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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

Sour nonsense.
Low maintenance (as an inherent characteristic of a BEV) is not the same as guaranteed "cheap service". Over the life of the car, far less can go wrong, and expense and inconvenience will be lessened.

The NYT driver used AC on a highway drive through the wine country, and got 300.1 miles.* If half that distance he'd been at 20 mph in stop-go city traffic, his range would have been more (the EPA city rating is wrong). The 85s have enough range to boot it between cities, hitting the SC network. 60s may have to take it slower, or supplement with Level2 charging.

*While driving a Model S with the biggest available battery pack — 85 kilowatt-hours — on a restrained run through Northern California wine country, I was able to wring 300.1 miles from a single charge.

Consider this. Roadster and s high powered chargers are not compatable, and an adapter is a an expensive 600 bucks. And Roadster is not compatable with the supercharger. What happens in a few years if tesla changes battery tech, and the superchargers are again not backward compatable. Expect they will keep building out your obsolute sc chargers? What if they dont complete the nationwide net, and stop with none of the planned stations in your area? Consider that in the context of lifetime free charging. What does lifetime mean? It dos not have the common english meaning in contracts. Something to consider.

Basically, the SC network and the 85s were made for each other. The 60s are visitors, and can get some use out of it.

I agree that the announcement could have been handled better, had they never changed to "included" prior to the announcement and they had announced it as a one off fee of $2,000 for lifelong free supercharger access the tone of this thread would be totally different.
I do feel for Tesla though, very few other manufacturers (Apple being a notable example) have their announcements so analysed, speculated about and criticised in real time. Most other manufacturers can interest group test their products and campaigns, with Tesla within seconds of every website update or off the cuff media remark there is a legion of people in several forums prophesising that it will destroy the company. There's a lot of pressure weighing on every tidbit of information. Must get exhausting for them at times.

My initial thought is to honor the fee free for those who ahve already signed contracts, however if they do that I expect all those with reservations but who haven't yet confirmed will complain at the special treatment for the others.

(Lajollan, don't think so however I did travel to La Jolla for a wedding two years ago, very beautiful part of the world)

Docrob: I totally agree with you. If they hadn't changed anything and left the SC to TBD, none of us would be upset. Well some of us would be but most of us probably would be ok with it.

At $2000, I don't think I could ever use it enough to justify the cost. But that's just me. I'm sure some people that travel a lot would think this was a steal.

You're right again, Apple and Tesla is being scrutinized on every little bit of information they give. Maybe that's why they keep us in the dark for the most part. Apple on the other hand is 100% about customer service and I believe that is one of the reasons they have such a large following. I ruined my Iphone once. But it was still under warranty. What did Apple do? They emailed me a label to overnight my old phone to them to repair. I guess they couldn't repair it but instead of giving me some excuses about warranty they overnighted me another refurb phone that looked brand new. After that experience I knew I would be taken care of by them and haven't had another manufacturers phone again. This was back when The original Iphone came out. Since then I have had a 2g, 4, and now a Iphone 5. I even got an Ipad for a birthday gift that I love.

And that folks is how companies create brand loyalty.


According to real life normal driving it's about 200miles on an 85% charge where I live and drive, confirmed by several local tesla owners.

For me low maintenance means low cost.
What does it mean for you ?
I certainly don't appreciate the fact it's a mandatory charge to keep my warranty.

Long term savings are questionable since it's annual inspection, not warranty that actually covers whatever repairs necessary (or does it ?)

You sound a bit defensive...

Details matter. Is that freeway mostly? And check back after the "6 months buzz" wears off; a TM engineer observed it takes users about that long to finish exploring the higher torque styles of driving.

I specified "over the life of the car" for low maintenance. That should by evident by about the 3rd, 4th, or 5th yr., IMO.

As for the service fee to keep the warrantee valid, I see TM as being caught in a unique position. They are brand new and covering a product with no long-term service history. They have to a)track everything carefully, b)catch issues as soon as they arise, and c)keep some limit on how exposed they are to major costs for unexpected problems (partly because they are new and financially "on the edge".) So they had to control their exposure and maintain and rapidly expand a fast-response service model.

I can't see another way to achieve all that. Do you? Saying 'bury it in the cost of purchase' is just hand-waving, and creates serious issues of its own.


I don't see why burying it in the cost of purchase is a bad idea.
It's not like you have an option of not paying it (other than voiding your warranty), so why not include it from the get go.
Then it's all included and no questions asked. Now it feels like extortion although there maybe legit reasons why those costs were not thought of by tesla before mvpas were sent out to customers.
It's not just about why, it's how they are doing it.
If you've miscalculated your expenses, but made me sign a contract, either let me get out of it or respect it, admit your mistake and bite the bullet.
It may reduce your profit margin a bit (it's already way higher than what ICE car manufacturers have) but reputation is more important at this stage.
Some people may cancel given the choice but they are 6 months behind with no demand problem.
It would also validate their decisions (or will prove them wrong).

I just want to take a moment to thank GB for spending his whole night/morning responding to e-mails that in all honest GM or any other car company would not have even bothered to read.

For the record I think his explanation satisfies me. I think they know they really screwed up. Cash is tight for them so free just isn't an option.

I knew there was going to be an activation or access fee for the 60kWh battery. They could have made that more clear because not everyone keeps up on everything.

I am happy to rad in GBs last message that I can pick a different battery if I want. In another thread I am trying to nail that down but it can't stay on topic.

The issue has become just disappointment and bad wording and I get it, I feel it too. Since you can switch battery size or just turn down the option all together you are right where you were before you signed and paperwork.

Legally I think there is no ground to stand on. The paper we signed was telling Tesla what we wanted not what Tesla was going to provide.

I think what we are seeing with Tesla is the blessing and the curse of an engineer running a company.

Compare TM to Facebook. How many times has Zuckerberg rolled out a new feature that sent users through the roof? They were tested internally, seemed like a good idea, technically worked flawlessly, were actually good ideas in most cases, but no-one questioned how users would react.

Now look at Tesla - Elon has delivered on pretty much all the engineering promises of the car. Unfortunately what Tesla has also done time and time again is fail to understand that just because something makes engineering sense ("of course we have to test and integrate the supercharge hardware in the 60kWh car and we didn't build it into the margins so we are going to charge extra for it") not everyone will welcome it with open arms.

There are a bunch of people on the reservation list who can afford $100k and are early adopters and will gladly soak up anything that Tesla throws at us. But there are also a lot of people who are really pushing themselves to afford the car. Every little increase in cost or change in the story REALLY upsets them. George may recognize this (though I'm not sure he does), but it definitely looks like either Elon really doesn't get it, or is prepared to risk the backlash.

The level of wild speculation that goes on on these forums on a daily basis is breathtaking. Unless you are in the inner circle at TM I doubt you really know what the business plan looks like and what it is going to take to keep the company going. Why did Elon commit to 25% margins so early? Has that forced his hand to nickel and dime every cost increase so he can meet the investor expectations? Why isn't TM absorbing some of these early costs for the sake of PR and goodwill? Until someone writes the inside scoop on Tesla I doubt we'll know.

So what do we do about it? George's email address is public. He's proved on quite a few occasions that he'll respond to emails. I'd suggest that everyone who has been posting their concerns on this forum instead (or as well) send a polite and rational email to George detailing TM's communication mis-steps, the impact the cost increase is going to have on them, etc., etc., and see what happens.

It is nice to have a rant in public, but it is better to get TM to do something about it.

I always understood that the 85 & 60 cars would have the hardware and software necessary to enable SC but always understood that access charges or usage fees were still unknown. As a Sig, I hoped that it would be free for me as one of the SIg perks. So it is nice to see that it actually is included, not just for me, but for all of the 85s. So now the 60 reservation holders need to decide if the access fee is worth free SC for life. That is a personal decision based on each person's circumstances and driving needs.

The real issue is that they have to make the decision now and, once made, it cannot be undone. Peoples live change and so do their driving needs. People move, have kids, or change jobs. Elon's vision is to make EVs ubiquitous. A key to the vision is to enable SC. It not only relieves range anxiety, it makes the EV as flexible in utility as an ICE. If he wants to make that vision a reality, reservation holders should be allowed to enable SC at a later date.

Can someone tell me when the website changed to state the 60 had included the SC hardware? I have always been under the impression that there would be some SC charge for the 60. I have never thought it was going to be free. Especially when the original website always had the 60 listed as 'optional' for SC. I figured it was going to be an upfront charge for hardware but then as I thought about it, access charges make way more sense. I doubt there is really that much more hardware involved and for the first year, might as well put that in every car and charge for access. So I am not surprised in the least by the announcement.

I have an 85 on order, and I thought the increased range was worth the upgrade plus there was obvious uncertainty in the SC charge for the 60 and I didn't want to deal. Also, the battery warranty is unlimited miles and I take frequent day trips around the bay area.

But my point is this: if you drive from SF to LA, in an ICE car you're talking about at least $100 each way in gas right? If you make that SF to LA trip, or the equivalent in shorter trips (Tahoe Yosemite Napa Seattle) , 10 times in the next 10 years, this $2k charge pays for itself and more. And at $1k, it's a steal. Principles aside, the financial side is actually still favorable.

I agree that TM should not have changed their website from TBD, and I was surprised to hear it was going to be included and figured there was more to the story. And there is. My feeling is that TM may go one step further to correct the situation but I doubt the 60s will ever get the access for free. I don't think they ever intended to do that for the 60s.


I don't recall the exact date but up until a couple of months ago it was TBD, then it changed to included.

rd2 -- if you drive from SF to LA, in an ICE car you're talking about at least $100 each way in gas right?

Based on 380 miles I would use between 6.5 and 8.0 gallons of gas each way. Of course, this really depend on what ICE car you have. At $4 per gallon that's $26 to $32.

thanks jerry3. You clearly have a more fuel efficient ICE than I do (even more reason for my Model S!). I'm looking at over twice that amount, around $75, for what is a 410 mile trip for me. Of course, that's assuming $4 a gallon, which is a rarity in SF right now (and who knows what it will be in 5 years). So please revise my estimates accordingly.

Even if it's 20 such trips over ten years, twice a year is not that often with a family and day trips/vacations/etc. I think the SC option would definitely be worth it at $1k, and is even cost effective at $2k, especially considering that you'd otherwise drive your ICE car on those trips and gas prices will be increasing.

Doesn't change the fact that TM screwed up the website big time, but I hope folks can get over their justified disappointment to still see value here. It will be interesting to see how TM handles this reaction.

rd2 -- sn't change the fact that TM screwed up the website big time

Yes, that's the big problem. They really need to hire a communications expert who will whack them over the head when they start to do something that alienates their customers to the point where they start canceling reservations.

In the overall scheme of things $2000 isn't that big a deal, but when you add the $2400 maintenance, the unknown amount for connection fees, the $1500 for the pano roof so adults can sit in the rear seats, $3750 for the tech package so the car will have basic functionality, an extra $500 UMC, a car cover, the opportunity console, and, and... it starts to add up.

And sure, everything but the maintenance is "optional" but so is eating something other than canned beans and living in something better a one-room furnished rental.

I don't understand how anyone thought they would supercharge for free with no access or per usage charge. Clearly, the company never came close to promising that.


Well said.
TCO is what matters in the end, and it keeps going up.
I've opted out for sig so most things are included, but there's a lot of extras they've added just recently.
I think they've mentioned a year of a data plan for free for all Sigs, let's see if they can deliver.
I hope they will have an option to tether to the phone that would make way more sense than a separate contract with the carrier.
There's apparently a couple more features in the works, like wheel and tire damage, and battery replacement plan, both are optional, but it's not clear if they make some "creative" changes to warranty and exclude existing coverage because of these new optional plans...

Sudre, legaly a sub set of us do have a legal leg to stand on. As George says, the web site mentioned in several places that all the hardware and software on the 60's were included exactly the same as the 85's. There are a number of us, myself included who configured based on that information on the web and at the stores that have MVPA's that state Supercharger included at no cost. Tesla is now asking me to agree to a new agreement. I prefer they honor the existing agreement, which will be the discussion with the configuration specalist this week.

A financial remedy is via mediation, which would be fruitless and pointless. Courts are not an option. So that leaves the media.

The negative press from "Tesla Refuses to Honor Vehicle Purchase Agreement Price" will far out weigh the $1,000 they will get from me.

Tesla... we plunked down cash years ago because we trust you. We still do. But some of us have signed agreements we expect honored in good faith. We never expected free charging, but we did expect the car would be capiable of charging.

If Tesla wont honor our contracts, I WILL use my only other recourse, the media.

+1 Crow.

IMO it is "way above and beyond" for TM to offer free SC for 85 kWh cars! It is a great option to charge only 2K for 65 kWh cars. Regardless of the missteps in how they handled the roll-out. Over time the mistakes will be forgiven and people can begin enjoying driving long distances for free. How awesome is that.

+1 Crow and mboedigh

I never thought that the 85kwH SC would be free either. I thought there'd be some $4-5 charge every time we used it. And I thought the 60kwH would have an additional activation charge for their hardware. So overall, it's an amazing deal for the 85, and still a good deal for the 60.

I definitely know that the options do add up. They can easily reach over $10k and it always hurts in the end. However, I think it has been discussed extensively how these options compare versus other luxury car makers, and if TM is not on par with them, they are at least very close in this regard.

The SC option is completely and utterly novel - no one has ever offered this in automotive history. The PR missteps of TM are awkward and should be addressed, but in the end, I think the ability to drive, endlessly, for no more than $2k total, for the life of the car (!), is pretty darn amazing.

Lets not forget to keep this into perspective: What do we really mean when we say "lifetime" free charging? Whether this is an amazing deal or not depends on how long you plan to keep the car, how many trips per year you take, and where you expect battery tech to go during that lifetime. Do the math.

Seems to me those that have SC truly included for free are much more forgiving than those who don't.

For an ICE at 32 mpg 16,000 miles is 2000 USD (assuming 4$/g gas). For 100 eMPG I guess that would be about 50,000 miles. Maybe more if non-SC charging stations charge a premium.

Right. How long will it take to do 50,000 miles worth of road trips? And how long before we have a 1000 mile range battery?

ChasF -

It doesn't make sense to calculate usage of 50,000 miles of 'road trips'. The reality is that, without supercharging, neither the 60kwH nor the 85kwH battery can do those road trips. Maybe you can find charging stations to piece a few road trips together, but those rates can be quite high for charging, and will take forever so you'd have to do it overnight and never get anywhere.

Therefore, since you can otherwise only 'road trip' with an ICE, you need to compare the $2k cost of SC to the 16,000 mile number. As I stated earlier, typical trip from SF to LA is ~800 miles roundtrip. 20 of those trips would break even. And that's assuming gas prices don't go up.

If you want to wait for a 1,000 mile battery, that's great and if one were available on the near horizon I would say wait for it. But I would not anticipate the cost to be anywhere close to $2k. Not if it's developed within the next 5-7 years. I would expect a premium to get that battery, and based on what TM has priced each battery class at, it will be much more than $2k.


Agreed. If you do SF to LA every other week, the SC makes economical sense for you. I live in Florida and my 'road trips' are about 1000 miles round trip once a year or so. It would take me 10 years or more to break even. Add in the fact that the network build out for me will be at least a couple years behind you. Not so amazing a deal for me.

My pre-mvpa has a line next to the supercharger hardware as in no charge I wonder how the 85 kw pre-mvpa looks. I think the nickel and diming sucks! I will call my config specialist and complain.

...and my point about battery range had nothing to do with battery cost in 5-7-10 years, it has to do with how many battery choices will be available at that time when decisions will need to be made about a replacement vehicle. Supercharging could be irrelevant at that time meaning I may not break even with the initial investment of $2000.

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