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Supercharging Hidden Charge for 60 kWh S's?

I found some red flags in the press release and Elon's presentation on the Supercharger. The question that is raised is this: Is the Supercharger hardware included in the price of the 60 kWh cars or not?

The press release has a footnote that says, " Supercharging hardware is standard on Model S vehicles equipped with an 85kWh battery and optional on Model S vehicles equipped with a 60 kWh battery." To read it yourself go to the press release and find the footnote about mid-page, just above the "About Model S" subheading. The link is:

In his presentation at the event Elon said, "For cars that have supercharger hardware installed, and that will be the case for the 85 kWh pack, and a small incremental charge for 60 kWh pack you'll be able to travel for free..."

Here's the link to the video. The quote starts at about 7'50" into the video:

I just signed my contract for a 60 kWh S yesterday, and I was counting on being able to take long trips that use the Supercharger. I hope that I misheard and misread. My Tesla configuration rep. is looking into the discrepancy, as it didn't make sense to him either.

By the way, I have strong confidence in Tesla and bought my first TSLA stock on today's dip.

Stu B

Thanks for the clarity George.

It seems to me this thread has a bunch of whiners. Given the series of choices available to Tesla concerning HW, SW, and access to the SC network, it seems that they have made the best possible ones at every step.

I appreciate that Tesla is charging "only" $1000 for people with orders in for 60kWh cars. But I just put in my reservation a week ago, and I had planned on getting the 60kWh model in part because the options page said "included" for supercharger hardware.

This would be easier to accept if Tesla offered the $1000 cost to anyone who made a reservation prior to the announcement, instead of just those with signed paperwork.

"mboedigh | SEPTEMBER 29, 2012
seems to me that the one thing they did wrong was change TBD to included on the SC hardware and software. There s no need to do that before they worked it out, especially since the 60 kwh cars won't be delivered for some time."

One little word, one BIG mistake! They should have left it at TBA until pricing was finalized instead of posting INCLUDED.

I believe when you make a mistake you should admit it.

I believe when you make a mistake, you should pay for your mistake not try to make someone else pay.

If 40% of current reservation holders want the 60 KW battery and Tesla eats the $2,000 charge, it will cost them $2k times 13,000 times .40 or $10.4 million. Is doing the right thing worth $10.4 million?

George B, the ball is in your court.

Having a "window" when the 60 was being treated the same as the 85 before they were sure about it, having then to pull it back, is what has ignited this mess. Some are truly blindsided, having signed paperwork on the "included" assumption, some made prelim decisions based on that, and some are OK with it, albeit disappointed, and some are getting off on the heady sensation of high horse riding.

But your solution sounds best. 60 kWh cars are a few months in the future for delivery -- and the # of 40 buyers who upgraded for access to the free SC n/w should about cover the net revenue difference your plan would make. The current reservation pool will be exhausted by next July, so the total revenue impact of offering the $1000 price to the 60 buyers not yet contacted would probably be of the order of $4 million by then -- probably much less than the margin/PR/goodwill damage done by excluding them.

So -- grandfather everyone who has already reserved, GB/EM et al. A little medicine/a stitch in time, etc.

Justice must not only be done, but be seen do be done. Or the faith that underpins the system collapses.

Agree that the people who already signed their paperwork showing Supercharger Hardware included with their 60 kwh car should be grandfathered and not have to pay any extra. That is the honest, moral and ethical way to handle this.


eelton, and Mark K elsewhere, suggest including all current reservations in a reduction to $1000. Guessing about 30% of the current 13K plus gives about 4K 60s, who will all be "through the system" by about next July.

Allow current 40s to upgrade under the same deal. And as noted, some 60s will see the reduced differential with 85s (down to 8 or $9K) as incentive enough to upgrade. The net cash impact could be very small, or even positive.

I just have to say this: I LOVE the no cards no password no fees no hassle approach! I can only hope Tesla will offer the same in Europe some day. This philosophy will pay off in the long run, and will go long ways to ensure a solid, happy customer base and positive word of mouth. The TBD - included - $2000 move was a bad mistake no doubt, but it will be forgotten in just a few weeks. The life time unlimited free approach -- that's going to last.

George, big PR mistake here, as you can see on these threads and at the TeslaMotorClub threads. The value vs. cost relationship plus the way this has been handled does not fly. Did you consider that most Model S owners would use the superchargers only a limited amount of times a year but given the high profile nature of them would certainly need access? Given the way the 60kwh battery reservation holders were led to believe they had this access included, Elon's presentation was a high point of the Tesla experience which quickly became a low point for us with the bait and switch. I want this car, but I feel a lack of trust. The 2k matters to many of us. Straightforwardness matters more. The only solution to me would be to grandfather in all reservation holders prior to the 2k cost announcement and rescind the 2k charge for them.

+1 @Iajollan

+1 @ Volker.Berlin

I'm glad to hear tesla is working out the most cost efficient options for us, but this whole thing could have been avoided by adding an "access charge" section to the specs page With Tbd for the 60 battery.

Leaving the TDB on the website would have been the best strategy but that's now history so it's a moot point.

Going forward there are two components: hardware and software. If I were deciding things at Tesla, I'd break them up so that the hardware could be installed when you get the car for $1000 (or maybe $1200) and then you could have the SC software installed for $1000 (or maybe $800) later once when you need to start using the SC network. That would allow the car to eventually use the SC stations when they become available in the area where the car is. Some areas won't have SCs for five years or perhaps longer.

Right now someone in Wyoming who wants to use the SC network when it becomes available has to pay $2000 and then wait five years. (Always assuming that the schedule is kept--based on Roadster and Model S deliveries, that's not likely.) I think that's a bit much to ask. Paying for the hardware and then have the software downloaded later is a far better strategy.

TBD. Thanks to no edit.

We can all agree that Tesla dropped the ball here. They KNOW that. Why else would they reduce the access fee to 1K for those who have already configured? Go the next step. Waive the 2k fee for all reservation holders prior to the upcharge announcement. Make no mistake, it is an UPCHARGE.

George B.
IMHO, the only way you could have done it better would have been to add at the time the statement "Hardware standard/included(whatever)" would to add the statement "Activation TBD".

Those of you who thinks $2k is fair, where do you draw the line? I personally draw it at $1k for access to something I rarely use. But that's just me, and from the sound of things on the forum, I'm generous and certainly not alone in thinking $2k is a rip off.

This is not some optional paint or roof that who cares if you want to pay for it or not. This is a feature that's essential to the strategy of electric cars in general. To not make it standard is one thing, to charge $2k for it another.

If I'm alone in cancelling my reservation, no big deal. I don't have to have a Tesla. I don't have to have an electric car. I don't have to be the early adopter. No big deal.

I don't get what the big deal is (though my reservation is for 85kWh, so it is easy for me to say). Originally, they weren't even sure that 60kWh would have Supercharger access, and then later said it would be optional. Yes, for a couple of months the web site did say "hardware included", but at that time I assume you were expecting to pay for access to the Supercharger network. Unless you placed your reservation during that window where it said it was included, I don't see a lot of room for complaining about it, as you placed your reservation without knowing for sure if you would have access and what it would cost.

Personally, if you are planning on taking long-distance trips I am not sure why you are buying the 60kWh battery anyway. Assuming the charge received scales with the battery size (as the cells are in parallel), then you will get 115mi range in 30 minutes, so you spend a lot more time stopped on the road charging. You may also have difficulty reaching the next Supercharger without waiting longer at each one for a more full charge.

Mark, well said. Elon, George, are you listening? We arent just a bunch of clucking voices in the blogosphere. We're more than just your fans, we are the few who have committed with hard dollars. We are your validation. I have a signed contract for a 60kwh with delivery expected in January. I have a 2 year old Acura that has 24k miles on it. I could easily drive it for another 5 years for peanuts. Instead, after I sell the Acura and apply the credits, I'll spend another $45k out of pocket for my Tesla. Clearly, this is not a wise financial decision. Its not about the money. I'll pay $1K for SC even though I may never need the SC. It seems silly not to have it, and it will kill resale if I don't. Still, I feel cheated. I have a signed contract, and I upgraded to the 60 in part because I was informed SC was included. Standing alone, $1k or even $2k isnt out of line, but its not the deal I chose, and I'm offended that George's letters dont even acknowledge the change in terms. Gentemen, understand what motivates customers like me, and you'll understand how disappointing this move is. You may still have my money, but I'm not so sure I'll be part of your sales team anymore.

I think most will agree that this is at least a PR problem, and many will also see TM as having fallen short on a moral obligation. But does TM also have a legal problem here? I would suggest it does for those 60kwh purchasers who have a fully executed MVPA. If that document uses the same supercharger-related language for the 60kwh purchaser as it uses for the 85kwh purchaser (as I suspect it does), then it would be difficult to argue that TM has agreed to supercharger access for one party but not the other.

At the very least, those 60kwh purchasers with a signed MVPA should get what is specified in their written contract, and contracts using the same words should have the same meaning.

Doug - thanks, I just checked the contract. It says, "Supercharger Hardware... ----" meaning, no charge. Was I wrong to interpret that to mean "no charge for hardware, wiring, installation, software, instructions, etc. ?" That was the intent, wasnt it? If this isnt a bait and switch, then where else might hidden costs await? Yes, when I signed the contract, I also assumed there would be a nominal fee to use the SC, and that was fine by me. What does the 85kwh contract say?

I am a 60. my MVPA shows Supercharger as an included item. I expect Tesla to hohd to the terms of our contract. As George said, the web showed in several places ttat all harsware and software was included, the same as the 85.


My 85kwh S Performance contract says the same thing. I don't think you can reasonably interpret that to mean the hardware is included, but accessing it will cost $2,000 (any more than saying my Active Air Suspension is included, but I have to pay to use it). And legally, the remedy here would not be that you get to rescind the contract. The remedy is that you get the benefit of your bargain.

I should add, however, that TM could get to the same place by announcing that, even though your car includes supercharger hardware and software, TM reserves the right to require payment for actually charging your car on the SC network. We were never promised free charging when we bought the car. And the price for unlimited charging is $2,000 up front for 60kwh owners, but that price is waived for 85kwh owners.

Again, a PR problem and possible moral problem, but it may save them legally.

Well, Doug, that proves your point. Elon, George - care to explain why the 85 version of Supercharger included means something different than the 60 version?

@alfafoxtrot1 - to be pedantic, you are getting exactly what the contract says -- according to George's statement, the hardware is included even if you don't pay anything extra. The contract also didn't say what the cost for access the Supercharger network would be -- would you have been happy to find out it was $100 per charge but that you wouldn't have to pay anything up front?

@DouglasR - by that criteria, having a charging port included means you shouldn't have to pay anything to charge your car.

For those who haven't signed a contract and are complaining about the web site, at the bottom it says "The information presented on this website is based on data available at the time. Design, specifications, price, and production dates are subject to change without notice and pertain specifically to US vehicles. Some features and options may be unavailable when your vehicle enters production."

This is pure and simple profit taking. They can’t even be honest about what the cost is for and stay on message. George says it costs a lot, Elon easy it is cheap to build superchargers. The letter flat out lies to customers with this line: “Supercharger hardware and software must be calibrated and tested during installation, so it must be done during production of your car. We cannot add Supercharging to your car after you take delivery.”

I was thinking the model S was an advanced car. So even though the 60KW cars are identical and the hardware and software is already in the car, there is some magic “calibration” that can only happen at the factory, oh, and you have 10 days to decide.

Well, So much for living in a world of precision engineering. Apparently there is a smithy who lives near the Fremont factory and when he is not making axes, barrel bands and horse shoes, he is hammering out the equipment for the most advanced electric cars in the world.

I've been looking over my MVPA and no where do I see anything about using the SC network for free. Actually it very clearly shows "Supercharger Hardware" as the only thing included. Maybe mine is different than others because no where does it say software. If you think you can get it for free with a lawyer go for it but I don't think anything will come of it except you might be able to get out of your contract. I always expected a fee for something to use it.

It is difficult purchasing a $2000 option with no way to use it for over 2 years. As I pointed out in another thread, even with the 85Kwh battery, from St. Louis there will most likely be no way to make the distance to all but one SC at posted highways speeds with the A/C on. That's why I am not spending the money for an 85kWh battery for an around the town car. (around town my longest round trip is 160ish miles) If you live on the West or East coast there are no problems. Everyone else should very carefully look at the SC map.

$1000 is a good price in my opinion so I am getting the option if for nothing else to increase the resale value. In 4 or more years they may fill out the SC network and make it useful for me. The saving in gas on one trip to Florida (in 4 years) will more than pay for the $1000 fee. Still I think people are starting to realize that an electric car is not a money saver. You have to buy it because you want it.

My original interpretation was that the supercharger would be an option that would make one capable of supercharging. But, I never got the impression from any paperwork that it would include the actual supercharging for any of the versions.

It looks to me like they decided to do a one time activation fee instead of incremental charges. I could see the incremental charging system becoming very expensive to implement and maintain.

I prefer the one time activation fee to an unpredictable and potentially expensive billing system. Unlimited free power is a bonus.

I agree that TM could have imposed a fee for using its charging stations. It could have made that fee an upfront cost, and waived it for 85kwh purchasers. But that's not what it did. It has imposed a $1,000 fee to "enable" hardware that is included in the cost of the vehicle. If it were to impose a $1,000 fee to enable the Active Air Suspension included in the cost of my vehicle, I would consider that a breach of contract. If I prevail in that claim, the remedy is to enforce the original terms of that agreement, not to let me out of it.

But as I said above, TM could still charge us to use its SC network, and end up in the same place.

GeorgeB, your "up-front supercharge access fee" explanation doesn't match the email I got just yesterday, which said the new charge is for "software configuration, enabling and testing the interface". These aren't explanations, they are excuses.

To be honest I'm not going to switch to a Leaf over this, but my opinion of Tesla's integrity has dropped twice in two days. At some point this will cost you.

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