40 kwh - why is supercharger access denied?

40 kwh - why is supercharger access denied?

I'd gladly pay the fee to access the supercharger network in my 40. Why doesn't Tesla allow this without paying for the 60 kwh upgrade? I know the SC network is built for 60s, but I don't need to drive across the country - I just want to drive from San Diego to LA.

church70 | April 17, 2014

I think they call it marketing.
You're lucky you have a 40 I want one for second car but that's impossible now
I read somewhere that the guy tried it with the 40 and it work you might want to try it let us know

robgoodin | April 17, 2014

I was initially stated that all Tesla models S would have free supercharging then it changed for some reason. 40's should get it since anyone with 40 was an early adopter when it was advertised all Tesla's would have free super charge.

Webcrawler | April 17, 2014

The superchargers were not even part of the conversation when the 40s were ordered...

And all can have it. Upgrade the 40 to a 60 via the software upgrade and then pay the supercharger activation fee...

eAdopter | April 17, 2014

As a 40 owner I'm naturally biased.

I can think of a few minor reasons why Tesla doesn't offer the SC option for the 40. As others have stated, Tesla made a big deal about how Model S owners could use the SC network. Given how infrequently a 40 would use the SC network, I think Tesla could get a lot of possitive exposure by offering 40 owners the SC option at the same price as 60/85 owners.

I think this is an area where Tesla could improve. People frequently ask me questions about the car. I tire of explaining how the 40's were excluded without being able to provide a good reason. I think it takes a bit of the shine off an otherwise good experience.

Captain_Zap | April 17, 2014

My understanding is that the original 40kWh battery was not going to be able to handle the amount of juice a Supercharger delivers.

Later they decided to just software limit the 60kWh battery instead of making different batteries because there was so few orders.

There was so few car orders without Supercharging that they just decided it was more efficient to just install the hardware and make it software activated.

They were adapting to the market on the fly. It turned out great for the 40kWh customers.

DavidE35 | April 17, 2014

eAdopter - I agree, I find myself explaining to others a lot that yeah, the SC network is out there for longer trips, but I can't access it, so I have to use my wife's ICE. It's just confusing to explain.

church - I don't think this is a marketing tactic, but rather Tesla not wanting 40 owners trying to make it to the next SC and running out of juice on the way there. I'm pretty sure this would be a rare occurrence though.

webcrawler - I don't really need a 60 for range purposes, and $11k is a lot to cough up for something I don't really need on a routine basis (and would only add about half of the upgrade fee to the value of my car). I'd rather put that $ towards my next Tesla.

Would other 40 owners pay $2500 to get access to the SC network?

DavidE35 | April 17, 2014

Just called tech support - they didn't have an answer as to why the 40s can't access the SC network, but they are adding this to the "feature request" list.

robgoodin | April 17, 2014

I ordered the 40 since it met my range requirements and the car battery would weigh 30% less then the 60 kw battery pack and would allow for better acceleration and range. Now I get to carry around the extra weigh which reduces range and acceleration. We get to carry the extra baggage with none of the benefits.

PBEndo | April 17, 2014


I understand your complaints, but you do get some benefit from having the 60 kWh battery in your car.

1. You have to option to increase capacity via OTA update at anytime. Even if you don't use this, it would make your car worth more at resale.
2. Your battery should last longer since you never charge to the maximum.

ModelS3P | April 17, 2014

I would definitely pay the full $2,500 for the Supercharger access if that was an option on my 40 (and I mention this just about every time I visit a service center). Yes, it wouldn't get me long-distance travel, but it would open up my Model S traveling options to Madison, WI; South Bend, IN and a few other places (Indianapolis maybe soon). These are places that I travel to often for work in my wife's sporty Honda Odyssey.

That being said, when we confirmed our purchase on the 40s, we thought we were getting a 40 kWh battery, no option for Supercharger access, and a slower car (acceleration and top speed) than the 60 kWh version. We did get a great deal in that we received the performance of the 60 kWh version at no additional cost, plus we now have an option to upgrade in the future to a full 60 kWh car (with or without Supercharger access). These are all things we didn't think we would be able to do when we confirmed.

In the end, I don't mind at all that Tesla makes us upgrade the battery first before allowing Supercharger access given that this is the same decision/dilemma we had before final confirmation; however, I personally will never upgrade at full price (especially given that the longer we own our cars, the less time we will get to use the benefit, plus the benefit is reduced even further by our batteries degrading over time).

I do believe that they will eventually reduce the price to unlock. I don't know if that will be this year or two years from now, but if they ever do offer a reduced price, I may or may not upgrade based on their asking price and my perceived remaining useful life of the vehicle.

ModelS3P | April 17, 2014

@robgoodin: actually, the 40s were going to be slower in acceleration. At the time we ordered, they were quoting 0-60 mph in 6.5 seconds for the 40. As for range, I believe they gave us access to a little over 40 kWh to make up for this (43.2 kWh is what I remember calculating).

In addition, the top speed was going to be limited to 110 mph for the 40 (vs. 120 mph with the 60). However, this point doesn't mean anything to me given that I will likely never test the top speed.

Now, we do likely use more energy per mile given the extra weight, but I'm okay with that given the increase in performance.

Earl and Nagin ... | April 17, 2014

The other problems with the original 40 kWhr packs is that if they did Supercharge, they would tie up a Supercharger for just as long as a 60 kWhr or an 85 kWhr. This is because, all other things the same, smaller batteries can't accept as fast a charge as larger ones. They would then tie up the Superchargers by needing to stop at every one for longer time each.
Unfortunately, the 40 kWhr battery pack weighed just as much as the 60 kWhr and the 85 kWhr. This is because the handling and safety design assume the same mass for all cars. My understanding was that the 40 kWhr pack was going to have to have a lead weight added.
I wonder if the fact that this seems wrong was one of the motivators for Tesla to cancel that option.
You 40 kWhr folks really did come out ahead since your packs should last longer than the original 40 kWhr packs since you can't put as much stress on them by charging fully or discharging fully.

carlk | April 17, 2014

" I know the SC network is built for 60s, but I don't need to drive across the country - I just want to drive from San Diego to LA."

That's a good reason. No one owes you anything if you recognized it when you made the purchase.

DavidE35 | April 17, 2014

carlk - I guess my point is that I'm willing to pay Tesla $2500 to access the SC network, but not $13,500. It's lost revenue to Tesla (not much I admit) to not allow 40s to purchase access to the SC network. I just can't think of a valid reason to not allow 40s to use it if they are willing to pay for but don't need/want the range of a 60.

It would make a small group of their customers happy. Would 60 and 85 owners be upset if 40s could pay $2500 to access the SC network?

carlk | April 17, 2014

@DavidE35 You were not allowed to pay $2500 to access the SC network when you placed the order. For that you need to make the hard choice of if it's worth it for you to spend more. The pricing structure is such that the priority is for Tesla to make reasonably profit and not to make everyone happy which is an unachievable goal anyway. Nothing has changed because you took advantage of getting a software limited 60kWh. You don't think that is fair?

Chuck Lusin | April 17, 2014

I have two of the 40's and we were told that if we get leather and air, that would speed up the car delivery. Also supercharging was included when we places our orders.

I thought that the supercharging option would be nice, for $2,500, for the once or twice I would use it. It would be extra income for Tesla.

I don't think that the approx. 400 of the 40's would even make a dent in the supercharging network.

NKYTA | April 17, 2014

@David, to the specific question that I, as an 85 owner would be upset if you could activate supercharging for $2500...the answer is no. Given so few 40's I don't think it would impact wait times at SC's much at all.

That said, @carlk is making a ton of sense.

DallasTxModelS | April 17, 2014

I have been on from the point Model S became configurable. The Superchargers were never available to the 40kWh battery. The pricing structure is included supercharger access with 85kWh battery. $2500 with the 60kWh battery and following that logic if it were ever to be added in the future it should be $5000 for the 40kWh battery.

Any other car company would have not accommodated the less than 5% that chose a 40kWh battery. Not give you a battery that costs $10K more and software limiting it to 40kWh to keep the small group of people happy.

Now those who when they confirmed their order knew exactly what they were ordering because you don't need to drive beyond the range offered by the 40kWh battery think that should all change to allow the very things they did not need when ordering their car. And to insist that ontop of not paying for the 60kWh additional cost.

AustinAnthony | April 17, 2014

I was one of the original reservation for the S40 and knew the car was slower, and could not use the SC's. It was always clearly communicated in the website. I switched my configuration to the S60 just a few days before they made the announcement of the substitution for the S40 reservation holders. Yes, I was pissed for a few months. We all know the S40 reservation holders got a sweet deal from Tesla. Don't forget that most or all of the S40's were priced at the 2012 pricing which was $2,500 lower. You basically bought the base S40 car for $49,900 once the federal rebate was factored in. You will benefit for a long time since you will have a longer battery life with little or no degradation, much much slower depreciation, and endless upgradability to an S60 with SC access. If I want a S85 I have to sell my S60 and buy a S85 to get one as opposed to just making a call to Tesla and having it done OTA. S40 owners got the best value for their money of all the Tesla owners. If SC access is wanted the $13,500 should be paid to be fair and not undercut all the other owners.

eAdopter | April 17, 2014

Hey Chuck! It's nice to hear from you.
I'm not sure if I read your post correctly. Did you get a 40 with Super Charging enabled?

DavidE35 | April 17, 2014

I'm not complaining at all. I love my 40 and got a great deal. I understood that I would not have SC access at the time I bought it.

My question is what business purpose does Tesla have to disallow 40s from using the SC network. So far, I haven't really heard any compelling reasons. Although I'm sensing from some of the comments that some 60 owners that would have otherwise selected a 40 if not for the SC access restriction may be a bit resentful if the 40s are allowed to just pay $2500 to access the SC network.

Just because they didn't offer SC access for 40s originally doesn't mean that it makes sense to continue to restrict access. Seems like it would be revenue neutral for Tesla and would align the customer base. But then again, I'm biased.

Not complaining, just asking the question in hopes other 40 owners are interested and Tesla is listening. Perhaps they could put in a rule stating that 40 owners have to buy 60 and 85 owners a cup of coffee if they are taking up a spot in the SC lot.

Mark K | April 17, 2014

Tesla really did right by the 40kWh buyers.

Tesla paid for all the cells for a 60, but only charged for 2/3 of them.

SuperCharging was never planned or promised for the 40, so no one lost out on anything.

Tying the SC upgrade to the 60kWh upgrade is a very reasonable way for Tesla to recover their cost to deliver the benefit.

Tesla's offer to provide the upgrade at any time that works for the buyer is an extraordinary, standup policy.

While more gifts would be nice, it's more reciprocal to be thanking them, than to expect something more.

amitb00 | April 18, 2014

I am an 85 owner and so have no bias here.
Upgrading to 60 and adding SC option is already available to 40 owners.
I don't see why Tesla is not allowing plain SC option for 40 owners. H/W is already in the car. This allows 40 owners to enjoy SC privileges. There are not too many 40s on the road and not all owners will get SC option. If they charge 2.5K for 60 owners, they may ask similar amount from 40 owners. Seems fair to everyone.
I support above as it seems the right thing. It is not that 40 owners are legally entitled for it. Tesla makes effort to retrofit many features on the old cars (like parking sensors, folding mirrors or twin chargers) at a cost. In this case it is a simple software setting for them. They should look into it.

DallasTxModelS | April 18, 2014


What you've missed in your be fair at a cost is a 60kWh battery was given to the 40kWh buyers at no extra cost. That is the omly reason that being able to SC at this point even exists. They want now to not pay the additional $10K cost of the battery under their car and just pay the upcharge a 60kWh owner has to pay.

I have no problem with someone paying $12,500 and upgrading it to a true 60kWh battery with SC privileges. I don't have a problem with them leaving it software limited to 40kWh and paying $5000 for SC privileges. But to pay for a 40kWh while getting a 60kWh battery and pay only what a 60kWh owner has to pay is unfair.

The poster's that have the 40kWh that are pushing for the privilege have definitely said they won't pay the $10,000 more that their actual battery is worth. If they didn't get that battery given to them in the first place their car would not be in the situation where it could even be possible to get SC privileges.

They ordered a 40kWh, it never had the possibility to supercharge, it had the range they wanted. If it is no longer the car they really wanted they do have an option to pay $10,000 more for the battery and remove the software. The owners of the 60kWh don't have that option to increase to an 85kWh without actually paying the difference and getting another car.

That would be like someone with a 60kWh battery asking for Tesla to give them back $12,500 and have their car software limited to a 40kWh because they found they were never going to drive on long trips and don't want to supercharge anymore. Even though it is able to be done. Just because something is possible doesn't mean that it should be done.

I think if someone who has gone on these forums and bragged about how great a deal they got with their 40kWh battery and how people that paid $10,000 more for range they won't probably ever need or use was just stupid, can now come on here and post that just because they got a 60kWh battery for the original price of a 40kWh that they should be able to pay only the supercharger fee because it can be done.

I have an 85kWh battery that I will beg Tesla to return $20,000 of the price to software limit my Model S to act like a 40kWh if they do allow 40kWh to supercharge. Then if someday I want to go on a longer trip or just want to use Supercharger to fill up weekly I will just have them turn it back on at no extra charge because all the right equipment is already on my car.

The cars that can supercharge from the factory have special equipment just for DC to DC that is not on the cars that leave the factory not supercharger ready. It's not just an OTA change as most people think. The reason it is $500 more to add after the fact to a 60kWh than add to the original configuration is for the DC to DC equipment that is not on the non supercharger equipped 60kWh. So even though a software limited 40kWh is really a 60kWh battery it still is not just an OTA change to add Supercharging.

L8MDL | April 18, 2014

The 60 can be upgraded to an 85 according to David Noland at Green Car Reports. He paid $18,000. Search GCR for "Tesla upgrade".

PaceyWhitter | April 18, 2014

I would say the business purpose is to encourage 40 owners to upgrade to the 60. That way they can recoup the loss they suffered on the car.

AmpedRealtor | April 18, 2014

It was Tesla's decision to ship 40s with 60 batteries. I don't understand why owners of those vehicles should now be penalized out of "fairness" to those who paid more. There is no reason why a 40 owner needs to upgrade to a 60 capacity just to get the ability to pay for a supercharger upgrade. Tesla could make some money here where it otherwise couldn't. I don't see how that's a bad thing.

Capacity and supercharging are two different things that don't need to be tied together. Much in the same way people didn't appreciate the HPWC being bundled with the twin chargers.

carlk | April 18, 2014

@PaceyWhitter "I would say the business purpose is to encourage 40 owners to upgrade to the 60. That way they can recoup the loss they suffered on the car."

Do you mean by upgrade for $2,500 as op asked or $12,500 for the entire package?

Not making business sense is exactly the reason why 40kWh owners should not be allowed to pay only $2,500 to upgrade to SC capable. It prevents people from considering paying $12,500 to upgrade to 60kWh and, most importantly, it gives new customers a false impression that they could spend the minimum and Tesla will treat them nice in the future and let them to upgrade cheaper than they could when buying new. No good company with sound business practices will do that.

DallasTxModelS | April 18, 2014


Well that's dumb. You can buy 85kWh for less $8,000 less. Why upgrade. By the 40kWh to 60kWh upgrade is meant to let you use the software restricted portion of the larger battery you already possess for the price of the smaller battery.

Obviously they are changing from a 60kWh to a different 85kWh battery for that $18,000 upgrade.

DallasTxModelS | April 18, 2014

@Pacey Whitter

The only way to recoup the $10,000 lost to the 40kWh buyer is to upgrade them for $10,000 then if they want to supercharge they can pay $2500 more.

That goes directly against the subject post and following comments where they want to only pay $2500.

DallasTxModelS | April 18, 2014


The HPWC is not a high power wall charger without the twin chargers. Paying $2500 for a permanent hook to hang your $650 charging cable is the equivalent of buying the HPWC without the second 10W onboard charger.

Your logic and your perception of fairness and taking advantage of a $10,000 gift that fell in the laps of 40kWh owners.

DallasTxModelS | April 18, 2014


If you're listening my $500,000 home forsale and my neighbor walks up to you and says "You're already getting paid to bring people out to see DallasTXModelS' house why don't you show my $800,000 home across the street at the same time and when they both sale DallasTXModelS here will pay you 6% for selling his home and it's only fair that since you were already here I shouldn't pay for you selling my home.

Welcome to your logic.

DallasTxModelS | April 18, 2014

That's listing.

DavidE35 | April 18, 2014

From the perspective of a 40 owner, it just doesn't make financial sense to pay $13,500 to upgrade just for SC access. I could sell my 40 and buy a comparably-equipped 60 w/ SC for much less than $13,500 net (especially for those living in a no-sales tax state).

tes-s | April 18, 2014

My view is Tesla figures anyone who will pay $2500 for SC access will pay the full $13,500 to upgrade, or better yet just buy another car.

Features have always been bundled - can't get certain features without ordering other features. It is not a-la-carte.

No unlimited mileage warranty without 85.
No spoiler without P+.
No + without P.
No P without 85.

And guess what? No supercharging without 60 or 85.

Why wouldn't Tesla sell a spoiler on any car - they make more money, right? Or + package?

amitb00 | April 18, 2014

Legally speaking, Tesla is not required to give SC privilege to 40 owners. Same reason as they bundle few features. They bundled HPWC and twin chargers some time back. I called them and got it unbundled. Still it did not seem transparent and fair. They unbundled it now. It just feels that 40 owners can pay some money - 2.5 k or evev a higher amount and use the privilege without upgrading to 60. Even Nissan dealers sometimes allow Tesla to charge at their facility . It is not same thing, but seems that it is right thing to do. It does not harm anyone, gets Tesla some money and makes car more useful for the owners. Win win for all.

tes-s | April 18, 2014

@ambit - win win for everyone except Tesla, who would rather get $13,500 instead of $2,500. Or perhaps even sell another car, which was mentioned as a cost-effective alternative to upgrading.

There are a lot of things Tesla does not sell individually - it does not seem selling them individually is viewed by Tesla as a "win".

My understanding is Tesla sold the 40s to reservation holders to meet their commitment and as a goodwill gesture after they found it was not a car they wanted to sell.

I think they should have a program to get 40 owners to trade up to new cars - then they can simply unlock the battery and sell them as a used 60 that has never had the battery range-charged!

AmpedRealtor | April 18, 2014

@ DallasTXModelS,

I'm looking at this from the perspective of a 40 owner. A gift is exactly that - a gift. You don't ask for it back. 40 owners never asked for a software limited 60 battery. But because they got one, including all of the hardware that goes with supercharging, it does not make sense to charge $12,500 for something that others paid $2,500 for. After all, they would only be paying for supercharging - not getting a 60 kWh battery for $2,500. If they want that, it's another $10,000.

My example of the HPWC and twin chargers was an example of BUNDLING, which is what Tesla is doing here. They are bundling the 60 kWh increase with the supercharging, which I believe is fundamentally unfair to 40 owners.

As per your real estate example, it's not applicable. As a seller, you are paying me for a service. As a customer, I am paying Tesla for a vehicle. To continue the analogy, I end up giving you a car as a client gift, except the warranty is in my name (withholding a feature). You have now received more than what you actually paid for, and I gave you a gift that withheld a feature. Same as a 40 owner and Tesla. You call me and say hey, my arm rest broke - can you transfer the warranty into my name? I say sure, as soon as you pay me the full amount of the gift I gave you (the car) in order to receive the warranty which I withheld. Does that seem fair? These are just constructs to make a point.

L8MDL | April 18, 2014

@dallastx... "Well that's dumb. You can buy 85kWh for less $8,000 less"

Not sure I understand. Mr Noland purchased a 60, decided to upgrade the battery to an 85, paid $18k for a new 85 battery installed. Do you know a less expensive way to do it? Also, could a 40 owner do the same?

Chuck Lusin | April 18, 2014

Hi eAdopter!

Just a regular 40 without SC :(

There is always so much negativity to a 40. My wife and I each have one. When we ordered our 40’s a few years ago it was just a different battery option. It was not our fault that TM decided to remove that option. TM did make us wait a very long time while everyone else’s cars were produced. TM had our deposits just like everyone else.

Remember the reservation sequence numbers? Back then it was your promised position for the car production. Sure most new owners never had to wait, and they it just disappeared from the web site. It really sucked when someone just purchased an 85, and they took delivery before, your 2+ year old order.

If I purchased a base model car, and added 3 party options to it, no one would care.

Chuck Lusin | April 18, 2014

The $39,999 Model E will come with free supercharging:

PBEndo | April 18, 2014

Regardless of the price, if 40's were allowed to SuperCharge, would they still have to taper as they approached the software limited maximum charge? It would seem they could charge at near full speed right up to the software imposed limit. If so, their impact on the SC's would really be minimal.

Of course, it might depend on which battery they have (A,B,C, etc..)

PBEndo | April 18, 2014

If a 40 could charge at 135kW with no taper, it would come close to meeting the CARB ZEV credit requirement for a full charge in 15 minutes.

Perhaps Tesla should only sell software limited 40's (or 35's, or whatever it needs to be) to get the credits and then allow after-purchase unlocking of 60 and 85 capability.

This might also save customers some $ on taxes if only the original purchase pays sales tax.

Of course, for every customer that doesn't upgrade, Tesla would lose $ on the extra batteries that shipped with the car.

jackhub | April 18, 2014

The initial 40K design differed from the 60K and 85K. It had different wiring capacity and was unable to take the juice. The old threads cover that.

When Tesla gave the 40K buyers a toned-down 60K instead of the original 40K, I don't know why they did npt open them up to SCs. Maybe to protect the additional $10K the 60's paid?

Brian10 | April 18, 2014

@DallasTXModelS, you right to “… to pay for a 40kWh while getting a 60kWh battery and pay only what a 60kWh owner has to pay ($2,500 for SC upgrade) is unfair.” For something to be unfair, someone has to be wronged. Who is wronged by Tesla allowing this upgrade? How is a 60kWh owner harmed or wronged if a 40kWh owner pays $2,500 and gets the SC upgrade? Why would a 60kWh owner even care if this SC upgrade was available? I’m a 40 kWh own with no intention to upgrade the battery or the SC (due to the price). For business reasons, Tesla is bundling the SC upgrade with the battery upgrade and there is nothing wrong with that. But unbundling it is unfair to no one.

Brian10 | April 18, 2014

write that to, "...

Brian H | April 18, 2014

Here's an interesting complication: can the 40s use CHAdeMO? Their capacity is at the top end of what Nissan and others offer right now (or the near future).

Chuck Lusin | April 18, 2014

Hi Brian,

Good catch, the 40 are also excluded from using this adapter, because supercharging is also required. They do give you the supercharging for a discount of $1,900 ($2,900-1,000) for the 60 kWh.

Chuck Lusin | April 19, 2014

Several months back we were going to the Staples Center in LA. From our house in Riverside, CA round trip is 129 miles, super close for a 40, but we had planed to use one of the five blink chargers in the parking structure. Well it was so close, we took the ICE, when we got there all five spots were ICEd. If we took the 40, we would have to make a stop at some charger on the way home, and of course it is midnight. So to find a charger real close to a Denny's is hard to do, even in a 64 mile trip.

If I would have had the supercharging option, a quick 15 min top off in Hawthorne would have been the perfect backup plan.

Chuck Lusin | April 19, 2014

Looking at it computed a rated range of 130 miles and Total Energy used at 38.2kWh, with a speed multiplier of 1.1. This is 63.7% of a 60, and we can charge to 70%. It should be possible, but it is just to close to test.