Superchargers and Model 3

Just curious, once the Model 3 comes out and the years thereafter, there will be an exponentially greater number of users using the Superchargers. I wonder if there will be an issue with waiting for a charger. I know there will be more chargers coming online in the next year or two based upon the map but it doesn't seem like that is enought if TS stops there, taking into consideration the Model 3. What do you think?

I wouldn't worry about problems that don't exist. The Model 3 is conservatively 3 years away. I would think they are smart enough to predict demand and will scale up as needed. I could envision a supercharger at every shopping center/mall in the country.

Model 3? There are orders of magnitude more ICE - I don't worry about waiting for a gas pump except during a few peak periods.


I agree with you about ICE but there is a gas station on every corner as well and pumping gas doesn't take 20-60min. per car. Hopefully TM will continue to install SC beyond the current map.

Plus the ICEs don't do 98% of their charging at home, give or take.

there's a plug in every house.

As Model 3 car sales increase, that will fund supercharger expansion.

JB has mentioned that they are working on technology that would greatly reduce charging time as well. I suspect we will see this with the ramp up of the Model 3.


Thanks, that's good to know!

More cars that use the supercharger the better since more charging stations will be built for them. Eventually we could see a supercharger every 20 miles on the freeway.

I don't think we need to worry if people will jam the sc for free charges either. It's still not worth it to spend an hour or so for the few dollars saving when you can just plug it in at home.

As more Teslas hit the road, there will eventually be 3rd party superchargers. Demand produces supply - there won't be a shortage of charging options, they just won't be free.

It's not as if the demand for Superchargers will suddenly jump up drastically in 2017. Tesla has been managing the increased demand during the past year fairly well. Congested SCs are slowly getting more stalls. (Gilroy, Hawthorne for example)

In three years, assuming US demand growth remains steady, Tesla may have four to five times the current demand for SCs - possibly much more. About half of the current SC locations are in areas that will need many, many more charging stalls. No fear - Lusk, WY will be ok!

If there is a concern, it is that most sites are saturated - there is no more room for more stalls. This means that new sister locations will need to be opened to offset demand. SJC is a great example - that site is in a crowded parking lot and I don't expect that Tesla will be allowed to install more stalls at that location.

The obvious solution is install more stalls (when possible) and to add new sites. In Los Angeles, it would be great to have more SC locations, spread out 5-10 miles from each other. (Hawthorne is not really "on the way" to anywhere - its a detour)

Tesla will also need to add a "congestion indicator" of some type to the map to allow drivers to determine the best location (among alternatives) for charging. So, when approaching the San Jose/Oakland/SF area, the map could indicate that Gilroy is busy, but Fremont is open.

Tesla Motors will keep on expanding the Supercharger network for many years to come. Nothing to be worried about.

If it says 'Supercharger' on the sign, with a Tesla Motors logo, it will always be free.

Do not be surprised when it is announced 100% of Tesla Model ☰ vehicles are Supercharger enabled by default.

I would actually be surprised by that Red Sage. I don't expect Tesla to offer the Tesla Model ☰ with free Supercharging - and as a shareholder I would be very upset at a failure to maximize profit on such as obvious optional feature. To get the price down to $35,000, only the minimum equipment can be offered as standard.

Tesla will not have any problem selling as many of these cars as they can crank out of the factory. For years to come, Tesla will remain capacity constrained.

djm12: Tesla Model ☰ is the endgame, the goal, the prize. By the time it is available, the Supercharger network will have expanded tremendously from what is in place today. That will have been funded by the gracious purchases of the Tesla Model S and Model X. At a price of ~$35,000 a Tesla Model ☰ will still have a 25% gross profit margin even if it costs ~$28,000 to build.

Trust that it costs other manufacturers significantly less than that to build a car they offer at $35,000 though they claim a mere 6% gross profit margin on average. They have to account for the 'independent franchised dealerships' that act as middlemen. Tesla Motors does not have that lodestone to drag them down. And they would still get that industry average of 6% gross profit margin if the $35,000 car cost them $33,000 to build.

Don't worry. Your investment is secure. Most people will purchase the Tesla Model ☰ 85 at around $43,000 plus more for options. There is no need to price gouge, like the 'independent franchised dealerships' do, in order to charge 'what the market can bear'.

Tesla Motors wants to prove that electric cars can be affordable, as well as profitable, and they will with Tesla Model ☰.

Red :)

Doing my best BrianH imitation here, but I believe that you mean millstone, unless you were referring to the magnetic property of lodestones, then my humble apologies!

Cheers, my friend!

The charging infrastructure landscape will be vastly different in 2017. I am also expecting Tesla to offer the Model 3 with or without Supercharging since many will want an in town car or will opt for pay to charge stations when they have to travel longer distances. This will also keep the cost down for the 3 and make it more attractive and competitive with other EVs on the market. No point in hitting the panic button now. I think it will all work out pretty well.

In case we forget, recall that not all Tesla Model S automobiles can use the supercharger.

Those with 60kWh batteries who elected not to purchase the supercharger option cannot use the devices.

So the framework has been established for not necessarily inviting all Model 3s to use the superchargers.

This thread ha lots of interesting comments.

Here's another. With the Gen 3 Tesla could change their SC pricing approach.
They could equip all Gen 3s to use SCs and then offer buyers three options:

1. Disable SC use via software and get the 'base' price for the car,
2. Pay the same up-front fee for SC service as other Tesla owners do and then use them 'for free' as much as the owner chooses to do, or
3. Enable SC use via software to charge fees for SC use based on the kWh of each charge. Bill for the amount of usage monthly via automatic credit card transactions.

If they wanted to, they could eliminate option 2 for new buyers after some cutoff date. Everyone who paid for 'free SC charging forever' would get it, but everyone else would pay monthly for the amount of SC use.

Wouldn't option 3 be attractive to some buyers? I think so.

Ron :)

I thought they already said that supercharging was included in the III. I forgot where I read it but possibly in a business article. Definitely within the last couple weeks. I'd be pissed if I bought an S60 and paid the 2k for supercharging and gen 3 users get it included for a whole lot less.

@jeffstuff Just because something is included doesn't mean it's free.

It's included on the 85, also.

As long as Elon is the boss your option #3. will not happen.

My guess is that SC will be included on the bigger batteries, but a option on the base version just like it is on TMS. But I think it will be cheaper on GIII then it is on GII. It's $2000 on TMS? Maybe $1000 to $1400 on GIII.

Pricing objectives with MS are high margins to drive development, whereas with M III it's affordability.

So Tesla will likely change their pricing scheme for SuperChargers to meet the new objective.

My idea:

- First 10 charges are free, even on base model.

- Lifetime pass can be bought at any time for about $1,500.

The point of M III is to sway mass attitudes, so you have to make it very easy to try the new ecosystem.

Once owners try a few supercharges, they''ll be convinced it's an amazing deal.

I think TM will sell a sh**load of these cars in 2017.

for that to happen, Tesla would have to release SuperCharger specs and communication protocols. Or somebody would have to hack in to Tesla SuperCharger and its communication with the car...

Hope Tesla will release it as a standard, that would be great for charging industry. Tesla would not have to make Combo and CHAdeMO adapters if charging stations could have SuperCharger plug included.

@Model ☰
I disagree that it will be cheaper on Model 3... While Model S/X are weatlhy guys, they tend to care less how much they save by charging free for 20minutes to 1 hour. But Model 3 buyers will be more motivated to charge as much as possible on free SuperCharging to save as much as they can. Thus I predict same cost or even more for Model 3.

@Mark K The often discussed Metro Charger might come into play with the Model 3 rollout. Both my daughters will buy one of these and both will have challenges finding charging options in their apartment buildings.

Perhaps a Metro charger with a limit of 10 minutes, hopefully giving 60-75 miles of range. Perfect for commuters and station cars.

I think you are underestimating the progression of fee-based charging and availability of home charging solutions that will be in place 5 to 8 years from now when the Model 3 is sold to the masses.

When it comes out in a few years, charging infrastructure will have progressed. There are chargers being installed every day. The early adopters of the Model 3 will have no trouble charging - they are talking a few hundred thousand vehicles a year. You don't have to solve apartment charging to sell that many.

You don't have to solve world hunger to start saving a few people.

centralvalley: Yes, I chose 'lodestone' because of the magnetic properties. It seemed more appropriate, since it is the... 'gravity' of 'independent franchised dealerships' that effect the inertial movement of traditional auto manufacturers... Keeping them away from electric vehicles as primary products. Perhaps it is a bit too eclectic a turn of phrase, but I rather like it. ;-)

Model ☰ wrote, "As long as Elon is the boss your option #3. will not happen."


There has been an interesting array of comments so far:

sberman wrote, "So the framework has been established for not necessarily inviting all Model 3s to use the superchargers."

jetstuff wrote, "I'd be pissed if I bought an S60 and paid the 2k for supercharging and gen 3 users get it included for a whole lot less."

J.T. wrote, "Just because something is included doesn't mean it's free."

MarkK wrote, "Pricing objectives with MS are high margins to drive development, whereas with M III it's affordability."

Jolinar wrote, "...Model 3 buyers will be more motivated to charge as much as possible on free SuperCharging to save as much as they can."

It seems the conflict between these statements revolves around the notion of profitability for Tesla Motors.

I would remind you that for this company, profitability is a means to an end. The goal of the company is not profitability in and of itself. It never has been.

The goal of the company is to prove that electric cars can be viable transportation that is affordable, desirable, and compelling for mass production and consumption by the populace at large.

That is to say, it isn't about 'charging what the market can bear'. Most people admit that whatever they paid for their Tesla Model S, they feel as if they got 'a steal' of a deal. They got the future, today, instead of waiting for an always promised 'tomorrow' that never comes from other automobile manufacturers.

I believe Tesla Motors wants to share that same feeling with future owners of the Tesla Model ☰ as well.

The attitude, philosophy, and experience of becoming a Tesla owner for the first time will be shared by all who make the purchase. Tesla Motors is not about exclusivity, but instead about inclusion. Newcomers to the fold will receive the same level of attention, education, and service that the early adopters did, and always will.

While it might make good business sense to offer a Tesla Model ☰ 60 at $34,990 with a paid option for Supercharger access... I don't think that will happen. There will be no subscription services, except perhaps for battery swaps. There will be no pay-by-the-month or pay-by-the-charge options for Supercharger access. It's all about having an experience with electric vehicles that exudes simplicity, convenience, and affordability. That is what will win over the masses.

I believe that prior to the release of the Model ☰, a mid-season refresh of the Tesla Model S will be unveiled.

  • The Model S 60 will go away.
  • The Model S 85 will be the base version.
  • The Model S P85 will be the mid-range car in the series.
  • An all-new Model S P85+ AWD edition will come to the fore.
  • And a superior Model S P135+ AWD car will appear as the new, top-of-the-line car.

All of these cars will be Supercharger enabled by default, of course. At the same time, the existing owners of Model S 60 will have Supercharging unlocked at no additional charge through a firmware update. From that point forward, all Tesla Motors vehicles will be Supercharger enabled from the outset. The continued expansion of the Supercharger network will be funded almost entirely from profits gained from the Model S and Model X. This will ensure a smooth transition as Model ☰ customers benefit from the success of its predecessor.

At least, that's how it would go if I ran Tesla Motors. Insanity? Perhaps. It's... a strategy.

@Model ☰ | JULY 27, 2014:

"As long as Elon is the boss your option #3. will not happen."

I expect Elon to consider any ethical initiative that's consistent with his goals.
Do you agree?

Do you think my option #3 would be either unethical or inconsistent with Elon's goals?
If so, please explain.

Ron :)

I don't know about his goals, but #3 is inconsistent with what he has actually said. When talking about sharing the Supercharger technology with other car companies, he said it cannot get into a metered system. Other automakers would also have to do it as an upfront price for future permanent use, so that it keeps the simplicity of pull up and plug in.

@ Red Sage

Wow, what a strategy. I like it a lot. It's very optimistic and progressive. And I hope that you are right. But I must say that I am personally a bit more on the conservative side when it comes to make a prediction about battery packs with a higher kWh capacity. I too think that there will be progress on that front, but just with smaller steps. So, I think that Tesla Motors will first announce a 100 kWh battery pack for the Model S and the Model X in 2016, and then a 120 kWh battery pack in 2020. But I really hope that in a few years time it turns out that I was way too conservative and that you were right.