Elon Musk: "Customers who bought a Model S (85 kWh) will be able to travel for free, forever, on pure sunlight"!!!

Elon Musk: "Customers who bought a Model S (85 kWh) will be able to travel for free, forever, on pure sunlight"!!!

That's what I have heard him say in a videa about Superchargers on 24th September 2012.

A great deal of USA, Europe will be covered with these Superchargers.
So, that the customers can drive for 3 hours, and then charge in 30 minutes.
That sounds great to me.

Is this the solution for mobility for mankind?

evanstumpges | 22. januar 2013

The bit about traveling forever on pure sunlight is a bit sugar coated.

1. People will not (and should not) be using the Superchargers as their primary charging method.
2. Not all Superchargers have the solar installation.
3. Even the super chargers that include the solar option will rely heavily on grid power once they start getting used more than once or twice a day.

It is possible to travel forever with a Model S on pure sunlight, but this would require a sizable home solar installation based on how many miles are driven annually. This is one of the primary things that draws me to electric vehicles, but unfortunately most customers will be charging mostly from non-renwable energy sources.

Jewsh | 22. januar 2013


I would say it depends where the user lives and who they purchase their hydro from. My wife and I are considering signing up for BullFrog Power in our area:

Take a look at the mix of sources if you choose Bullfrog as your distributor. Essentially they direct your money into strictly renewables. It's a bit of a pipe dream that all the money makes it to the right places, but it might be a good fit for someone like BenZ who seems interested in such a thing.

Superliner | 22. januar 2013

Well.. He did say "travel" as opposed to "commute". I travel perhaps once twice a year however I drive and or commute on a daily basis. Just taking a stab at where his thought processes might have been when he said that But.. point well taken.

Brian H | 22. januar 2013

I was about to say, "travel" is not a verb usually used for urban driving. Long-range travel was the implicit topic at that point in his talk, IIRC.

Benz | 22. januar 2013

Why should customers not be using the Superchargers as their primary charging method?
Suppose that my house would be nearby such a Supercharger, then I would consider myself lucky. And then I would use the Supercharger every day. Because it's free !!!

Brian H | 23. januar 2013

Because the SCs are located away from cities to facilitate intercity travel, by definition few live near them.

Fog | 23. januar 2013

in concept, yes the SCs would be located off the interstate, but there is one in gilroy, so if you lived near there, it's possible to drive over there and plug in. But some question if its good to charge the battery regularly at such a fast rate.

Brian H | 23. januar 2013

Good, encourage the rumour.

Benz | 23. januar 2013


"But some question if its good to charge the battery regularly at such a fast rate."

Well, why would it not be good to charge the battery regularly at such a fast rate?
Would it do any harm to the battery?

If the Supercharger would be a danger to the battery of the Model S, then why would Elon Musk introduce it to the buyers of his Model S? Assuming that Elon Musk wants the Model S to be a competitive car which can compete with brands such as Mercedes, BMW, Audi etc.

Timo | 23. januar 2013

I don't think I would bother to drive my car near empty, then drive to SC to get hour long "fast charge" just to save something like $10-$15 even if I would live right next to one, much less if it would require a short road trip to do. Very big part of the car attractiveness is ability to forget visits to gas stations and have full battery every single morning.

SC is more harmful to battery than slow charging, but not significant amount (ANY charging damages battery a bit, that is why batteries have cycle durability listed). I don't think battery would last nearly as long as with slow charging if you use that every day though (did that sentence make sense? I need coffee...).

Brian H | 23. januar 2013

Ya, SC charging for daily use only makes sense for the unemployed with nothing better to do.

Ireland | 23. januar 2013

mmm... well... I do believe that some graphics on supercharging battery damaging rate would be more than wellcome! :)

Now, according to the fact that this is a high quality website, presenting a revolutionary product, supported by a constantly developing retail network, I strongly believe that all the technical details related to product maintainance costs are going to be made public.

On the other hand world is in a FAST development process. We don't have time to wait 9 hours in a charging station to keep moving another 3 hours. You might like it or not, but this product is just the begining of the ELECTRICAL VEHICLES!

Benz | 23. januar 2013

The German Government has set a target. They have said that by the year 2020 they want to have 1 million EV's driving around on the German roads. This is also very interesting news for Tesla. Germany is also going to be covered with Superchargers.

Brian H | 23. januar 2013

Benz, as EVs proliferate, the effect of SCs is less increase in stations, and more the increase in units/station. I.e., stations get larger, not more numerous, in general.

NumberOne | 23. januar 2013

Just wondering who the unemployed people might be that will be driving their $70K+ cars to SC locations every day because they have nothing better to do. :D

Superliner | 23. januar 2013


Haha Me too!! If you figure out how we can drive $70K + cars and loiter around super chargers for lack of something to do let me know.

That said I DO know a few folks that could easily afford a Model S or anything else who are retired (guess you could call them unemployed by choice)

@Timo & Benz

I do believe I read somewhere on this site in the charging FAQ "or in the owners manual"?? that supercharging was not recommended on a daily basis due to the negative effects on the pack over time, but I cannot find reference to it in the few minutes I've been looking "just now".

Charging etiquette would seem to dictate that it might be rude to clog up the supercharger just because your house was nearby just to get a freebie perhaps preventing or delaying a "traveler" or passer by from getting what could be a much needed charge to continue on to the next city / supercharger etc. I would not do it, but that's just my choice.

Brian H | 23. januar 2013

Focus, it's not that hard to grasp: SCs will be installed in remote, lightly populated areas. The few nearby who own MSes probably have better things to do than hanging out at ~$10/hr charging their cars (instead of at home while sleeping. At night.)

This is a non-problem.

Superliner | 23. januar 2013

Yes Brian, I know. But just for discussions sake, there are several thousand folks who live within a few miles of the Barstow location for example. While I don't foresee this as a problem, one who purchased a Model S who lives there could easily supercharge daily if they wanted to.

If an LA to Vegas traveler was to arrive only to find a couple locals milking the system it could prove aggravating to those hoping to use the superchargers to boost their range to get to Vegas / LA. in a timely? manner.

A good location for a supercharger might be At State Line Casino and Resort? At the California Nevada border. or in Baker, as opposed to Barstow ... but the more the better lol!!

Brian H | 24. januar 2013

Arithmetic. It's not that hard. One or two locals (the probable MS ownership count, max, in a couple of thousand population) would each use one or maybe two full charges each per week. Total 2-3 hrs or so between them. A 6 unit SC has perhaps 800-900 hrs of availability per week. The chances of them interfering with anyone else are approximately bupkis.

Superliner | 24. januar 2013

Probably so Brian BUT don't forget Murphy's Law !! Haha. If it can happen ... it will. And the one who gets affected by a local using a supercharger probably won't be happy. Just saying'

Richard Corley | 27. januar 2013

The use of solar to charge the Model S is not that fanciful as I would estimate that most owners could support their daily use for commuting on about 25% to 30% of the production of a 10KW solar system (which is a decent sized residential roof top system).

For our use, I do not expect to require any on-the-road charging as our trips are typically with the range of the 85KW battery pack.

Benz | 28. januar 2013

Having read other people's thoughts on this matter, I have thought about it and now I tend to think that there will not arise any big issues regarding the Superschargers that are going to be placed in the coming years. Only the people who drive long distances will be making use of these Superchargers, because they will be located on their route. People will not be driving from their homes to these Superchargers just to fill up their battery. Maybe a few times per year. That is too few to even consider to talk about it. The best option is to charge at home (during the night), or at work. The time is the bottleneck in this matter. The introduction of the Superchargers is a great thing. Because with Superchargers long distance driving in a EV becomes reality. And I surely hope that the Tesla GEN III car will also be allowed to make free use of the Superchargers as it is for the Model S with the 85 kWh battery. It is a point of consideration for me when I will be selecting the battery which I would like to have installed in my Tesla GEN III car. I think I would have chosen the largest battery pack anyhow, just because of the largest range that comes with it.

Pungoteague_Dave | 28. januar 2013

Benz, the German government is making a big commtment to the charging infrastructure for EV's. However, there will not be Superchargers all over Germany as you seem to think. The standard chargers being installed throughout US cities in parking garages and at retail locations like stores are not superchargers - they are standard charging outlets that are compatible with all EV's, and are primarily targeted at smaller capacity EV's like the Nissan Leaf. They will work fine with a Tesla, but will not fast-charge like a Superchareger.

Superchargers only work with Teslas and will not charge any other brand. For this reason, they will never be installed in publicly owned spaces. Rather, TM installs them at their own expense, paying for leased space on provate land, and funding the electricity themselves. They also install solar panels in some locations (so far only a couple super charging stations have solar), but the solar panels only provide a small fraction of the charging juice - the vast majority still comes from the coal/oil, natural gas-fired grid, with a small contribution from renewables like hydro and wind. This is unlikely to change anytime in the next couple decades as the numbers for renewables don't work yet, and are getting less competitive as new fossil sources are being identified at an unprecedented rate.

Benz | 28. januar 2013

Well, a number of Tesla Superchargers will be installed in Europe. For the purpose of long distance drive. And they will start installing them in the end of 2013. I have heard Elon Musk talking about that. A few will be installed in Germany as well. And I think that there will be at least 1 Supercharger installed in The Netherlands. Anyhow, it will be possible to drive long distance's (from Portugal to Norway) with a Tesla Model S (85 kWh) in combination with the Superchargers.

I think that I should not have phrased it like: "all over Germany". That was wrong of me. That must have given the wrong impression to you. Sorry for that. But I meant that there will be a number of Superchargers there in Germany as well.

Brian H | 29. januar 2013

Not true about the power management. It is handled by sister company Solar City (also controlled by Elon Musk), which pays for all the power the cars use. They will install enough associated solar arrays across the network to more than match the power used by the cars, and sell the power to the utilities, thus turning a profit overall. Individual sites may or may not have solar installed; it's the whole network over the course of the year which will have an excess.

Benz | 29. januar 2013

I appreciate it if people keep their feet on the ground, that's good because by using that approach fewer mistakes will be made in the future. That said, I would also appreciate it if you could be more optimistic about the technology that we have at our disposal today, thanks to pioneers like Elon Musk. They have shown to the world that there IS another way (EV/Solar), than the way that we are going now (ICE/Oil). Now, we (all the people on the earth) have to show the will to go into that direction. Let's be glad about it. Let's go forward. And there is more good technological development ahead of us, some in the near future (battery improvement / GEN III), and some further ahead in the future (Electric Airplanes / Life on Mars?). Probably today there is more possible than you just might think. I am just trying to cheer you up a bit.

Benz | 04. februar 2013

Solar panels on the roof of your house is the best option, in my opinion. During daytime you add electricity to the grid, and at night you charge your EV with electricity from the grid. The Superchargers are only to be used for driving longer distances. And that is good.

Benz | 06. februar 2013

Some people do not want to wait that long (30 minutes), these people are not really EV minded. I tell them that they could play with their smartphones (as that's what they often do anyway) during the time that the EV is being charged at a Supercharger station. I think that they should be glad that this option is offered to us. In a few years time when the petrol price goes skyhigh they will talk differently, I think.

Brian H | 06. februar 2013

Or TM could get a bar or pub to open up nearby, and drivers could have a few "for the road" while waiting. ;p Or not.

Benz | 09. februar 2013

These people who are not EV minded yet, they will choose to buy a car like the Chevrolet Volt, because of the range extender. But on the longer run (2030-2040) these people will eventually turn to EV's.