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Supercharging Hidden Charge for 60 kWh S's?

Supercharging Hidden Charge for 60 kWh S's?

I found some red flags in the press release and Elon's presentation on the Supercharger. The question that is raised is this: Is the Supercharger hardware included in the price of the 60 kWh cars or not?

The press release has a footnote that says, " Supercharging hardware is standard on Model S vehicles equipped with an 85kWh battery and optional on Model S vehicles equipped with a 60 kWh battery." To read it yourself go to the press release and find the footnote about mid-page, just above the "About Model S" subheading. The link is:

http://www.teslamotors.com/about/press/releases/tesla-motors-launches-re...

In his presentation at the event Elon said, "For cars that have supercharger hardware installed, and that will be the case for the 85 kWh pack, and a small incremental charge for 60 kWh pack you'll be able to travel for free..."

Here's the link to the video. The quote starts at about 7'50" into the video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgk5-eB9oTY&list=UU5WjFrtBdufl6CZojX3D8dQ...

I just signed my contract for a 60 kWh S yesterday, and I was counting on being able to take long trips that use the Supercharger. I hope that I misheard and misread. My Tesla configuration rep. is looking into the discrepancy, as it didn't make sense to him either.

By the way, I have strong confidence in Tesla and bought my first TSLA stock on today's dip.

Stu B
#P4562

giants2001 | September 29, 2012

I am not trying to be a whiner, but I do feel blindsided by this whole thing. If I had known there was going to be a fee for SC before I signed my contract, then I may have made a different decision. I highly doubt that Tesla will grandfather us in, so I guess I need to make a choice within the coming days.

So what is everyone going to do?

Sudre_ | September 29, 2012

Your not whining gaints2001, just expressing your opinion. We should be responding to Tesla so they know our opinion not cutting each other down. I should have reread my message before submitting and I would have skipped posting. I did the same thing I was annoyed with jackyche for doing. Insulting instead of informing. sorry guys.

giants2001 | September 29, 2012

Thanks Sudre. I think we are all very frustrated and emotion is running high. What I think this shows us that we all want Tesla to succeed. They have definitely made a big mistake and I hope they make things right in the end. I plan to talk to my rep tomorrow and see what they have to say.

splitsec002 | September 29, 2012

Here's my take on what's Tesla has been doing.

I'm # 4007 res holder so I've been waiting over 2 years on this. Many things were mentioned but maybe not promised. Specifically I remember 4 USB ports, 4.4 second car.

Pricing finally rolls around and now only the performance does the 4.4 seconds. Out of my price range. Fine I will buy the 40kwh or 60kwh.

Options rolled out, now my 49900 car is not about 60k with options. Fine, that's fair, all the other car dealers do the same thing.

Air suspension will hold up your order till 2013. Fine it makes sense that Tesla would do batch orders and maybe their robots cannot make cars without air suspension. I'll give Tesla a break because I want them to succeed.

Cars are finally getting released and there are a slew of bugs and that Tesla needs to fix. I'm an early adopter so that's ok with me too as long as Tesla fixes these issues free of charge. Hold on now, we HAVE to pay for the maintenance program otherwise our warranties and software updates are invalid? 600 a year is not too bad but what happened to low maintenance? I'm getting less excited about the car. All the word of mouth I've done for Tesla about not having to pay for oil changes, filter changes, etc etc are now down the drain. It'll cost me more to do the maintenance than it will for me to do simple oil changes. I still love the car so I'll grudgingly pay for this maintenance that I am force fed otherwise my warranty will be void. Good job Tesla you just made another 600/year off me.

Now one of the reasons I finally decided to go with the 60kwh was because the website changed from TBD to Included for the supercharger. I've already signed my contract with Tesla and there is no wording at all that mentions anything about a fee to activate this hardware. If Tesla would have left that TBD I would not be pissed but they decided to say Included then make you pay for something else. That's plain stupid to me.

Why don't we go and buy a TV that says remote included! But when you go home and want to use the remote, you have to pay $500 to activate the thing. What's the difference Tesla to say something is included when you're going to charge for us to activate or test or whatever else your lawyers can come up with to word things to make it right for you to charge us and screw us up the hole?

It's sad that I will probably pay for this "Configuration of your Model S hardware, software and interface for Supercharging", because of resale value and the odd chance that I need to use it because it's an EV and I can't fill up like a normal ICE car. It's sad that Tesla is using this nickle and dime tactic.

I feel cheated because I have already signed my contract and now Tesla wants more money, yet again. Can't wait till they start charging us for connectivity, creep, map updates, software updates, etc etc etc.

CraigL | September 29, 2012

Tesla knows they are on shaky ground with charging for "activating" an option that was listed as included at the time of signing. Rather than getting a lawyer involved, you can bail. Those of you that have signed you MVPA, just call your Tesla and they will likely let you out of the agreement. They let me out and I signed over a month ago.

I also encourage you to use your voice with Tesla directly in addition to this forum so they will listen and perhaps stop these Tesla taxes. They are alienating the die hard fans right now. The rest of the public isn't as sympathetic and ultimately won't stand for this, they will simply will look elsewhere for a car. This may well be the end for Tesla.

The best position to be in at this point is to get a refund and wait and see. The "prestige" that comes with being the first on your block with a model s isn't worth the uncertainties and gamble of 50K+ of your hard earned cash. You would probably do better at this point with roulette in Vegas, and they even give you free drinks to put in the supplied cup holders there.

Hardly anyone NEEDS this car this moment. We all were waiting so long we are tired of waiting so we want it now. Wants are different than needs and with a little restraint you can cancel or defer your order and put your want on hold for 6-8 months. At that point back in the then short line if it makes sense.

You will have the benefit of seeing how pricing really shakes out and what the TRUE cost will be. You can make an informed decision about long terms costs (data and service that have yet to be revealed) and you will have the benefit of seeing if Tesla can solve their current production issues. Tesla may or may not be around in 6-8 months, so wait and see. If they are, then what you buy then will be a better car. They have already planned to modify the suspension for a version 2, perhaps there will be 4G, there are tons of other things Tesla will learn of the backs and cash of the first adopters. The benefit continuing forward with the future as uncertain as it is is simply in your head.

Mark K | September 29, 2012

Can anyone blame splitsec002 for feeling this way? Should we tell him he's wrong?

To read his chronology is to understand just how crucial goodwill is when you're getting started. You've got it in spades, but right now it's spilling out onto the street.

I've got both hands on my brow, and shaking my head as I read it.

If this were a physics experiment, I'd be brightlining "conservation of momentum" vs. friction ... that nasty force which will in short order lead to entropy.

Splisec002, I believe these are at heart good people, and they will act to rectify this.

Docrob | September 29, 2012

I actually believe them when they say the testing and calibration of the system which allows you to pulse 100Kw through the cars wiring is vital and both cost and labor intensive. Its one thing to have laid the cable during construction its another thing to make sure 100kw at 400V doesn't fry it. I think those that are saying this is a software switch and they are being nickel and dimed have no clue about the intricacies of electrical engineering and just how impressive a bit of engineering this capability is. For those who think that Tesla don't need to do anything but flip a software switch I suggest Tesla offer them supercharging for free but without factory testing of the supercharging system in their vehicle, let them see how well 100Kw through an untested system goes. Hopefully the superchargers have a decent fire suppression system.

lajollan | September 29, 2012

Hey docrob, do you live in the suburbs of Chicago?

Docrob | September 29, 2012

Wrong continent, Tasmania Australia, 95% Hydro 5% wind, for emission free electric motoring.

splitsec002 | September 29, 2012

Docrob: I think that Tesla does have to do testing and of course there are costs involved with putting up the charging stations, hardware, software, and labor for testing the cars. The issue here is that the website has already stated "Included" and I remember something about them saying Hardware and Software included. It was the same terminology used as the 85kwh version. Why wouldn't people that bought the 60kwh think anything different otherwise?

The SC was not the only and final reason I moved from the 40Kwh to the 60kwh. I could commute with the 40 without issues but I just wanted piece of mind with the 60 that I could travel a little bit further. The SC was one of the factors so it doesn't kill the deal for me.

What's really making me upset is the fact that Tesla keeps changing and adding new fees afterwards. Then after a backlash from the forums they'll give their reasoning why. Just because they give us an excuse doesn't make it right. This isn't a first. All the people that visit the forums know what I am talking about.

I only wish Tesla would make wiser decisions with these press releases. If they charged a fee for a use at the SC station that would be more understandable. I would be happy to pay for electricity used. Just like some of the other pay to use charging stations out there. The problem here is that they stated it was included, but really, not included.

lajollan | September 29, 2012

thought I knew you.

Tâm | September 29, 2012

In the second paragraph of the document that you signed:

“The Pre-Delivery Motor Vehicle Purchase Agreement (MVPA) includes an estimate of taxes and fees (SUBJECT TO CHANGE AS DELIVERY NEARS)”

There are unforeseeable circumstances/unfinished issues that may require changes. President Bush had to reverse his famous “Read my lips: no new taxes.”

The simplicity of free, unlimited use, no password, no card is genius.

I expected to pay for charging for my road trips so the one time charge of $2,000 is a pleasant welcome surprise.

giants2001 | September 29, 2012

Tam, your pleasantly surprised to go from Included to 2K? I want some of whatever you're smoking.

Why is it that only 60kW reservation holders have to pay for this, and why do 85kW have it free? How much SC use will you need to use to cover 2K worth? I'm just trying to understand your logic.

DouglasR | September 29, 2012

@Sudre_,

"So DouglasR are you saying the fee is not the problem at all. It's just the words they used?"

In a way, yes. I was referring to TM's legal obligation under the MVPA. In a contract, a lot of importance is placed on words and what the parties intended by those words. I also said that TM has a PR problem and a moral obligation. But legally, its problem is that it promised in writing to include supercharging hardware at no additional cost, and now it is trying to charge an additional $1,000 to make that hardware usable (calibration, testing). The words of the MVPA cannot reasonably be interpreted to mean TM would include a feature that doesn't work. The brakes need to be calibrated and tested, but that doesn't mean TM can charge extra to give you brakes that work.

Can TM impose a cost to use its charging stations? Of course. No one signed an MVPA on the assumption that use of the SC network would be free (except perhaps a few who signed between the SC announcement and the recent email). But imposing an additional cost to enable hardware that was promised to be included with the purchase of the car seems to me to violate the words of the contract and the meaning of what was reasonably intended by those words.

Brian H | September 29, 2012

Some misunderstandings, and some nonsense.
CraigL;
You've already cancelled; why are you here? Hoping for 'the end of Tesla'?
You say, "This is pure and simple profit taking. They can’t even be honest about what the cost is for and stay on message. George says it costs a lot, Elon easy it is cheap to build superchargers. The letter flat out lies to customers with this line: “Supercharger hardware and software must be calibrated and tested during installation, so it must be done during production of your car. We cannot add Supercharging to your car after you take delivery.”

Full of confusion and libel. Elon is talking about the charger units in the stations. GB is talking about the wiring and tuning of the cars themselves, as Dpcrob explains above. Built-in, up-front, can't be retrofitted.

If there hadn't been a few days (somewhere between the 9/24 reveal and now, a total of maybe 2 days out of the 5) when someone put out a premature and incorrect contradiction of Elon's "nominal fee" statement, this whole issue would be moot.

sergiyz | September 29, 2012

@tam
Contracts are for lawyers, they can read them in you favor depending what side they are on.
As others stated on this forum, this is not about coming up with an excuse every time they introduce a new fee.
It's about keeping their integrity and goodwill of their customers, who made a completely irrational decision to buy their cars.
People showed a lot of dedication and goodwill towards tesla by placing their orders well in advance, some without having a chance to drive or even to see the car in person.
What they should do in return is to be transparent and accommodating.
If a new fee is introduced there should be an option to cancel for a full refund since at the time the mvpa was signed a lot of details were not finalized. In addition to that tesla set wrong expectations like cheap service comparing to ICE cars, higher mileage (used to be 300, now looks more like 200 per real life driving conditions with climate control on), and now the SC fiasco for 60kw cars.
Coming next - data charges, a complete unknown at this point, and who knows what else...
The economics of the deal is making less sense with every new charge for something that is already more expensive than its ICE competitors.

Brian H | September 29, 2012

typo: "... as Docrob explains ..."

SMOP | September 29, 2012

Docrob,

GeorgeB clarified the issue and said the 1k was for access not for the hardware/software or calibration. It was just to allow access to the superchargers. It sure sounds better to say the factory must calibrate the supercharger hardware and software but this is not the case. Similar to when the Tesla Specialists told customers that Banana Leaf had been nixed due to durability issues (Elon admitted it was due to aesthetics), CF Exterior being nixed due to durability issues (was due to cost), Aero Wheels nixed due to durability issues (poor customer reception) the list goes on. I would be happy with a cohesive honest answer from Tesla. Just admit the mistake, be honest and move on. That is the easiest way to handle these delicate situations. The email that some owners got was insulting (10 days or never).

splitsec002 | September 29, 2012

@giants2001

Hey puff puff pass my friend. I want some of that stuff too. I wouldn't doubt that most of the 60kwh buyers feel a little screwed over by this. Even people that haven't signed their MVPA yet. All this time they've thought it was included but all of a sudden, Tesla changes the website to say $2000 instead of standard. It's even worse for the people that have already signed the MVPA.

And Tesla giving this spiel about only charging $1000 to make the people that have already signed feel better doesn't make it right. There's a reason why they would even offer to cut that $2000 price in half. They know they screwed up.

splitsec002 | September 29, 2012

I also emailed George on this. I want the rest of the world to make informed decisions.

Hi George, I’ve been a Tesla fan for many many years. I’m resv # 4007 so I put it in a few years back when there was really nothing but faith. For a long time now, I’ve seen the supercharger access as Standard for the 60W version. And now Tesla is saying that it will cost an extra $1000. If Tesla was going to charge the 60kw people they should of put that on the site and on our contracts and not change things afterwards. I’ve been an advocate for Tesla throughout this whole time. But with all these hidden charges, how can I spread the word about Tesla in a good way? This isn’t the first time that this has happened. The 600.00 maintenance fee was something I never expected for a car with “low maintenance”. And now Tesla is saying that if we do not do the “optional” maintenance, our warranties are voided! This is a REALLY bad way of doing business in my eyes. Tesla needs to stop adding more and more costs to the car after we’ve already signed our agreements. Everything should have been shown upfront. Is that not fair?

George's Response:
Hi Keith,

Thanks for the note. It is appreciated. I love hearing from customers like you. As a Tesla supporter for many years, your opinions and concerns are a top priority for me and the reason I stay up until 5:00 in the morning responding :)

First, I apologize for the confusion. Let me try to explain a little about what has brought us to where we are today on the Supercharging issue.

We had hoped to announce the Supercharger network in July. It was impossible to do so. We had to delay the launch until September. If we had launched in July, the prices for Supercharging would have been:

85 kWh No charge
60 kWh $2000
40 kWh Not available

Because the Supercharger event didn’t happen in July, we had a conflict with customers configuring their cars who might choose a 60 kWh battery. We did not know up until now what the option would cost to enable Supercharging for the 60 kWh car, so we could not put it on the website or in paperwork. We made the decision to put the hardware and software necessary to enable Supercharging into all cars to make sure if anyone who opted for a 60 kWh battery wanted to enable Supercharging they would be able to do so after the event and announcement. We put on the web in the Options & Pricing page and the Design Studio that the hardware and software necessary to Supercharge was included on 60 and 85 kWh cars. Again, we did that specifically so anyone who selected a 60 kWh battery back in July, August, or up until now in September would have the exact same option as someone who had not yet configured their car. They would have the option today to choose Supercharging, decline Supercharging, or even get a different battery...the only difference, if they choose to get a different battery we will keep their original delivery timing. They will not be moved back in sequencing if they change their battery choice (unless it is to a 40 kWh battery which will not start production until next year).

So how did we get to the $1,000 price for this option vs $2,000? There isn't any real reason for this other than we thought it might be nice to do something for those customers who had already configured. We decided that we would go ahead and pay for the hardware which is about half the cost. I don't want to try and overplay this. It was just a gesture, nothing more. We made it possible to make the same decision now as you would have been able to back in July, and then we tried to make it a little better by allowing you to enable Supercharging for half price (if you wanted to) and still keep your original delivery date.

Unfortunately, our decision to install the hardware into all cars (at our cost) to enable this flexibility for our customers is being seen as something we are now trying to "spin"…which is absolutely not the case. We are not doing that. We don't do that.

We have included hardware and software in every car that has been ordered because we said we would. That is what we said on our website and in every MVPA signed to date we would do. And we have religiously done that. However, we have never said access for 60 kWh battery cars would be free. We have said that about the 85 kWh battery, but not the 60.

Throughout the process, we have said there would be an activation fee or an access fee for 60 kWh battery cars. Here is a posting from the Tesla Motors Club Forum (not affiliated in any way with Tesla): Posted by: ModelS1079 on the TMC website forum:
… to be clear (and I posted this in August - probably about the 12th) Tesla verbally clarified that there would be an ACTIVATION fee for the hardware/software for the 60kWh battery.

We also addressed this at the Supercharger event. Elon stated in his presentation on Monday night that access to the network for 85 kWh battery cars would be free, and there would be a nominal fee for 60 kWh battery cars.

Keith, we have tried to be open and transparent about this issue. It is unfortunate that it was not fully understood. Again, I apologize for the misunderstanding. We thought we were doing something nice to thank those who configured early by offering this option for half as much as others will pay. Unfortunately that didn't seem to hit home. And, lastly, I'd like to make sure one other point is clear, you do not have to enable Supercharging if you don't want to. You do not have to take the $1,000 option. I only mention this because some people have assumed they "have to" pay this. This is absolutely an "option". You can take the option for half price, or not take the option and pay nothing. I'm to trying to play that up, I just want to make sure it's clear.

I hope this explains the situation a little better. Please let me know if there is anything else I can shed some light on for you. As I said above, customers like you are very, very important to us. I am at your disposal and happy to respond to any and all questions or concerns.

Before I signoff, there are a few other things I would like to mention. There will be a few more "completely optional" things coming down the pike in the next month or so. I only mention them because I want you to know they are coming so you are not surprised. These are all "options", and we are not trying to slip in more "hidden costs". One is an option that allows your car to do more things if you want it to, the others are options people have asked us to offer, so we are putting something together on them. The first is a connectivity package so you can play internet radio, do searches on the 17" touch screen map, etc. Then there is an extended vehicle warranty, a battery replacement pre-purchase plan, and roadside hazard insurance that covers wheel and tire damage. We have been asked for these, so we are putting something together.

Lastly, I will send you something in the next few days to clarify a bit on the Warranty vs Service issue. The posting I made about the issue was at a very, very high level without any detail, footnotes or disclaimers, so it sounded overly harsh. I will send you something directly that will provide a little more detail and specifics. I would do it now, but I need to go to bed :)

Thank you very much for your time. I hope you have a great weekend!

George

Now if what George is saying is true, they should of just been more clear with the supercharger access for the 60kwh. Am I the only person that thought the supercharger access was included with the 60kwh version?

Brian H | September 29, 2012

@sergiyz;
Sour nonsense.
Low maintenance (as an inherent characteristic of a BEV) is not the same as guaranteed "cheap service". Over the life of the car, far less can go wrong, and expense and inconvenience will be lessened.

The NYT driver used AC on a highway drive through the wine country, and got 300.1 miles.* If half that distance he'd been at 20 mph in stop-go city traffic, his range would have been more (the EPA city rating is wrong). The 85s have enough range to boot it between cities, hitting the SC network. 60s may have to take it slower, or supplement with Level2 charging.

*While driving a Model S with the biggest available battery pack — 85 kilowatt-hours — on a restrained run through Northern California wine country, I was able to wring 300.1 miles from a single charge.

jbunn | September 29, 2012

Consider this. Roadster and s high powered chargers are not compatable, and an adapter is a an expensive 600 bucks. And Roadster is not compatable with the supercharger. What happens in a few years if tesla changes battery tech, and the superchargers are again not backward compatable. Expect they will keep building out your obsolute sc chargers? What if they dont complete the nationwide net, and stop with none of the planned stations in your area? Consider that in the context of lifetime free charging. What does lifetime mean? It dos not have the common english meaning in contracts. Something to consider.

Brian H | September 29, 2012

Basically, the SC network and the 85s were made for each other. The 60s are visitors, and can get some use out of it.

Docrob | September 29, 2012

I agree that the announcement could have been handled better, had they never changed to "included" prior to the announcement and they had announced it as a one off fee of $2,000 for lifelong free supercharger access the tone of this thread would be totally different.
I do feel for Tesla though, very few other manufacturers (Apple being a notable example) have their announcements so analysed, speculated about and criticised in real time. Most other manufacturers can interest group test their products and campaigns, with Tesla within seconds of every website update or off the cuff media remark there is a legion of people in several forums prophesising that it will destroy the company. There's a lot of pressure weighing on every tidbit of information. Must get exhausting for them at times.

My initial thought is to honor the fee free for those who ahve already signed contracts, however if they do that I expect all those with reservations but who haven't yet confirmed will complain at the special treatment for the others.

(Lajollan, don't think so however I did travel to La Jolla for a wedding two years ago, very beautiful part of the world)

splitsec002 | September 29, 2012

Docrob: I totally agree with you. If they hadn't changed anything and left the SC to TBD, none of us would be upset. Well some of us would be but most of us probably would be ok with it.

At $2000, I don't think I could ever use it enough to justify the cost. But that's just me. I'm sure some people that travel a lot would think this was a steal.

You're right again, Apple and Tesla is being scrutinized on every little bit of information they give. Maybe that's why they keep us in the dark for the most part. Apple on the other hand is 100% about customer service and I believe that is one of the reasons they have such a large following. I ruined my Iphone once. But it was still under warranty. What did Apple do? They emailed me a label to overnight my old phone to them to repair. I guess they couldn't repair it but instead of giving me some excuses about warranty they overnighted me another refurb phone that looked brand new. After that experience I knew I would be taken care of by them and haven't had another manufacturers phone again. This was back when The original Iphone came out. Since then I have had a 2g, 4, and now a Iphone 5. I even got an Ipad for a birthday gift that I love.

And that folks is how companies create brand loyalty.

sergiyz | September 29, 2012

@brian

According to real life normal driving it's about 200miles on an 85% charge where I live and drive, confirmed by several local tesla owners.

For me low maintenance means low cost.
What does it mean for you ?
I certainly don't appreciate the fact it's a mandatory charge to keep my warranty.

Long term savings are questionable since it's annual inspection, not warranty that actually covers whatever repairs necessary (or does it ?)

You sound a bit defensive...

Brian H | September 30, 2012

sergigz;
Details matter. Is that freeway mostly? And check back after the "6 months buzz" wears off; a TM engineer observed it takes users about that long to finish exploring the higher torque styles of driving.

I specified "over the life of the car" for low maintenance. That should by evident by about the 3rd, 4th, or 5th yr., IMO.

As for the service fee to keep the warrantee valid, I see TM as being caught in a unique position. They are brand new and covering a product with no long-term service history. They have to a)track everything carefully, b)catch issues as soon as they arise, and c)keep some limit on how exposed they are to major costs for unexpected problems (partly because they are new and financially "on the edge".) So they had to control their exposure and maintain and rapidly expand a fast-response service model.

I can't see another way to achieve all that. Do you? Saying 'bury it in the cost of purchase' is just hand-waving, and creates serious issues of its own.

sergiyz | September 30, 2012

@brian

I don't see why burying it in the cost of purchase is a bad idea.
It's not like you have an option of not paying it (other than voiding your warranty), so why not include it from the get go.
Then it's all included and no questions asked. Now it feels like extortion although there maybe legit reasons why those costs were not thought of by tesla before mvpas were sent out to customers.
It's not just about why, it's how they are doing it.
If you've miscalculated your expenses, but made me sign a contract, either let me get out of it or respect it, admit your mistake and bite the bullet.
It may reduce your profit margin a bit (it's already way higher than what ICE car manufacturers have) but reputation is more important at this stage.
Some people may cancel given the choice but they are 6 months behind with no demand problem.
It would also validate their decisions (or will prove them wrong).

Sudre_ | September 30, 2012

I just want to take a moment to thank GB for spending his whole night/morning responding to e-mails that in all honest GM or any other car company would not have even bothered to read.

For the record I think his explanation satisfies me. I think they know they really screwed up. Cash is tight for them so free just isn't an option.

I knew there was going to be an activation or access fee for the 60kWh battery. They could have made that more clear because not everyone keeps up on everything.

I am happy to rad in GBs last message that I can pick a different battery if I want. In another thread I am trying to nail that down but it can't stay on topic.

The issue has become just disappointment and bad wording and I get it, I feel it too. Since you can switch battery size or just turn down the option all together you are right where you were before you signed and paperwork.

Legally I think there is no ground to stand on. The paper we signed was telling Tesla what we wanted not what Tesla was going to provide.

nickjhowe | September 30, 2012

I think what we are seeing with Tesla is the blessing and the curse of an engineer running a company.

Compare TM to Facebook. How many times has Zuckerberg rolled out a new feature that sent users through the roof? They were tested internally, seemed like a good idea, technically worked flawlessly, were actually good ideas in most cases, but no-one questioned how users would react.

Now look at Tesla - Elon has delivered on pretty much all the engineering promises of the car. Unfortunately what Tesla has also done time and time again is fail to understand that just because something makes engineering sense ("of course we have to test and integrate the supercharge hardware in the 60kWh car and we didn't build it into the margins so we are going to charge extra for it") not everyone will welcome it with open arms.

There are a bunch of people on the reservation list who can afford $100k and are early adopters and will gladly soak up anything that Tesla throws at us. But there are also a lot of people who are really pushing themselves to afford the car. Every little increase in cost or change in the story REALLY upsets them. George may recognize this (though I'm not sure he does), but it definitely looks like either Elon really doesn't get it, or is prepared to risk the backlash.

The level of wild speculation that goes on on these forums on a daily basis is breathtaking. Unless you are in the inner circle at TM I doubt you really know what the business plan looks like and what it is going to take to keep the company going. Why did Elon commit to 25% margins so early? Has that forced his hand to nickel and dime every cost increase so he can meet the investor expectations? Why isn't TM absorbing some of these early costs for the sake of PR and goodwill? Until someone writes the inside scoop on Tesla I doubt we'll know.

So what do we do about it? George's email address is public. He's proved on quite a few occasions that he'll respond to emails. I'd suggest that everyone who has been posting their concerns on this forum instead (or as well) send a polite and rational email to George detailing TM's communication mis-steps, the impact the cost increase is going to have on them, etc., etc., and see what happens.

It is nice to have a rant in public, but it is better to get TM to do something about it.

Crow | September 30, 2012

I always understood that the 85 & 60 cars would have the hardware and software necessary to enable SC but always understood that access charges or usage fees were still unknown. As a Sig, I hoped that it would be free for me as one of the SIg perks. So it is nice to see that it actually is included, not just for me, but for all of the 85s. So now the 60 reservation holders need to decide if the access fee is worth free SC for life. That is a personal decision based on each person's circumstances and driving needs.

The real issue is that they have to make the decision now and, once made, it cannot be undone. Peoples live change and so do their driving needs. People move, have kids, or change jobs. Elon's vision is to make EVs ubiquitous. A key to the vision is to enable SC. It not only relieves range anxiety, it makes the EV as flexible in utility as an ICE. If he wants to make that vision a reality, reservation holders should be allowed to enable SC at a later date.

rd2 | September 30, 2012

Can someone tell me when the website changed to state the 60 had included the SC hardware? I have always been under the impression that there would be some SC charge for the 60. I have never thought it was going to be free. Especially when the original website always had the 60 listed as 'optional' for SC. I figured it was going to be an upfront charge for hardware but then as I thought about it, access charges make way more sense. I doubt there is really that much more hardware involved and for the first year, might as well put that in every car and charge for access. So I am not surprised in the least by the announcement.

I have an 85 on order, and I thought the increased range was worth the upgrade plus there was obvious uncertainty in the SC charge for the 60 and I didn't want to deal. Also, the battery warranty is unlimited miles and I take frequent day trips around the bay area.

But my point is this: if you drive from SF to LA, in an ICE car you're talking about at least $100 each way in gas right? If you make that SF to LA trip, or the equivalent in shorter trips (Tahoe Yosemite Napa Seattle) , 10 times in the next 10 years, this $2k charge pays for itself and more. And at $1k, it's a steal. Principles aside, the financial side is actually still favorable.

I agree that TM should not have changed their website from TBD, and I was surprised to hear it was going to be included and figured there was more to the story. And there is. My feeling is that TM may go one step further to correct the situation but I doubt the 60s will ever get the access for free. I don't think they ever intended to do that for the 60s.

jerry3 | September 30, 2012

rd2,

I don't recall the exact date but up until a couple of months ago it was TBD, then it changed to included.

jerry3 | September 30, 2012

rd2 -- if you drive from SF to LA, in an ICE car you're talking about at least $100 each way in gas right?

Based on 380 miles I would use between 6.5 and 8.0 gallons of gas each way. Of course, this really depend on what ICE car you have. At $4 per gallon that's $26 to $32.

rd2 | September 30, 2012

thanks jerry3. You clearly have a more fuel efficient ICE than I do (even more reason for my Model S!). I'm looking at over twice that amount, around $75, for what is a 410 mile trip for me. Of course, that's assuming $4 a gallon, which is a rarity in SF right now (and who knows what it will be in 5 years). So please revise my estimates accordingly.

Even if it's 20 such trips over ten years, twice a year is not that often with a family and day trips/vacations/etc. I think the SC option would definitely be worth it at $1k, and is even cost effective at $2k, especially considering that you'd otherwise drive your ICE car on those trips and gas prices will be increasing.

Doesn't change the fact that TM screwed up the website big time, but I hope folks can get over their justified disappointment to still see value here. It will be interesting to see how TM handles this reaction.

jerry3 | September 30, 2012

rd2 -- sn't change the fact that TM screwed up the website big time

Yes, that's the big problem. They really need to hire a communications expert who will whack them over the head when they start to do something that alienates their customers to the point where they start canceling reservations.

In the overall scheme of things $2000 isn't that big a deal, but when you add the $2400 maintenance, the unknown amount for connection fees, the $1500 for the pano roof so adults can sit in the rear seats, $3750 for the tech package so the car will have basic functionality, an extra $500 UMC, a car cover, the opportunity console, and, and... it starts to add up.

jerry3 | September 30, 2012

And sure, everything but the maintenance is "optional" but so is eating something other than canned beans and living in something better a one-room furnished rental.

Crow | September 30, 2012

I don't understand how anyone thought they would supercharge for free with no access or per usage charge. Clearly, the company never came close to promising that.

sergiyz | September 30, 2012

@jerry

Well said.
TCO is what matters in the end, and it keeps going up.
I've opted out for sig so most things are included, but there's a lot of extras they've added just recently.
I think they've mentioned a year of a data plan for free for all Sigs, let's see if they can deliver.
I hope they will have an option to tether to the phone that would make way more sense than a separate contract with the carrier.
There's apparently a couple more features in the works, like wheel and tire damage, and battery replacement plan, both are optional, but it's not clear if they make some "creative" changes to warranty and exclude existing coverage because of these new optional plans...

jbunn | September 30, 2012

Sudre, legaly a sub set of us do have a legal leg to stand on. As George says, the web site mentioned in several places that all the hardware and software on the 60's were included exactly the same as the 85's. There are a number of us, myself included who configured based on that information on the web and at the stores that have MVPA's that state Supercharger included at no cost. Tesla is now asking me to agree to a new agreement. I prefer they honor the existing agreement, which will be the discussion with the configuration specalist this week.

A financial remedy is via mediation, which would be fruitless and pointless. Courts are not an option. So that leaves the media.

The negative press from "Tesla Refuses to Honor Vehicle Purchase Agreement Price" will far out weigh the $1,000 they will get from me.

Tesla... we plunked down cash years ago because we trust you. We still do. But some of us have signed agreements we expect honored in good faith. We never expected free charging, but we did expect the car would be capiable of charging.

If Tesla wont honor our contracts, I WILL use my only other recourse, the media.

MB3 | September 30, 2012

+1 Crow.

IMO it is "way above and beyond" for TM to offer free SC for 85 kWh cars! It is a great option to charge only 2K for 65 kWh cars. Regardless of the missteps in how they handled the roll-out. Over time the mistakes will be forgiven and people can begin enjoying driving long distances for free. How awesome is that.

rd2 | September 30, 2012

+1 Crow and mboedigh

I never thought that the 85kwH SC would be free either. I thought there'd be some $4-5 charge every time we used it. And I thought the 60kwH would have an additional activation charge for their hardware. So overall, it's an amazing deal for the 85, and still a good deal for the 60.

I definitely know that the options do add up. They can easily reach over $10k and it always hurts in the end. However, I think it has been discussed extensively how these options compare versus other luxury car makers, and if TM is not on par with them, they are at least very close in this regard.

The SC option is completely and utterly novel - no one has ever offered this in automotive history. The PR missteps of TM are awkward and should be addressed, but in the end, I think the ability to drive, endlessly, for no more than $2k total, for the life of the car (!), is pretty darn amazing.

ChasF | September 30, 2012

Lets not forget to keep this into perspective: What do we really mean when we say "lifetime" free charging? Whether this is an amazing deal or not depends on how long you plan to keep the car, how many trips per year you take, and where you expect battery tech to go during that lifetime. Do the math.

Seems to me those that have SC truly included for free are much more forgiving than those who don't.

MB3 | September 30, 2012

For an ICE at 32 mpg 16,000 miles is 2000 USD (assuming 4$/g gas). For 100 eMPG I guess that would be about 50,000 miles. Maybe more if non-SC charging stations charge a premium.

ChasF | September 30, 2012

Right. How long will it take to do 50,000 miles worth of road trips? And how long before we have a 1000 mile range battery?

rd2 | September 30, 2012

ChasF -

It doesn't make sense to calculate usage of 50,000 miles of 'road trips'. The reality is that, without supercharging, neither the 60kwH nor the 85kwH battery can do those road trips. Maybe you can find charging stations to piece a few road trips together, but those rates can be quite high for charging, and will take forever so you'd have to do it overnight and never get anywhere.

Therefore, since you can otherwise only 'road trip' with an ICE, you need to compare the $2k cost of SC to the 16,000 mile number. As I stated earlier, typical trip from SF to LA is ~800 miles roundtrip. 20 of those trips would break even. And that's assuming gas prices don't go up.

rd2 | September 30, 2012

If you want to wait for a 1,000 mile battery, that's great and if one were available on the near horizon I would say wait for it. But I would not anticipate the cost to be anywhere close to $2k. Not if it's developed within the next 5-7 years. I would expect a premium to get that battery, and based on what TM has priced each battery class at, it will be much more than $2k.

ChasF | September 30, 2012

@rd2

Agreed. If you do SF to LA every other week, the SC makes economical sense for you. I live in Florida and my 'road trips' are about 1000 miles round trip once a year or so. It would take me 10 years or more to break even. Add in the fact that the network build out for me will be at least a couple years behind you. Not so amazing a deal for me.

mbosem | September 30, 2012

My pre-mvpa has a line next to the supercharger hardware as in no charge I wonder how the 85 kw pre-mvpa looks. I think the nickel and diming sucks! I will call my config specialist and complain.

ChasF | September 30, 2012

...and my point about battery range had nothing to do with battery cost in 5-7-10 years, it has to do with how many battery choices will be available at that time when decisions will need to be made about a replacement vehicle. Supercharging could be irrelevant at that time meaning I may not break even with the initial investment of $2000.

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