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Free or cheap electrical charging will become a marketing bonanza!

Here's how the weekly trip to the gas station will become obsolete:

Obviously, Tesla owners have charge stations at home and in various places around the interstate highway system.

But, via the work of Solarcity, shopping malls and other retail establishments will install solar carport parking very close to the entrances to places like Macy's, Apple Store, Starbucks, and even Walmart. As soon as the car is parked and plugged in, the iPhone or Droid phone recognizes a customer charge account, offering free charging during the shopping experience if retail purchases are made. Payback points, and the like will tease the Tesla owner to make purchases and get charged cheaply of for free during the shopping experience. Over time, the number of charging ports will multiple, and gas guzzling vehicles will be pushed to park farther and farther from the store entrance. Brandname association with zero emission tech will enhance corp image and spur sales.

As critical mass of electric vehicles increase, employers will incentivize longer hours at work with access to subsidized electrical power. Again, Solarcity contracts with employers, likely high tech ones at first, to install rooftop solar panels to supply electric power not only for the office building HVAC and lighting, but also for commuters. Ideally, employees would receive even greater incentives for using public transit and carpooling, but a benefit program of low cost electric car charging would keep many employees happy.

Meanwhile, cities like San Francisco and New York will stop renewing gas station licenses, making access to fossil fuel within the inner city more expensive and difficult compared to recharging batteries.

Eventually, Tesla battery tech will reach a critical threshold of 1000 miles driving range, or some kind of extremely fast recharge capability, making long range driving so practical, nobody will want a gas engine vehicle anywhere.

Charging as a customer loyalty program ... hmmm. Could happen.

I actually think that this type of indirect incentive is innevitable.

I mean, who would not want to accomodate a customer who can spend $100K on a car? It is only a matter of time before casinos, hotels, restaurants and other businesses vie to become the "gas stations" of the future. There is a reason most gas stations have a convenience store in the premises.

I also think the reverse will happen, businesses will go to where the charging happens, because that's where people with money are. For example, I remember growing up (outside the US) in places where it was very expensive to own a car, how every car wash had a fancy sports bar next to it. It would not surprise me if supercharging stations sprung a cottage industry of car services (i.e. detailing), or other entertainment options (i.e. spa, gym, etc.) nearby.

The "copy us or join us" statement that Mr. Musk made regarding superchargers should also apply to businesses other than car manufacturers. I am guessing that if a Las Vegas casino or a ski resort wanted to license and build their own supercharger station they would be allowed to do so as long as they stick to Tesla's pledge.

+1

These possibilities and opportunities are extremely exciting, as they seem highly pragmatic; almost (using PorfirioR's word) 'inevitable'

+1

The main wrinkle seems, which is always the case in the electronics industry, standardization of plug-in. Right now, Tesla resembles Apple in its business model. Tesla is very creative and builds a complete system that is currently second to none. But also like Apple, envious other companies will probably adopt different protocols, making the marketplace of charging confusing and at times frustrating to consumers. Big Oil hopes this is the case as they seem to have persuaded most of Detroit that electric cars are simply play things for the idle rich.


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