With Model 3 on the horizon, Tesla is gently reshaping the way it talks about its public charging network. In the Model 3 unveiling event, Elon Musk mentioned that Tesla would be doubling the size of the current Supercharging network but quadrupling (4X!) the size of the Destination Charging program.
It may not have been a red flag to everyone listening in, but it is a huge statement about how Tesla is thinking about the Tesla public charging network in light of the insane volumes of Model 3s that will be on roads around the world in just a few years time.
To reflect this shift in a more intentional manner, Tesla swapped out “Supercharging” in the header of its website for “Charging.” It still maps to the Supercharger page, but on that page, Destination Charing takes a more prominent position, with a direct link in the header and a refreshed landing page for Destination Charging.
Supercharging vs Destination Charging
As Destination Charging is newer on the scene and the differences between it and Supercharging may not be clear to everyone, here’s a quick rundown of the big differences between the programs.
With Superchargers, Tesla pays for everything other than the land itself. That includes the purchase and installation of the Superchargers as well as the ongoing electricity fees, which can be significant, as charging EVs at high speeds can very quickly put the Supercharging station into higher usage tiers, incurring demand charges that add up quickly. Charging throughput can peak out around 175 amps. Imagine the usage spike from 10 Teslas pulling 100+ amps each:
Destination Charging is a network of chargers that Tesla pays for (the hardware) that are then installed and owned by the property owner. The property owner is then responsible for defining the terms and conditions for use of the chargers — for example, customers only, residents only, my wife — and for supplying the power. This is great for Tesla because the upfront cost of the hardware is relatively cheap, and the company gets to add another location to the ever-growing list of destination chargers in cars and online.
It’s also great for property owners, as they get added to an exclusive list of sites offering Tesla charging and can advertise Tesla charging as a service. On the flipside, they have to buck up the cash for the install and, obviously, ongoing usage charges for power. This seems like a no-brainer for most hotels, as the electricity used would likely be minimal relative to the number of new clients pulled in by the additional service of onsite charging.
I used this service during a recent trip down to Anaheim, staying where I did specifically due to the onsite charging. Charging speeds for Destination Chargers is typically from 30–50 amps, with 100 amp chargers being rare, as the extra capacity only really helps owners with the dual charger option.
A Push for Destination Charging
Given the much lighter upfront investment and absence of ongoing costs for Destination Charging to Tesla … other than running the website … it seems obvious that Tesla would make a larger effort to promote Destination Charging, and that’s exactly what we’re seeing now.
In support of the increases in public charging that will be required and committed over the next 2 years, Tesla is also looking across the pond and has now launched the Destination Charging program in Europe. This launch brings the value of this distributed, more granular network to all of the dedicated masses in Europe and offers a way for property owners in Europe to get in on the action by requesting and installing chargers on their property to support the rEVolution.
Tesla has also made visible changes in support of the effort to more intentionally promote Destination Charging, which we can see on the website. As Destination Charging is a “pull” program, Tesla has improved the visibility of the “request a charger” section of the page in support of the new push for Destination Charging.
Property owners in the US and Europe can now request a destination charger from the main Destination Charging page, down near the bottom. Whether it’s to selflessly promote EVs or to selfishly get on Tesla’s charging map early and get some free charging gear, it’s a great way to get a bit more familiar with EV culture and maybe even get to know a few EV drivers in the process. 🙂