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Idea for future charging infrastructure model

I did not want to hijack @MattC's post regarding hydrogen fuel infrastructure (, so I decided to start a new thread for an idea that I have been mulling over.

For the sake of argument, I will begin with a few assumptions, although not too far from whatever the actual numbers are. Let's say that there are 25,000 Tesla Model S's on the road - if not there yet, we will be there soon. Also let's assume an average of $7,500 federal tax credit for each vehicle (not to mention other perks).

A little analysis and backing:

At the above figures, the tax credits alone represent over $187M in reduced tax revenue for the Tesla Model S alone.

Each Tesla supercharging station costs roughly $500K to build. Meaning that Tesla has spent less than $40M to enable cross-country fast-charging.

There is a theoretical limit of 200K vehicles for the federal tax incentive as stated in the tax code ( That represents $1.5B per manufacturer before the credit starts tapering off.

If we all get what we wish - a future of electric vehicles - at some point the tax incentives would need to stop, even for new entrants. It is inevitable.

The argument:

The government should eliminate the federal tax credit and replace it with free fast-charging infrastructure because it is cheaper to do so and does more to enable the goals of energy efficiency and emissions reduction.
It makes perfect fiscal sense. We can all agree that more EVs will be built every year. The current incentives don't scale well. Tax credits and other incentives increase linearly (per car). On the other hand, investing in infrastructure would be a proportional cost (geographically or on a per x car basis).
The $187M of tax credits in the short time the Model S has been in production could have funded 375 supercharging stations and incentivize adoption for far more than 25,000 cars.
Here is another number, it would cost ~$43B to put two superchargers per zip code throughout the entire United States (the California high speed rail project costs an estimate $91B).

I could go on, but I will see how this discussion goes.

To start, your per-station cost is at least 2X to high, unless you include the solar canopies, in which case it's about 50% too high.
Second, the 200K is per manufacturer
Thirdly, the money is notional; TM is building the stations as fast as it can anyway, regardless of the tax credit. One constraint is the speed of production of chargers (one twelve-pack per 2 units, three sets on average per station).
(You can look on the station cost as a bargain-basement superior substitute for an advertising budget, and write it off. It is not a significant constraint or line-item.)

Now rework.

typo: 2X too high ...

Note that ONLY Tesla makes a car able to handle SuperCharging. Making it a government program is a real, real bad move. Notwithstanding carpers' claims, TM is trying to operate free of government handouts, while taking advantage of any "found money" lying about from time to time.

Yes, I can just hear the nay-sayers sneering about '1%ers using free electricity from the Govt.'

Plus I think FREE would probably not be legal for USGov.

Tesla's propriety approach to charging means they will likely have to build out a vast worldwide Supercharging network themselves.

Of course the more Superchargers that are built, the more cars they will sell and the more cars they sell, the more Superchargers that will be required.

Tesla raised the bar with Supercharging capability. It is doubtful that Level 2 chargers will be considered acceptable for very long.

SuperCharging is one of the reasons Tesla is way ahead of any competition.

My prediction is that Tesla licenses the batteries and supercharging capabilities to the other car companies that are too myopic to build their own charger network.
It's easier for other carmakers to borrow the technology than create their own technology at this point. (except for perhaps Toyota or Nissan - but I have not heard any plans from either for fast charging options)

Not so sure. I think the majors will continue to try to roll their own. Giving up control of the tech development is too big a pill to swallow.

Federal Study: 5years. Federal employees: 115. Contractors 912 Budget: 2.1 B Cost 4.4 B Completion 2022. Thank you Tesla.

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