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New Tesla Buyers Will Have To Pay To Use Superchargers (theverge.com) 174

Tesla has updated its Supercharging Network of free fast-charging stations. Customers who purchase Teslas after January 1st, 2017, will be required to pay "a small fee to Supercharge." The fee itself "will be charged incrementally and cost less than the price of filling up a comparable gas car." The Verge reports: Current Tesla owners with Supercharger-equipped cars will be able to use the stations for free for the life of those vehicles, and a Tesla spokesperson tells The Verge that the free charging will transfer to successive owners. Customers who buy Teslas after that January 1st cutoff will be afforded 400 kWh of free Supercharging credits each year, good for about 1,000 miles, according to Tesla. The company says it will release more details about the change later this year, but added that "prices may fluctuate over time and vary regionally based on the cost of electricity." "Our Supercharger Network will never be a profit center," the company wrote in a blog post about the change. Tesla says that, by losing less money on providing free electricity at these stations, that the fees will subsidize the continued expansion of the Supercharger network. The Superchargers allow for a full charge in about 75 minutes or a half charge in about -- much faster than the standard Level 1 or Level 2 chargers found around the U.S. -- and Tesla has built 734 Supercharger stations (with nearly 5,000 chargers) since the network was started in 2012.
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New Tesla Buyers Will Have To Pay To Use Superchargers

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  • by JoeyRox ( 2711699 ) on Monday November 07, 2016 @06:46PM (#53233251)
    That should almost cover the miles back and forth to the dealership for the higher-than-industry average service issues and recalls.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    The Superchargers allow for a full charge in about 75 minutes or a half charge in about 30 minutes

    FTFY

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Build them by highways... with food/recreation/etc., places, since people have to stay there for $X time anyway, generate revenue/profit from other things folks will be doing while waiting for their cars to charge. FREE is a hard price to beat---and most folks wouldn't just sit for an hour---they'd want things to do---things they don't already mind paying for. So free charge gets them to show up...

    • They already are. Stores are popping up around them. Tesla built one here off the highway near 2 closed gas stations. There are now 2 restaurants within walking distance. Every time we stop there we see more and more Teslas. Another one I know of is near a grocery store, bus stop and restaurants. You could easily explore cities via public transit while your Tesla charges.

      • by Trogre ( 513942 )

        Can I charge my Leaf there, or is this massive vendor lock-in?

        • by Trongy ( 64652 ) on Monday November 07, 2016 @10:29PM (#53234443)

          You can't currently charge a Nissan Leaf at a Tesla supercharger. The Nissan leaf uses the japanese CHAdeMO [wikipedia.org] charging standard for DC fast charging. Teslas can also use CHAdeMO chargers with an adaptor. Teslas don't charge as fast [insideevs.com] on a CHAdeMO charger.

          Elon Musk has spoken about opening up the Tesla charging stations to other models of EV in the future once a billing mechanism was in place. This was the motivation behind his release of Tesla patents [tesla.com] so that other manufacturers can use them at no cost. He wants to other car makers to build Tesla charger compatibility into their cars. As yet there are no signs of any other manufacturer doing this. Japanese manufacturers have put a lot of investment in CHAdeMO over many years.

          Musk could also convert his charging stations to support multiple charging standards. At the moment there seems to be an impasse when it comes to charging compatibiltiy.

          • by Trogre ( 513942 )

            Good to know, thanks.

          • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

            The problem is that there is already a lot more non-Tesla infrastructure installed and manufacturers aren't just going to add a third charging system to their cars (they already have one rapid DC and one slower AC option).

            In Japan and the UK the CHAdeMO standard is most common, especially Japan. Not sure about the US, but I think Nissan installed quite a few there too. In the rest of Europe they seem to prefer CCS. Then you have Tesla's standard.

            Many chargers are already dual or even triple head, offering C

    • by bored ( 40072 )

      When I'm on a long road trip, I don't usually want to stop for more than the time it takes to fill my tank. Hanging around some highway intersection/rest area isn't really high on my list of fun. I usually want to get to my destination as soon as possible.

      Frequently that means, starting the pump, running inside for a bio break, and to pick up more caffeine or some terrible food to go. Frequently, I can get in/out in ~5 minutes.

      Of course I'm apparently strange and drive 12+ hour legs on my road trips (welcom

      • by torkus ( 1133985 )

        So you're the exception (12+ hour non-stop trips) to the exception (with a vehicle that can drive 12 hours without a refuel) to the exception (takes frequent long trips that this is a major concer) to the exception (can own/afford a tesla).

        Also, a 75 min recharge is not 3 hours (15-12).

        Oh, and who says it has to be a highway intersection? You don't need smelly gas pumps and awkward structures for all the fire suppression and storing 10,000 gallons of highly flammable liquid. You can put them in a park jus

        • by bored ( 40072 )

          I'm not saying I go that far on a single tank. I can only go about 380 miles on a tank.

          So, my calculation for the tesla is based on the idea that instead of stopping ~2 times for hour.

          Hence a trip that I can do in a single day becomes multiple days.

  • by fustakrakich ( 1673220 ) on Monday November 07, 2016 @06:47PM (#53233263) Journal

    The first one is always free...

  • I'm not even sure whether this is legal. Or probably it is, because tesla lawyers have made it part of the preorder conditions.

    • I'm not even sure whether this is legal. Or probably it is, because tesla lawyers have made it part of the preorder conditions.

      Nobody has preordered a model 3 yet. A preorder would require an existing product, or at least a list of available specs. So far, people have merely reserved a place in line to make a preorder.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I'm pretty certain the model 3 was never going to have free supercharger access.

      In fact, a quick search shows that I wasn't remembering wrong:
      https://www.extremetech.com/extreme/234896-no-free-lunch-tesla-model-3-owners-will-pay-for-supercharger-access

    • No, they said that the Model 3 would have the capability to supercharge but not that it would have free supercharging. The hardware to support it is there, just like most other EVs have some kind of rapid charging capability, but there was never a promise of free electricity.

    • by EvilSS ( 557649 )

      I'm not even sure whether this is legal. Or probably it is, because tesla lawyers have made it part of the preorder conditions.

      You are not sure if it's legal to not change the preorder terms and conditions (since the model 3 was always going to have to pay for supercharger access, and existing order for other models are not affected)? I'm pretty sure that's perfectly legal thing to do actually.

    • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
      They had explicitly announced that future purchases will (eventually) not include lifetime supercharger access. Somehow, living up to a published announcement is fraud, at least to the Tesla haters.
  • by rfengr ( 910026 ) on Monday November 07, 2016 @06:49PM (#53233287)
    It had better cost a hell of a lot less than filling up a comparable gas car.
    • by HBI ( 604924 )

      Well, should be a pretty straightforward calculation of what 300 miles of juice cost in kwh by your local electric price. Where I live, it would be a little less than $10. So, therefore, Tesla can be competitive to a $25 tank of gas.

    • It had better cost a hell of a lot less than filling up a comparable gas car.

      Why? You're acting as if it was the only source of energy instead of just a convenience option. The percentage of Tesla owners who actually use superchargers is actually quite small so it won't make a real difference even if it does cost as much as filling up a normal car.

      • by rfengr ( 910026 )
        For a long road trip, it is the only source of energy. At least that was the point of the supercharger; put them along interstates between large cities. Than again, I don't even own an electric car. I suppose though that if the supercharger is the only thing between you and running out of juice, you'll pay through the whazoo. Electricity for cars is supposed to be cheap, nowhere near comparable to a gas fill-up.
        • For a long road trip, it is the only source of energy.

          No it's not. The first 240-310 miles will probably be done with power from a home charge. That's likely to be a high percentage of most long trips.

        • For a long road trip, it is the only source of energy.

          No it's not. Take a solar panel. Plug it into a normal outlet. Ask the hotel for a normal charging point. Feed it with a diesel generator. There are MANY sources of energy.

          Doing interstate roadtrips is also not the primary purpose nor the main design critera for a Tesla even further reinforcing that the superchargers are nothing more than a convenience, which can be easily seen by the number of countries happily selling the things without even having a supercharger.

          • by rfengr ( 910026 )
            Oh BS. The whole selling point of the Tesla is the +200 mile range. I live in Kansas City. The next big city west is Denver at 540 miles, which is 9 hours. The next city east is St. Louis at 240 miles, a 4 hour trip. Am I going to plug into a 120V, 15A outlet for +24 hrs in central KS. No, I will use a supercharger. Despite what people say in this thread, the superchargers are for road trips. Look at the f'in map; they are long interstates.
            • The whole selling point of the Tesla is the +200 mile range.

              Which it can achieve on a single charge.
              Which also is a selling point in the countries where Teslas are sold but no super chargers are available.

              It really isn't that hard to understand. If you regularly drive interstate then don't buy it. Really simple. I mean do you buy a small compact Smart car for your offroading? Do you buy a Dodge Ram3500 for a small commute to a tiny European town where the streets are just barely over 2m wide and not one way?

              Telsa is a car that is sold on it's own, it stands on it's

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      It had better cost a hell of a lot less than filling up a comparable gas car.

      Because...? These superchargers are the most expensive and worst way to charge a battery, they're necessary to cover long distances reasonably quickly but 145 kW power circuitry does not come cheap. Both for their own costs and warranty of battery Tesla wants these superchargers to be the last resort when you've used up all other possibilities of source and destination charging. The location of the first superchargers were quite clearly picked to be really out of the way so most people didn't just go there

    • Using an off-peak electic rate of $0.044 / kWh, it'll cost me about $2.64 to get roughly 215 miles of range. If I were to use the nationwide average rate of $0.12 / kWh, it'll cost me about $7.20.

      Driving my 32 MPG Honda Civic will take about 6.72 gallons of gas to go 215 mile. At current, historically low, gas prices (say, $2.25), that's at least $15.

      It's safe to say that electric vehicles are already obscenely cheaper than driving an economy car - anywhere from 1/2 to 1/5 the fuel cost per mile.

  • If things go well for Tesla, there are going to be more and more Tesla cars on the road. For the early adopters, the idea of free charging stations was a great bonus point to offset any complaints about range. Naturally, it costs Tesla money to build and maintain these, and of course, the power isn't free. As long as they charge reasonable prices, I'm fine with this. If I owned an electric car, the vast majority of my charging would be done at home, so even if a recharge at a Tesla station cost as much as a

    • by steveg ( 55825 )

      For the most part, the power is free. You did notice how much Tesla has sunk into solar development? And batteries? I'm sure the fee is intended to offset building new ones and maintaining the old ones, but each station is supposed to charge its own batteries via the sun and then recharge you car from the batteries.

  • The fee itself "will be charged incrementally and cost less than the price of filling up a comparable gas car."

    I should bloody well hope so!

    In other news, the fees for charging a cell phone will cost less than the price of filling the coal tender behind a stem engine.

  • by Dega704 ( 1454673 ) on Monday November 07, 2016 @07:27PM (#53233567)
    It should have been obvious that free supercharger use would never be more than a perk for early adopters. It would never be economically sustainable for mass market when the Model 3 is out, and most people will do the vast majority of charging in their garage overnight. Anyone who gets worked up over this obviously has a preexisting anti-Tesla bias.
    • by torkus ( 1133985 )

      You make two related but contradictory points.

      If most people will charge at home, why does the Model 3 make free supercharging immediately so unsustainable?

      Most people WILL charge at home (or work, or other commonly visited area) the large majority of the time. Superchargers are just for long trips unless one happens to be convenient and you have some time to kill.

      I'm guessing there's another tipping point down the road where they superchargers will become free* one again. *possibly subsidized as part of

  • "...based on the cost of electricity..."

    Someone really needs to tell Elon Musk about solar cells... he could offer it for free again.

    • by Raenex ( 947668 )

      It's not free to buy, install, and maintain the solar cells and the charging station around it. It's not free when it hasn't been raining all week and the system needs to rely on grid power.

      • It's not free to buy, install, and maintain the solar cells and the charging station around it.

        No, it's not; that's pretty much a fixed one-time cost for most of what you are talking about, and the rest can be amortized over time into the cost of the vehicles.

        It's not free when it hasn't been raining all week and the system needs to rely on grid power.

        I think you mean "when it's been raining" (solar cells do not operate on rain as fuel).

        According to Solar City, with net metering, which is the law in most states (except Nevada, where it was recently discontinued), you can use the grid as a battery, and pay back your "debt" over time, by having sufficient generating capacity to handle net outpu

        • by Raenex ( 947668 )

          No, it's not; that's pretty much a fixed one-time cost for most of what you are talking about, and the rest can be amortized over time into the cost of the vehicles.

          A cost is a cost, including maintenance which is not "one-time", and neither is rent or taxes on the property if they bought it outright. They even have employees at some stations. It's not "free", and while Tesla could absorb the cost and spread it out over the cost of their vehicles, what's so bad about people actually paying for what they use?

          having sufficient generating capacity to handle net output exceeding net demand, including rain days

          Which really depends on just how much energy that can generate with solar at their stations versus how much they use. My understanding, after a brief search, is tha

    • Not all superchargers have solar cell arrays, and even those that do only get a proportion of their power from them. Apart from anything else, there's not much solar power available at night.

      • Not all superchargers have solar cell arrays, and even those that do only get a proportion of their power from them.

        Perhaps they are locked into a contract with Solar City, and they can't get their solar cells upgraded to the higher output solar cell for the next 20 years because of the contract, even though those cells are available today.

        Apart from anything else, there's not much solar power available at night.

        Someone needs to tell Elon Musk about "powerwall" batteries...

  • While this is new news for Tesla perhaps, it's nothing new or surprising in the scheme of trying to get people to go all electric before it makes economic sense for everyone.

    Just look what the states carpool lanes did, first they offered the carpool lanes up for use to ULEV ICE vehicles, to incentivise buying hybrids and similar cars, then a couple years later, removed that "perk" from the deal. Then they allow full EV cars to use the HOV lanes, and soon it will be taken away (just watch...).

    When ful
    • When full EV cars started getting pushed hard, with the Leaf and Tesla, companies (at least in Silicon Valley and Bay Area), were quick to convert the best parking spots closest to the building and right next to the handicap spots to EV charging stations, (mostly free of charge). Malls and other public parking spots started doing the same, to make it more attractive to buy EV vehicles ...

      I would guess that another reason they get the best parking spots is because they are eye catching. People coming in and out of a mall stop to check out the electric vehicles. It's marketing.

  • https://igg.me/at/ore/ [igg.me]

    Well, not really. It's only got until the end of the month anyway, and nobody ever put a dime in it. If it DID work, I could still get the thing in time for it to work. But nobody cared. :/

    Also, indiegogo isn't even working right now, so that's great.
  • Ponzi scheme (Score:2, Interesting)

    by manu0601 ( 2221348 )
    The new buyers pay for the previous ones. That looks a bit like a Ponzi scheme.
  • by misnohmer ( 1636461 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2016 @12:09AM (#53234881)

    Superchargers are meant for long distance travel, not for everyday charging. Most Tesla owners wake up every morning to a car full or electrons charged at home overnight, ready to roll ~220+ miles. Unfortunately some people, mostly in CA, decided they are willing to wait 30min to an hour every day just to get their $1-$5 worth of free electricity. That in turn caused congestion and people who were traveling long distances were annoyed having to wait, delaying their travels. I am speculating that the original thought was that people spending $70K+ on a car would not value their time at $4/hr or less (much less if they have to add another hour to drive to the nearest supercharger) but that turned out to be incorrect for small percentage of people. As Model 3 is priced at much lower price-point ($35K) and it's expected to sell a lot more units, so Tesla figured this problem will get worse. Charging a nominal fee to charging makes it not worth for someone who has a charger at home to drive to a supercharger to charge $2 worth of electricity. Only people who actually need them will use them.

    PS> All the "old owners" have paid a $2,000 fee for the lifetime access to superchargers. It used to be an optional fee, but quickly was included with every car sold. A great majority of those owners will never get $2,000 worth of charging (e.g. coast-to-coast round trip will get you about $200 of free electricity). Not including this $2,000 in the price of the car will allow Tesla to keep the model 3 car price lower.

    • Unfortunately some people, mostly in CA, decided they are willing to wait 30min to an hour every day just to get their $1-$5 worth of free electricity. That in turn caused congestion and people who were traveling long distances were annoyed having to wait, delaying their travels.

      Actually, this is a problem that will need to be solved before EVs will become a viable replacement for long-range travel. 5000 chargers over 734 stations is 6.8 per station. At a half hour to an hour a charge, that's a maximum t

      • by misnohmer ( 1636461 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2016 @08:18AM (#53236125)

        Your comparison to gas stations is missing the point that only long distance travellers are charging. Everyone else charges at home. Think how many less gas stations you'd need if everyone had an automatic gas fill at home and only went to the gas station if they were driving more than 200miles in a day, or traveling. Even when visiting family far away, usually there is an outlet one can use - once EV's are more common, they will have chargers at family too.

    • by ruir ( 2709173 )
      Thanks for introducing some sense here. It is only a pity having to read all the nonsense to find your comment.
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      The other reason people use chargers when they don't really need to is for free, convenient parking. It's especially bad with destination chargers (like at shopping centres and supermarkets) because the chargers are often in the spaces near to the venue, so that the cabling doesn't have to run too far from the main grid tie.

  • Seriously, it amazes me how many trolls here are here to go against anything Musk owns.
    The fact is, that with our tesla, we charge at home for local driving, and when going up into the mountains, THEN we use the SC..
    This is what was meant to be. And truthfully, most ppl do not travel more than 1000 miles / year in which they need the SCs.
    Finally, if you believe that you are entitled, you can buy a used Tesla which is grandfathered in, OR, you can go to GM, Ford, BMW, Audi, etc and ask them for the free

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