Play that Game: "Pick the Cheapskate"

Play that Game: "Pick the Cheapskate"

I've already voiced my opinion on the whole local charging issue many times in the past but even with Elon's comments yesterday, I highly doubt Tesla can enforce any new restrictions on Supercharger usage. Too many variables for Tesla to determine "local", "frequent" and "abuse".

Let's play a game and see if we can pick the "abusive cheapskate".

Driver A:
SC Location: < 20 miles from home.
Daily Roundtrip Commute: 50 miles.
SC Activity: 3 times a week, approx. 180KWH free by TM
Home Charging: No.

Driver B:
SC Location: < 20 miles from home.
Daily Roundtrip Commute: 50 miles.
SC Activity: 3 times a week, approx. 180KWH free by TM
Home Charging: No. (Can't because apartment/condo won't allow it)

Driver C:
SC Location: > 20 miles from home, but < 5 miles from work
Daily Roundtrip Commute: 50 miles
SC Activity: 3 times a week, approx. 180KWH free by TM
Home Charging: No.

Driver D:
SC Location: < 20 miles from home.
Daily Roundtrip Commute: None (retired)
SC Activity: 1 time a week, approx. 60KWH free by TM
Home Charging: No.

Driver E:
SC Location: > 20 miles from home.
Daily Roundtrip Commute: 100 miles
SC Usage: 5 times a week, approx. 180KWH free by TM (charges up from 1/2 empty while eating dinner, single, no family).
Home Charging: 7 times a week (to top off)

Driver F:
SC Location: < 5 miles from home.
Daily Roundtrip Commute: 200-250 miles (variable because of profession)
SC Usage: 5 times a week, approx. 300KWH free by TM
Home Charging: No.

Many more scenarios, of course. So how could TM determine a "cheapskate" based on just these 6 different drivers and their lifestyle?

kglad | 10 giugno 2015

i have my own rules: if you can comfortably make it home and you can charge at home, do so. and if you are a local charger you (probably) shouldn't be charging unless there's at least one open stall.

pdQue | 10 giugno 2015

It's hard to call any of them cheapskates if they "paid" for the privilege of using the Superchargers with a no restriction understanding.

Tesla cant charge everybody a flat rate for the grand buffet, and then bitch when some take advantage of it, and then leave those who get shoved from the table to do the dirty work of complaining and criticizing those who are taking full advantage of that privilage.

iIs not the diner"s fault if the restaurant is running low on food and dishes as a result of offering such a great price on the buffet.

Don't put the top shelf liquor out, unless you want people to drink it. And those who didn't get a taste, don't bitch at the other guest who are gulping down all that they can hold. They're just doing what they've been "invited" to do.

But rather blame the host of the party for not having enough of the good stuff in his stash.

Don't have a picnic and then charge people to attend, if you haven't bought enough groceries.

DTsea | 10 giugno 2015

Not inviting anyone to a party who sees my hospitality as license to guzzle

evsisson | 10 giugno 2015

All except the apartment dweller can be called cheap. This driver (B) can't be expected to move to another home in order to run a Tesla.

I think it's all about attitude. Anybody can look at a situation and see what reasonable use is:

1. Superchargers were introduced for range. No need for them otherwise.
2. The cost of superchargers is spread out over the price of the car or option. It's like insurance - some use it, and some don't.
3. The price of supercharging for the 60kWh Model S is $2000-$2500, so those of us with 85s or 70s might assume that's what we're "entitled to". In CT a kWh costs about $0.18, and 60kWh per week (Driver D) would reach $2500 in about 4.45 years. However, nobody told us we had to use the superchargers.
4. Tesla treated us like adults and allowed us to use our own judgement.
5. We are now being informed that some owners are not using very good judgement. I understand their disappointment - that money could be better spent.
6. None of the drivers except B needs to use the supercharger at all, yet most are using it exclusively because they can get away with it. I call that abuse.

AmpedRealtor | 10 giugno 2015

I have a charger at home, but say that I stop at Carl's Jr a few times a week for lunch. It's wrong for me to plug-in my Model S while I eat lunch even though there are 7 other open stalls unused? But if I were driving to Los Angeles, then that would be okay? | 10 giugno 2015

@AR: you will get an email from Tesla noting that eating at Carl's Jr. a few times a week is really not very healthy and the next time you do that and Supercharge the liquid cooling in the charging cable will turn off and burn you.

pdQue | 10 giugno 2015

"Not inviting anyone to a party who sees my hospitality as license to guzzle"


Then don't have a party unless part of your own enjoyment is in watching people enjoy themselves, indulge and guzzle.

You either know how to throw a bash or you don't.

When I throw a bash, I want you to talk about for long after.

I can't do that if I'm keeping a running tally on each guest's food and drink intake. That would make me the cheapskate, not them.

I'm not the type to throw a barbecue, put all the food out, and then get pissed because I think that my guests are getting into my "leftovers".

I want you to take a plate home with you.

TytanX | 10 giugno 2015

What about when the trip planner routes me to a supercharger when I could really make it home with 25% battery left? If Tesla doesn't want people to abuse the supercharger privilege they should fix the software in their cars so it doesn't encourage people to abuse them.

Made in CA | 10 giugno 2015

Forget recharging - all this food talk is making me hungry!

pdQue | 10 giugno 2015

And if it's my barbecue, I'm not going to invite you and then turn around and send you home in that same condition, getting pissed because you ate more than a couple of potato chip, when I was the one who sent for you.

Dwdnjck@ca | 10 giugno 2015

Wow! the nav made me do it!!

trixiew | 10 giugno 2015

Well, all of them are cheapskates because none of them are on road trips.

JeffreyR | 10 giugno 2015

I think intent is a big part of being a cheapskate or not. Are you like @AR and charging up because you are eating lunch and it's convenient and no one is waiting for a stall? To me that's not cheap and not abusing (not healthful, but I'm the one posting pictures of Double-Doubles!).

I think the abuse comes from folks that intend to save a buck or two while also blocking drivers passing through (San Juan Capistrano) or base their business plan (taxis and limos) on charging w/ their pre-paid "unlimited" fee.

SuperChargers are a big selling point. The "long distance" aspect of SuperChargers was emphasized along w/ "free for life" of the Model S. In addition as many have pointed out Tesla installed SuperCharger sites in big cities where domestic charging was rare/impossible.

I think even the most abusive users (multiple local charges per day by taxis/limos) can be excused to a certain degree. They need a SuperCharger to make the best use of their resources, and it was "free" or prepaid. I wonder if Tesla is prepared to sell "private" SuperCharger stalls to businesses.

Tesla is in a very tricky spot. Changing the rules of the game to better fit the actual usage will be a tough sell. The nay-sayer PR would be heavy and swift.

Tesla can do a better job of defining what they intend and want users to do. But, without any changes in the technology, they will have to live w/ the way the usage actually happens.

pdQue | 10 giugno 2015

I can hear it now from the naysayers:

"We told you that charging wouldn't remain free." | 10 giugno 2015

There are some simple solutions for an abuser who frequently uses an SC near home:
1) Set lower and lower Supercharger power to that individual car. Tesla never promised any specific power level, so a frequent abuser could require 30 hours to get a full charge.
2) Time limited, perhaps they only get 5 minutes of power and then it cuts off and requires moving the car to get another 5 minutes.
3) Lowest priority on two stalls. In this case, a car pulling into the adjacent stall gets full power, while the abuser gets nothing or a trickle.

The core problem is identifying who is an abuser? What about a owner who has problems with the power at home, or is in the process of getting a home power connection, but requires major electrical and permitting work? How about the apartment owner?

I suspect Tesla will have a hard time to solve this one to everyone's satisfaction, although #3 seems reasonable. Perhaps they flag an abuser, but have a way to override it with a good excuse like "My dog chewed on the UMC cable, although he won't do that again".

hcwhy | 10 giugno 2015

Paraphrasing the words of the late Supreme Court Judge Potter Stewart "I can't define pornography but I know it when I see it"....the same applies here for abuse of the supercharging system.

Haggy | 10 giugno 2015

As you said, there are many more scenarios. Somebody might have a super long commute, may do some charging at home, but might come home frequently without enough power to get through the day. I charge at night when the rates are lower. I haven't done it yet, but I could see finding myself low on a weekend because I forgot to plug in, but know that I'll have a lot of local driving and an SC stop might be my best bet.

As of now, there's a supercharger station about a mile from my wife's office. There are also free chargers in the parking lot at her office for employee use. My wife typically doesn't use those chargers since it's not worth the hassle of waiting for one to be free and then having to go back to unplug. But if she is low on charge, making a three minute drive to leave the chargers at work free for non-Teslas (i.e. cars with very limited range) wouldn't be a sign of cheapness.

petero | 10 giugno 2015

Cheapskate? I find this entire conversation humorous.

Imagine driving to a supercharger(SC), sitting at a SC for 45 minutes+, more if you have to wait for an available plug. Now the cost of overnight charging at home - approximately $4-12 depending on the amount of charge needed. Now how much $$$ do you value your time, driving to and waiting to be SCed? If you value your time, even at minimum wage, you lose.

IMO, I am the cheapskate! I charge at home overnight, except on long trips. Isn't saving money the definition of cheapskate?

ChrisH314 | 10 giugno 2015

@petero - No, a person who saves money when they can is frugal. A cheapskate is "a miserly or stingy person; especially : one who tries to avoid paying a fair share of costs or expenses".

So in this case that would be someone who can charge at home with no impact or difficulty, but chooses not to.

evsisson | 10 giugno 2015

@Amped - I guess you were directing your questions to me.

Understand that I have "abused" superchargers in my three months of Model S ownership: twice for the experience and to get myself some free juice, and two for a trip (and charging more than necessary). Yet I do most of my charging at home.

I am very cheap - I'm surprised I was able to talk myself into spending the money to buy the car. I, too, was led to believe it was OK to supercharge at every opportunity. However, Elon's recent comments have made me realize that unbridled use wasn't really the intention. I'm fine with that, though - I think it's very sensible. I appreciate Tesla giving me free access to superchargers, but I don't need to actually use them to feel grateful for the privilege. The car was so overpriced that the idea of getting my money's worth of free electrons doesn't mean very much. I'd rather see this whole Tesla family just look out for one another, including the corporation. I may be naive, but I'm willing to do my part in promoting that state. I got the car primarily because of the climate concerns, and I believe similarly-motivated people share a special kinship. The superchargers are there if I need them.

In answer to your questions....

I didn't intend my earlier post to address the issue of taking up spaces needed by others, although it's an important consideration. That aside, I wouldn't make a habit of plugging in three times a week on a regular basis. You know how repeated use can quickly lead to a huge amount of cumulative use. Perhaps a few times is fine if I feel I'm just never going to take a trip.

If your hypothetical trip to LA requires a supercharge, then, by all means do so - that's what they're for.

AoneOne | 10 giugno 2015

Don't the property owners supply the space for the superchargers in the hope that it will bring in customers?

A real cheapskate is one who both supercharges instead of home charging AND doesn't patronize the local businesses. That person does nothing but take.

Xerogas | 10 giugno 2015

@pdQue, what happens when some of your BBQ guests hog all the food, and block access to the table so your other guests can't reach it?

mclary | 10 giugno 2015

What is the point to this thread again?


mdemetri | 10 giugno 2015

@Xerogas +1

Archer | 10 giugno 2015

I have the answer key here...

Imagine the great John Hodgman from his funny Judge John Hodgman podcast:

Driver A: Cheapskate! No explanation necessary.
Driver B: It doesn't matter if he can't install a charger at his apartment. His commute is only 50 miles and a standard wall outlet will suffice. Cheapskate!
Driver C: Yes, the SC near your office isn't local to your home but... it... doesn't... matter. Cheapskate!
Driver D: I don't care if you only charge once a week, Grandpa. Cheapskate!
Driver E: It doesn't matter if you only charge up half at SC. Cheapskate!
Driver F: This one is a close call but no, he's still a cheapskate! It doesn't matter that he may have range anxiety and may barely make it home without SC. Can't he read the NAV instructions? "Drive Slowly to Reach Your Destination" So turn off that "Insane Mode" and drive like Grandpa above.

Perhaps TM should go further - all drivers should only use a SC to get just enough juice to get to their next destination. No more, no less. They could build it into the NAV since it already calculates exactly how much you'll need. And if one uses the NAV to trick the SC to give one more, then expect a stern letter from TM. I know that TM says it is "Free for Life" but c'mon, we all know that they really didn't mean it.

Seriously, every few months this topic comes and many "holier than thou" voices chime in to shame those "locals" who use their SC instead of charging. My question is "So What?" Is it hurting you? Is it hurting most people? Very unlikely and the isolated cases don't justify the judgmental attitude certain people have. I visited the SJC for the first a few months ago on a Friday night (supposedly one of the peak hours for this station) but there were only 3 other cars there and it was never full in the 45 minutes I was charging.

Elon recently said in an interview that 90% or so of owners don't even use SCs. This seriously can't be a real problem. Elon sometimes has a strange sense of humor and he may have been joking about sending a harsh note to the few drivers who exclusively SC. I highly doubt that there will be any enforcement or change in policy. There's simply too much downside and not enough upside to change the policy.

Plus, I don't see how they would given the fact that they are opening a Mountain View and a San Mateo station. Why have 2 new stations in very close proximity to fill out the 101 corridor in the South Bay if it is really only intended for Long Distance travel. Why have Culver City and Redondo Beach within 10 miles of each other off the 405 when you already have Hawthorne?

"Locals" "abusing" the SC network is a non-issue. The network will grow to meet capacity just like it has for the past 2-3 years. Maybe someone should contact Jerome Gullen and see what he has to say about it.

Grinnin'.VA | 11 giugno 2015

@ evsisson | June 10, 2015 & Friends:

... I call that abuse.

In 2013 the Tesla web site had an image about SCs including this text:


“A properly equipped Model S can charge for free at any Supercharger, any time.”

Given this description, what is the legal or moral basis for your (and Elon's) claim that any MS owners are abusing their frequent use of some SCs?

AmpedRealtor | 11 giugno 2015

@ | JUNE 10, 2015 NEW

... Tesla never promised any specific power level...

Tell that to the folks with A-revision batteries who cannot go over 90 kW, I think you'll get an earful of exactly when and where Tesla promised specific power levels. But that's a topic for another time.

mdemetri | 11 giugno 2015

@Grinnin'.VA - can you post a picture or provide a link for this?

Bikezion | 11 giugno 2015

Well the answer is simple....if you are hosting a barbecue, invite the vegans!

LostInPA | 11 giugno 2015

I'm not oppose to locals charging at SCs. I think they earned that right by buying into the SC network. I as a business owner near a SC location feel that the locals contribute far more to the business model of the SCs by patronizing the local businesses. Many long distance travelers don't even bother to leave their vehicles when charging. Who is the true cheapskate if this scenario? And why would I want to sponsor another SC in my other shopping center if everybody followed this example?

I think people who buy EV's (Teslas or otherwise) without first ensuring that they have a home charging solution are a bunch of Mclarys. I'm have no empathy for these people who create their own single point of failure.

kglad | 11 giugno 2015

oh no, mclary is an adjective. (but i think you're using it inappropriately.)

LostInPA | 11 giugno 2015

You're right. It's the people who've been Mclaryed that are the... Pardon the faux pas.

PhillyGal | 11 giugno 2015

@LostinPA - Thanks for sharing your opinion. The idea of whether or not the person charging is patronizing a business while doing so is also quite interesting.

Our only long-distance road trip looked something like this:

SC 1 - (highway rest stop) - We just used the facilities
SC 2 - Breakfast. A cool looking diner was closed, so Burger King it was.
SC 3 - "Ooh, there is a Ross." ($100 in new luggage)
SC 4 - Lunch.
SC 5 - We sort of snuck into a restaurant to use the facilities but did not sit down. Had it been fast food, we would have purchased drinks.
SC 6 - Drinks and snacks purchased.

SamO | 11 giugno 2015



LostInPA | 11 giugno 2015

@PhillyGal - Thank you for using the SCs in the manner they were intended for.

Too often I have read postings by angry long distance travelers who are irate to see an empty Tesla at a SC. Their myopic view is that the owner should have stayed at the SC during the entire charge and free up the stall immediately upon completion. I as a business owner would rather see 8 empty Teslas at my SC than a stream line of charge only travelers (waiting in their vehicles).

So I don't care if you're a local or a long distance traveler, if you stop to charge... get out of your car and buy something. To me the only real cheapskate is the person sitting in his car while it charges.

TwinMaTesla | 12 giugno 2015

In nine months of Tesla ownership, we have used an SC just once, in order to test it out and visit the snow. The SC was about 100 miles from home (the closest SC to us), and it was conveniently located next to a Starbuck's where we bought lunch. It would be hard to imagine that particular SC being abused as it's not near anything but the interstate. Folk in California don't realize how lucky they are, with so many SCs close enough to urban centers to be abused.

bigd | 12 giugno 2015

LostInPA "@PhillyGal - Thank you for using the SCs in the manner they were intended for." I missed something. I thought they were intended to recharge the battery. Where in the fine print does it state that you must frequent an establishment in the area?

Brian H | 14 giugno 2015

Nowhere, but there are costs associated with SCs which are borne by local businesses which have a stake in the parking lot. They may be giving favorable lease rates to Tesla on the basis of bringing up-scale spill-over traffic to their establishments. You can be sure Tesla suggested the thought to them!

Liam Ott | 14 giugno 2015

My home electric utility is a major coal user. A nearby supercharger is supplied by a different utility which is a relatively big wind user. Should I use the supercharger to reduce my carbon footprint?

SCCRENDO | 14 giugno 2015

Ideally you should put solar panels on your roof. Otherwise you will be helping the environment by using the supercharger. But if you do please try pick off peak charging times. Not trying to be the supercharger police. Just sharing my views on etiquette and the environment.

TaoJones | 15 giugno 2015

Even though:

A) fewer than 10% of owners use SCs (per Elon as Archer noted)
B) there is no local SC problem now, nor is there likely to be in the future (reasons noted in previous threads)
C) the most often-used red herring (Model 3 overload) has zero basis in fact at this point

there remain a small number of busybodies who continue to attempt to foist their view of "acceptable use" and by extension to label acceptable users of a service which itself plays no favorites.

There is even less SC "abuse" than there is voter fraud. Consider the source of the hand-wringing and make your own decisions based upon *what you see* the next time you use an SC. And if you don't use SCs that show up in the top 10 network stats, relax - this non-issue will likely never affect you in the slightest since your stalls being simultaneously full will constitute an anomaly.

Note to the naysayers: next time you get your panties in a bunch about something, try to make sure it's something that actually matters. Like SC throttling. Oh. Oops.

J.T. | 15 giugno 2015

@TaoJones Note to the naysayers: next time you get your panties in a bunch about something, try to make sure it's something that actually matters.

So, why do you think Elon brought it up at the stockholders' meeting? Do you think he has time to spend on issues that don't matter?

You can castigate those you wish to for trying to apply a little peer pressure in reaction to Elon's comments but no one I've read has done anything more than express their opinions much in the same way you're doing.

So, stop being one of the busybodies who try and stop forum members from expressing their opinions, regardless of your opinion of them.

PhillyGal | 15 giugno 2015

My favorite super market in the whole world is located in (goofy-stare-generating) walking distance from a Super Charger.

It's my favorite because it is still the affordable full service chain that I shop at regularly but quite literally more than double the size of our location. Hand shredded rotisserie chicken breasts for just a dollar more than having to shred it yourself? Yes please!

If it weren't for all the "uncool" comments and finger wagging, I may go there 3-4 times a month to charge and shop.

prp | 15 giugno 2015

Its cool for an ICE car to go to any gas station
Its cool for a tesla to go to any supercharger

Grinnin'.VA | 15 giugno 2015

@ TaoJones | June 15, 2015

there remain a small number of busybodies who continue to attempt to foist their view of "acceptable use" and by extension to label acceptable users of a service which itself plays no favorites.

The "busybodies" have been sufficiently antagonistic to the "locals" to cause me to rethink the wisdom of my TSLA stock holding, which I intended to be for the long term. Accordingly, this morning I sold my TSLA stock at $250.00 a share.

IMO, Elon has effectively disavowed the prior Tesla SC promise to MS buyers: "for free at any Supercharger, any time". (I'm not putting my 85D up for sale.) At least, I made a tidy profit from owning some TSLA stock for a few months.

@prp | June 15, 2015

Its cool for an ICE car to go to any gas station
Its cool for a tesla to go to any supercharger

At least, that used to be the idea.

carlk | 15 giugno 2015

We can all speculate here but only Tesla has info of SC cost and how much of that are used by long distance vs. local users. Whatever decision they make they just need to make sure it makes good business sense.

As a long distance only user I couldn't care less who'e using what and how much. I only care there are enough SC for me when I take long distance travel and Tesla is able to afford to provide that for me.

jordanrichard | 15 giugno 2015

This is real simple, everyone keep doing what you are doing and if Tesla thinks you have pushed your luck, they will let you know.

Unless everyone here knows all their "local" owners, I don't see how you can tell that "locals" are hogging up the SCs. Of course if those people volunteered that they are a "local" that's different. Though as I said, it's not for any of us to fret over, unless they are taking up space for those traveling through. Let Tesla worry about it.

GAGSTESLA | 15 giugno 2015


Below is a statement you can find right now on the Tesla website under Super Chargers:

At a Supercharger, a Model S can get half a charge in as little as 20 minutes, allowing for long-distance travel without having to pay a cent for gas (or, now that we mention it, electricity). By charging only at Superchargers, Model S owners can drive for free, forever.

So, I guess this argument is OVER!

trixiew | 15 giugno 2015

Oh, snap.

SamO | 15 giugno 2015

Boom. :-)