Model S

Tesla 60 supercharging option at $2500 is like prepaying for 90,000 miles of electricity

edited November -1 in Model S
I may be an idiot but I didn't understand when I bought my Tesla 60 that supercharging option didn't come with it. This was not made clear in any conversations with salespeople nor did I find on the web this was particularly clear. Everything you read about Tesla and the supercharging stations acts and talks as if everyone is eligible for the program. They talk of how it is free to use for life and it seems like a great feature. I wouldn't have bought the 60 version if I had known it wasn't included. Frankly, it never even occurred to me that it might not be included. I travel a lot around California and it would be a perfect thing to use when traveling to Tahoe, going up and down the coast and the numerous places I like to go to. I imagined all those trips when I bought the car and carefully looked at supercharging station locations and how I would do this. However, when I started to plan my first trip in earnest I discovered that my 60 didn't come with this and that I would need to contact Tesla to have it enabled.

At first I was told that since Tesla had changed practices in how it marketed the Supercharging stations they were sorry I wasn't clear on this. They had changed the way they sell the cars so that someone always talked to them about the options clearly explaining what was included and not. I didn't get any such talk and depended on the research I had done online and since the online materials changed somehow I missed this key fact.

I am now told that I will be given a 500 discount off the 2500 price for this option with the model 60. $2500 at $0.10/KWH that PGE charges me would be 90,000 miles on the car. There is no way I can justify occasional trips to Tahoe, Southern Cal etc by prepaying for 90,000 miles or 75,000 miles or 50,000 miles. I will probably charge at Supercharging stations a dozen or 2 dozens times a year at most if I could. Assuming full charges it would take more than 20 years to drive the miles and use the stations for this to be a worthwhile investment - maybe. Let's say I factor in a doubling of cost because of the convenience factor and the cost to Tesla to provide this service. I would still take 10 years to get the value of this no matter how you look at it, it is like I am paying $1/KWH or 10 times the cost of what PGE charges.

There are so many ways to look at this but none of them make this $2000 look like a decent investment. The cost of pre-paying 10 or 20 years in advance of my usage (assuming I even use it as much as I speculate) is ridiculous. Who would do that? Maybe if I could get Gasoline for my gas powered vehicle in advance at a discount, like a guaranteed $3/gallon someone who thinks gas costs would escalate might think this would be a good investment and prepay for gas but I don't see any reason or rationale for investing in my mileage so far in advance.

I am guessing that Elon in setting this price wasn't thinking that day. It strikes me this is like an oversight it seems so dumb. There are many potential alternatives. They know my car is being charged. They could charge me $0.20 or $0.30 for electricity I used and send me a bill. There is no reason to instrument the stations or put in credit card machines. They could ask for an alternative annual plan for say $200 or even more.

This is a big deal and makes the Tesla model S 60 in my opinion not a desirable car for many people. The superchargers are also a key element of what I think is a winning holistic strategy for Tesla like Apple had of creating the ecosystem for Tesla owners. It binds you to Tesla as opposed to the electric alternatives because they have the best charging stations and usable only by Tesla it is a huge selling point. By making it out of reach of people who for whatever reason can't buy the 85 or in my case just didn't know this is sacrificing what I think is a huge "bonding" and group dynamic that creates loyalty. Without the supercharging stations I am a lot less likely to purchase my next car as a Tesla or even consider selling my current car and buying the new BWM or other luxury sedans competitors due out in one or two years.

Obviously if I had known this I would have bought the 85. I would even trade in my 60 if that is an issue. However, Tesla is being obstinate. I have written Elon as well and hope that somebody somewhere in the system catches what I think is a simple mistake in how to market this and sell this feature and let all us Tesla 60 owners share in the benefits of supercharging stations and the amazing benefit they provide to owning a Tesla.


  • edited November -1
    1. You didn't read or digest any of what was actually said. Just made assumptions. The 85 comes with Supercharging. You pay extra if you wan this in the 60.

    2. Your failure to understand does not make this the fault of Tesla. This is stated online where you place your order and it's an option right on the page.

    3. It's not so much about prepaying or electricity at $.10/kWh as how much the comparable trip in a gas car would cost. 200 miles x 18 trips per year = 3600 miles. Comparable vehicle would get 15-25 mpg. $720/year for gas for long distance trips. Means you'll get payback in less than 3 years.

    4. This is why American consumers are retched. They fail to use the most basic of cognitive abilities. Then they blame someone else. Then they want something for free.

    This post only brings disrepute onto the poster. Not to Tesla Motors.
  • edited November -1
    So whose oversight was this?
  • edited November -1
    Sorry to hear of your misunderstanding...I thought it was pretty clear when I ordered my car in December 2012...

    Anyways, just wanted to point out that it isn't a valid comparison to say that Supercharger power is only valued at 10 cents per kwh (because that's what PG&E charges you for garage power in the middle of the night). There's a lot more to it that that...

    I bought an 85, but still think that prepaying $2,000 for Supercharger access is worth it...It opens up the car for road trips and allows to you use their infrastructure for free. Do you have any idea how much it costs to build AND operate one single SC site in California? It is a lot...$2,000 for unlimited access is a bargain...
  • edited November -1
    But seriously, you are not paying for the electricity, but the freedom to go where you want to in your car.
  • edited November -1
    Your $2500 isn't just paying for electricity either. It's like saying $100,000 for car, 10,000 miles a year; that cost me $10 per mile. (I know, bad analogy)

    Believe me, if you try to sell your 60, everyone will ask if you have supercharging. You'll recoup some of that cost on re-sale.
  • edited November -1
    @SamO: +1
  • edited November -1
    In 8+ months, I have never used a SC. If you need it more than a few times a year, buy it. If not, stop and smell the roses on those few occasions.
  • Al1Al1
    edited November -1
    There are miles and miles. While first mile may be the cheapest, it's the last mile that usually matters the most.

    A supercharger access can take a family of five across country for free. Want to calculate the value of it in terms of airmiles?

    You can have that nice range extender at a fraction of the cost of your car.

    If you don't need it, don't buy it.
  • edited November -1
    It sounds like you are more annoyed that you didn't realize the facts rather than with the actual policy. It is true that the Supercharger is almost assumed because most people do get the capability.

    Unfortunately, this is one of the details that makes a Tesla different from an ICE. I am sure the Tesla sales people would have been able to explain this to you, but this detail may have been missed with all the other fantastic features to see.

    I also have to agree with SamO's point that $0.10 per kWH is not the right comparison. Compare the supercharger to what it would cost in your other car. That payback is way shorter.
  • edited November -1
    Sorry John, you are not going to get much sympathy here. I have always thought their web presentation was absolutely clear (same as in the store). This is the first rant suggesting that an unfair sales process led someone to buy the wrong car. You logic is flawed and the offer you have should be cheerfully accepted. Perhaps if you don't see it that way you are not a good fit as a customer and going back to your choice of ICE may be a good option for you.

    I hope you don't though, you would be letting your frustration override common sense!
  • edited November -1
    @john - we have a 60 on order and knew full well that the supercharging would cost us an extra $2,000. i don't think of it as "charging for free" on either the 85 or 60. the cost is $2,000 - it just so happens if you buy an 85 it's bundled as part of the $10,000 markup.

    that said, we have no need for the extra range or power of the 85, so even the extra $8,000 wasn't "worth it" to us. i don't think it hurts the resale of the car - the hardware is still there, you just need to call and enable it. if there was a $$$ hardware installation required to get it working, i would have added it to our build.

    in any case, i feel your pain in that we would MAYBE use a supercharger once a year. that's a big maybe, because we are keeping our 7 seater SUV. i would seriously urge Tesla to create pay as you go or prepaid SC plans. that may prompt some users to only charge what they need rather than wait for a full charge and use up valuable SC spots.

    i have solar at home that produces more than i use, so my cost at home is $0.00 to charge. we left the $2,000 option of our 60 and decided if we need it in the future, we will pay the extra $500 "penalty" to enable it. only you can decide if it's worth it. for us, we would maybe use it 10x in our total ownership experience, which would amount to $200 per charge.
  • edited November -1
    It was clear to me when I ordered in December 2012. So clear that this was one of the biggest fights(disagreements) my husband and I ever had in our 13 year marriage. He still didn't agree and I added it a week after taking delivery which means I paid $2500.

    We enjoyed it this weekend on our drive to Santa Barbara from the Bay Area. He now thinks it's was worth it.
  • edited November -1
    I bought my 60 back in December fully aware that the Supercharger option was extra -- it was very clear on the website and during the sales process. I didn't purchase it at the time, but my usage pattern changed and I laid out the $2500 to add it.

    Am I reading right that you were offered a $500 discount, just because you missed all of the obvious information when you bought the car? And you're complaining about that??
  • edited November -1
    [Brain voice] Wretched, Samo.

    [Redacted voice] If the superchargers aren't worth it, use chargepoint stations. They're everywhere and some of them can even charge at a rate of 20mph, and only $2/hour! If that's not fast enough then you could get a ChaDeMo adapter for only $1000 and use that at the ChaDeMo stations along the way.

    If it's not worth it to you, it's not worth it. Keep in mind the $2000 (which is awfully nice of Tesla, by the way). If you wanted to install, say, 94 chargers across the country of your own so that you could charge anywhere you can charge with a supercharger you would find the price would come out to more than $2000.
  • irir
    edited November -1
    @john: "nor did I find on the web this was particularly clear."

    No sympathy here either. The builder website clearly has a "Supercharging Enabled" section with the following note "Included with the 85kWh battery, $2,500 after delivery".

    You either selected that option or not. This is the case from the beginning.

    Let this be a lesson that you need to be more careful with big purchases. It right up there with my condo neighbors who were told they only have room for 2 cars and cannot use guest parking complain when they get ticketed for parking car #3 & #4 in guest parking spots.
  • edited November -1
    @redacted, I always enjoy it when people on this forum spell Brian's name "Brain". I think there are multiple layers of irony there... :)
  • edited November -1
  • edited November -1
    I apologize for the tone in my first response OP ( but you did write "I may be an idiot but . . ."). Sorry I took the bait ;D

    I've Supercharged at 43 Superchargers over 100 times in my first year of ownership.

    I was very happy to be offered a smaller pack and a way to stretch to get a piece of the future.

    According to Tesla, 90+% owners choose 85kWh pack cars.

    Realizing that you have an additional and unexpected cost to use the Supercharging network must have come as an unpleasant surprise.

    Realizing that you can replace some plane trips with free road trips should help ease the pain.

    Take it out on Tesla. Use thousands of miles of Supercharging. Visit exotic locales. Make the most of it and I'll meet you out and buy you a coffee on the road.

    Bon Voyage
  • edited November -1
    I'm not going to read the OP again because it was far too long, but how on earth do you get through the order page and not recognize supercharging is an option on the 60? Right in the big box at top where you pick the battery size, it says supercharging optional; not many choices down the page is the check box to enable supercharging, (and the increased fee is mentioned for delayed activation). Charity was offered for your oversight, bless your heart, for not recognizing what everyone else to date has.

    Don't forget the fact that the supercharger capability is head and shoulders above any technology out there, and that it's been installed in your car and you paid nothing for it. Rather than calculate your cost of electricity if you could somehow magically charge from your residential service from afar, consider the de novo infrastructure build-out and the convenience afforded by it. Try going to Starbucks and complaining that you can make a cup of coffee for a quarter at home. Consider the reduced total cost of ownership by using electricity rather than gasoline. If you can't afford it, or think you can't, man up and admit it. You'd get a lot more sympathy.
  • edited November -1
    I just went back to check the website. Under 60kWh model it says "supercharging and 19" tire upgrade optional". How much more clear you want it to be?

    On top of that your PG&E rate argument makes no sense at all. How much money's worth of food you get compares to what you pay at a good restaurant? You are paying for the convenience not just the raw food.
  • edited November -1
    You can't justify spending $2500 to allow extended car trips in a 60kWh model, but you could have justified spending an additional $10k for an 85kWh model? Not understanding that rationale.

    Further, it's odd that you calculate the $2500 in terms of $0.10/kWh electricity at your home residential rate. This is flawed for several reasons:

    - It assumes that Tesla's only cost is the electricity, which is obviously incorrect. They have to build and maintain the supercharger stations which is not inexpensive.

    - You pay your mortgage/rent/property taxes at home, that's why you live there and can have a charger there. The land the superchargers are built on is not free either. Tesla has to buy/lease that land so they can build the station, or come to some sort of arrangement with a business.

    - How much is time and convenience worth? When you go out to dinner do you expect your meal to cost the same as if you bought it in the store and cooked it yourself? Of course not. Not to mention supercharging happens very quickly, so you're getting the same product (electricity) 10 times faster than you would at home.

    If anything it's nice that Tesla allows 60kWh models to come without the supercharging enabled (although it has the hardware anyway) for those of us trying to save a few extra bucks. Worst case scenario if we find we really need it after all a simple phone call and payment is all that is needed.

    Finally, it may be a good idea to go to your user profile and change your username to something other than your e-mail address :)

    Happy driving!
  • edited November -1
    I bought a 60, via the website. It's clearly stated on the relevant customizing pages that sc is an option on the 60. I bought and paid for it. Haven't used it yet, happy that I've got it...if only for resale value.

    I cannot imagine anyone overlooking this when sitting down to configure and order a $70,000+ vehicle.
  • edited November -1
    First I bought my car in october not december. I understood from the salesman that it was made clearer in later versions of the website and online order process as well as a new requirement in the sales process to include a conversation with the customer explaining all the options. I think this is a problem in the past with how they sold it online and points to a problem with online sales. It bolsters the argument that dealerships serve a purpose if these kinds of things happen to Tesla it makes their argument that dealerships aren't needed weaker.

    You can be as legalistic as you want about it was all disclosed if you look at the fine print and da da da... buyer beware but I am interested in Tesla succeeding and for me to be and other 60 owners to be enthusiastic. I was not aware however that happened. It could be I was derelict but however it happened it points to a situation Tesla shouldn't want to happen that is correctable especially since in my case they could have upsold me on the 85 if I had known the tradeoffs clearly.

    I really believe that the supercharging network is a huge benefit for Tesla owners and Tesla benefits tremendously by having every Tesla owner have access to the network even if on a paid basis because it enhances the value of the car to be able to travel. I may only use it occasionally and therefore for many people they may never get anywhere near the value of the stations but the fact it is there and possible for them to use gives the car an enormous increased potential value. It will increase loyalty and differentiation of the product as competitors come about. It makes no sense to me to create 2 classes of Tesla owners, those who really are free to use this like a conventional car and those who can't and are relegated like a dozen other electric cars with limited range who can't supercharge.

    The Chamedo interface is not available much and so far in america Tesla has not said the tesla will be compatible without purchasing a $1000+ chamedo adapter thingy which may be available someday but is not today.

    My complaint is several:

    1) some people may not want to buy 85 but still want to occasionally travel and $2500 is ridiculous price I still think

    2) its not good for Tesla to have some that can't do the supercharging as it defeats the holistic approach that will build loyalty. i believe this is different than "options" because it is a signature capability of Tesla that it markets about the product which is it is like a regular car and can travel like a regular car. It doesn't need to be free but it has to be there and not ridiculous. That's why I suggested options like charge more or give an annual plan.

    3) I personally didn't feel the sales process made this clear to me but it seems like they've fixed that from everything you all have written and feel it was very clear to you. There is no reason for me to be deceptive here so I am not lying and I am not an idiot. I read about the tradeoffs in all the electronics things I purchased, other aspects of charging that i was buying / not buying, reduced range was clear. I understood and am happy with everything else about the car generally. I have some nits many of which have been fixed with software upgrades in just the last couple months.

    I could look at this as some have suggested by comparing the $2500 (Or $2000) to what it would cost in an ICE to travel or I could consider the cost of building the stations and how much that costs Tesla and say it is reasonable. However, a big point of the Tesla is that it is 95mpg car. If I pay $1/KWH it becomes a 9.5mpg car. I might as well take my ICE which gets at least 20mpg.

    However, it's worse than that. By pre-paying $2500 or $2000 there is a time value of money. What is $2500 worth to me over the next year compared to how much I would be willing to pay over 10 years for electricity when I traveled? I just bought a new variable speed pump for my pool at home. That cost $1000 plus installation and a solar mechanism will cost $1500. However, I will save $100/month in electricity costs which means in a year it will pay for itself. buying something in advance to have payback in 20 years is a lot different investment that frankly for most people doesn't make sense ever. Yet those people may want to make occasional use of something. A lot of people are still not converting to variable speed pumps even though you get a rebate from PGE and the payback is months.

    I get that it costs a lot for the stations but maybe it is just ridiculous cost if it turns out to be $1KWH then this is pretty bad economics.

    The best argument I have to admit is compelling is if by getting this it increases the value of the car by a similar amount then it is a rationale that makes sense because then I could reduce the cost of the actual electricity by the residual difference in increased value of the car. Maybe if I really believe that when I sell the car which may be 5 or 10 years from now I will get a good part of that back I would make the investment now knowing that. However, one problem is knowing what the resale value of the car is. We don't know if we will get back 30% of what we paid in 5 years or 75% or if the supercharging station option is worth $2000 more or $50 more like some options on a car. I guess one argument is if Tesla will really let a supercharging owner charge for free for life transferable to new owners then it could be worth a lot to a used car buyer to get it since it will give them the ability to get free charging for their life of the car too. If I believe that I may yet spend the $2000.
  • edited November -1
    And the short version is?
  • edited November -1
    Here is another way to look at this.
    Before a bought a tablet, I couldn't see where I would use one. I mean, it's small, it's limited and the battery doesn't last very long. Now that I have one, it goes with me everywhere. I use it for things I never thought of before I owned it.

    Supercharger access is going to be like that I would think. Until you have it, you can't really see what use it will be.

    I might be wrong. Could be a bad analogy. But it feels right.
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