a $2500 motorcycle.

          Call it a paradox. But that is the market.

        • RobertM

          If I had to guess I would actually bet the percentage would lean more to the younger owners over the older ones. Many older people don’t believe you get anything for free and would be more likely to understand someone has to pay for the power being used.

    • Burnerjack

      As a person who is a service provider, I find that the wealthier customers tend to ‘beat you down’ on price/terms. Not because they can’t afford the going rate, rather, it is an ego driven modus operandi which insists that anything less is for the less intelligent. ‘Money’ has nothing to do with it.
      Conversely, I find that (not without exception) the customers with less economic resources tend to make a point of ‘tipping’.
      You have otherwise valid points: 1) Logic is not at play here. Emotion is.
      2) If Tesla promised “free”, they need to deliver “free”. An obligation is an obligation.

      • neroden

        “As a person who is a service provider, I find that the wealthier customers tend to ‘beat you down’ on price/terms.”

        Part of this is “how do you think they got rich”?

        Some of them probably took the same approach in big business deals, and got rich as a result. By now they do it as a matter of habit. Others inherited from family members who taught them to do this.

        • Burnerjack

          I do agree and believe you are correct. But isn’t there a point where things put into proper context?
          I know of an entire town is KNOWN for this. Guess what? Everybody that deals with that town jacks it up 20% to knock off 10. If that doesn’t fly, no problem as the residents there are not worth the added aggravations. I know of one guy (my former boss) who had the full treatment until one day he stated “Ma’am, I am afraid I can no longer accept your business. Try as I might, I simply cannot meet your requirements and standards. I’m sorry, but you need to find someone else.”
          And her reply? “Oh no! You were the best I’ve ever found. Now what do I do?” Hilarious! I love that story.
          Wanting good service at a good price is one thing. But incessant demands, trying to cut someone’s margin until its not worth the effort, liability and general pain is quite another. I learned long ago to just give your price- take it or leave it. If it was worth it to me to do it cheaper, I would have made that known up front. But then, I don’t play well with others. Come to think of it, I don’t play at all.

  • Martin

    Does that problem exist only in the US or other places as well?
    For example in Canada there are only about 20.000 EV’s currently, but according to some of the utility’s there is enough capacity in the system for charging up to 50 % to over 75 % of the current car fleet. If/.then the current ICE fleet is turned into EV’s, the only problem may to have enough chargers, but those could be build faster then EV.s.

    There may have to be areas with heavy usage that would have to increase capacity in the form of large scale battery’s to store power form say overnight until daytime.

    One other way would be to speed the process to a more distributed energy system.

    • Mike Dill

      The problem in the US, Canada, and Australia is the distance between the coasts, and that you might go for two or three charges a day. In places, the infrastructure is not there yet for electric vehicle charging, but Tesla is putting a lot of it in place.

      • Carl Raymond S

        Do you mean East and West coast? Almost nobody drives coast to coast of Australia.

        • Mike Dill

          But if it was free you might think about it. Actually, there are vacant areas along the east or west coasts that are lacking in infrastructure, north to south distances can also build up quickly.

        • neroden

          The drive across the Nullarbor Plain is famous. I’ve seen movies about it. (Yeah, quite uncommon… but famous.)

          Tesla actually would be well advised to put Superchargers along that route just for the bragging rights. They would not be overcrowded.

          • Pete-In-Oz

            Certainly a great idea Neroden but I fear that any such initiative would unfortunately fall prey to vandalism in the longer term. However, real time video monitoring uplinked via satellite might overcome this potential problem as the vandals would have nowhere to hide out there because the Police would just need to be advised and wait for them at the nearest 1 horse villages along the way. But as Carl rightly states, not many people travel by road over those vast distances, but if they do, then they are normally grey nomads who are driving 4 wheels drives.

    • Brunel

      Electricity is very expensive in Australia so you would have even more people refusing to recharge at home.

      Plus more and more houses are going off-grid, so they can only recharge 10-20kWh per day at home.

      • ROBwithaB

        Workplace charging in the daytime makes a lot of sense.
        Let the government provide incentives to install solar arrays and charging bays. Win/win/win (except for the utilities).

        • Carl Raymond S

          Assumes a government not in cahoots with the utilities. May have to replace ‘Let’ with ‘Demand’.

          • ROBwithaB

            The cahoots thing is always going to be a problem when tectonic shifts are happening in the power base.
            Here in South Africa we have something called toyi-toyi.
            It works quite well to get the attention of elected officials. Especially if you have a mob of 100,000 doing it….

          • Carl Raymond S

            I had to youtube it – stirring stuff. Just don’t do it on a bridge or a grandstand.

          • ROBwithaB

            That end result might be called “unsympathetic resonance”.

      • Carl Raymond S

        When we purchased an EV in Sydney, I phoned the utility and negotiated a new rate in exchange for signing for two years. Power bill went down.

      • Pete-In-Oz

        G’day Brunel,

        I have access to free charging here in Canberra Australia, but we generally charge at home because my wife and I find it far more convenient as we only have a standard charge port on our vehicle. However, irrespective of this, our experience after owning our Outlander PHEV for more than 9 months now I can advise that we only spend approximately $40-45 / month on additional electricity charges from our grid supplier (i.e. we currently don’t have a solar on our rooftop but that’s now on the cards with the recent advent of storage systems now emerging).

        Now some might quibble about a $A40-$45 cost per month but I can assure you that this cost is nothing by comparison to our pre-PHEV fuel cost of ~$A3,500-$A4,200 p.a. In my opinion, the economics of an EV and charging at home far out way the cost and inconvenience of filling up with gasoline … and particularly so here in OZ where gasoline is ~$A1.20/Litre or $A4.50/US Gal. Ouch!

        For those in OZ that may potentially find themselves stranded in Canberra, and in need of an emergency charge, well you can find me on plugshare.com here: http://api.plugshare.com/view/location/85085. Given the time it might take to charge, I’ll even shout you a home made cappuccino while you wait 🙂

        • Brunel

          So kind of you!

          I think in India when lead-acid powered EVs were being sold, people made their own database of where they could be recharged – including each other’s garage?

          • Pete-In-Oz

            Indeed, this is what Plugshare is all about. I believe Tesla could adopt a similar approach so as to help reduce the burden on its super charger network (i.e. if they were to leverage a presumably larger installed base of home charging stations throughout the world so as to extend its ecosystem. If super charging ceased to be free for the masses (except for the early adopters who I believe unreservedly deserve free charging) then I think Tesla could offer some sort of credit based system (including accessing the SCs at no charge) to those new owners who openly offer up their home chargers to other Tesla owners. I guess the Plugshare system gives an inkling of how this might work.

    • Carl Raymond S

      I think the article is about provisioning sufficient charging bays, not provisioning sufficient energy. I’ve read elsewhere that more energy goes into producing the petroleum used by an ICE car than is used by an EV. Keeping the lights on isn’t the issue. It’s about preventing queues.

      • Martin

        Yes I agree, more charging bays are needed (all over the world) and my point was there is sufficient energy.
        Yes and Elon Musk stated in the past (I do not know when and who quoted him) ‘I we stop refining oil, we will have enough electricity’.
        And the cos of an EV – $ 30.000 to 100.000, cost of a charger, $ 1.000 level 1, $ 2.000 level 2, super charger $ 5.000 ?
        In places like Canada, most chargers are paid for by government.

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