I have owned my P85 for nearly two years, and am eagerly awaiting delivery of a new P85D. I am a rabid Telsa fan and shareholder. Given an opportunity, I'm not shy about telling everyone that my experience with my Tesla tells me that electric cars are the future; because they’re just clearly superior vehicles in almost all ways.
Except for long trips. Personally I have never driven my S on a trip over 200 miles. In fact, in my two years of ownership I've almost never charged anywhere other than my garage. For almost all of my daily needs I have no need to charge except at night. But, if I'm going somewhere where my potential distance is anywhere close to my maximum range, I take my ICE. Why? I don't want the inconvenience of potentially having to "seek out" a place to charge.
Which leads me to my point. Ordinarily my intuition would tell me that when a clearly superior technology creates a growing demand for a new service (charging), the market will respond to that opportunity with equal or greater supply. Except, Tesla has screwed up the market with free superchargers. It is impossible for anyone to compete with Tesla on price, and unlikely that anyone will be motivated to “fill the gaps” geographically when Tesla has conditioned the market that the product is worthless.
It’s clear that the “for free, forever” model cannot last. If there is a sustained double-digit percentage growth in Tesla sales, and particularly when newer lower-cost models appear, I don’t care how many dots Tesla puts on their supercharger map, it won’t be enough. They’ll all be full all the time and no one will be happy, to say nothing of the expense they’ll add to Tesla’s bottom line (I don’t care how you get it, electricity isn’t free). It seems to me there must be a way for third parties to fill this clear need, and it cannot be free.
Generally I’ve been impressed with most of Tesla’s strategic decisions, and I’m sure this is something they’ve considered more than I have. I’m sure part of the rationale was to turn the long-trip-weakness into a strength. But, speaking for myself only, the fact that superchargers are free did not factor into my purchase decision at all. Personally, I think we’d all be better off if they were instead at a reasonable market rate. In economics, “free” screws everything up. For Tesla owners, in the long run free superchargers are a net negative.
Just my opinion. But I’d like to understand Mr. Musk’s counterargument, since I’m sure there must be one.