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Update - Supercharging and 60 kWh Model S Orders

Update - Supercharging and 60 kWh Model S Orders

Supercharging and 60 kWh Model S Orders

Unfortunately this situation did not unfold as planned. Everything started out fine, then when dates slipped, we made a decision that I think was the right decision, but wasn't communicated clearly or aggressively enough. Here's what was supposed to happen:

March: Begin configuring Signature cars (all have 85 kWh batteries)

Early July: Supercharger Event (followed up immediately thereafter with pricing for 60 kWh cars)

Mid-July: Begin configuring General Production cars (with 85 and 60 kWh batteries)

The above schedule would have let Supercharging be a nice surprise when announced, and all pricing would have been clear and understood before any 60 kWh cars were configured. Unfortunately it turned out to be impossible for the Supercharger event to take place before the end of September, yet we still needed to begin configuring 60 kWh cars in July. That's when we made a decision…

We decided to include the necessary hardware in all cars (both 60 and 85 kWh cars) to allow Supercharging to be enabled at a later date. This would give anyone who finalized a 60 kWh car the option to include Supercharging after the Supercharger Event in September. I believe including the hardware was a good decision. In hindsight, I think how we communicated activation details was not aggressive enough and the assumptions we made were incorrect.

How We Communicated - We changed our website, Design Studio and configuration paperwork to reflect exactly what we were doing…including the hardware necessary in both 60 and 85 kWh cars to allow Supercharging in the future. We then verbally communicated that access would be free for 85 kWh cars, and there would be an activation fee for 60 kWh cars.

Our Incorrect Assumption - All customers in the configuration process would clearly understand there was an activation fee for 60 kWh cars.

This assumption was based upon the fact that Elon said it numerous times, we were verbally communicating it regularly, and it was showing up on the forums that there was an activation fee for 60 kWh cars. Elon also stated it again during his presentation at the Supercharger Event.

The assumption that the Activation Fee was clear is where we went wrong. In hindsight, we should have just put it in the text of the website, Design Studio and on customer's MVPA.

Now flash forward to this past Friday... When we went out with our Supercharger follow up communication, we intended to do something positive for customers who had already booked 60 kWh cars by giving them the option to enable Supercharging for half the price going forward. We erroneously thought this would be a positive. It was not.

It was not because the way we had previously communicated the activation fee was insufficient. Therefore, we are now waiving the entire activation fee for everyone who has already finalized and signed their paperwork for a 60 kWh car… To be clear, there will be no charge for those who have finalized and signed their paperwork for a 60 kWh car, and they will now receive free, unlimited Supercharging.

For those of you who received emails this past Friday regarding this issue, you can disregard them. Your car will have free, unlimited Supercharging enabled at no additional cost. Going forward, for those who have not finalized their order, I believe the option cost for Supercharging of 60 kWh cars is now clear on our website in multiple places.

Thanks to everyone who chimed in on this. I truly wish this had all gone much smoother. I wish we had been more clear, but we were not, so it is up to us to make it right…

The fee to enable Supercharging for all currently finalized and signed 60 kWh cars is waived.

Thanks... GeorgeB

rd2 | 30 septembre 2012

As I appear to be the first to read this post, let me be the first to thank you and TM for your wonderful responsiveness to your customers.

I have actually ordered an 85kwH battery Model S, but I completely support the way TM has decided to address the problem with the existing 60kwH orders, and I remain amazed by the openness of this company. From my perspective, you are building lifelong customer loyalty.

Beaker | 30 septembre 2012

+1

lajollan | 30 septembre 2012

OK well, good for those people, and only fair. Since I have not finalized, I am screwed. As I have said before, I want the car, do not need it. So long, Tesla and good luck. Maybe I will check you out again in another 4 years or so.

Sudre_ | 30 septembre 2012

SWEET! This is very unexpected!

Thank you very much Tesla. I like free.

sagebrushnw | 30 septembre 2012

Good news! This is a positive move for TM. Thanks for "listening" to your customers and making a positive response.

heems | 30 septembre 2012

Thank you for listening to your customers and doing right by them.

Mark K | 30 septembre 2012

Thanks George.

To all who spoke up, please take note how this man spent his Sunday night.

George and TM deserve credit for listening, caring, and acting.

rmitchum | 30 septembre 2012

Alas, my faith in Tesla Motors continues to pan out. As a late 85 kw reservation holder (10,000 +) way in the middle of nowhere in a big square Western state I continue to eagerly await my turn. After reading ALL of the flurry of posts over the last few days - gnashing of teeth, questions of loyalty, etc. - I have been silently remembering back about a year when a salesman at the nearest GM dealer told me they could get me a Volt by February for an EXTRA $4,000. More than 10% of the list price! I passed of course, choosing to join with the real pioneers in technology, engineering, and marketing. I can’t imagine the higher ups at GM responding so favorably as GB at TM.

jaycweber | 30 septembre 2012

Thanks George and Tesla for taking responsibility for the situation, especially on a weekend. I'm back to being a complete fanboy!

Captain_Zap | 30 septembre 2012

Beyond generous.
I hope the rest of the roll out and ramp goes much more smoothly for you George. I feel for ya.

jbunn | 30 septembre 2012

Dear George,

I was one of the recipients of the friday letter. I'm impressed by your quick response in correcting this matter for myself and other 60 mvpa contract holders that signed during the time frame you mentioned. You did the right thing, and i'm impressed beyond words. You'll get it back tenfold in good will.

PS, I miss your weekly newsletters. Hope you resume.

markapeterman | 30 septembre 2012

Well done George. Tesla again shows impressive responsiveness to customer concerns.

giants2001 | 30 septembre 2012

Thanks George. I am genuinely impressed by the quick action and response this situation has gotten.

+1 jbunn - I am missing those newsletters as well.

Sudre_ | 30 septembre 2012

I have posted this great news to my FB page and several friends have already chimed in with comments like, "That's customer service."

This goes a very long way in gaining trust from every direction. It will transfer to sales I guarantee it.

TheAustin | 30 septembre 2012

George, aren't you concerned over the series of communication errors (or lack of communication) with regards to the Model S development and launch? One mistake is a mistake...But there have been multiple communication blunders, to say nothing of the whole debacle of cars being delivered out of order (apparently due to configuration & delivery location "batching," except there's been no official word from Tesla on that!). It's starting to look like Tesla doesn't know what it's doing as a company...Like, you can make a great car, but you have difficulty actually communicating to the people who are lined up to buy your product. And unfortunately, Elon's obvious discomfort with public speaking certainly doesn't help matters.

Now, to be clear, my reservation is for an 85 KwH Model S, so this latest SNAFU doesn't specifically affect me in the least. However it does point to a history of communication blunders at Tesla, and as a customer (as well as a want-to-be stockholder), I would love to see the company get these communication squabbles sorted out going forward BEFORE they continue to cause problems with customers, stockholders, analysts, media, etc.

My two cents, respectfully.

mrspaghetti | 30 septembre 2012

Thanks again George, good call.

@theaustin: I'm not sure what you expect. Clearly the leadership at Tesla recognizes when mistakes are made and does their best to address them. I'd like to know of any company who does better at communicating & responding to customers AND makes such revolutionary, high-quality products.

My enthusiasm has returned to 100%

Electric Machete | 30 septembre 2012

I have no dog in this fight. I am getting a P85 and I don't live in California and I doubt I'll have much use for supercharging when it comes to Florida.

I think Tesla made the only reasonable decision that they could. Call it customer service if you like. In reality those with an order for a 60 kw battery pack could back out of their MVPA. With a 25% profit margin this would be a significant net loss with each cancellation. Compound that with the inevitable bad press that would leak out and the decision is easily made. It was a smart business decision made by sensible people running a start up company.

I agree with other forum members that communication has been poor between Tesla and their reservation holders. This was a blunder. If the communication does not improve, it will certainly not be the last. Just check out the "Punch List" thread and see the number of unresolved issues with the Model S.

Brian H | 30 septembre 2012

TheAustin;
Take into consideration the vastly accelerated (compressed) time scale on which TM is doing things. From design to putting up a plant to staffing to ... etc. Things which would literally have taken years at a standard car company are being done in months or weeks (by necessity; TM has to virtually leap in a single bound into productive and profitable status).

This, I think, even affects internal communications and releases of info to the public. Electronic hook-ups notwithstanding, it takes finite time for origination, comprehension, and acknowledgement of messages and decisions to occur. Some will be behind the curve, through no fault (necessarily) of their own. And when extra-quick changes are sent down the line, these out-of-synch situations (temporarily) multiply.

dahtye | 30 septembre 2012

This is certainly impressive.

George, I have a feeling the Tesla Executive Staff was very busy this weekend discussing this and how to "make it right" for your customers. This type of decision is not one that can easily be made since it requires not just yourself, but Elon and other senior execs of Tesla (including CMO, CFO, and down the chain of command to the "implementers" of these new decisions).

Although I'm not one of the 60KW customers (I expect to take delivery of my performance signature in a few weeks), I feel that I need to say THANK YOU for this wonderful decision and news. It is this type of "good will" that will win over and retain customers and allow us to "keep the faith" in Tesla.

dborn @nsw.au | 30 septembre 2012

Thank you, George. You have done exactly what i suggested would be appropriate on another thread, except for the half price for those reservation holders who have been on the list for a year or more. Being a sig reservation holder, this issue does not affect me personally.
your responsiveness is commendable.

Can i suggest that a resumption of your weekly (or even second weekly) blogs may go a very long way to preventing this type of communication issue from occurring again?

The problem was the word "included" - the majority of people would expect that to mean a functioning system, not one which would still need activation.

Kudos for providing free supercharging for life. Great service and a game changer for countries like Australia and the USA with long distance travel required.

mklcolvin | 30 septembre 2012

Amen & thank you, George, Elon & the executive team at Tesla for making things right again - keep committing to delighting customers and you'll be in great shape.

Mark K | 30 septembre 2012

Very strong affirmation of how folks will go to bat for you when you do the right thing.

DouglasR | 30 septembre 2012

+1
This is the right response: legally, morally, and in support of TM's reputation. Bravo!

Brian H | 30 septembre 2012

I still would like to Roto-Rectal-Root all those who insisted this was all a cynical cash grab, lubricated with deception.

Electric Machete | 30 septembre 2012

You would like to do that?

Brian H | 30 septembre 2012

Jumping to cynical, even libelous, assumptions and pushing them is not a victimless crime.

Mark K | 30 septembre 2012

Jeez, keep it clean Bri-man. Let this thread focus on what George did.

bb0tin | 30 septembre 2012

Elon and Tesla have a vision for a better future and are working extremely hard to bring it to the world. From time to time we all make mistakes in how we express ourselves and Tesla has gone out of it's way to ameliorate the angst that some have felt as a result of this unfortunate misstep. I believe Tesla has gone beyond what one would normally expect a company to do. Kudos to them. I was reminded of the saying 'No good deed goes unpunished' while reading the posts of the last couple of days though.

TheAustin | 30 septembre 2012

@tesla.mrspaghet - Making revolutionary, high quality products and effectively communicating with their customers are not mutually exclusive. All companies should strive to do both. Smart companies WILL do both. Tesla is, by all rights, a very smart company, built up by some of the smartest people out there...Which makes these silly communication blunders so frustrating, because they are easily preventable with more open, straightforward, PROACTIVE communication with it's customers, rather than REACTIVE apologies and make-rights. Sure, they make things right after the fact, we should expect nothing less...But in the mean time, they pissed quite a few customers off, promoting some to cancel/threaten to cancel their reservations...And it was avoidable.

@BrianH - Of course I can appreciate the accelerated timeline, etc, etc...But my point is, I'm not talking about big-picture philosophical speeches here...I'm talking about proactive communication that accompanies any public release.announcement. They should have a communications director that reviews all outgoing communications...There's not that much of it in the first place! Also, they should also have someone scouring these boards, picking up on any undercurrents well before they blow up. But even that's reactive. Really the important part is to be proactive in the communication. I'm not expecting that from Elon, he's got enough on his plate, and he's not the most refined linguist to walk the face of the earth. But I expect it from George, and from the company as a whole...And I don't think that is too much to expect. I'm sure if you asked Elon and George, they expect it themselves...The key for them is to just figure out how to do it before they alienate more customers.

Again, just an observation/suggestion...In general, I love Tesla, and all that it represents, and all that it is about to deliver...To the country, to the world, and to me specifically in about two more months! Which is why I want them to succeed, and succeed highly. There are bad companies that make crap products that they can still manage to put positive spin on... Tesla is a great company, making a revolutionary product...They should be hitting it out of the park, not getting tripped up with petty miss-communication squabbles.

stuberman | 30 septembre 2012

It looks like my first attempt at posting didn't work. At this point I'll just say Thank You George and the rest of the Tesla crew.

mbcaffe | 30 septembre 2012

GB
Thank you for making it right! Now kick butt on the competition.

@lajollan
You are not screwed. Just back to to square one,except the cost of the option is determined.

@theaustin
Where is it stipulated that TMC is required to deliver cars in sequence. IMHO, they are supposed to deliver in the time frame on your agreement. Communication goes both ways. If you want status,send an-mail or call.

mrspaghetti | 30 septembre 2012

@TheAustin:

I'm still not sure what you're expecting. Obviously they're concerned, otherwise they wouldn't be scouring the forums (as you suggest) and fixing issues on a Sunday evening. What do you want him to do, visit your house personally with flowers? Promise they'll never make a mistake again? Say they're really, REALLY, extremely super-sorry?

Superliner | 30 septembre 2012

It seems that "anyone who reserved" $$ during the period when Supercharging hardware was listed as "included" on 60kwh packs should get just that. any who reserve after the changes to the information were put in place should not.

Just my .02

mrspaghetti | 30 septembre 2012

@Superliner:

I disagree. The deposit is fully refundable & it does say at the bottom of the design studio page that all the options & pricing are subject to change, yadda yadda.

SMOP | 30 septembre 2012

Great move by TM, this definitely restores faith in the brand. The one question that remains: Will it be possible for 60kwH Model S owners to gain access to Superchargers after the car has been delivered?

sergiyz | 30 septembre 2012

@smop
I don't think they're installing the hw (running cables) for 60kw cars any more, unless you order it.
For existing finalized orders they did.

TheAustin | 30 septembre 2012

@tesla.mrspaghet - I think I was pretty clear...They should focus on implementing a proactive communications plan immediately, so as to minimize the amount damage control they have to spin after another communications blunder like this occurs.

George's actions were totally appropriate in this case (after the fact), I never claimed that he should have handled this specific case any differently (Nor did I say anything to cause anyone to infer that I expected a personal house call for a issue that I specifically mentioned did not affect me)...My point was, moving forward, Tesla really needs to stop issues like this from happening in the first place...And they way to do that is to change the way their communication are being structured and handled, because it's clearly not working on an acceptable level. The End. Move forward.

Docrob | 30 septembre 2012

I think they've made it clear that the very heavy duty cabling required for supercharging can only be practically installed and tested during construction and so supercharging must be chosen prior to build and can't be added later.

mdennick | 30 septembre 2012

GB, Thank you. Thanks for listening to your customers and acting quickly, even over the weekend. It made a huge difference in this customer's loyalty.

Mark K | 30 septembre 2012

SMOP- sergiyz and docrob are right. The short answer is no.

Here's why:

This needs to be done at factory build time. Although theoretically possible, t'd be a prohibitively labor-intensive tear-down and rebuild process that'll cost too much as a field upgrade.

They have to install a lot of different parts to handle the massive currents, and those parts cost money. Going forward, they will only be installed in cars ordered with the SC option.

Some confusion about how this works arose as an artifact of the decision to preemptively equip the early batch of cars while they resolved their SC plans.

In the steady state, they know what each customer wants at finalize time, and they also know the SC spec. So their temporary "prep all" strategy is no longer necessary. There is no reason to waste miney on those expensive parts for cars that aren't ordered with SC.

Don't get confused by all the software config and calibrate discussion. That was simply what they had to do to reconcile terms with the initial logistics conflicts before SC was finalized.

In the steady state, they wont be able to simply set a software bit to enable access. All that copper has to have been installed at the factory.

Ceilidh | 1 octobre 2012

Some people will never be happy, and for them, I cannot speak. However, as a very early reservation holder (p912) from the first week, I did so despite my paltry salary. I support Tesla fully. I realize that there are tough decisions to be made in the early stages of building a company and despite the fact that I cannot afford a Performance or Signature Tesla, I am quite pleased that my mid-grade battery due in November will have supercharger access. Bravo.

You have a tough job recreating the model T for a new generation and from before Elon was even a part of Tesla I have supported this company fully. I am quite happy to hear about this update and cannot wait to take ownership of my plain old non-signature, non-performance Tesla model S because for me, this vehicle is a complete game changer in the world automotive market and I cannot wait to see Detroit be forced to abandon the Hummer mentality and make vehicles that attempt to emulate your standards.

Cheers.

ddruz | 1 octobre 2012

Mahalo nui loa George and the management team at Tesla. Heartfelt gratitude for acting with such high nobility. You are a class act.

DanD | 1 octobre 2012

Yep. We thought the supercharger was included. We thought we understood how to read the English in the order.

Apparently Tesla implies additional language in its ordering system.

The company continues to jerk around people who have emotionally committed to this car.

It's just like Apple on the inside. Creating emotional hype for a product so people will stand in line for ridiculous lengths of time.

alfafoxtrot1 | 1 octobre 2012

George, thank you! Of course this goes a long way in reaffirming my faith in Tesla and my pride in being one of your relatively early customers.

Ohms.Law | 1 octobre 2012

George: Get some sleep.

Oh, and job well done.

mrspaghetti | 1 octobre 2012

@DanD: "Emotionally committed"?

Dude, for all the talk about saving the planet, etc., I think it's important to remember that Tesla is a business. They sell cars, and they have to make enough money to pay all their workers, buy raw materials & machines, pay for all the research that went into development, plus (gasp!) make a profit. That's the bottom line.

I'm sorry if you are mad because you thought you were going to get free supercharging and now you find out you have to pay a little extra for it. But "emotional commitment" doesn't pay the bills. And you being disappointed at not getting something for nothing doesn't equate to Tesla "jerking people around".

Steve P5664 | 1 octobre 2012

I posted my frustration when I read my email to rewrite my MVPA. While the $1000 was certainly part of the issue. The marketing, goodwill, early adopter PR was the greater concern.

I had signed (60kwh #5664) earlier in the week. I bit the bullet and spent the $10K extra to get the potential to be linked tio Spercharging. I likely will use this option less than 10 times during my ownership (living on Long Island it just doesn't play out).

Over the weekend, I had two conversations about the car (I was wearing my Tesla jacket at my son's baseball game). The 60kwh/SC issue had me mixed (although I did not share it). I'm glad to be able to, once again whole hardily fully endorse TM.

I am very pleased with Tesla, GB and the Mgt. team for spending the time this weekend and listening to their loyal early customers.
As a Tesla entusiast, and investor I appreciate the financial ramifications of this decision. I hope the 2nd offering allows for appropriate cash flow. We all know the next several months will determine the long term success of TM.

Personally, they have restored my confidence and trust!

Ohms.Law | 1 octobre 2012

@tesla.mrspaghet...: Exactly! While communications, customer relations and buyer engagement are vitally important for a business - new or old, public or private - and should never be underestimated, Tesla is not "jerking people around" (DadD). They are trying to serve and deal with so many masters simultaneously (e.g., the shareholders, DOE, the public, present and future customers, Wall Street, NHTSA, suppliers, employees, electric utilities) that no one will be pleased all the time. Staying up late at night losing sleep, and correcting their missteps are what separates Tesla from most.

stevenmaifert | 1 octobre 2012

Good on you Tesla!

As for communication, keep in mind that not all your customers are forum participants or seek out Elon's every spoken word to stay current with Tesla's happenings and policy. Frequent email updates and Website accuracy will help prevent future misunderstandings. My two bits.

DavidWSmith | 1 octobre 2012

GeorgeB,
I can and will post more comments later, but I want to add my thanks and my continued confidence in Tesla and you. I never thought there was a purposeful deception. - I think nearly every one was in that camp, but simply wanted the situation to be resolved - it clearly was.
Best regards and great job of communication now.
David

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