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Supercharging Franchise

As Tesla is being sold in places like malls, the Superchargers need to cross the whole country and all the countries the Model S and future models are sold. Making superchargers common place and have thoughts and doubts of range disappear, the only problem with franchising it is that you'd be charged to charge probably next to nothing if they use solar panels like they do now. This idea isn't 100% thought of but doing something has a lot of potential; please tell me you thoughts about this below.

Solar City erects arrays to generate power and sell it to utilities, and earns enough to make power free to all MS owners. It costs Tesla peanuts to actually erect them.

The sunlight is free. The means to convert it to electricity is not. If in fact there are any Supercharger sites with solar canopies that are generating more than we are using (I would be surprised), that excess is being sold to the power companies at wholesale rates. If there is any profit being made, it's probably through depreciation and green energy tax credits and not through excess generation.

Wrong. Solar City arranges its resources and power sales to guarantee a return greater than its costs. You will never know the details, it's (literally) their business.

Brian, if we will never know the details, how can you be so sure there is excess generation at the solar powered Supercharger sites and a profit is being made. If you have some concrete insider information, please share it with us.

That was the business plan revealed by Elon at the SC reveal, and there's been no indication of a change. And no way to go large-scale, much less world-wide, without it.

Brian: This press release http://ir.teslamotors.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=709155 mirrors what Elon said at the SC reveal. I just think the notion that each solar power system will generate more energy from the sun over the course of a year than is consumed by Tesla vehicles using the Supercharger is overly optimistic. As you said, in the absence of details from Tesla, we'll never know but we can observe and make educated speculation. Earlier this year I visited the Hawthorne supercharger. I counted 88 panels in the array. I live in sunny SoCal and have a Solar City installed residential system with panels of the same size as Hawthorne. I get a similar amount of sunshine as Hawthorne. After two years in operation, I have very good data on what my daily output is averaged over those two years. Scaling up my data to the size of the Hawthorne installation and throwing in a generous fudge factor for differences in sunshine and panel wattage I would estimate the Hawthorne output to be ~130 kWhs per day. As you know from a separate thread, I recently charged at the Barstow Supercharger going to/from Vegas. On each visit my 85 kWh ModS drew 65 kWhs from the Supercharger. Those two visits alone would have consumed the entire daily output at Hawthorne. Even if my Hawthorne output estimate is off my 100%, it would still only take 4-5 visits per day to consume the daily output. I think the solar augmented Superchargers are busier than that and will only get more busy as more ModS are delivered. I do think the Superchargers are a money maker for Tesla, but it's coming from a different source than excess solar generation. But again, in the absence of details, we'll never know.

The array on the spot is relevant, but not very. SC needs to generate more across the network than is used, over the course of the year.

The Superchargers are not a money-maker for Tesla. They are a promotional expense. They cost a little to erect, which TM does not recoup.

Elon plans to extend the model across the world. You'd better warn him it's not viable so that he doesn't drive TM to ruin.

Or not.

Brian - In the end, we may just have to agree to disagree, but the debate is fun.

"The Superchargers are not a money-maker for Tesla." - I think they are.

"They are a promotional expense." - You bet! In addition to all the pizzazz of ModS, the psychology of free electricity from the Superchargers for the life of the car is compelling. A brilliant move by Elon.

"They cost a little to erect" - They do cost something, but according to that press release "The technology at the heart of the Supercharger was developed internally and leverages the economies of scale of existing charging technology already used by the Model S, enabling Tesla to create the Supercharger device at minimal cost."

"which TM does not recoup." I think they do.

In the absence of details, any analysis has to be based on plausible assumptions. Here are my thoughts, which probably aren't original, so I apologize for redundancy if this has been brought up in other threads.

If you purchase a 60kWh ModS, you gain access to that "free" electricity by paying $2000 to activate the Supercharger capability. If you purchase an 85kWh ModS, that 2K is built into the cost of the battery upgrade. First assumption: Tesla's cost to install the Supercharger hardware/software is a fraction of the 2K we are paying to use it. The fact that they are installing it in all the 60s, whether the purchaser pays to activate it or not, lends some credibility to the assumption.

In that trip to Vegas I mentioned above, those two hits on the Barstow Supercharger netted me ~$20 worth of "free" electricity. As much as I enjoy Vegas, it is unlikely I will make that trip 100 times during the life of the car, such that I would receive enough "free" electricity to recoup the 2K that I paid to be able to use the Superchargers. This leads me to the second and last assumption: There are/will be thousands of Supercharger capable ModS, and eventually ModX, whose owners paid that 2K, but only a small percentage of them will use the Superchargers on a regular basis, such that Tesla will be paying out more in construction and electricity costs for them than the 2k they collected up front. This is how Tesla will recoup the cost of building and maintaining the Supercharger network. Once the network is built and paid for, each additional Supercharger enabled ModS/X sold is literally money in the bank. Throw in the tax advantage of depreciation and government solar tax credits/rebates and I think you have a money maker; maybe not just yet, but eventually.

You misunderstand the value of Superchargers. The "free" power is just a little sweetener. What you are paying for with the 2K is access -- to the rest of the country. Call it convenience, at a high level, if you wish. Without the SCs you can do intercity & cross-country, but it's lots harder work!

So the analysis of $2K/power costs is irrelevant. It may represent about $200 of the value, at most. Ask yourself: would you buy the SC capability if the charge was 11¢/kWh, the national average? I suspect 98%+ would answer "YES!".

There's no misunderstanding. "What you are paying for with the 2K is access". Isn't that what I said?! Couldn't have gone to Vegas without it. And, that 2k is helping Tesla recoup the cost of the Superchargers and will someday be a money maker if it isn't already.

To your second point. If I could skip the 2k (or pay Tesla what it actually cost to install the hardware/software) and just pay 11¢/kWh for using the Superchargers, I'd have to use 18182 kWhs to equal the 2k I paid up front. The answer is heck yes. I'll never ever come close to using that much Supercharger juice during the life of the car. I would save $$$ and so would most other ModS owner who paid for the access.

Your speculation that the $2K is mostly margin, unrelated to car upgrade/SC wiring costs etc. is at the base of your calcs. Once you stop trying to turn it into pure margin, your argument has no wheels.

The SCs are not intended to provide lower mileage costs. Irrelevant. They provide CHOICE, the option to do cross-country or longish intercity travel without long charging lay-overs.

Try costing it out this way: how many hours of waiting for charge-up the SCs will save, X any reasonable valuation of the owners' time.

I think that some of the special sauce has to do with TOU. I can't recall the citation, but I believe the Superchargers are built with large battery backup. So during the low-cost night, the battery arrays charge, and during the day the batteries charge the cars.

Also when the sun is shining, the solar array is pumping power back into the grid amplifying the value of the array 2-5 times.

Thus energy for 3-4 charges becomes 6-20 charges. They may also be using the battery tie-in for local or grid backup, generating additional revenue.

edit: 6-15 charges

The concept of SC is very simple: buy energy cheap, store it and sell it high. Battery storage was part of the original reveal and it seems slowly to emerge. Charging cars is just a by product of that concept. How to buy energy cheap ? When it is in excess and solar on many roofs, sell it high when there is demand. Tesla puts every week about 40 MWh battery storage on the road... so an additional e.g. 10 MWh per week for storage is not a lot. So in the first year that would be about 0.5 GWh. Mulitiply this by years and increase the weekly numbers then you get a picture what you may have in 5 years.
Utilities are not dealing with TOUs, they buying and selling energy on the spot market... SolarCity is a distributed utility company... that is their concept. Solar producing energy at high demand times is just part of he total concept.

+1 stevenmaifert

The SCs may or may not store energy. That's almost irrelevant. They buy as much as they need from the utilities, and sell more back (from the arrays) and Solar City keeps the profit. Batteries not required, although local "storage" would help with spikes in demand.

And power outages.

What about installing HPWC @ hotels, restaurants, vendors for $5000 per.

At 30-60 miles of charge per hour, it's worthwhile to put in city malls since there would be a limit of power output.

Tesla needs to make charging ubiquitous.

For the cost of 1 Supercharger, you could install 5,000 HPWCs around the U.S.

Couple with Solar City installations where possible.

This is still faster than ANY OTHER charging network.

Link to the app.

Would need to have a reservation system.

Problems: maintaining the system

@Brian H,

The grid (gladly) pays for battery backup just for the reasons you explain. To even out spikes in demand and to avoid paying higher cost (peaker) prices.

Samo;
Wrong cost. 1 supercharger pays for at most 20 HPWCs. Hardware and installation is about $250K.

@Brian H,

You are exactly correct.

Was comparing the cost of the $25M 100 location Supercharger Network announced last year.


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