$2000 buys a lot of electricity

$2000 buys a lot of electricity

it struck me the other day - I doubt the Supercharger "hardware" is all that expensive - and we all know the SC "feature" is simply enabled in software - so what is the $2000 paying for?

then I calculated how many kWh you can buy for $2000 @ $0.11/kwh

18,181.181 kwh - or 18.181 megawatts

that's approximately filling an 85 kwh Model S 213 times - or at once a week at 52 weeks in a year it's 4.1 years of "free" weekend fill up…

not all the different than pre-paying for service (Mercedes/BMW) or pre-paying your fuel - it's just that $2000 buys a reasonable amount of Electricity vs. a not so reasonable amount of "Gasoline"…

I highly doubt most Tesla Owner will visit a super charger 213 times in the next few years…

don't get me wrong I love my Model S and the Supercharger's and I understand the need to capitalize the roll out…but are the Supercharger's really "free" when we paid $2000…

4 road trips a year - average of 4-6 SC's used = 24 SC visits a year * 4 years = 96 visits in 4 years

96 * 85 kwh = 8160 kWh used

8160 / $2000 = $0.24/kwh to charge at a super charger

Elon's a clever guy!

pgiralt | July 20, 2013

You're really paying for the infrastructure, not the electricity. It's not cheap to build out all the supercharger stations.

phat78boy | July 20, 2013

Yes, while on the road, charging quickly is valuable to me and one of the reasons I chose to upgrade to a 85.

dortor | July 20, 2013

the time factor certainly needs to be considered…and I also love saving time and understand that - but I'm un-likely to pull $2000 worth of Electricity out of the SC network (and I believe the same for most Tesla Owners)…

amortizing the cost over the most tangible aspect of the supercharger's network (the kwh's) essentially makes this a pre-paid full plan - not a "free" service.

phat78boy | July 20, 2013

With a 60k, I could understand the dilemma. If you travel frequently, sitting in a RV parking lot for several hours at a time year over year... That 2k would probably feel like money well spent.

phat78boy | July 20, 2013

As for the prepaid gas/fuel thought, it's kind of what I think about the entire purchase.

Sudre_ | July 20, 2013

2K is cheap compared to buying airline tickets and car rentals for weeks vacation.

Most people purchasing this option are not buying it to save on electricity. They are paying it to save on the gas to get to the distant location or to save on the plane tickets an car rentals.

Until the SC network gets in place I will be flying to most locations but as an example... a trip to Florida would be $800 for my wife and I to fly round trip and rent a car. It'd be about $300 in gas to drive if gas was only $3.50 a gallon. Two trips minimum a year at those distances and it starts to add up fast.

Super chargers are going to start to look really cheap at $2000. I was lucky enough to get grandfathered into the 60kW SC option for free. If I had to purchase a Model S now I would get the 85kW battery if I wanted supercharging.

Brian H | July 20, 2013

Solar City pays for the electricity, and collects solar panel feed-in revenues.

HenryT2 | July 20, 2013

Well, when I bought my 40, they weren't going to allow the option of supercharging at all. They claimed the wiring(?) was beefed up for the heavier amperage. If that's true, they simply added that cost to all cars because they figured the additional cost would be covered by additional revenue when people upgraded (and/or cost of differentiating the two). So it's not ALL external supercharger expense.

soma | July 20, 2013

Do any other people here believe that in a few years, the DC charging network of other providers will start to be built out, and the supercharger network will be nice, but not as critical as it is now?

jbunn | July 20, 2013

Making my second trip to la in 3 months. 12 charges. So its working for me.

negarholger | July 20, 2013

Dortor - SC hardware is not only extra and beefed up cables but also the relay to switch from AC to DC mode. From a manufacturing point it makes a lot of sense to have the same hardware in all cars, because - especially bringing up a brand new line - you can expect 1 or 2 cars out of a 100 to be miswired... costing a lot of money and time to fix later.
I suspect the reason the 60 kWh was not originally planned to have SC because the engineers were not sure if it would hurt the 60 kWh battery... more time and more testing gave them the confidence to allow SC. The 85 kWh models had $2k included in pricing, but was missing in the 60 kWh model pricing.
The $2k pays for the infrastructure, not the electricity... and yes the MS needs to pay for the infrastructure. It is 2-3% of the MS price... much easier to accept then 6% on Gen3 which must have much tighter pricing control.
In three years 45k cars with SC times $2k = $90M divided by $450k per SC = 200 SC stations. ( $150k SC + $150k solar + $150k battery ).

Mike C | July 20, 2013

2k to travel anywhere, anytime, forever. Totally worth it. Obviously they are doing it in a way that is economically viable for the company.

Captain_Zap | July 21, 2013

Here is something that might put things into perspective.

Last year, before Tesla had the big Supercharger announcement, we had already configured our car and committed to making the car capable of accessing Supercharging in the future. We were not even sure how it would work. We thought this was a hardware thing. We didn't imagine that they would put all that "stuff" in the car if it wasn't ordered, with cost considerations and all.

When we watched the supercharger announcement we expected Elon to announce what price we would pay for the power use once Supercharging became available. We wondered if it would be a flat fee of $30 a month or a sophisticated metering system.

Then, Elon says, "Its FREE." Are you kidding me???
How cool is that!

jkirkebo | July 21, 2013

I'll argue that the SC buildout should come from the marketing budget. As each extra sold Model S should soon bring in somewhere around $19k in additional profits ($75k avg. sales price times 25% gross margin) and a SC without solar costs $150k to put up, they would only have to sell an additional 8 Model S for each SC installed. Thus a very good use of a marketing budget, much better than TV commercials.

I am pretty sure 200 installed SCs would drive demand much higher than an additional 1600 cars...

Brian H | July 21, 2013

Yep; it's even better than that. The equipment and capital cost can be allocated to promotion on a depreciation schedule, minimizing the cost in any particular year.

I wonder if, late at night, GB occasionally sheds a wistful tear because he doesn't get/need to run any TV or even print ads. I'm sure he's mentally written some real zingers!

Docrob | July 21, 2013

I think they should do some ads and simply release them on their website and on youtube, most of the cost in advertising is actually running them on national media, wouldn't cost much to simply make the ads and then let them go viral online for free.

cloroxbb | July 21, 2013

They really don't need to advertise until they are ready to meet a much higher demand I would think.

tobi_ger | July 21, 2013

TV ads won't be needed before X, imho. The social media is so much into any news around Tesla, like last weeks Wired video was mentioned all over Twitter. Also all the test drives and appraisals (consumer report etc.) are a magnet for anyone interested.
In addition all the news about attempts to hinder Tesla in several states riles up a lot of people that might not have heard of Tesla before. The next shareholder meeting will be all over the news as well, no matter the actual results. To me, that's all already good viral reaching.

Docrob | July 21, 2013

yep and with all that viral coverage and people searching Tesla for more info a video of the Tesla Model S's beautiful lines and handling would be nice. Not suggesting it should be on TV at all, just that it should be on the website and on Youtube as something people can link to or stumble across when looking for info on Tesla. Once produced its then available and ready for a time when Tesla is demand constrained not supply constrained.

AmpedRealtor | July 21, 2013

Elon Musk has said in multiple interviews that right now they are doing everything they can to meet existing demand. Marketing is not currently needed or wanted because Tesla could not build the additional vehicles such increased demand would require. This is an enviable position to be in.

Brian H | July 21, 2013

Personally, I anticipate that this will continue for some time. Elon has said they're getting 2-3 new orders for each new car owner -- ranging up to 20 for a few individuals!