Supercharger event September 24

Supercharger event September 24


Looking forward to concrete information...


olanmills | September 25, 2012

I wouldn't be surprised if the supercharger hardware in future Tesla cars is an optional feature that adds profit for Tesla (and who's to say that's not the case right now?), and thus allows Tesla to keep building more and more of these things, even in locations where they can't install solar panels to offset the costs and/or generate profit.

After all the successful formula is:

+/-[cost of vehicle hardware] - [cost to build stations] - [total value of electricty consumed by users] < [total value of electricity fed to grid] +/- [cost of vehicle hardware]

The cost of the on-board vehicle hardware is on both sides of the equation since Tesla could either try to make a profit on it, or they could include it or sell it at a loss.

As long as the performance of the solar panels is good enough, and the cost to build and maintain is low enough, Tesla just has to build enough of these such that the amount of money they earn by pumping energy into the grid meets or exceeds the amount of energy the users draw from the stations (and offesets the value of their other costs to operate this service).

In this way, it's not necessary for all of the stations to have solar panels, especially considering, more stations -> less objection to ownership -> more Tesla car sales -> more capital to build more stations, including net energy (and revenue) generating stations.

The ratio of [stations with positive net energy production : negative net energy production] probably just needs to be kept above some certain threshold for this to remain sustainable or even profitable.

Assuming the engineering is good enough, it's a really cool model, and simultaneously furthers the goal of making EV's practical for everyone and making it a viable business.


Also on a sperate note. bbmerts at the TeslaMotorsClub confirms:

I attended today's event and spoke with a Tesla technician to clarify this issue regarding potential adverse effects of supercharging on battery life. He explained that frequent supercharging actually causes NO degradation of battery life if the vehicle is set in Standard charging mode. It is only Range charging which causes degradation. He also mentioned that the 85kWh battery will reach ~80% charge after 45 minutes after which the rate of supercharging slows to protect the battery.

So we have more awesome news! And I was kind of expecting this since there is no such disclaimer on the facts page and the Superchargers are open for use by current owners right now.

Docrob | September 25, 2012

I don't understand how they could have built 6 stations and photos and details of them haven't leaked, they must have built them inside some sort of outer shell to hide them until the announce,emt cause let's face it they're hardly difficult to spot.

Mark K | September 25, 2012

The first six were in stealth mode. The branded installations like the one on display get put in after this reveal.

olanmills | September 25, 2012

btw, I made a mistake; except for the unknown factor of whether Tesla includes on-board vehicle supercharger hardware at a profit or a loss, the terms on both sides of the inequality should be positive.

I was trying to highlight the fact that costs are on the left and revenue is on the right.

Timo | September 25, 2012

About hundred messages in one day. Must be record for these forums. Shows how much this was anticipated and how people really care about long range driving as well.

stealth_mode | September 25, 2012

Did they elaborate on when first SCs will come to europe? I hope not too late!
Can any body define "range charging" as posted by olanmills?
I think the "pylon" is kind of an awkward design... just my 2cents;-)

Brian H | September 25, 2012

Mebbe not. That's the drop-dead date for the completion of all in that map. The I5 station(s) might be first out of the chute! A detailed schedule would be nice for vacation planners ...

Yes, and that's a very important viewpoint: these SC stations are a MARKETING expenditure! They make the Model S more saleable. (I think the GenIII issue etc. must await the latest battery design info at the time. Mebbe they'll go 700 miles on a charge!)

See above, and remember the stations will be run financially by Solar City. As I posted elsewhere, they will take in feed-in tariff revenues for all unused power and thus will be motivated to "overbuild" and to keep those panels clean!

Bottom line, Elon sez the stations are cheap to build, and are "franchised" to Solar City once built. Their only interest is to make sure they "represent the brand" attractively.

Brian H | September 25, 2012

Clarification: their TM's only interest ...

RNB | September 25, 2012


Does the car communicate with a remote device to indicate charge status? Can one monitor charging while at a restaurant?

Similarly, if doing a slower charge such as might occur at a hotel, can one be alerted if charging is not happening such as might occur if someone disconnects? I'd hate to wake up and not be able to put on some miles.

Volker.Berlin | September 25, 2012

RNB: Yes, yes and yes. Not yet, but it has been promised all along and a smart phone app with these and other features is definitely coming.

Brian H | September 25, 2012

Doesn't the connector lock unless the fob is nearby? I think someone mentioned that.

Nick Kordich | September 25, 2012

@StephRob - The Supercharger is at the Folsom Premium Outlet Mall. I was at the National Plug-In Day event on Sunday when someone from Tesla came by to talk to Jack Bowers, who'd brought his Model S down from Reno for the event.

He said he was there to oversee the commissioning of a Supercharger across the parking lot. I thought he meant to finalize the agreement for one, as I didn't think Tesla was that far along in Supercharger deployment. We were in the center of the outlets, and he nodded west toward the Iron Point Road entrance. I'd come in that way and didn't notice any spaceships landing, so I thought maybe he was indicating offices where he had been signing papers. If he was indicating where the station would be, that would put it in the parking lot somewhere between Tommy Hilfiger and the Hilton Garden Inn/Circle K station.

I'd have liked to see one go in on I-80, too, or possibly a service center. Anywhere between Roseville and Auburn would be fine with me. :)

Volker.Berlin | September 25, 2012

That "someone" is the owner's guide. However, this feature does not help with tripped breakers, look here for an illustration:

Volker.Berlin | September 25, 2012

My post was a reply to Brian H.

jkirkebo | September 25, 2012

"Yes, and that's a very important viewpoint: these SC stations are a MARKETING expenditure!"

Exactly. They are spending their marketing budget on SuperChargers instead of TV commercials & magazine ads. A brilliant move.

gagliardilou | September 25, 2012

What a great business move! Charging for free - are you kidding me! That is a huge game changer!!!! Theoretically, if you lived close to a supercharger and traveled 60 miles a day, you could stop there 2 to 3 times a week and pay nothing to charge the car at home. I know that's a little extreme but its possible.

Why would anyone want to buy any other electric car when it is Tesla that has all these superchargers across the USA? Other electric cars will not be able to use them. Tesla is the only real electric car and the only real pure EV play. Keep the stock you have and buy more and just hang on for the ride!!!!

Also, if their electric powertrains in say the Toyota rav 4 electric can use the superchargers, think how many more company's will purchase the powertrains. This just sets Tesla even that much more ahead of the competition. Other companies will either have to buy Tesla to catch up or buy their power train to keep up! Incredible!!!

bbmertz | September 25, 2012

@Docrob & Mark K: A Tesla rep at the event mentioned to me that installation of the branded "spire" as well as the design of the solar bays is dependent on city regulation/approval. For that reason, the Fort Tejon supercharger has no spire and a very plain looking 6-bay charging structure (as opposed to the futuristic one shown yesterday) in order to better conform with the western theme in that area.

Incidentally, he also mentioned that Tesla has rights to the nearby land in Fort Tejon so they can build another multiple bay station near the current one if necessary. Tesla can track details regarding usage of the superchargers such as time of day used, amount of charge, etc. (but not details about the individual car being charged such as VIN), in order to determine the need for expansion.

This technician was very informative, so I'm happy to answer other questions to the extent they were answered during my discussion with him.

Volker.Berlin | September 25, 2012

Keep the stock you have and buy more and just hang on for the ride!!!!

BTW, there's a good opportunity right now... ;-)

Docrob | September 25, 2012

Bb, the big question I'm yet to see answered is whether the SC's incorporate storage or are simply direct grid linked with the solar running the meter backwards.

Brian H | September 25, 2012

Since the Rav4 EV's battery is only about the size of the base model's (40 kWh) it will not be able to handle the flow. Not sure of the tech, but if "charging 50% in ½hr" applies to a smaller battery, that would be 20kWh, only about double what a dual could handle.

In any case, the lower 60 kWh capacity limit eliminates all but Tesla models, so far.

What a challenge to the other makers to "join the club"!

It may also impel many current 40 kWh reservers to upgrade.

murraypetera | September 25, 2012

Not supporting 40KWh battery is a huge marketing mistake. Tesla has this chance to show they are THE BEST car with no exception. If they cannot stand toe to toe with the other EV's on the market they are going to get a lot of flack from reviewer when the 40KWh pack comes out.

Getting DC quick charge as a $10,000 option is rather ridiculous when other cheaper cars are staring to offer it as standard.

"The other thing the 2012 Mitsubishi i has going for it is that, when optioned as such, it's the most affordable new EV with rapid charging."

mrspaghetti | September 25, 2012

@murraypetera: The Model S compared to any of the other manufacturers' offerings is not an apples-to-apples comparison. Even without supercharging capability the 40kwh Model S has double the range and is infinitely cooler in every way than any of those pieces of crap.

Everyone who buys/bought the 40kwh version knows the limitations before they buy it so will have no room to complain.

mrspaghetti | September 25, 2012

@murray: Now I've actually followed the link you posted, and it reinforces my previous post. That thing is butt ugly and looks like it could fit 2 people and one gym bag.

Compare the specs on the cars - not comparable. At all. Not even close.

zwjohnston7 | September 25, 2012

Mitsubishi's idea of "rapid charging" is very different than Tesla's. It says 80% in 30 minutes. Ok, but 80% of 16kwh is only 12.8 kwh in 30 min. (you can charge a Tesla normally with dual chargers and a 100A service almost that fast) Tesla's supercharger does 50% of 85kwh in 30 min, which is 42.5kwh, over 3 times as much energy gained in the same time. This is way more energy, and that is why the 40kwh pack probably can't handle that much input at once. And anyway, who cares about "rapid charging" if you have to stop every hour to charge for over 30 min. Nobody's "rapid charging" is even close to what Tesla is doing. You have got to compare things appropriately.

Volker.Berlin | September 25, 2012

Not supporting 40KWh battery is a huge marketing mistake. (murraypetera)

I don't think so. Actually, the entire 40 kWh battery option is owed to marketing considerations. They promised a Model S for $50k in March 2009, and that was their only way to get there. I think Tesla would actually do just fine only offering 60 kWh and 85 kWh options. I am convinced they could still sell 20k units/year, but of course for their reputation's sake they had to deliver on the $50k promise.

You can see what Tesla thinks about the 40 kWh battery option by looking at the options they announced for the Model X...

Obviously, whether or not 40 kWh batteries can use the supercharger potentially makes a difference to some owners of those cars, but in the grand scheme if things it doesn't matter at all. It may be a deliberate move to drive people to the larger battery packs (which may or may not have a larger profit margin, but which in any event better support Tesla's brand image of superior EV technology), or there may be actual cost/technology constraints that impose this restriction. In all fairness, we don't know -- and as far as I'm concerned I don't even care.

Ah, and for the market segment that is currently served the 40 kWh option? It's my guess that this segment is relatively small and actually only exists at all due to the lack of alternatives. Most of those customers who can comfortably afford a 40 kWh Model S will pick the 60 kWh battery, anyway. The others just want a great EV *now* which realistically they cannot have for $50k. On the other hand, Gen III is coming and will be a very nice and fully optioned choice for $50k or less ($30k base price).

Patience is a virtue (and man I know how hard it is!).

Volker.Berlin | September 25, 2012

Gen III is coming and will be a very nice and fully optioned choice for $50k or less ($30k base price).

... and they want to sell 200k units/year of those!

dbbtex | September 25, 2012

Can someone point me to the page or link with a larger build-out map that is not just California as on the endgadget page with yesterday's announcement video?
I'm another Texas future-owner and would love to see one between Houston and Dallas and then Dallas-Austin.

DouglasR | September 25, 2012


I haven't seen that page online. However, you can see a screenshot of it on the first page of this thread, or go to the video and find it around 8-9 minutes in.

Mark K | September 25, 2012

On 40KWH pack supercharging-

TM isn't holding this back for cynical marketing reasons, it's a technology-driven decision.

The engineering problem for 40Kwh packs is nontrivial with today's batteries.

There are many issues -

1. The 40KWH pack uses less expensive cells that aren't as advanced in their cell chemistry. That means you must constrain charging more to guarantee long life.

2. The circuitry and wiring to accept hundreds of Amps of DC current add parts that cost money. This doesn't allow the favorably low entry level price point.

3. Since fast charging works as a percentage of capacity, a half-size battery means only half the miles gained in a 30 min charge. Those numbers don't deliver the benefit a road tripper wants from a fast charger.

TM's engineering choices are honest and intelligent. Whenever there's an amazing deal like the free supercharging, everyone wants in. (Even those who don't pay for the equipment to do it.) Taken to logical extreme, some might ask "why don't they make the car free too?" But that's obviously unsustainable.

To do the hard work to make all this possible costs money so they have to charge a fair price to deliver them to more people. They did an honorable and smart job optimizing the benefit at each price point.

The 40KWH car is no slouch either. It's an extraordinary deal for the city commuter. Unparallled safety, ride, fuel economy, roominess and beauty. It offers all those benefits of the fancier model, but just not the road trip range.

The notion that you add in the road trip range and now free charging for 10k more is mind-blowing.

The SuperCharger strategy is a brilliant hit out of the park. Elon wasn't overstating the significance when he used the term "historic".

Volker.Berlin | September 25, 2012

The recording is now online in the video section of the Event Gallery:

gimp_dad | September 25, 2012

I wonder how Tesla is going to secure all these Superchargers. How do they keep vandalism from happening? How do they keep people from parking in the charger spaces? How do they identify Model S owners to release the locking mechanism?

Brian H | September 25, 2012

Mark K;
+1 With laurels.
Excellent summary.

The 40kWh base model is best-of-breed for urban users. But if your aunt had cojones, she'd be your uncle. It is, like all other BEVs, the wrong tool for the wrong purpose for interurban travel (in CONUS and Canada; not sure how the calculus works out in the more densely populated parts of Urp).

The industry and the SAE, despite TM's urging, went with the 240V max standard. They made their bed, and now must lie in it.

Brian H | September 25, 2012

Only the Model S can fit and handshake the connector. What would those other feeb models do with 100 amps anyway? Have a conniption and detonate, most likely.

As for parking, ??. Local towing companies could be given a heads-up, or the enforcement franchise. A non-Model S (or X? we await future developments) is pretty obvious. Easy pickin's.

gimp_dad | September 25, 2012

Hey Brian,

Having seen J1772 chargers with all kinds of damage due to people either intentionally damaging them or improperly trying to use them I don't think the issue is simple. The chargepoint stations require a smart card to unlock them. This adds an important measure of security.

The questions about security or keeping the stations clear was not about whether you can call a tow truck to move errant cars. The issue is who is monitoring and making that call. I doubt they have hired people for 24 hours shifts to keep an eye on things. I am curious about the actual mechanics of it.

Has anyone actually seen one of these stations? Did the connector appear to be locked to the station? Was there any mechanism to discourage other cars from parking in the nice shade provided by the solar awnings?

I can't wait to try one of these and hear when they are actually available for use so I can try one.

Brian H | September 25, 2012

Where are you? Are the 6 in CA accessible?

I was talking about getting a tow firm to pass by once in a while, and haul away anything which is not an 'S'.

SMOP | September 25, 2012

If these are connected chargers they could easily wire some security cameras and have a security company keep an eye on these stations remotely. From the reveal, it looked like the Supercharger Stations are very well lit, so this should deter vandals and copper thieves. Theft of copper will probably be the biggest challenge.

Timo | September 25, 2012

@SMOP I wait the day a copper thief gets himself a Darwin award from Tesla Supercharger station. It should not take too long considering the poor intellectual state of those thieves.

Copper thieves are one subsection of the humankind I would like to go medieval to. It's rather new phenomenon here, but there have been some in recent year and the damage those cause is huge.

cerjor | September 25, 2012

What if they are located at Flying Js or similar truck stops. They have restaurants, plenty of lighting, and people coming and going all night long.

Brian H | September 25, 2012

Panel theft?

Esper | September 25, 2012

I took some shots of the Supercharger on Sunday, at the National Plug In Event in Folsom. You can check out the pics here..

Vawlkus | September 26, 2012

Given the tech in model s, I'm willing to bet the station cables are kept behind a panel/door until an s drives up and exchanges handshake signals to say "yo I need some power, wanna unlock your cable?"

Hell, you could even have the driver drive up and use the touch screen to "login" to the charger and release the cables.

I wonder if these stations are (or will be) wifi hotspots. It has been said that Tesla is monitoring them, so it's a good bet that monitoring is done via the web. Free power and Internet, what more could you ask for? On site bikini carwashes (j/k) :)

mrspaghetti | September 26, 2012

@Vawlkus: On site bikini carwashes (j/k) :)

Sounds like a winner to me! In all seriousness, it would be the perfect place for charity bikini car washes. And I'm a very charitable guy when it comes to those... :)

stephen.kamichik | September 26, 2012

How about topless carwash? Seriously now......I saw the supercharger unveil video.....I saw the future......I bought some Tesla stocks.

mrspaghetti | September 26, 2012

Hope you waited until yesterday to do it - bargain prices.

stevenmaifert | September 26, 2012

If you go to: and look at the Supercharger event video, at 3:43, 3:47 and 3:57 you get a pretty good look at the installation. There doesn't appear to be a cover or any kind of locking mechanism securing access to the connecting cable.

cerjor | September 26, 2012

I can't imagine that Tesla didn't think about theft and vandalism and have designed the SCs with these things in mind.

mrspaghetti | September 26, 2012

gimp_dad | SEPTEMBER 25, 2012
I wonder how Tesla is going to secure all these Superchargers. How do they keep vandalism from happening? How do they keep people from parking in the charger spaces? How do they identify Model S owners to release the locking mechanism?

How do gas stations prevent all those things? Do you ever see people parking at gas pumps?

I am unaware of it being an issue with gas pumps, and I see no reason it should be any more of a concern for the SCs.

nima | September 26, 2012

Regarding the 'spire' and securing the charger cable:

I was at the Supercharger event on Monday speaking with a Model S product planner, who was tasked with keeping looky-loo's out of the cars that were charging/on display.

According to him, the 'spire' houses the actual chargers and their associated cooling system. In the case of the spire at the event, he said there were six chargers inside the thing.

As for guarding/securing the charging cable, the juice cable has a semi-circular door, like the door to the 'Orgasmatron' in Woody Allen's movie "Sleeper", albeit only an aproximate 5" diameter to cover the cable.

All very Tomorrowland, architecturally.

stephen.kamichik | September 26, 2012

tesla.mrsphaget.....I bought them this morning as soon as the markets the same bargain price as yesterday.