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Supercharger event September 24


Looking forward to concrete information...


Finally watched the video from the Engadget post...

I definitely think I was wrong about the charger having on board storage. Elon comments about economies of scale with regards to the Model S chargers (not batteries) pretty much confirms it. Sounds like they stacked 5 of the 10 kW chargers for each charger. Size wise that looks about right. It does sound like they found a way to drive the cost out of each unit, hence the aggressive installation plan. Did they make the I-5 electric highway obsolete before it was constructed?

There is no space for an energy storage unit in the size of those chargers. The canopy w/ solar panels is totally optional as seen in the videos, so no space there. And the "spire" (excellent name, also saw "pylon" from Starcraft used in other comments) is just a banner so you can locate it, basically only functional for impromptu highway-side raves. At first the "spire" seems a little absurd, but it actually is a pain to find a blink charger unless you already know exactly where it is. I usually do scouting missions when visiting a new area of town and I have plenty of charge in the LEAF.

Overall the only real new item here, is that it is completely free to charge, albeit a HUGE new piece to the puzzle. Elon did say Model S (not all Teslas) will always charge for free. Does that imply that Model X or Gen III will not get the same deal? Or will Gen III not be capable of doing city-to-city travel ala 40 kW Model S?

That would seem a little disingenuous after this event, but time will tell.

My only major disappointment was no information on vehicle integration for availability, reservation of charging, and can you charge multiple cars at the same time (presumable so from the pictures of multiple cars at one station)?

So awesome! FREE. That's fantastic... my cousin installed the one in Folsom... :) and now I can leave San Jose to visit my brother in Lake Tahoe over 300 miles away... for free... each way! That is a game changer people...

pbrulot & DouglasR;
At 8:44 of the video the 2-year extensions are shown.

I see one near Vancouver BC and two in the Toronto - Montreal corridor, part of the early buildout. There are another 12 or so in the 4+ yr. timeframe (some are hidden by the map title).

My understanding was that supercharger capability comes with the 65k battery (says included in my garage/design) so why wouldn't free access to supercharger stations work for these versions of Model S?

I don't think there's any technical reason why the 60kWh battery couldn't access the supercharger for free. I think that's just the business model.

@benjamin.brooks: where in Folsom is the Supercharger? I wonder why they chose to put it along I50 rather than I80?? Much less convenient for me, that's for sure.

Elon was referring to installation of the SC hardware in the 60kWh pack. I think his statement is "outdated"; it has been made standard in all 60kWh packs, as you observed.

So it's all free (included).

umm, Lake Tahoe is about 230 miles away from SJ, you could probably make it on a single charge, although last 50 miles there's a lot of elevation change.
I wouldn't go there on 21" wheels and low profile tires even summer time though...

Looks like it will be two years before they build out the I-5 corridor between Seattle and California. Prior to that, I suppose one could plan on one overnight charge somewhere in Oregon, and then perhaps make it to the supercharger network in the north of California on the second day in order to keep going . . .

If the Barstow supercharger is already in place then Elon should allow Motortrend to repeat their Las Vegas road trip, this time they could do it at 80 mph with the AC on 60 the whole way with a 20-30 min stop for a supercharge and refreshments in Barstow.

Free vacation charging anywhere in the US is game changing for the Model S, once news of this gets out I would expect a surge of new reservations from people who may have had doubts about the functionality of this vehicle.

I wouldn't be surprised if the supercharger hardware in future Tesla cars is an optional feature that adds profit for Tesla (and who's to say that's not the case right now?), and thus allows Tesla to keep building more and more of these things, even in locations where they can't install solar panels to offset the costs and/or generate profit.

After all the successful formula is:

+/-[cost of vehicle hardware] - [cost to build stations] - [total value of electricty consumed by users] < [total value of electricity fed to grid] +/- [cost of vehicle hardware]

The cost of the on-board vehicle hardware is on both sides of the equation since Tesla could either try to make a profit on it, or they could include it or sell it at a loss.

As long as the performance of the solar panels is good enough, and the cost to build and maintain is low enough, Tesla just has to build enough of these such that the amount of money they earn by pumping energy into the grid meets or exceeds the amount of energy the users draw from the stations (and offesets the value of their other costs to operate this service).

In this way, it's not necessary for all of the stations to have solar panels, especially considering, more stations -> less objection to ownership -> more Tesla car sales -> more capital to build more stations, including net energy (and revenue) generating stations.

The ratio of [stations with positive net energy production : negative net energy production] probably just needs to be kept above some certain threshold for this to remain sustainable or even profitable.

Assuming the engineering is good enough, it's a really cool model, and simultaneously furthers the goal of making EV's practical for everyone and making it a viable business.


Also on a sperate note. bbmerts at the TeslaMotorsClub confirms:

I attended today's event and spoke with a Tesla technician to clarify this issue regarding potential adverse effects of supercharging on battery life. He explained that frequent supercharging actually causes NO degradation of battery life if the vehicle is set in Standard charging mode. It is only Range charging which causes degradation. He also mentioned that the 85kWh battery will reach ~80% charge after 45 minutes after which the rate of supercharging slows to protect the battery.

So we have more awesome news! And I was kind of expecting this since there is no such disclaimer on the facts page and the Superchargers are open for use by current owners right now.

I don't understand how they could have built 6 stations and photos and details of them haven't leaked, they must have built them inside some sort of outer shell to hide them until the announce,emt cause let's face it they're hardly difficult to spot.

The first six were in stealth mode. The branded installations like the one on display get put in after this reveal.

btw, I made a mistake; except for the unknown factor of whether Tesla includes on-board vehicle supercharger hardware at a profit or a loss, the terms on both sides of the inequality should be positive.

I was trying to highlight the fact that costs are on the left and revenue is on the right.

About hundred messages in one day. Must be record for these forums. Shows how much this was anticipated and how people really care about long range driving as well.

Did they elaborate on when first SCs will come to europe? I hope not too late!
Can any body define "range charging" as posted by olanmills?
I think the "pylon" is kind of an awkward design... just my 2cents;-)

Mebbe not. That's the drop-dead date for the completion of all in that map. The I5 station(s) might be first out of the chute! A detailed schedule would be nice for vacation planners ...

Yes, and that's a very important viewpoint: these SC stations are a MARKETING expenditure! They make the Model S more saleable. (I think the GenIII issue etc. must await the latest battery design info at the time. Mebbe they'll go 700 miles on a charge!)

See above, and remember the stations will be run financially by Solar City. As I posted elsewhere, they will take in feed-in tariff revenues for all unused power and thus will be motivated to "overbuild" and to keep those panels clean!

Bottom line, Elon sez the stations are cheap to build, and are "franchised" to Solar City once built. Their only interest is to make sure they "represent the brand" attractively.

Clarification: their TM's only interest ...


Does the car communicate with a remote device to indicate charge status? Can one monitor charging while at a restaurant?

Similarly, if doing a slower charge such as might occur at a hotel, can one be alerted if charging is not happening such as might occur if someone disconnects? I'd hate to wake up and not be able to put on some miles.

RNB: Yes, yes and yes. Not yet, but it has been promised all along and a smart phone app with these and other features is definitely coming.

Doesn't the connector lock unless the fob is nearby? I think someone mentioned that.

@StephRob - The Supercharger is at the Folsom Premium Outlet Mall. I was at the National Plug-In Day event on Sunday when someone from Tesla came by to talk to Jack Bowers, who'd brought his Model S down from Reno for the event.

He said he was there to oversee the commissioning of a Supercharger across the parking lot. I thought he meant to finalize the agreement for one, as I didn't think Tesla was that far along in Supercharger deployment. We were in the center of the outlets, and he nodded west toward the Iron Point Road entrance. I'd come in that way and didn't notice any spaceships landing, so I thought maybe he was indicating offices where he had been signing papers. If he was indicating where the station would be, that would put it in the parking lot somewhere between Tommy Hilfiger and the Hilton Garden Inn/Circle K station.

I'd have liked to see one go in on I-80, too, or possibly a service center. Anywhere between Roseville and Auburn would be fine with me. :)

That "someone" is the owner's guide. However, this feature does not help with tripped breakers, look here for an illustration:

My post was a reply to Brian H.

"Yes, and that's a very important viewpoint: these SC stations are a MARKETING expenditure!"

Exactly. They are spending their marketing budget on SuperChargers instead of TV commercials & magazine ads. A brilliant move.

What a great business move! Charging for free - are you kidding me! That is a huge game changer!!!! Theoretically, if you lived close to a supercharger and traveled 60 miles a day, you could stop there 2 to 3 times a week and pay nothing to charge the car at home. I know that's a little extreme but its possible.

Why would anyone want to buy any other electric car when it is Tesla that has all these superchargers across the USA? Other electric cars will not be able to use them. Tesla is the only real electric car and the only real pure EV play. Keep the stock you have and buy more and just hang on for the ride!!!!

Also, if their electric powertrains in say the Toyota rav 4 electric can use the superchargers, think how many more company's will purchase the powertrains. This just sets Tesla even that much more ahead of the competition. Other companies will either have to buy Tesla to catch up or buy their power train to keep up! Incredible!!!

@Docrob & Mark K: A Tesla rep at the event mentioned to me that installation of the branded "spire" as well as the design of the solar bays is dependent on city regulation/approval. For that reason, the Fort Tejon supercharger has no spire and a very plain looking 6-bay charging structure (as opposed to the futuristic one shown yesterday) in order to better conform with the western theme in that area.

Incidentally, he also mentioned that Tesla has rights to the nearby land in Fort Tejon so they can build another multiple bay station near the current one if necessary. Tesla can track details regarding usage of the superchargers such as time of day used, amount of charge, etc. (but not details about the individual car being charged such as VIN), in order to determine the need for expansion.

This technician was very informative, so I'm happy to answer other questions to the extent they were answered during my discussion with him.

Keep the stock you have and buy more and just hang on for the ride!!!!

BTW, there's a good opportunity right now... ;-)

Bb, the big question I'm yet to see answered is whether the SC's incorporate storage or are simply direct grid linked with the solar running the meter backwards.

Since the Rav4 EV's battery is only about the size of the base model's (40 kWh) it will not be able to handle the flow. Not sure of the tech, but if "charging 50% in ½hr" applies to a smaller battery, that would be 20kWh, only about double what a dual could handle.

In any case, the lower 60 kWh capacity limit eliminates all but Tesla models, so far.

What a challenge to the other makers to "join the club"!

It may also impel many current 40 kWh reservers to upgrade.

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