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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

So DouglasR are you saying the fee is not the problem at all. It's just the words they used?

That is pretty much what I am hearing from people. It is a real shame Elon didn't say, "There is a one time $2000 activation/usage fee which we will waive for everyone who bought the 85kWh battery." Then they could send us the e-mails giving us the $1000 discount after all of these message were posted.

Would that wording have been better for everyone?
It just seems like semantics to me.
They should have just left the darn TBD. Heck they should have just said it was going to cost $3000 for the hardware in the beginning.... but NO they had to be nice and include it.

After sleeping on it I already have a change of heart because when I first read this on my phone last night I was pretty annoyed. Then I realized I was originally thinking it was going to cost at least this much back when it said TBD.

I still think Tesla is trying their best. Maybe it's not your best and, maybe with the clarity of hindsight TM wishes they had handled this better. But in the end IMO they are trying very hard to get us a break-through automobile against all odds. I think they deserve credit for the monumental effort so far and a little less criticism for not being perfect.

If they were going to go with the 10 day scenario for some 60KWH Model S reservation holders, they might as well do the infomercial sales pitch "for just 10 easy payments of $100 you can get free Supercharging for life, but wait we will also include the Supercharger hardware for free!" I am a long time Tesla owner and I have a queasy feeling in my stomach reading the 60Kwh emails.

So that got me thinking: since the final configuration for the 85kw car says the same thing: supercharger hardware, why not go one step further and screw the 85kw customers too ?
It would be consistent with the "free" warranty (with a $600 a year mandatory fee).
Make a quick buck and jeopardize the future of the company.
Either that or they are just testing the market with those novel ideas and looking at the reaction of their most loyal customers.
If I didn't have a signed MVPA, I'd cancel today.

There seems to be plenty of Tesla fanboys/fangirls here that willing to pay anything with the Tesla name on it.

If you signed a contract already, they have zero right to come back to charge you $1k. Fight it. Since when does software update cost $1k?

If you haven't signed the contract, like myself, then the decision is really whether or not to pay $2000 for a service that won't be available to you anytime soon and when it is available, you'll use it on rare occasions.

Way back when I gave the deposit, it said TBD. I assumed there would be a cost. The free thing was a very very pleasant surprise. So my problem is not that they're now charging a fee, the problem is that the fee is too high.

There are those who will pay anything, hence, Sig Performance people. They have the means and the will. That's fine. I on the other hand, have the means but just don't want to. I considered a "$1000" option in my head back then and I'm sticking to it.

So yes, I will cancel my reservation when the "time to build your tesla" email arrives. Its a car people, its not insulin. If you don't buy it now, its not like there's no more cars to buy.

If Tesla haven't changed their position on the SC by then, I'll just stroll down to another car dealer and either pick up a Volt or Prius Plug-In.

People always forget, Tesla plan to build 20k cars per year. There won't be a waiting list to pick one of these up come October of next year. You can't sell cars without cars on the lot.

jackyche -- You can't sell cars without cars on the lot.

Sure you can. There were no "cars on the lot" with the Prius for many years, and yet the Prius has grown to be the third most popular car in sales this year (Corolla and Focus come in ahead--but not wildly ahead) of the Prius.

jackyche, "There seems to be plenty of Tesla fanboys/fangirls..." what a whiny a$$. If you can't afford the car just walk away without crying. There is nothing wrong with the people that think free gas for the rest of their life while on a road trip is worth it cost. You should start a response by insulting the reader.

The rest of your comments are worthy of reading.

As a 60 kWh Like everyone else, I was disappointed to receive yesterday's e-mail. THe big issue for me is they made a huge mistake with all the changes.When I changed my reservation from 40kWH to 60 kWh, the supercharging was still listed as TBD. When it became Included and then the $1000 fee, I felt TM was being dishonest. I think they were trying to dod the rihgt thing by including, but I really think they discovered some difficulties with 60 kWh supercharge cables. This was in the faq section of the e-mail regarding ability to add it later.

"No. Superchargers charge at a rate 4.5 times faster than our next fastest charging solution. All that power must be safely routed through your Model S using special cables that bypass onboard chargers, and must be extensively calibrated and tested during production. We cannot add Supercharging to your car after you take delivery"

I wait eagerly for Tesla pricing in Australia, and am thankful that such uncertainties will be sorted before I have to make my choice. But in reading all of these threads, I am more concerned for the long term of Tesla and in particular the eerie feeling that the company in setting upfront pricing will suffer the same fate as another famous American brand.

Sure, not as likely to mount the costs so quickly at small cents per kw, but with no way to stop this thing and assuming the price of electricity will continue to rise, what will this short term cash injection cost Tesla, and will they be around to pay for it.

George tells us that this is the easier pricing policy to implement (technologically), but this sounds plain lazy to me. I understand the US has smart innovators and I am sure someone can come up with some annual subscription fee software using the rfid in the keyfob to identify the user and implement pay per use or per year (Elon could do Paypal, this should be a weekend job).

Apart from the obvious marketing issue being created by charging for software setup, when infact it is paying for lifetime free fuel at select locations, or the poor communication around this issue, I have a problem with the departure here from the user pays principle. The fixed maintenance and fixed cost fuel options sound more like insurance products to me, and that implies 8/10 losers, 1/10 winners and 1/10 profits. The problem here is everyone who buys insurance is a loser until they make the claim, and at the end of the day you create more losers than winners. If everyone wins on this one then Tesla ceases to remain viable and everyone will lose.

I want a Model S because I believe in the cause, not on economics. If Tesla has a principle of upfront loading of lifetime costs, then please reconsider your aim to provide more affordable electric cars to the masses as the masses like low upfront costs and will worry about discounted cash flows when hell freezes over. It might well be a better deal, but if you don't think like an accountant, you don't get it, and if you do, you worry about lifetime guarantees as there are many more failures littering history than successes when betting on the future of economics.

Go user pays and set a fair price, that seems the only sensible long term policy to me.

@strawman - I agree with you. All things considered, I wish Elon hadn't made such sweeping long term promises at the supercharger unveiling. The good news is that, as I recall, he only promised free use for the Model S, so there's room to adopt per-use fees down the road as they roll out new models.

Tesla has definitely made some mistakes handling this issue.

I am not trying to be a whiner, but I do feel blindsided by this whole thing. If I had known there was going to be a fee for SC before I signed my contract, then I may have made a different decision. I highly doubt that Tesla will grandfather us in, so I guess I need to make a choice within the coming days.

So what is everyone going to do?

Your not whining gaints2001, just expressing your opinion. We should be responding to Tesla so they know our opinion not cutting each other down. I should have reread my message before submitting and I would have skipped posting. I did the same thing I was annoyed with jackyche for doing. Insulting instead of informing. sorry guys.

Thanks Sudre. I think we are all very frustrated and emotion is running high. What I think this shows us that we all want Tesla to succeed. They have definitely made a big mistake and I hope they make things right in the end. I plan to talk to my rep tomorrow and see what they have to say.

Here's my take on what's Tesla has been doing.

I'm # 4007 res holder so I've been waiting over 2 years on this. Many things were mentioned but maybe not promised. Specifically I remember 4 USB ports, 4.4 second car.

Pricing finally rolls around and now only the performance does the 4.4 seconds. Out of my price range. Fine I will buy the 40kwh or 60kwh.

Options rolled out, now my 49900 car is not about 60k with options. Fine, that's fair, all the other car dealers do the same thing.

Air suspension will hold up your order till 2013. Fine it makes sense that Tesla would do batch orders and maybe their robots cannot make cars without air suspension. I'll give Tesla a break because I want them to succeed.

Cars are finally getting released and there are a slew of bugs and that Tesla needs to fix. I'm an early adopter so that's ok with me too as long as Tesla fixes these issues free of charge. Hold on now, we HAVE to pay for the maintenance program otherwise our warranties and software updates are invalid? 600 a year is not too bad but what happened to low maintenance? I'm getting less excited about the car. All the word of mouth I've done for Tesla about not having to pay for oil changes, filter changes, etc etc are now down the drain. It'll cost me more to do the maintenance than it will for me to do simple oil changes. I still love the car so I'll grudgingly pay for this maintenance that I am force fed otherwise my warranty will be void. Good job Tesla you just made another 600/year off me.

Now one of the reasons I finally decided to go with the 60kwh was because the website changed from TBD to Included for the supercharger. I've already signed my contract with Tesla and there is no wording at all that mentions anything about a fee to activate this hardware. If Tesla would have left that TBD I would not be pissed but they decided to say Included then make you pay for something else. That's plain stupid to me.

Why don't we go and buy a TV that says remote included! But when you go home and want to use the remote, you have to pay $500 to activate the thing. What's the difference Tesla to say something is included when you're going to charge for us to activate or test or whatever else your lawyers can come up with to word things to make it right for you to charge us and screw us up the hole?

It's sad that I will probably pay for this "Configuration of your Model S hardware, software and interface for Supercharging", because of resale value and the odd chance that I need to use it because it's an EV and I can't fill up like a normal ICE car. It's sad that Tesla is using this nickle and dime tactic.

I feel cheated because I have already signed my contract and now Tesla wants more money, yet again. Can't wait till they start charging us for connectivity, creep, map updates, software updates, etc etc etc.

Tesla knows they are on shaky ground with charging for "activating" an option that was listed as included at the time of signing. Rather than getting a lawyer involved, you can bail. Those of you that have signed you MVPA, just call your Tesla and they will likely let you out of the agreement. They let me out and I signed over a month ago.

I also encourage you to use your voice with Tesla directly in addition to this forum so they will listen and perhaps stop these Tesla taxes. They are alienating the die hard fans right now. The rest of the public isn't as sympathetic and ultimately won't stand for this, they will simply will look elsewhere for a car. This may well be the end for Tesla.

The best position to be in at this point is to get a refund and wait and see. The "prestige" that comes with being the first on your block with a model s isn't worth the uncertainties and gamble of 50K+ of your hard earned cash. You would probably do better at this point with roulette in Vegas, and they even give you free drinks to put in the supplied cup holders there.

Hardly anyone NEEDS this car this moment. We all were waiting so long we are tired of waiting so we want it now. Wants are different than needs and with a little restraint you can cancel or defer your order and put your want on hold for 6-8 months. At that point back in the then short line if it makes sense.

You will have the benefit of seeing how pricing really shakes out and what the TRUE cost will be. You can make an informed decision about long terms costs (data and service that have yet to be revealed) and you will have the benefit of seeing if Tesla can solve their current production issues. Tesla may or may not be around in 6-8 months, so wait and see. If they are, then what you buy then will be a better car. They have already planned to modify the suspension for a version 2, perhaps there will be 4G, there are tons of other things Tesla will learn of the backs and cash of the first adopters. The benefit continuing forward with the future as uncertain as it is is simply in your head.

Can anyone blame splitsec002 for feeling this way? Should we tell him he's wrong?

To read his chronology is to understand just how crucial goodwill is when you're getting started. You've got it in spades, but right now it's spilling out onto the street.

I've got both hands on my brow, and shaking my head as I read it.

If this were a physics experiment, I'd be brightlining "conservation of momentum" vs. friction ... that nasty force which will in short order lead to entropy.

Splisec002, I believe these are at heart good people, and they will act to rectify this.

I actually believe them when they say the testing and calibration of the system which allows you to pulse 100Kw through the cars wiring is vital and both cost and labor intensive. Its one thing to have laid the cable during construction its another thing to make sure 100kw at 400V doesn't fry it. I think those that are saying this is a software switch and they are being nickel and dimed have no clue about the intricacies of electrical engineering and just how impressive a bit of engineering this capability is. For those who think that Tesla don't need to do anything but flip a software switch I suggest Tesla offer them supercharging for free but without factory testing of the supercharging system in their vehicle, let them see how well 100Kw through an untested system goes. Hopefully the superchargers have a decent fire suppression system.

Hey docrob, do you live in the suburbs of Chicago?

Wrong continent, Tasmania Australia, 95% Hydro 5% wind, for emission free electric motoring.

Docrob: I think that Tesla does have to do testing and of course there are costs involved with putting up the charging stations, hardware, software, and labor for testing the cars. The issue here is that the website has already stated "Included" and I remember something about them saying Hardware and Software included. It was the same terminology used as the 85kwh version. Why wouldn't people that bought the 60kwh think anything different otherwise?

The SC was not the only and final reason I moved from the 40Kwh to the 60kwh. I could commute with the 40 without issues but I just wanted piece of mind with the 60 that I could travel a little bit further. The SC was one of the factors so it doesn't kill the deal for me.

What's really making me upset is the fact that Tesla keeps changing and adding new fees afterwards. Then after a backlash from the forums they'll give their reasoning why. Just because they give us an excuse doesn't make it right. This isn't a first. All the people that visit the forums know what I am talking about.

I only wish Tesla would make wiser decisions with these press releases. If they charged a fee for a use at the SC station that would be more understandable. I would be happy to pay for electricity used. Just like some of the other pay to use charging stations out there. The problem here is that they stated it was included, but really, not included.

thought I knew you.

In the second paragraph of the document that you signed:

“The Pre-Delivery Motor Vehicle Purchase Agreement (MVPA) includes an estimate of taxes and fees (SUBJECT TO CHANGE AS DELIVERY NEARS)”

There are unforeseeable circumstances/unfinished issues that may require changes. President Bush had to reverse his famous “Read my lips: no new taxes.”

The simplicity of free, unlimited use, no password, no card is genius.

I expected to pay for charging for my road trips so the one time charge of $2,000 is a pleasant welcome surprise.

Tam, your pleasantly surprised to go from Included to 2K? I want some of whatever you're smoking.

Why is it that only 60kW reservation holders have to pay for this, and why do 85kW have it free? How much SC use will you need to use to cover 2K worth? I'm just trying to understand your logic.


"So DouglasR are you saying the fee is not the problem at all. It's just the words they used?"

In a way, yes. I was referring to TM's legal obligation under the MVPA. In a contract, a lot of importance is placed on words and what the parties intended by those words. I also said that TM has a PR problem and a moral obligation. But legally, its problem is that it promised in writing to include supercharging hardware at no additional cost, and now it is trying to charge an additional $1,000 to make that hardware usable (calibration, testing). The words of the MVPA cannot reasonably be interpreted to mean TM would include a feature that doesn't work. The brakes need to be calibrated and tested, but that doesn't mean TM can charge extra to give you brakes that work.

Can TM impose a cost to use its charging stations? Of course. No one signed an MVPA on the assumption that use of the SC network would be free (except perhaps a few who signed between the SC announcement and the recent email). But imposing an additional cost to enable hardware that was promised to be included with the purchase of the car seems to me to violate the words of the contract and the meaning of what was reasonably intended by those words.

Some misunderstandings, and some nonsense.
You've already cancelled; why are you here? Hoping for 'the end of Tesla'?
You say, "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.”

Full of confusion and libel. Elon is talking about the charger units in the stations. GB is talking about the wiring and tuning of the cars themselves, as Dpcrob explains above. Built-in, up-front, can't be retrofitted.

If there hadn't been a few days (somewhere between the 9/24 reveal and now, a total of maybe 2 days out of the 5) when someone put out a premature and incorrect contradiction of Elon's "nominal fee" statement, this whole issue would be moot.

Contracts are for lawyers, they can read them in you favor depending what side they are on.
As others stated on this forum, this is not about coming up with an excuse every time they introduce a new fee.
It's about keeping their integrity and goodwill of their customers, who made a completely irrational decision to buy their cars.
People showed a lot of dedication and goodwill towards tesla by placing their orders well in advance, some without having a chance to drive or even to see the car in person.
What they should do in return is to be transparent and accommodating.
If a new fee is introduced there should be an option to cancel for a full refund since at the time the mvpa was signed a lot of details were not finalized. In addition to that tesla set wrong expectations like cheap service comparing to ICE cars, higher mileage (used to be 300, now looks more like 200 per real life driving conditions with climate control on), and now the SC fiasco for 60kw cars.
Coming next - data charges, a complete unknown at this point, and who knows what else...
The economics of the deal is making less sense with every new charge for something that is already more expensive than its ICE competitors.

typo: "... as Docrob explains ..."


GeorgeB clarified the issue and said the 1k was for access not for the hardware/software or calibration. It was just to allow access to the superchargers. It sure sounds better to say the factory must calibrate the supercharger hardware and software but this is not the case. Similar to when the Tesla Specialists told customers that Banana Leaf had been nixed due to durability issues (Elon admitted it was due to aesthetics), CF Exterior being nixed due to durability issues (was due to cost), Aero Wheels nixed due to durability issues (poor customer reception) the list goes on. I would be happy with a cohesive honest answer from Tesla. Just admit the mistake, be honest and move on. That is the easiest way to handle these delicate situations. The email that some owners got was insulting (10 days or never).


Hey puff puff pass my friend. I want some of that stuff too. I wouldn't doubt that most of the 60kwh buyers feel a little screwed over by this. Even people that haven't signed their MVPA yet. All this time they've thought it was included but all of a sudden, Tesla changes the website to say $2000 instead of standard. It's even worse for the people that have already signed the MVPA.

And Tesla giving this spiel about only charging $1000 to make the people that have already signed feel better doesn't make it right. There's a reason why they would even offer to cut that $2000 price in half. They know they screwed up.

I also emailed George on this. I want the rest of the world to make informed decisions.

Hi George, I’ve been a Tesla fan for many many years. I’m resv # 4007 so I put it in a few years back when there was really nothing but faith. For a long time now, I’ve seen the supercharger access as Standard for the 60W version. And now Tesla is saying that it will cost an extra $1000. If Tesla was going to charge the 60kw people they should of put that on the site and on our contracts and not change things afterwards. I’ve been an advocate for Tesla throughout this whole time. But with all these hidden charges, how can I spread the word about Tesla in a good way? This isn’t the first time that this has happened. The 600.00 maintenance fee was something I never expected for a car with “low maintenance”. And now Tesla is saying that if we do not do the “optional” maintenance, our warranties are voided! This is a REALLY bad way of doing business in my eyes. Tesla needs to stop adding more and more costs to the car after we’ve already signed our agreements. Everything should have been shown upfront. Is that not fair?

George's Response:
Hi Keith,

Thanks for the note. It is appreciated. I love hearing from customers like you. As a Tesla supporter for many years, your opinions and concerns are a top priority for me and the reason I stay up until 5:00 in the morning responding :)

First, I apologize for the confusion. Let me try to explain a little about what has brought us to where we are today on the Supercharging issue.

We had hoped to announce the Supercharger network in July. It was impossible to do so. We had to delay the launch until September. If we had launched in July, the prices for Supercharging would have been:

85 kWh No charge
60 kWh $2000
40 kWh Not available

Because the Supercharger event didn’t happen in July, we had a conflict with customers configuring their cars who might choose a 60 kWh battery. We did not know up until now what the option would cost to enable Supercharging for the 60 kWh car, so we could not put it on the website or in paperwork. We made the decision to put the hardware and software necessary to enable Supercharging into all cars to make sure if anyone who opted for a 60 kWh battery wanted to enable Supercharging they would be able to do so after the event and announcement. We put on the web in the Options & Pricing page and the Design Studio that the hardware and software necessary to Supercharge was included on 60 and 85 kWh cars. Again, we did that specifically so anyone who selected a 60 kWh battery back in July, August, or up until now in September would have the exact same option as someone who had not yet configured their car. They would have the option today to choose Supercharging, decline Supercharging, or even get a different battery...the only difference, if they choose to get a different battery we will keep their original delivery timing. They will not be moved back in sequencing if they change their battery choice (unless it is to a 40 kWh battery which will not start production until next year).

So how did we get to the $1,000 price for this option vs $2,000? There isn't any real reason for this other than we thought it might be nice to do something for those customers who had already configured. We decided that we would go ahead and pay for the hardware which is about half the cost. I don't want to try and overplay this. It was just a gesture, nothing more. We made it possible to make the same decision now as you would have been able to back in July, and then we tried to make it a little better by allowing you to enable Supercharging for half price (if you wanted to) and still keep your original delivery date.

Unfortunately, our decision to install the hardware into all cars (at our cost) to enable this flexibility for our customers is being seen as something we are now trying to "spin"…which is absolutely not the case. We are not doing that. We don't do that.

We have included hardware and software in every car that has been ordered because we said we would. That is what we said on our website and in every MVPA signed to date we would do. And we have religiously done that. However, we have never said access for 60 kWh battery cars would be free. We have said that about the 85 kWh battery, but not the 60.

Throughout the process, we have said there would be an activation fee or an access fee for 60 kWh battery cars. Here is a posting from the Tesla Motors Club Forum (not affiliated in any way with Tesla): Posted by: ModelS1079 on the TMC website forum:
… to be clear (and I posted this in August - probably about the 12th) Tesla verbally clarified that there would be an ACTIVATION fee for the hardware/software for the 60kWh battery.

We also addressed this at the Supercharger event. Elon stated in his presentation on Monday night that access to the network for 85 kWh battery cars would be free, and there would be a nominal fee for 60 kWh battery cars.

Keith, we have tried to be open and transparent about this issue. It is unfortunate that it was not fully understood. Again, I apologize for the misunderstanding. We thought we were doing something nice to thank those who configured early by offering this option for half as much as others will pay. Unfortunately that didn't seem to hit home. And, lastly, I'd like to make sure one other point is clear, you do not have to enable Supercharging if you don't want to. You do not have to take the $1,000 option. I only mention this because some people have assumed they "have to" pay this. This is absolutely an "option". You can take the option for half price, or not take the option and pay nothing. I'm to trying to play that up, I just want to make sure it's clear.

I hope this explains the situation a little better. Please let me know if there is anything else I can shed some light on for you. As I said above, customers like you are very, very important to us. I am at your disposal and happy to respond to any and all questions or concerns.

Before I signoff, there are a few other things I would like to mention. There will be a few more "completely optional" things coming down the pike in the next month or so. I only mention them because I want you to know they are coming so you are not surprised. These are all "options", and we are not trying to slip in more "hidden costs". One is an option that allows your car to do more things if you want it to, the others are options people have asked us to offer, so we are putting something together on them. The first is a connectivity package so you can play internet radio, do searches on the 17" touch screen map, etc. Then there is an extended vehicle warranty, a battery replacement pre-purchase plan, and roadside hazard insurance that covers wheel and tire damage. We have been asked for these, so we are putting something together.

Lastly, I will send you something in the next few days to clarify a bit on the Warranty vs Service issue. The posting I made about the issue was at a very, very high level without any detail, footnotes or disclaimers, so it sounded overly harsh. I will send you something directly that will provide a little more detail and specifics. I would do it now, but I need to go to bed :)

Thank you very much for your time. I hope you have a great weekend!


Now if what George is saying is true, they should of just been more clear with the supercharger access for the 60kwh. Am I the only person that thought the supercharger access was included with the 60kwh version?

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