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Tesla MetroChargers - SuperChargers in Cities

Tesla MetroChargers - SuperChargers in Cities

Synopsis:

Tesla can bring SuperCharging technology to cities. This will let EVs beat gas in convenience, in addition to all the other ways electric is already better. This can be done economically, and scaled rapidly.

Background:

Tesla is now focused on SuperChargers for road trips between cities. This is a smart priority since it promotes EV adoption by enabling distance travel. Tesla's decision to provide unlimited fuel for trips without any recurring costs is an amazing and unmatched benefit of this car.

As the SC network gets completed, Tesla will begin to address another need: Fast charging within cities.

This will solve some other issues -

1. Apartment dwellers without their own charger.

2. Travelers who circulate within their destination city, but don't want to leave town just to charge.

3. City residents with unexpected needs for an immediate refill.

Addressing these demands will further dissolve the differences in convenience between gas and electric. But a network of city chargers will also bring with it some complex choices for TM.

Those who live very near to one will be tempted by the free fuel instead of charging at home. Beyond the economic problems this poses, the bigger issue with this is availability. If the city chargers are flooded with denizens, there will be no capacity for travelers.

So what should TM do? Here' a proposal:

Tesla MetroChargers

MetroChargers are SuperChargers that are right in the heart of town. They're as convenient as gas stations when you need a quick charge. The SC's will continue to get faster, and in the future they will be virtually as fast as filling a tank (say 15 minutes).

The difference is in how MetroChargers are priced relative to SC's.

- If you live farther than 50 miles away, it's free.

- If you live closer, you buy the kWH's you use. (At about 1.5X the local power rates).

MetroChargers are located in Shopping center parking lots, because the synergies are so logical for merchants. Prodding affluent shoppers to come and spend time at the mall is a compelling benefit for merchants. It's also a more useful and pleasant place for shoppers/diners to spend time while their cars refuel.

You don't need to hassle with your credit card either. They work just like SC's, with no card kiosks. The system knows your ID from GPS data and wifi addresses. It automatically records the transaction, debiting charges (if any) to your credit card on file with Tesla. It also understands where you normally reside from GPS history. This all works passively so there aren't any forms to fill out or complicated residence registration process.

The result is a robust network with both local and remote infrastructure. It reconciles the appeal of unlimited travel charging, with the efficient allocation of local resource to those who most need it. And it's infinitely scalable, since MetroChargers provide a self-sustaining revenue stream, and there is massive, motivated parking capacity at competing malls in cities.

The day is not far off when any last vestige of range anxiety will be roundly eliminated. Tesla MetroChargers can be an important part of that milestone.

The intent of this thread is to provide Tesla with community input on the local component of the SC infrastructure. The idea is to flesh out the issues to inform TM's strategy as they are developing it.

What do you think about the need for MetroChargers?

Brian H | 02. Dezember 2013

Mark K;
#2 - do the travellers sleep? Do their hotels have L2 chargers? Or HPWCs? If not, why not?

Mark K | 02. Dezember 2013

Certainly the more hotels with chargers, the better. But few offer it, and 10KW receptacles charge very slowly compared with a 120KW SuperCharger.

Jolinar | 02. Dezember 2013

As I said in different thread, I think Tesla shoul release SuperCharger specifications, so 3rd party companies could build SuperChargers in the cities. That would solve the need for fast charging in metro areas and Tesla would not have to pay anything for it. Tesla SuperChargers could stay free forever.

And yes, chargers in hotels are important, but can't solve everything. This should be made by hotel owners (with or without any Tesla incentives).

logicalthinker | 02. Dezember 2013

Mark, I think this idea is quite brilliant.
3 Reasons:
1) Being an energy provider would be brilliant long-term strategy for Tesla.
2) Apartment dwellers need EV charging elsewhere.
3) The bigger the Tesla network gets, the more customers it will get.

So to my points: 1) As someone mentioned elsewhere, energy companies such as Chevron are much much more powerful than the biggest car companies such as GM.

If Tesla can position itself as an energy provider, not just car maker, it will help ensure its market dominance as the world turns to EVs.

2) Apartment dwellers will only EXTREMELY slowly be all provided charging at their parking spot, and probably many lower-priced apartment complexes simply will never take on such an upfront expense. Even in the uber-EV friendly culture of California, I have not heard of ONE apartment complex that offers EV charging to all its tenants.
In order for the vast majority of the population to switch to EVs sooner than later, there needs to be extensive quick-charging available to apartment dwellers. Parking lots at stores where people spend an average of 20 minutes (e.g. Supermarkets, Walmarts, Home Depots, etc) would ensure that on average, no one would waste the parking space when others could be charging.

3) I do believe the charging infrastructure will need to come from the EV company (e.g. Tesla) because it has a direct financial incentive to build out the network: serving customers and gaining more. People who can't charge at home would be happy to pay a nominal price to charge while shopping (with the convenience of never going to the gas station again, and the price difference savings over gas, etc).

jonlivesay | 02. Dezember 2013

I like this idea.

carolinagobo | 02. Dezember 2013

+1000 Tesla can track if you live in town. If you do you can pay with a Tesla card, very nice. Just one problem. If you SC your car as a regular the battery won't last, batteries don't like to be fast charged.

Gizmotoy | 02. Dezember 2013

@Jolinar: Even in the uber-EV friendly culture of California, I have not heard of ONE apartment complex that offers EV charging to all its tenants.

They exist. Ours doesn't have every spot wired, but for $500 they'll wire your spot up for you. If you don't want to do that, you can use one of the three on-site 208V/30A ChargePoint stations that are free for residents, two of which are private. It's new, though, so was designed with EVs in mind.

This sounds like an interesting idea. They can't just plop a Supercharger down in a city or it'd be packed 100% of the time. Making it more expensive than charging at home would cut usage down to those who need it, instead of just using it because it's convenient.

That said, it sounds like they're pushing for HPWCs at hotels and shopping areas instead. CHAdeMO and SCC already aim to fill this exact hole, so hopefully those start rolling out more quickly as well.

Mark K | 02. Dezember 2013

Great comments, thanks -

Private SuperChargers -

These add more to the network, which helps. But it is also important for TM to provide a choice that sets a standard for price/performance and customer experience. It's also powerful to make the Tesla brand more visible to expand sales.

Private SC's can have some conflicted interests regarding pricing, and have no incentive to offer free distance travel charging, which is important to preserve. With the right contractual controls, this could be managed.

Most retail distributors that have tried a franchise model have eventually returned to wholly owned stores. This lets them stay closer to their customers and assure a good experience. There are other sources of capital for expansion that do not fracture control over quality.

Battery Wear -

This is already a very small effect, and with each SC software release, the difference in battery cycle life from supercharging becomes more negligible. For those concerned, perhaps there can be a screen setting for 'maxlife" by altering charge rates.

redacted | 02. Dezember 2013

Private superchargers -

Would Tesla want to give control of charging to somebody else's tech? What if it charges too fast for the battery, who's responsible for the added wear (or destruction) of the battery?

d_kaufman | 02. Dezember 2013

I think that SC's in metro areas should not be free to anyone. The infrastructure costs are just too high. The experience with current SC's has been that people park in the spaces too long, and courtesy is an inadequate incentive-especially in very large malls-for people to move their cars when fully charged.

Instead, for metro areas, I would have a cost per minute of charging or parking, but only allow the current to flow for a maximum of perhaps 15 or 20 minutes. That would provide enough battery power to get to an out-of-town SC, or to travel within the city for a reasonable time. It would give apartment dwellers a limited alternative to fuel-up, but would strongly discourage abuse by owners.

What it fails to address, though, is non-ev owners parking in the spot. We have seen that to be a problem with the existing SC's, and where higher turnover is required, it would be a much more severe problem. I don't see landowners permitting a fenced-off area whose gates open only to Teslas.

NKYTA | 02. Dezember 2013

@Mark K
It is a good suggestion and I'm behind it. That said, I hope Tesla continues building out the current "Travel SuperChargers" for the next couple years before jumping into this...

Sudre_ | 02. Dezember 2013

I think it would be better for Tesla to provide the equipment to third parties for city charging. The third party can add a fee as they see fit. The chargers would not be Tesla owned Superchargers so a fee is possible without breaking any promises.

I have read enough California supercharging threads to know that in major cities people will just park and charge at a free charger and sit there for hours on end while they are at a movie, shopping or sleeping. It is the minority but it only takes a few to clog up the whole system.

If only the loitering could be eliminated then the OPs idea would be fantastic. Maybe do back to back parking spots on one charger. When the first car is charged the connector unlocks and can be removed. I can then see really pissed people when they get unplugged even tho their charge was complete. Too many people and the "Don't touch my car" attitude...
or the same concept but two cords per stand putting four cords on one charger. The only difference is it doesn't split the power four ways. The third and fourth car have to wait until the 1st or second car is done charging then it automatically cuts the power over.

Good idea. It's just the logistics that needs to be worked out.

stevenmaifert | 02. Dezember 2013

I think the growing availability CHAdeMO chargers already fills this need, and they serve a wider population of EVs than just us Tesla folks.

Mark K | 02. Dezember 2013

Steve - other specs don't come close to the SuperCharger speed, and Tesla keeps improving it faster than the committees can decide anything. The other groups are also far less aggressive than Tesla about install rate. To speed the evolution to EV's, a single, decisive, and motivated player will promote change faster.

Sudre - lingering is indeed an issue that needs solutions. Your idea sounds good. Charge cables are much cheaper than the power supply hardware and bigger utility lines.

If you have say, 24 parking spots, and four 120kW DC supplies, you could manage it pretty nicely. With a smart distribution box, you could automatically connect one of the 4 SuperChargers when it's free, and otherwise provide 240VAC (40-80 amps) while it's waiting.

Software could figure out the order of service based on when you arrive. It could also switch you to the 240V circuit when you start to get full enough that the SC is already tapering (which then switches to the next guy in line that needs it). Physical layout of the power supplies and parking slots, as well as contactor specs and cable runs would have to be engineered carefully to manage ohmic losses, but it seems doable.

That'd get you 24 slots and smart servicing of needs even if someone stayed too long. Users wouldn't have to do much. Just park and let the system figure out the optimum protocol. Nobody would touch your car or move cables. That would be pretty nice.

yoohootesla | 02. Dezember 2013

Mark K
I like the way you think. As a condo resident in Honolulu, I've been lobbying for a city based super charger for at least as long as I've owned the MS... Approx. 5 months. After reading some more of the ideas, I'm encouraged that just possibly a Tesla city super charger station may one day make it to the islands. I hope so.... I'm getting tired of getting up at 4:30 AM twice a week to drive to a public charging station and plug in before the other energy starved people show up. Thanks again to one and all....

gwstephens | 02. Dezember 2013

I like it. I am particularly annoyed by the people who insist that destination charging is not Tesla's responsibility since people sleep in hotels.

I live in PSL florida. I can drive as far north as Jacksonville. But I could not drive in Jacksonville.

I can drive to Melbourne but not around Melbourne.

I can drive to Fort Lauderdale and back...Barely.

Forget Orlando.

No daytrips in this car. I can't stay overnight in these towns just to charge my car. I borrow the wife's grease burner.

David Trushin | 02. Dezember 2013

Months ago I posted a suggestion for Tesla to sell the car without charging for the battery, but to lease the battery to the owner. Then the owner could go to a battery swap station instead of charging and swap out the battery for the cost of electricity. Battery swappers could be located at strategic locations, like service centers and possibly others. Of course the owner could charge as well. I think this is a good model becausethe time spent is less.

jat | 02. Dezember 2013

@Jolinar - so people have tried commercial pay charging networks on a much cheaper scale and haven't done so well.

A large-battery EV doesn't need fast charging for in-town use, so just getting more overnight charging at hotels is really the answer there. Putting Superchargers in cities where everyone will use it means you are spending a lot for the power and you have to build lots of bays to handle all the usage. That in turn would drive up the cost of the cars in order to pay for all this.

So, I think Tesla's strategy is exactly the right one. I haven't had too much trouble finding overnight charging at hotels, but that could certainly be better.

stevenmaifert | 02. Dezember 2013

@Mark K - I'm still not buying your argument. A 45kW CHAdeMO charger can recharge a completely depleted S85 in about two hours. If that's not fast enough, then don't make the trip. You said a single, decisive, and motivated player will promote change faster. I agree. Here's one: http://insideevs.com/nissan-now-offering-15000-towards-chademo-charger-i... Nissan has installed more CHAdeMO chargers at their in-city dealerships in the last six months than Tesla has installed SCs nationwide. Both are exclusive use, but Nissan is also offering $15,000 toward third party public access installations. Is Tesla doing that for Tesla MetroChargers that haven't even been invented yet? Granted, those Nissan subsidized CHAdeMO chargers will go in metro areas with high populations of LEAFs, but guess what... a lot of ModS live there too.

mdemetri | 02. Dezember 2013

I am in full agreement with @Mark K and @gwstephens@gmail.com. We must have SC in destinations. I had a thread about this many months ago and my mind has not changed. I have been on too many trips with my MS where I can get to the destination but not charge.

I would add that in addition to destination cities, we need SC at National Parks. I have taken my MS to both Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks on separate trips. Both would have been greatly helped by a SC at or near the NP. Now I want to go to the Grand Canyon, but without a SC there, it will be very difficult. A partnership with between Tesla and the National Park Service seems like a no brainer for both.

While early adopters are willing to put up with inconvenience, the larger public will not. Charging needs to be as available and easy as gas stations to get full adoption of BEV.

Captain_Zap | 02. Dezember 2013

Wouldn't there be an outcry because Elon said that Supercharging would be free for the Model S for life?

Whenever I call a hotel I ask if they have EV charging whether I am driving there or not and I ask them what kind they have and whether it is reservable. Then I tell them about Tesla's offer to provide hotels with two free HPWCs if they purchase two.

Brian H | 02. Dezember 2013

Destination charging is likely to remain L1-3 range for some time. Attracting Tesla traffic will have to be the driver. CHAdeMO for National/State Parks, perhaps, for touring around the attractions.

Mark K | 02. Dezember 2013

Great input by all -

Captain_zap - SuperCharging stays free.

MetroChargers are a new class of service for cities that fills holes in the network. Only locals who might habitually use them see any cost, which throttles usage to manage availability. For travelers visiting a city, MetroCharging service would also be free.

Steve - Nissan's infrastructure efforts are good for the industry, and good for Tesla. But relying on Nissan for Tesla's customers however, is definitely not good for Tesla.

One look at the CHAdeMO connector vs. the Tesla connector demonstrates who has the hipper engineers. TM's architecture is far more advanced. TM's 120kW vs. 45kW for Nissan favors Tesla by 3X. And TM is upgrading this number at a much faster clip than Nissan.

Why would anyone wait for 2 hours at a Nissan dealer if they could refill their Model S while shopping / dining for 45 minutes?

Mdemetri points to the essence - electric has to be as convenient as gas to promote adoption.

Part of that requires fast charging whenever you might need it, and that includes when you're in town.

Today: Electric charges at home (great!), but takes hours to refill (not great). Gas fills in minutes.

Tomorrow: Electric refills in minutes AND charges at home. Game over.

After the distance network is up, it's essential for Tesla to address Metro needs and backfill this part of the infrastructure. This will fully outperform the convenience of gas, and drive the eventual dominance of electric.

Captain_Zap | 02. Dezember 2013

Clipper Creek 100A charging stations are nice. They are more business friendly because they can accommodate all EVs with the J-1772.

mdemetri | 02. Dezember 2013

Hmmm....the SC map has changed and now has SC along I-40 by the Grand Canyon as 'coming soon'. Looks like I will be able to get there sooner than I thought.

Brian H | 03. Dezember 2013

Mark K;
The electric service required to replicate at home "charging in minutes" is not on. Wiring up individual homes for 100kW+ service is a fantasy.

Mark K | 03. Dezember 2013

Brian - don't think my meaning was clear for you.

Tomorrow, you will be able to refill your car at a Tesla station in minutes (already refills 50% in 20 minutes at Supercharger stations today), AND still have the option to refill your car at home (which takes several hours).

This will substantially match gas convenience at stations, and exceed gas convenience at home, since you can't fill a tank there (regardless of speed).

So without any changes on the home front, and just the addition of fast, nearby Tesla stations, electric will easily outperform gas.

Mark K | 03. Dezember 2013

... though I did enjoy the drama in your "fantasy" comment. :)

Lycanthrope P85 | 03. Dezember 2013

Apologies if this has been pointed out before, but why don't Tesla put a couple of supercharge points up by their service centres? Here in Brussels the SC has a large car park next to it which is not used in the weekends and evenings.

Seems a no-brainer to me and it's inside the city.

But really, they should open up the possibility for anyone to use the protocol, they gain nothing by keeping it secret.

Jolinar | 03. Dezember 2013

jat@jaet.org

please read gwstephens@gmail.com response once more...

I agree that Tesla does not need to build SuperChargers in towns, but I don't think that there is no business model for 3rd party companies to build it. Slow chargers in hotels are super, but can't solve everything. Sometimes you need to charge quickly and I'd gladly pay for it. Problem is that no 3rd party can build own pay-per-use SuperCharger because it's proprietary technology :(

Jolinar | 03. Dezember 2013

@Lycanthrope

They can't build it in the city, because too many people would charge there. Tesla SuperChargers was always meant to open roadtrip possibility for Model S. People will charge up at home in 95% and only few times a year they will use SuperCharger. That's why they can afford to make it free.

But I definitely agree that Tesla gain nothing by keeping it in secret. Just the opposite.

Mark K | 06. Dezember 2013

Jolinar - reaching equilibrium on usage is simply a pricing issue.

As was proposed, for travelers it's free, and for locals it costs a 1.5X premium compared to charging at home.

With this model, only people who really need a fast charge would pay the premium, and the capacity of the system would be in balance with demand.

Tesla's technology for SuperCharging is a significant competitive advantage. It would be ludicrous not to leverage it in cities as well. All that's necessary is the right pricing model.

Not offering the option for the in-city driving would needlessly limit acceptance, and slow adoption of EVs.

Tesla must beat gas on every metric, including convenience of refill. A quick refill in cities is an important part of that convenience, and it kills off any remaining worry about range anxiety.

MetroChargers fill the biggest remaining hole in the charging network.

I think Tesla will conclude they're an essential element for their network.

Brian H | 06. Dezember 2013

Charging and tracking users is way more trouble than it's worth, on several levels. Not happening.

Lycanthrope P85 | 06. Dezember 2013

Well I would rather have a local SC available than go to the hassle and expense of equipping my house with the necessary to charge overnight. AFAIK this would run to the order of about €3500.

I would be happy to pay a charge to use such a local facility too.

Mark K | 06. Dezember 2013

Brian - sufficient data is already present in the logs of each car. Mining it is no big deal.

We track and charge our customers, and our internal engineering teams wrote all the software to do it themselves. It was not a challenge.

Saying that Tesla shouldn't do it because it's too technically difficult ... given their demonstrated technical strengths ... this is a kooky argument.

Tesla already has CRM files for all of us customers right now.

If we want to help Tesla crack the mass market, the local component of the charging infrastructure must be solved.

MetroChargers with the right economic model will do it.

The technical heavy lifting for world's state of the art in high speed EV charging is already being done by Tesla. No extra engineering is needed to offer this in other venues at different prices.

It would crazy for Tesla to cede the competitive power of their fast charge technology in the local market segment.

The sheer economic logic of it will be the forcing function.

Pungoteague_Dave | 06. Dezember 2013

The numbers won't work. Blink and others have proven insufficient demand to support cost, maintenance, and electricity economics for local and urban charging. TM's charging technology is even more expensive and has a smaller audience. It is nice wishful thinking, but just that. I have used all kinds of chargers in many locations, have only twice seen another Tesla using the six visited Superchargers, and have never seen anyone charging at level 2's or CHAdeMOs. The demand is still quite limited, and the proposal indicates a self-supporting business model. Given the existing crash-and-burn fee-charging examples, thus couldn't and probably shouldn't get financed.

There is precedence in the TM world - any TM Service Center offers HPWC customer charging for free. They are located in urban areas, not the remote Supercharger locations, and have nearby amenities. However, hardly anyone uses them for charging. We charged at the Marietta Service Center four four hours a couple weeks ago. They were very accommodating, offered to drive us anywhere we wanted to go in the area while charging, and walked us to the nearby diner. I asked how many owners have charged there, and she said "only a handful, we did have someone else two weeks ago, but most owners charge at home." That's the rub. Cars are not used for destination driving except rarely. On any given day, maybe 5% of owners are on road trips. The rest of driving is daily use, commuting, local shopping, etc. I don't have the stats, but bet that over 95% of Model S charging occurs at the owners' homes. That's not likely to change. Without established demand, this idea is a nonstarter.

Brian H | 07. Dezember 2013

PD;
exactly. The admin, in any case, is the big cost and hassle. KISS rulz.

wcalvin | 07. Dezember 2013

So what's the limited experience with in-town SChgers? Hawthorne?

Sounds as if we will get one in Seattle next year. No location announced but I'd bet on the service center at the junction of I-90 and I-5.

Brian H | 07. Dezember 2013

Hawthorn is a special case. Metrochargers have untold issues, from volume to expense.

djm12 | 08. Dezember 2013

I think the issue of excess use of city chargers, like the Hawthorne SC, is overblown. I live within 8 miles of that particular site - I have visited it, but never used it. It's just more convenient to charge up at home - much more so. For the site to not get overused in an urban area, it merely needs to be "a little bit" out of the way. I'm also open to paying as much as $0.50/kwhr for that privilege.

I've studied the Tesla SC map and it's a good start. However, I think everyone on this forum has at least 5-10 additional SC sites in mind that would really help with bridging connections between cities - and within cities. I think Tesla should invest in at least some of these - if they are major connections. I just wonder how the rest will get built? Does Tesla's investment in SC sites end in 2015?

jjaeger | 08. Dezember 2013

@djm12 - allow me to disagree with your view and present an opposite opinion. We've seen on this forum and TMC's way too many responses to the opposite - that owners within a close drive of a SC doing just that, going there and charging. Forget the argument of owners of a car of this cost using their time to get a dollar or two of electricity - it occurs way more often than any of us would have guessed. If you build it within a 30 mile drive, they will come, is my belief. Can't rationalize it but absolutely believe it to be the norm.

logicalthinker | 08. Dezember 2013

Wow, I completely agree with Mark K. Extensive destination supercharging is needed.
One of my colleagues, a nice normal guy, learned of the Model S thru me. (I currently have a Volt).
I got him to test drive it. He was blown away (obviously).

But he regularly commutes to a destination over 100 miles way, and there is no infrastructure at that end and he's not am EV fanatic by any stretch so it's gotta be like a gas station: nearby & quick.

The Metro Charger network is critically needed for the mass market to switch to EVs.
I had been thinking of sponsoring a local network of L2 charging stations around here, but now with my Volt I have real world experience: ten miles of range per hour is intolerable. Nobody but the ultra committed will tolerate that for real life fill up on-the-go.

But of course the Metro Charger network is going to be a much bigger project than the fairly sparse Supercharger network... many times more costly.

logicalthinker | 08. Dezember 2013

While my colleague's situation is statistically atypical, the vast-and-growing population of apartment dwellers needs fast charging available locally (at supermarkets etc.), or they simply will not buy EVs.

logicalthinker | 08. Dezember 2013

There is a bit of catch-22 here. Apartment dwellers are a huge potential EV customer base, but they won't buy EVs until there is a local quick charge station.

I do believe the Metro Charger idea is critical to mass EV acceptance. L2 chargers don't cut it for BEVs that can't charge at home.

Brian H | 08. Dezember 2013

MetroChargers must pay for themselves. I doubt they can be integrated into the xc network TM envisages. Maybe independant entrepreneurs can make paid charging at 100kW work, but I doubt TM and SC will take it on.

Mark K | 08. Dezember 2013

Pungoteague Dave -

Your view is understandable, but there are some useful observations that point to a different conclusion -

1. Tesla vs. Blink

Those who tried to make a business purely out of charging, (like Blink), failed. But that is not dispositive here, because Tesla Motors isn't a charging business. They make money selling cars. Blink, on the other hand, had no other revenue source.

Blink also did not get $2,000 of up-front capital from each customer like Tesla does. They had to borrow capital to build chargers, and could not get a sufficient return from only membership or charging fees.

Blink also entered the market before The Model S even existed, which is now the highest volume pure EV. Of course demand was low back then, because there were so few EVs. That's obviously changing quickly now, and will grow dramatically when Model E ships. To look at the market of years past, is to aim for where the puck has been.

To say Tesla can't build city chargers because Blink failed, is like saying the Model S couldn't succeed because Coda failed. Tesla is the more talented and motivated player, and has a demonstrated record of success where others failed.

If Tesla wants to hit the right notes to make local fast charging a reality, they clearly can, and will.

2. Different Economics for Tesla

To Tesla, the charge network is a necessary part of their infrastructure, but not a profit center. They already manage the SuperChargers the same way as their service network. It needs to break even, but they intentionally chose not to focus it on a profit motive so as not to undermine its main purpose. These assets are necessary to shape the customer experience.

Google made a similar choice. Android was deemed a necessary business for Google's ecosystem, but they can only give away the OS because their main business of advertising is profitable.

You've accepted the economic model of the SuperChargers. Why wouldn't this extend to city chargers? MetroChargers also have a revenue stream that SuperChargers don't, so they are by definition more economically viable. MetroChargers are free only for that same 5% of occasional travel use, and otherwise billed at 1.5X their cost when locals use them for convenience. That's more economically sustainable than the 100% free for life model of the SC's.

Fundamentally, electric energy costs far less per mile driven than gasoline energy. This clearly allows Tesla great freedom to price local SuperCharging less than gasoline, yet more than home overnight charging. This price model encourages home charging to manage capacity, but let's TM still outperform gas in cost and convenience.

Tesla can easily sustain city SC's from the local revenues of those willing to pay a premium when they may need it. They key is the right price model for local use.

Adam Smith will sort out the supply level. If no one uses them, Tesla will stop building them. If they are oversubscribed, the positive cash flow of the local revenue will pay for expansion. Market equilibrium is the natural outcome when rational pricing is in place.

The greater good is well served by solving the local charging riddle. EV charging has its own time and place utility demands, and they must be met as well or better than gas if we want to see mass adoption. Only Tesla has the know-how and will to make this happen. Doing it will shave perhaps 5 years off the adoption curve.

3. Charging at Tesla's Service Centers

You had a great experience near you Dave, where they let you use HPWC's. Enjoy it while you can. As penetration increases, Tesla will have to limit this to prevent saturation. They are already limiting this in California where the Model S population is highest. My wife got turned away from a Tesla store last week. Multiple HPWC's were available, but roped off, with a sign saying they needed to reserve capacity for store use. Six months ago, there was no such restriction, but now there is, and it's necessary.

This policy is obviously inevitable nation-wide in the long term. Service centers must be centrally located in metro centers to serve customers. If locals came there in number for free fuel, they simply could not function. MetroChargers provide an alternative solution that scales nicely.

4. Current Usage Rates

I can understand your perception that SC's are not so busy, because where you drive EV penetration is very low. But here in Los Angeles, chargers are already heavily loaded. The fact that some Hawthorne locals are free-filling and causing travelers to wait for hours ... this is the existence proof of the need for smart policy engineering.

California's EV penetration is already well ahead of the rest of the nation. What you see here now predicts what to expect elsewhere in 2-3 years. The problem already exists here, and it can be readily solved here right now.

5. The 5% Worry That's 100% Operative

Most of us who own this car charge at home 95% of the time. It's really the most convenient, and very reasonably priced relative to gas. So what's the problem? Why does anyone need any other option?

Well, if you don't own a charger in a condo, you're screwed. And if you visit a city for a couple days and circulate, it's really inferior to a gas car to have to go out of town to charge. Maybe your timing is lucky and you can charge overnight at your hotel. Maybe not, and you're finding yourself planning your day around the constraints of your car. That does not scale.

Simply put - with a gas car, you don't need to plan ahead, or worry about range. That sets the bar.

Once Tesla fills in the metro SuperCharger piece, EVs will not only match the convenience of gas, they'll beat it. You can't pump gas at home, but you can indeed fill your EV there, and even make your own power from the sun if you wish.

MetroChargers will let Tesla leverage their commanding lead in charging technology to crack the code on mass penetration of EVs.

When you're in the fastest car, leading the race, you don't hold back your horsepower and let others catch you.

When you own the road, the wise competitor instinctively hits the accelerator.

Bighorn | 08. Dezember 2013

@brian
What's "independant"?

mdemetri | 08. Dezember 2013

As I have said before, widespread adoption of BEV will only occur when 're-fueling' is as easy as ICE re-fueling. As someone who has done many trips to destinations lacking SC, there is simply no question that fast charging is required in destinations. While early adopters will put up with the hassle, the general public wil not. Tesla needs to plan for this, either by building it themselves or licensing the technology to a third party.

Kleist | 08. Dezember 2013

@mdemetri - how much are you willing to pay a 3rd party? $300 a month with a 2+ year contract?

The reason why I ask this is because I read here and in other threads "occasionally" I need this - no 3rd party business can survive on occasionally.

mdemetri | 08. Dezember 2013

@Kleist - I would be willing to pay at least the same as gas, or ~$80 for a charge. At a ~$200,000 cost to build the SC and $0.10 per kwh (using solar), this would be profitable with only 5 cars charging per day in ~2 years.

Of course, this requires a critical mass of cars, which I think CA destinations have covered.

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