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Tesla 60 supercharging option at $2500 is like prepaying for 90,000 miles of electricity

Tesla 60 supercharging option at $2500 is like prepaying for 90,000 miles of electricity

I may be an idiot but I didn't understand when I bought my Tesla 60 that supercharging option didn't come with it. This was not made clear in any conversations with salespeople nor did I find on the web this was particularly clear. Everything you read about Tesla and the supercharging stations acts and talks as if everyone is eligible for the program. They talk of how it is free to use for life and it seems like a great feature. I wouldn't have bought the 60 version if I had known it wasn't included. Frankly, it never even occurred to me that it might not be included. I travel a lot around California and it would be a perfect thing to use when traveling to Tahoe, going up and down the coast and the numerous places I like to go to. I imagined all those trips when I bought the car and carefully looked at supercharging station locations and how I would do this. However, when I started to plan my first trip in earnest I discovered that my 60 didn't come with this and that I would need to contact Tesla to have it enabled.

At first I was told that since Tesla had changed practices in how it marketed the Supercharging stations they were sorry I wasn't clear on this. They had changed the way they sell the cars so that someone always talked to them about the options clearly explaining what was included and not. I didn't get any such talk and depended on the research I had done online and since the online materials changed somehow I missed this key fact.

I am now told that I will be given a 500 discount off the 2500 price for this option with the model 60. $2500 at $0.10/KWH that PGE charges me would be 90,000 miles on the car. There is no way I can justify occasional trips to Tahoe, Southern Cal etc by prepaying for 90,000 miles or 75,000 miles or 50,000 miles. I will probably charge at Supercharging stations a dozen or 2 dozens times a year at most if I could. Assuming full charges it would take more than 20 years to drive the miles and use the stations for this to be a worthwhile investment - maybe. Let's say I factor in a doubling of cost because of the convenience factor and the cost to Tesla to provide this service. I would still take 10 years to get the value of this no matter how you look at it, it is like I am paying $1/KWH or 10 times the cost of what PGE charges.

There are so many ways to look at this but none of them make this $2000 look like a decent investment. The cost of pre-paying 10 or 20 years in advance of my usage (assuming I even use it as much as I speculate) is ridiculous. Who would do that? Maybe if I could get Gasoline for my gas powered vehicle in advance at a discount, like a guaranteed $3/gallon someone who thinks gas costs would escalate might think this would be a good investment and prepay for gas but I don't see any reason or rationale for investing in my mileage so far in advance.

I am guessing that Elon in setting this price wasn't thinking that day. It strikes me this is like an oversight it seems so dumb. There are many potential alternatives. They know my car is being charged. They could charge me $0.20 or $0.30 for electricity I used and send me a bill. There is no reason to instrument the stations or put in credit card machines. They could ask for an alternative annual plan for say $200 or even more.

This is a big deal and makes the Tesla model S 60 in my opinion not a desirable car for many people. The superchargers are also a key element of what I think is a winning holistic strategy for Tesla like Apple had of creating the ecosystem for Tesla owners. It binds you to Tesla as opposed to the electric alternatives because they have the best charging stations and usable only by Tesla it is a huge selling point. By making it out of reach of people who for whatever reason can't buy the 85 or in my case just didn't know this is sacrificing what I think is a huge "bonding" and group dynamic that creates loyalty. Without the supercharging stations I am a lot less likely to purchase my next car as a Tesla or even consider selling my current car and buying the new BWM or other luxury sedans competitors due out in one or two years.

Obviously if I had known this I would have bought the 85. I would even trade in my 60 if that is an issue. However, Tesla is being obstinate. I have written Elon as well and hope that somebody somewhere in the system catches what I think is a simple mistake in how to market this and sell this feature and let all us Tesla 60 owners share in the benefits of supercharging stations and the amazing benefit they provide to owning a Tesla.

Jonathan D | May 20, 2014

You're the most flexible non-flexible person we know J.T. :)

redacted | May 20, 2014

@ATSEA, you're right, though this may be due to an '85 not being maxed out at 120kW (c.f. Germany with it's 135kW chargers).

CalDreamin | May 20, 2014

OP, you seem to miss the point that most of the $2000 cost for the Supercharger option goes toward building and maintaining the stations. The electricity costs are relatively small by comparison. Each Supercharger station costs hundreds of thousands of dollars just to build. There's more than 100 Supercharger stations. Do the math.

JenAlJill13 | May 20, 2014

@EV Quorum +. John, you've been beaten down enough, I won't add to the pain. The real value of the Supercharging Network is that it allows you to travel long distances in a practical way. It's not the "free" electricity that's important. I travel to VA from PA to visit in-laws and stop at the Newark, DE SC each way for about 30 minutes. If I had to stop at an RV Campground to charge, it would take me at least an extra six hours each way, making the trip in a Tesla totally impractical. Same thing when visiting my son in RI. I stop in Milford, CT, and East Greenwich, RI, for about 20 minutes each and I'm good to go. That convenience is priceless!! I would not have bought a Tesla if I couldn't do that. I'll be going on a cross country trip later in June, PA to LA to Seattle and back, almost 9000 miles. Mostly done on Superchargers. A trip that I have never done previously with an ICE car. Two thousand dollars for that capability is a pittance... I'll be saving $1500 in gas compared with my previous MB ICE on this trip alone.

Steve1501 | May 20, 2014

@John_Mathon - VIN20353 made a good point. It is hard to believe anyone would purchase a Tesla and not understand about Superchargers. It is like you bought the car without taking the intro course of Tesla 101. What are the first (not the last) five digits of your VIN?

Captain_Zap | May 20, 2014

When I configured the car, the $2000 was for the Supercharging hardware. At that time, there was no announcement that the electricity would be free. There were no Superchargers. We speculated that there would be a fee of $30 a month or something like that for Supercharger access, even with the $2000 hardware installed.

Our logic was that the fee for a Supercharging subscription would likely cost far less than a tank of gas. We had no idea how soon we would be seeing Superchargers in our area.

All happy surprises. Free power for our Supercharger, and Superchargers actually came to our area much, much sooner than anyone expected. (We were not sure whether they would come at all.)

I still think of the Supercharger as an added piece of equipment much like the dual charging system. Superchargers were not originally installed in the car automatically with a software activation. That happened after Tesla saw that most people ordered the hardware.

We thought the 80A chargers would be more prolific than the Superchargers at the time we ordered. Tesla saw the demand for Supercharging and responded.

Dual chargers are still not automatically installed in cars and they cannot be activated by a software update. You can charge at 80A at some of high powered public chargers if you have the dual chargers in some areas.

Every time I use a Supercharger I'm still tickled that I don't have to stop for $80+ worth of gas along the way.

NKYTA | May 20, 2014

+1 Zap

David N | May 20, 2014

To the OP

Thank you for sharing your story.

Accept Teslsa's $500 discount, fork over the $2,000 and let's move on.

Dwdnjck@ca | May 20, 2014

If you had realized that supercharging was extra, you would have had the choice to add it for $2000. Now you can correct your mistake for only $500 more. Your choice. Quit bitching. Either do it or not. Tesla gives you an opportunity to correct your mistake. I hear cheese goes good with whine.

jjaeger | May 20, 2014

@OP, it's clear from your 2nd novel you posted that you don't value the SC capability at $2500 (or @2000). Me thinks that is the only issue at hand here, the rest is long thought out, and long in actual verbiage, rationalization.

Red Sage ca us | May 20, 2014

John: Really sorry you feel this way. I decided to look at it from the other end of the telescope...

$2,500 at $45 per fill-up, comes to 56 tanks of gas on my Toyota Corolla, maybe half that number on my Brother's Ford F-150. The fuel economy in the Corolla has slipped a bit, so I figure around 330 miles per fill-up. That's only 18,840 miles. If I could stop at Toyota branded gas stations and fill up for free, I'd blow through that many miles in three or four months.

In my Accord I used to drive over 35,000 per year. If I could have filled it for free, that number would have easily climbed over 50,000 miles. So, in any case, your 90,000 mile threshold would be demolished in pretty short order, were I behind the wheel. But then, I really, really love driving.

Tâm | May 21, 2014

@john_mathon

1) Website:

Like many, I thought the website has been very clear and the buying process is very clear.

2) Rep:
You had a luxury of talking to a Tesla rep.

I never sought assistance from a Tesla Rep for options and buying decision. I relied on the web and this forum.

3) Sales Process:
If you click enough on the web, you could find out that some options are included and others cost more.

It may be true the a rep doesn't mention that all "white" paints are not "free."

But if you click on one white paint, there's no increase in price, another "silver" and you would see $750 more, another "multicoat" would cost you $1,500.

That's the same with Supercharger capability for 60 kWh even when you get no information from a rep. You still have the power to click on the web to see whether there's any price difference.

4) It's done, what next:

4a) Blames:
It's too late to blame on the website and the sales rep because I don't think you can get your refund at this time for doing so.

4b) New business model:
So it looks like you want Tesla to sell you access for each use, not a one time charge of $2,000 (pre-ordered) or $2,500 (after delivery).

By now you should understand that your suggestion is not aligned with Tesla's business model.

4c) So you have some options:

4c1) Status quo: By not paying $2,500, Do you want to spend hours in a public charger?

4c2) Pay up and enjoy Supercharger. It is not about money any more. Do you want to get in line, order a coffee, eat a bagel, take a bathroom break, and get back to your car that has been Supercharged and move on. Even though you might only need to do that once in your life for $2,500?

4c3) Pay for an 85 kWh battery swap.

4c4) Trade your car in for a 85 kWh.

Good luck!

HenryT2 | May 21, 2014

Seems you have two issues here:

#1 - You think the fact that supercharging is not included on the 60 was not clear enough. Seems like you are the ONLY person who made that mistake, so lets call it a "brain fart" and move on.

#2 - You think that $2000 (or $2500) is not worth it for charging. Here, you might be right, but certainly not for your line of reasoning. You can't compare to the $0.10 rate unless you plan to supercharge only between 12am-5am (or whatever the off-off peak time frame is). So your more accurate rate would be about $0.20-25. Also, it is apples and oranges because it isn't like you are being sold the right to charge at home for free which is how you are comparing (simple cost of supercharging vs. cost at home).

If you were to own homes up and down the coast and put in 240V plugs in each house and only charge at each house at 12am to 5am, it would STILL be more than what you compare because you are not including the cost of putting in the facilities. Say $200/house (at the VERY LEAST). If you had to put in ten or twelve chargers alone, that would cover the supercharger cost w/o including the value of the electricity.

It's not about the free electricity but the ability to drive your Model S to more places. I own a 40. I can't take my car past county limits. And occasionally, I'm forced to take my ICE which I have to fill up with expensive gas and end up with having to drive a FAR LESS pleasant car. So, the gas on 700 miles (to and from Vegas, for example) is about $135 vs. the $50 ($25 @ $0.10) for charging at home. So the gas alone means I've paid $85 MORE to drive a less pleasant car.

How much is it worth TO YOU to drive your shiny new Model S instead of your old (or rented) ICE for those long distance trips a year? That's the question.

whitex | May 21, 2014

john_mathon,

1. How could you have not seen the $2K supercharger option when configuring your car? Did you buy a base model without ANY option and never even looked at list of available options? If you have, you had to have seen the supercharger option for $2K.
2. You completely missed the purpose of superchargers is not to charge daily, rather it's so you can extend your range when traveling long distance. Even if I had a supercharger 1 mile away from home (I don't) I would not go there to charge if home charging would do the job, only if I needed to charge fast.

I bought a 60, it was very clear to me it did not come with supercharging. I was told I can add it at any time. Note of caution: I misunderstood what that meant, I though "ok, I'll pay $2500 with a credit card over the phone on the day of the trip if I ever take a trip that will require it" - WRONG, it takes a couple of days to activate, calibrate, whatever, from the time you pay to the time you can supercharge can take a couple of days - it did for me. I found that out because though I still don't foresee using a supercharger any time soon, I do foresee possible CHADEMO charging, so when the supercharging option was on sale for $2K (same as when I bought a new car) I purchased it foreseeing using the CHADEMO adapter that was supposed to be available this past winter. That said, now that I have it, I have a little easier time planning trips, I know if I need to I can go 30-80 miles (both ways) out of my way and hit a supercharger if needed (to date I never had, home charging plus public EV chargers is all my car has seen).

BigBlueLou | May 21, 2014

@OP - you mentioned that your situation "[...] bolsters the argument that dealerships serve a purpose if these kinds of things happen to Tesla it makes their argument that dealerships aren't needed weaker."

You mean to tell me that dealerships are more upfront in their dealings with customers? Many don't even take the time to detail all available options, or willingly steer you toward certain trim levels. It's not about getting the customer what they want, it's about moving inventory.

Oh, and try to ask the dealership to add an option after delivery, and let me know how that goes. I have a '10 Chevy Equinox that, for some odd reason, didn't come with the USB ports that were supposed to be standard (not an option, STANDARD), which I didn't discover until after the fact. What was my dealer's action? We can't install it. So, at least Tesla is willing to activate the capability for you, and at a slight discount.

Sorry, anybody who hints at sticking up for dealerships really gets under my skin.

As for the $2500 (or $2000) premium for SC access, you should look at it as a one-time fee to access the SCs as many times as you want, for the life of the vehicle, without having to worry about a bill each time. It's like an all-inclusive resort to me - you either hit the bar and buffet conservatively or liberally, but in the end you pay the same price, and don't have to concern yourself with daily budgets for drinks, meals, etc. So, if you don't think that paying $2500 is worth it for SC access whenever you need, then don't pay for it and stick with the public chargers. I, for one, would rather pay up front and not worry about it, especially since I tend to keep my cars for the long haul (10+ years).

BTW, I not an owner (yet), but I read the forum posts fairly regularly. I'll get on board soon enough...

BigBlueLou | May 21, 2014

Of course, if you'd rather be billed per use, that's your prerogative. Just don't expect Tesla to change their business model for you. They may in the future, when it makes sense for them to do so.

End transmission.

eddiemoy | May 21, 2014

sounds totally BS. the website to buy the car has always been clear from day one. supercharging has always been an option on the 40kw and 60kw.

lucky for you, the cool thing is that you don't even have to bring it in to enable, just call them up with your credit card. if you want it get it, if you don't, don't. it is that simple.

i've not used a supercharge since i got the car.

Brian H | May 21, 2014

There's a subtler, historical point here, not mentioned so far. There is actual hardware involved in the car to handle the DC charging; it is additional to the AC system. At one point, TM was going to make cars with and without this added wiring, etc. However, the cost of running multiple production streams didn't add up, so there was a "surprise" announcement after the fact. All cars had the extra h/w, though it required software tuning and activation in the 60s. This was to be at extra cost, offsetting the h/w and s/w expense (built-in to the 85's price).

Of course, the product-wide pricing must cover both internal and SC build-outs, on a cash-flow basis, though I personally think much of it can be allocated to marketing expense in an accounting sense. Supercharging is a major selling point now, after all.

TeoTeslaFan | May 21, 2014

Think about it this way:

When you decide to sell this the car the price you get will be $2500 USD less if the car is not SC enabled. So you will end up losing $2500 then anyway. You might even need to enable SC just before you sell the car to make it more attractive or comparable with the competition or just to prove that the car does indeed work with superchargers.

When you sell this car what will you put in the description? You will probably say that supercharging can be enabled at any time. How much is this going to cost the buyer? Obviously it will cost $2500.

If there was an identical used Model S 60 on the market with SC enabled what do you think would be the asking price between that care and yours? Again obviously it is going to be $2500.

You have two options:

Option 1: Don't enable superchargers and lose out on the possibility to use them for years. Then eventually sell the car for $2500 USD less than the competition. For example if the competition is 30.000 USD, you will get $27.500 USD for yours.

Option 2: Enable SC now. Pay only $2000 thanks to Tesla's goodwill gesture. Enjoy using SC for free for years. Then sell your car for $30.000, leaving you with a $500 USD profit.

If this is too confusing let me summarize:
If you stop complaining you will get paid $500 USD for using the superchargers for free until you sell the car. Otherwise you will not only miss out on using superchargers but you will also end up $500 USD worse off at the end when you sell it.

Roamer@AZ USA | May 21, 2014

Well the trial is over and the verdict is clear.

I think this may be the first ever unanimous decision on the Tesla forum. There may be wide discussion on many things Tesla but it appears if you want to access the Super Charger network you need to pay your share to build and use the network.

The whole, " nobody told me" issue it moot. Tesla offered the add the service at the same price as you would have paid at order time. They are nicer than me.

renwo S alset | May 21, 2014

Let's end this on an obvious note. Anyone with enough time to write that much about a bogus complaint must be very rich and stupid, or else being paid for the time. NADA anyone?

ChopinBlues | May 21, 2014

I'm kind'a late to this thread, but it also needs to be pointed out that if you think you're only paying PG&E 10 cents per KWh, you should look again. Just because you charge at night when the rate is low doesn't help, if the extra charging bumps you into higher tiers where the daytime rate goes from 13 to 30, or even 60 or more in the summer

Rocky_H | May 21, 2014

When people pointed out that it is very clear in multiple places where you pick the options on the car on the website, and he dismissed that as "fine print" just infuriated me.

hamer | May 21, 2014

1. I re-endorse SamO who agreed with who OP who said, "I may be an idiot."
2. Someone once said something like, "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by absolute stupidity."
3. On the other hand, I believe there is a non-zero probability that he is a troll or an automobile dealer.
4. Finally, I am not paying for electricity with my ability to supercharge. I am paying for the ability to go on road trips. The cost of the electricity is incidental.

RFD | May 21, 2014

Obviously Tesla did not succeed in making their website idiot proof.

Jolinar | May 21, 2014

hehe, john_mathon should read a bit more or just use brain while reading...

prepayed for many miles? yes. that's the reason why Tesla does not charge anything for distance travel via SuperChargers.

LEvans | May 21, 2014

This is a asinine comparison. You are not just paying for electricity. You are paying for the infrastructure and the cost it takes to build out that infrastructure.

God forbid the OP accept personal responsibility for either being too cheap or not reading the trim options and what they offer. If you want Super Charging pay what every one else pays or if you don;t want to pay that, don't use the superchargers. It seems the OP feels entitled to get something for nothing.

andex23 | May 21, 2014

OK, I think the OP is gone. You won the web for the day.... let this die.

AlMc | May 21, 2014

OMG. Really? Moving on.

AmpedRealtor | May 21, 2014

... and who in their right mind comes to a Tesla forum to post about their stupidity like this? Clearly this person also lacks a basic sense of self awareness.

ConFuzion | April 24, 2017

Hi, you guys think I could still upgrade my 2014 Models S 60Kw with the supercharging option? It dissapeaered from the "My Tesla" options.

TeslaTap.com | April 24, 2017

Possibly. You'll need to contact Tesla directly. I'd try the "Contact Us" link at the bottom of the page, or contact your local service center.

kevonandmarion | April 24, 2017

I purchased my 60 in March 2013 and I enabled a year later. I purchased knowing I would enable this option after the first time I decided to drive long distance.

Of course, nobody can say what you knew when you bought your car but if you read from this forum, the forum was pretty clear on this point.

thuebert | October 28, 2018

question is why is pay as you go not an option for vehicles like this now in 2018 when all new vehicles are on the pay as you go plan? I bought a 3rd party tesla and I love it, but paying 2500 is completely cost prohibitive for me. I would love the option to use a supercharger the few times a year I go on longer road trips. I have an s 60 and my cabin is 189 miles away. its cutting it very close when I go there and I need to stop at a charge point for an hour and I still make it there with about 10 miles left of charge, and that was on a perfect 72 degree day with no wind driving 60mph. I realize tesla wants to make as much money as possible but it would be a very nice option for me

tes-s | October 28, 2018

I think you could have chosen a better car for your situation. 189 miles would be very doable in a 75D, 85, 85D, 90D, 100D.

Several of those cars would also have pay-as-you-go supercharging, or supercharging included.

akikiki | October 28, 2018

thuebert, Who knows maybe one day they will offer pay as you go for a 60. But you argument for why they should is the same that was stated many times back in '13 and '14 when the first Superchargers were being built.

Donz_S | October 29, 2018

@US_Tesla and @SamO: I totally agree! I've based my "cost" upon my old ICE mpg and associated road costs. I make routine cross country trips and the SC package has way more than paid for itself in my MS 85.

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