Inside Scoop on Tesla’s Super-Smart Supercharger Network

By · October 01, 2012

Model S in Tahoe

The 530-mile trip using Tesla's superchargers started at Lake Tahoe, near the California-Nevada border.

One week ago at this time, I was speeding down California’s Interstate in a Tesla Model S, on a 530-mile one-day trip from Lake Tahoe to Los Angeles. I told the tale of using Tesla’s supercharger network, and reviewed the vehicle, in yesterday’s New York Times. But that was intended for a general audience. I figured the EV crowd on PluginCars.com would want more of the geeky details about Tesla’s superchargers.

It seems obvious that charging an EV, even at a rapid 90-kW rate, is a different experience than pumping gas into a petrol car. We have become accustomed to rolling up to rest stop on the highway in our gas car, and in a matter of about 10 minutes, pumping gasoline until the nozzle clicks and the tank is full. That’s not what you want to do with a big-battery EV like the 85-kWh Model S.

As I stated in the NYT piece, the rate of charging is about twice as fast when the battery pack is nearly empty as when it gets full. Check out this data, pulled by Tesla engineers right from the Model S I was driving. For two of my three stops, the state-of-charge (SOC) was less than 10 percent, when I arrived to a supercharger.

Model S SOC on inaugural supercharger trip

Timeline of the Model S's state of charger for the 11.5-hour trip.

This might be perceived as a weakness—as if the car was running on fumes (I mean final electrons) as I pulled up for a charge. But it’s actually just one example of how Tesla is using the intrinsic technical and logistical dimensions of EV fast charging to leap ahead of competing models for quick charging.

You can see that during those two stops, at Harris Ranch and Tejon, the batteries were only restored to about 65 percent and 55 percent SOC respectively. Those recharging sessions were completed in 38 minutes and 25 minutes, and added 153 miles and 117 miles. I could have added more without a problem, except for two things: I didn’t need more juice than that to get to the next supercharger, and the reduced pace of recharging to get to full would have slowed down the trip.

I spent more time at the first stop in Folsom, and charged to about 95 percent SOC—or 250 miles of range—because the leg from Folsom to Harris Ranch, near Coalinga, was a bit more than 200 miles. This graph shows the remaining range at all points along the way.

Model S rated range on inaugural supercharger trip

Timeline of the Model S's remaining range for the 11.5-hour trip.

That Folsom-to-Coalinga stretch is not a true indication of what Tesla has in mind, because the company’s strategy is to place superchargers only about 150 miles apart. Last week, we were trying to test the limits of the network—on the company’s inaugural run—but very few, if any, Model S owners will want to drive from Lake Tahoe to L.A.

The supercharger network was created to enable the most likely trips—like Tahoe to San Francisco; SF to LA; or LA to Vegas. So, the only reason we topped up in Folsom, and kept our speed to around 70 miles per hour, was because we were breaking the boundaries of how the system was designed to work.

J.B. Straubel—Tesla’s chief technology officer and the driving force behind the supercharger strategy—told me, “When you start to look at how many you need to enable all the frequent destinations, it’s in the tens if you’re in one state, to the hundreds nationwide. You don’t need 10,000 of them.”

Tesla supercharger locations in October 2012
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Top: The locations for Tesla superchargers opening to Model S drivers by the end of October, 2012.
Bottom: A nationwide network of superchargers, based on this map from Tesla, can serve the entire country with around 100 locations.

Good Economics

Now, consider relatively low hardware costs for the superchargers, because they are primarily comprised of a dozen of exactly the same on-board 10-kW chargers found in the vehicle—made from the same components and manufactured on the same production line. Straubel told me that each supercharger costs “less than half” of what competing quick chargers (like CHAdeMo) are running. And they are faster.

Tesla supercharger hardware

The refrigerator-looking object is the actual Tesla supercharger. Inside, a dozen of the 10-kW chargers used in the vehicle are stacked up, and supported by computers and liquid cooling. One 120-kW supercharger can serve two vehicles at a time. The pedestal by the car merely supports the charging cord.

It makes good technical and economic sense to Straubel for the same company making the cars to make the off board fast chargers.

“For the cost of one hydrogen fueling station, we can put in a sizable part of a network,” Straubel said. “It’s pretty cool. We’re linking east and west coast, north and south. You can go from Tijuana to New York for free and back. In an EV, in about the same time you can do it in a gasoline car.”

Cheap electricity means that Tesla can make the chargers available at no extra cost to its customers. The network is primarily designed to sell more cars—the first business model for public charging that makes sense to me.

Tesla supercharger location in Tejon, Calif.

The Tesla supercharger location in Tejon, Calif., is the first that uses solar power. Others will follow. Solar energy will ensure that Tesla vehicles using the network will run on renewable energy, and it will reduce ongoing operation costs.

High-price demand charges from the utility company are mitigated by using solar and stationary batteries, as is planned for many of the Tesla charging locations. While the most built-out Tesla charging locations with full solar and enough connectors to serve eight vehicles at the same time could cost a quarter-million dollars, the stations I visited are more likely to be a third of that cost.

Leading Edge

Tesla is being criticized for the fact that the superchargers are only available to their vehicles. But the company doesn’t want to wait for the entire industry to make up its mind about standards, or to catch on to its approach. Can you blame them? First of all, you need big battery EVs, like the 85 kWh Model S, for the idea to work as intended. And the battery systems in those vehicles must have the capacity to take 90-kW charging.

Once a few thousand Model S drivers start using the system for all-electric road trips, perhaps other automakers will start knocking on Tesla’s door, to see how their EVs can be equipped to use the network. Toyota and Daimler, as existing Tesla partners, are possible candidates.

What I like most about the Tesla supercharger network is how the company looked at long-distance electric vehicle driving and charging with the mindset of experienced EV guys—not like internal combustion carmakers thinking about electric cars for the first time. This EV-centric approach—electricity runs in Tesla's blood—has allowed them to devise a cost-effective solution to a problem that hasn’t crossed the mind of other carmakers. And even if it did, they wouldn’t dare to try to solve it.

Comments

· Bret (not verified) · 1 year ago

This all sounds great, unless you purchase the Model S with the 40K or 60K battery. Still, I applaud Tesla for creating such an ambitious charging network. Hopefully, the battery costs will drop so everone can afford longer range EVs. It would be really cool driving to 'Vegas or San Fran and not having to pay for gas.

· · 1 year ago

40kWh will not be available at all. 60 kWh needs to be configured for superchargers when you buy the car. But I agree that with the 60 kWh pack, the network is not quite as useful.

· · 1 year ago

Compared to a hydrogen infrastructure this method seam very costly. If you got a hydrogen car then at first you need a station every 250-350 miles apart and you refill in 5-10 minutes and the hydrogen station is installed in actual gasoline station so it cost few. With these superchargers you have to build them 150 miles apart on a dedicated land as they take valuable space and they cannot charge money for the electricity as it's too clumsy to monitor as the flow of electricity is barrelly controlable with fast flow at first when the battery is cold then small electric flow when the internal battery resistance is climbing at the end and it make heat instead of charging. Also it apply only to tesla and not all tesla but only the big tesla with all the big latest batteries at more then 100 000 dollars.

On the other hand a small hydrogen making machine is easy to monitor as it can be installed in an existing gas station where there is already some cashiers to take care of the consumer. A small modern hydrogen making machine can be build with 10 000 to 20 000$ approx and is feeded by a water hose and electricity and it can refill 100% of the theoritical fuelcell vehicle. But they will succeed in building 2 millions dollars hydrogen stations with costly hydrogen at 8$ to 12$ a kilograms and after that they will say that the market is not suited for hydrogen cars, trucks, airplanes, ships, trains, etc.

· · 1 year ago

"the first business model for public charging that makes sense to me."
Maybe you disagree, but I think that it also makes sense for businesses to provide "free" charging to paying customers. This not only draws in customers, but also qualifies them for LEED benefits. So I would argue this isn't the first model that makes sense (although you did say it doesn't make sense to you so again, either you disagree or weren't thinking about this model...)

That said, I think this model is a great one. I have been very vocal in my belief that Nissan should support the roll out of more CHAdeMO chargers in order to sell more Leafs. It just makes sense.

I'm personally very excited about that little red dot in Albany, NY. This is about halfway between NYC and Buffalo on the thruway. That station can serve many many travellers (myself included). Maybe someday I will be charging there...

Once again, my hat is off to Tesla. It seems they have done it again. It is truly amazing how few spots can effectively cover the entire nation. It just shows their leadership into the brave new world of EVs.

· Wood Foss (not verified) · 1 year ago

My question is the effect on the battery. It has been my understanding that fast charging diminishes the useful life of the battery. What is Tesla's guarantee on their battery? What does Tesla say about fast charging as a battery issue, if their is one??

I certainly hope this company makes it because they really do appear to have a huge committment to creating what everyone craves, a reasonable long range, fast charging, a spacious auto and reasonably priced... (They did drop from a roadster at $100K to a sedan at $50K.)

· · 1 year ago

Great article Brad!

@gorr,
I'm afraid you have your math wrong and even more, the numbers going into your math is wrong.
If you assume a Tesla on-board charger is less than US$1K, 12 of them cost US$12K. Add an off-the shelf Air Conditioning unit for about US$5K and some electrical hardware and manufacturing labor for probably under US$20K and your still well under US$50K per station that can handle 2 vehicles at a time all day long (assuming 1 hour charge and you're looking at 24 fills per day.
Now look at your H2: I find it hard to believe that your H2 making machine for US$10K will make enough for more than one vehicle per day and I actually don't believe you can get an efficient H2 making machine for even that little. Can you point to a manufacturer of US$10K H2 making machines? Don't forget all of the cooling and compressing (or liquifying) equipment as well)
You'll also want to space your H2 stations about the same distance apart as these superchargers (or closer) since only very large H2 vehicles will be able to carry 250 - 350 miles worth of H2 onboard. H2's low energy density (Wh/liter) means it takes a lot of space to carry that much H2.
If it were as easy as you say, the US$billions that have already been spent of H2 fool sell research should have been able to build out a bunch of H2 stations already to prove your points. The only H2 stations I know of cost several US$millions each. The fool sell industry has had more money given to it than Tesla motors has ever had and they didn't even have to build a manufacturing facility. These superchargers are just a collateral job for Tesla.

· Jim Lovewell (not verified) · 1 year ago

I applaud Tesla for taking “the bull by the horns.” Maybe other BEV manufacture will finally get the message that if you are going to sell BEVs you cannot sit on the side lines and hope an infrastructure is built. YOU must participate. I really think it was brilliant of Tesla to use a dozen of exactly the same on-board 10-kW chargers found in the vehicle to keep the cost down.

· Bruce A Johnson (not verified) · 1 year ago

Kinda too bad that Idaho, Montana, the Dakotas and Minnesota all get left out. And why does there need to be such a glut of chargers in California? Spread the love, folks!

· · 1 year ago

Bruce: I imagine the map was heavily influenced on where Tesla has the most Model S and X reservations. California probably accounts for 20% of all Tesla reservations so far. They need to service their existing customers first.

· D Peilow (not verified) · 1 year ago

@ex-EV1 Driver.

Here's your 24 cars per day hydrogen machine. Not cheap.

http://www.itm-power.com/news-item/update-on-hydrogen-cost-structure/

· D Peilow (not verified) · 1 year ago

@Bruce, Tom

That map is only the 2 year plan. The long term plan covers all states and has more infill. EM said long term was about 5 years.

· Josh (not verified) · 1 year ago

gorr,

The amount of energy put into electrolysis is far beyond what you get from the Hydrogen. It's a losing proposition. You're essentially saying we should install high-power electric stations to break water molecules apart. Why not just power the car directly and avoid the losses in creating hydrogen.

Besides, you can't simply setup a garden hose and a 12V battery and create the amount of Hydrogen required. The kind of pressure required to get any decent amount of Hydrogen into your tanks requires much more expensive equipment that can create a much higher volume of fuel. This is why Hydrogen gas is currently mainly created by breaking down natural gas. Again, why bother with H2 when you could just burn the Natural gas and not release the CO2 during the breakdown process. (Natural gas isn't great for the environment either as it turns out.)

Sorry to be a downer, but at this point I truly believe electric vehicles are the future.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 1 year ago

@ gorr: quote from article, even if H2 electrolysis weren't a LOSING proposition:
"

“For the cost of one hydrogen fueling station, we can put in a sizable part of a network"

time to give up

· Bill Howland (not verified) · 1 year ago

@Gorr
That H2 machine mentioned has an 80 bar requirement, and a 75% conversion efficiency. I think they wanted 730,000 pounds for it. They also said they are figuring electricity at 3 1/2 pence /kwh so that would be available only in certain places in the states at that price and most definitely after midnight. So anyway I'd like to get a response from you.

A). What is the lowest cost H2 machine available?

B). What is the lowest cost H2 car available?

C). How many kwh does it take to get 3413 british thermal units of H2 in the car's tank, including the electrolyser and compressor?

D). How far does 3413 btu of hydrogen drive this car (take the halfway between city and highway driving).

Thank you for your anticiated response.

As you can tell, I don't like pie-in-the-sky generalities. I want to know what the situation is right now. You've never answered anything specific before, so its high time you did, and here is your big chance.

@Brad Berman

Thanks for doing a real world test. Unfortunately, I'm in Buffalo, so unless I want to go to Ottawa, Ontario, Canada looks like I'm pretty well sunk until Tesla gives me a 120 kwh battery option (i'd imagine its coming). Since I'm the only non-Totalled Tesla owner within 200 miles, I guess I dont deserve public charging. Punishment for Buying the competition's Volt rather than waiting for the S.

· Brian H (not verified) · 1 year ago

Although the TM 40 kWh and 60 kWh cars are far better than any of their competition, they are still not long-distance cars. The 85 is the first true general-purpose EV.

As far as CHAdeMo, Tesla had input into the standards ... which was rejected. As Elon Musk said, 'The SAE has standards. They suck. So we went on our own.' Or words to that effect.

· · 1 year ago

@ D Pellow,
Thanks for digging that up. Their estimate is £713,243 or ~US$1.1M. Assuming US$ 50K per supercharger, that means these only cost 22 times as much as a supercharger station. Or, in other words, one can buy 22 superchargers for the price of one of these H2 stations. If you look at Tesla's map, that means that one can cover the major US arteries for the cost of 5 of those (sorry upstate NY, MN, ND, etc). This is less than the number of superchargers already deployed), meaning we'd have plenty of money left over to build solar arrays to make the electricity virtually free.

· Robert.Boston (not verified) · 1 year ago

@Wood Foss: Tesla engineers told people at the supercharger roll-out event that supercharging wouldn't harm the Model S battery. As Brad's chart shows, the supercharger tapers the charge down as the battery fills.

Tesla warrants all its Model S batteries for 8 years; the covered miles depends on the battery size, but is unlimited for the 85kWh packs. The warranty doesn't cover normal degradation, but Roadster owners report only minor degradation; the Model S has active thermal management of the battery, so it is reasonable to believe that degradation (not covered by warranty) won't exceed 30% during those 8 years.

· · 1 year ago

@Bill Howland,
It looks like you can make it to Albany or Scranton from Buffalo where they plan to put in phase 1 superchargers to get you nearly anywhere in the US. You could top off at an RV park for a couple of hours and make it to PIttsburg or Akron as well.

@Brian H.
I think you meant that Tesla had inputs on the SAE standard, not CHAdeMO. CHAdeMO was developed by Tokyo Electric and Power Company (TEPCO) in Japan before Tesla even existed.
My understanding is the the Tesla standard is electrically similar to the SAE standard so a simple adapter will enable Tesla drivers to use the SAE Frankenplugs (if they ever exist) just as they use J1772 today with adapters.

· Tom Mac (not verified) · 1 year ago

Brad

2 things

1) Great article
2) I want your job

Tom

· Anonymous (not verified) · 1 year ago

I'm driving my "interim" car, the Fiat500c. I was in the market for an electric, drove the Volt and the Leaf. I was all set to get the Leaf when I thought it was 22K, but when the price was so much more, decided to go with the Fiat until the next generation of electrics comes to market, when I'm ready to buy again.

· Rick M (not verified) · 1 year ago

I disagree that "…the battery systems in those vehicles must have the capacity to take 90-kW charging." For better or worse, there is a de-facto standard in CHAdeMO, and Tesla could've supported charging with it via an adapter and a little foresight. I wouldn't even mind buying a Tesla-to-CHAdeMO adapter to keep in my car. My LEAF, of course, would not charge at 90 kW, but it can still charge at 50 kW, and there's no reason the Tesla Supercharger can't accommodate that with a firmware change.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 1 year ago

Remember when Steve Jobs wanted to change the whole music buying experience and came up against huge resistance from the recording companies and artist. "Are you crazy, selling my music for 99 cents.
I'm a super star." Look at Itunes now. It's how we buy and share music now. If Apple waited for another company to re-invent the way we buy music, the ipod would have been another failed mp3 player.
Elon Musk is doing what Steve Jobs did with itunes, setting up the EV Infrastructure instead of waiting for somebody else to do it. ICE car manufactures have been dragging their feet when it come to EVs. Now they can either change or die.

· Wood Foss (not verified) · 1 year ago

@ Robert Boston, Thanks for the info on the Tesla battery. Well thought out plan for charging and conserving the life of the battery.

I own the Ford Focus Electric because it was affordable and I am a 20,000 mile per year commuter. It is perfect for me. However, the model S is a dream car. Hopefully Tesla will survive and when my years are up with the Focus, it will be affordable.

· patb (not verified) · 1 year ago

100 stations at 250K a pop is a 25 million national network.

Not really that much money, and in a few years, Tesla will start charging an annual network support fee,
at say 25 dollars/month and 10,000 users, that's about enough to pay for the network.
plus they don't have to build it all at once, they can build the I-5, I-95 legs now and work on I-80 between Chicago and NYC and later build in the western legs.

most people really don't want to drive coast to coast, they want to drive to their major vacation spots, in region.

· Bill Howland (not verified) · 1 year ago

@ex - ev1 driver
Pittsburgh or Akron is a hell of a lot easier than Albany. I'd have to do that Sasha Cohen movie thing and get a horse and a rope! Hell it worked with a Pinto.

So do we now hope Tesla doesn't sell any cars so that the fast chargers will be free when we need them?

· · 1 year ago

@Bill Howland,
I think you missed some of the details. Tesla is using basic, cheap onboard chargers and plan to add more as capacity is required.
I know how you feel to have technology miss you. I lived in the finger lakes region of upstate NY in '90 and we didn't even have cellular phone coverage while the major cities did.
Of course we also didn't have all of the traffic and pollution the big cities had either.

· · 1 year ago

@Rick M,
According to some friends who would know, the CHAdeMO standard has a few grounding issues that make Americans nervous. They also make it unlikely that an adapter is possible.
While far from ideal, I think that Tesla took the best approach: do it right if the standards aren't good enough.
Would you like to be stuck with dial-up modem speeds for the rest of your life? New technology was needed.

· Bill Howland (not verified) · 1 year ago

@Ex-ev1-driver.

Most of my posts here are tongue-in-cheek. Maybe that's why Bob Newhart got rich and I'm not. Perhaps I'm being a bit too subtle or just not that humorous. I don't own a Model S as of yet anyway.

Buffalo is the last to get anything. Im just glad we have some 110 volt public points around, and a few 220's.

The big thing which Tesla has partially answered, is how do you power these things? And who pays for it? California has the advantage of having favorable EV electric policy, at least as far as EV owners are concerned. Whether it is a good policy in general I'm not going to address here. BTW I understand about the 12 chargers. Thats 480 amps single phase, so I would imagine they have a buck transformer to get the 277y/480 down to 230 or so to keep the current reasonable, I would assume out of the camera's view there is a 'inverter drive' connection to the mains, which keeps the charger working on cloudy days, or those very often times when the solar array is too miniscule to keep up with the car loading. Or, they may just have a 400, 600, or 1200 120y/208 service (depending on whether they expect 1, 2 or 4 cars), and say the hell with it for simplicity's sake.

· · 1 year ago

@Bill Howland,
Buffalo isn't last - but they're probably next to last, after Ithaca.
CA doesn't have a particularly favorable EV policy and they waste nearly every dollar they try to put into them. That is why Tesla is going it alone.
Nobody gains from counting on incompetence to help you.
I'm pretty sure the PV feeds the grid using standard cheap grid-tie inverters. Each charger grabs a 208 volt leg off the 3-phase from the grid and puts it out as isolated DC. There's no need to over-complicate things. They then simple series or switch the DC outputs to the car(s) and have the cars tell what current they want using the SAE signalling protocol.
On cloudy days, they pull from the grid. On sunny days without cars, they feed the grid.

· Bill Howland (not verified) · 1 year ago

@ev1-Driver

Thanks for the info, you're pretty sure its 208? I wonder if you noticed if the model S has a voltage indication while charging. Did it seem in the 200-215 volt range like a roadster would? I'm assuming you have also frequented these fast charger thingys.

I've investigated this a little, and California's EV rate schedules are much more conducive to commercial EV charger stations than where I am.

Here, For residence you can have up to 10kw net metering, and the buy back is the same as the sell price.

However, for Commercial, the buy back is a pittance of the sell price, and of course there's the $15 / kw demand fine per month.

Ex: a 500 kw demand from 5 cars charging at once on a cloudy day or evening anytime during 30 days would cause $7500 demand fine on the electric bill. And the electric would be around 10 cents/ kwh after that. There's not enough sunlight around here to make up that demand fine in a month. Commercial solar installations around here only make sense if you can always use the electricity right now. National Grid gives you so little back you might as well find a use for it right now to avoid purchasing more of their pricey juice.

· Bill Howland (not verified) · 1 year ago

@ex-ev1driver

I should clarify: is there a voltmeter on the charger bank that shows its incoming voltage? I know the output is just batteries.

· · 1 year ago

@Bill Howland,
I haven't seen one of the Tesla Superchargers operating yet but I do suspect that the standard onboard chargers tend to operate between 200 and 250 volts as they do with the Roadster so I'm assuming the easiest thing to do would be for 1/3 of the chargers to grab each leg of a 3-phase circuit with 208 volt legs.
I'm not sure what the commercial buy-back is for solar in CA but you're right about the residential buy-back.I doubt that the residential buy-back can last very long though.

· · 1 year ago

@Bill

As far as I know PG&E offers Net Metering to commercial customers on the "Otherwise Applicable Schedule" for facilities up to 1000kW. That means that they get generation credit at the same rate as consumption. Commercial accounts are assigned to rate schedules by peak demand, delineated at 200kW, 500kW, 1000kW. A four car Supercharger should remain between 200kW and 500kW which would go into rate schedule A10 "Medium General Demand-Metered Service". The customer and meter charges total $5.58/day and the demand rate is currently $12.12/kW Summer and $5.63/kW Winter. So, a Summer month bill that had a peak demand of 400kW would be a minimum of $5,015. I think those charges cannot be offset by solar generation. Net electricity usage is billed at $0.10257/kWh Winter and $0.13741/kWh Summer.

· Bill Howland (not verified) · 1 year ago

@Mike I

My point precisely, thanks for putting hard numbers on it. This explains why having zillions of superchargers in California is a far better business proposition than Albany, NY.

· · 1 year ago

All in all, this is marvelous. It appears that Telsa is far on its way to establishing a long range EV charging network across the continental US.

In sort of related news today, did anyone happen to catch that Better Place founder, Shai Aggasi, stepped down? . . .

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/03/business/shai-agassi-steps-down-as-chi...

A few years ago we were all trying to parse out the pro/cons of battery swapping vs. fast charging. Who would get there first? It appears, for now, that the fast charging business model Tesla has rolled out is the one that's going get the widest adoption.

· Bill Howland (not verified) · 1 year ago

@Benjamin Nead

Yes, Tesla's model works because the Better Place model will only work if you Lease your battery, and swap at Leasor approved facilities. You would never get me, nor most anyone else, to give up THEIR expensive battery that they paid for some unknown junk. If its leased and remains in the orbit of the battery swap out facility then EV drivers wouldn't care since its not theirs anyway.

So which model is used depends on whether you Lease or Buy your Battery.

Unless of course, the swapout is gov't subsidized, Then All Bets are OFF. People would drive their batteries until in a basic junk state, then swap out the battery to (hopefully) get one in better condition.

Its rather like these gov't approved Gun Buy Back programs. They mostly get rusted, totally useless devices to get some CA$H for otherwise worthless devices.

For instance Every Leaf Owner in Tucson AZ, would Love to have a battery swapout faciltiy available, especially a few years from now!

· Bill Howland (not verified) · 1 year ago

@Benjamin Nead

Yes, Tesla's model works because the Better Place model will only work if you Lease your battery, and swap at Leasor approved facilities. You would never get me, nor most anyone else, to give up THEIR expensive battery that they paid for some unknown junk. If its leased and remains in the orbit of the battery swap out facility then EV drivers wouldn't care since its not theirs anyway.

So which model is used depends on whether you Lease or Buy your Battery.

Unless of course, the swapout is gov't subsidized, Then All Bets are OFF. People would drive their batteries until in a basic junk state, then swap out the battery to (hopefully) get one in better condition.

Its rather like these gov't approved Gun Buy Back programs. They mostly get rusted, totally useless devices to get some CA$H for otherwise worthless devices.

For instance Every Leaf Owner in Tucson AZ, would Love to have a battery swapout faciltiy available, especially a few years from now!

· · 1 year ago

More info regarding PG&E Rates. There was some mention elsewhere that Superchargers incorporate batteries of their own. If they do incorporate batteries in the Supercharger system, they could theoretically limit the peak draw from the grid and stay in a lower Rate Schedule. If they design the system to limit the grid draw to stay below 200kW peak, they can use the A-6 Rate Schedule "Small General Time of Use Service". This rate schedule has no demand fees and is beneficial to a solar installation because the summer peak rates are higher, giving a bigger bill credit. With the batteries, they can fill the batteries at night at only $0.13661/kWh and earn $0.44432/kWh from the solar. However, one would have to model the demand to right-size the batteries to the projected use. If you under-size the batteries you may be unable to reach the specified charging rate without exceeding the peak draw allowed in the tariff. Avoiding the $4,800+/mo demand fee seems like a pretty good motivation to pay for the battery installation.

· · 1 year ago

You can see a screenshot from the dash of a Model S while charging at a Supercharger on Recargo:

http://www.recargo.com/sites/7483

· Bill Howland (not verified) · 1 year ago

@Brian
Hi, I clicked on the link, but was confused as to what to do next? Is there an indication on the charger pedestal itself as to what the INCOMING (to the pedestal ) voltage and incoming current is? This would help me surmise whether the utility power is 120Y/208, Bucked 277Y/480 (if that requires explanation please ask), or usa residential style 120/240.

· Brian H (not verified) · 1 year ago

@Bill and EV-1 and Mike;
My interpretation of Elon's summary of Solar City's arrangement is as follows:
1. SC will own and operate the arrays
2. The overall n/w array capacity will be set sufficient to over-supply the equivalent of full demand from all stations, thus reliably generating excess energy.
3. TM/SC will feed the chargers from the grid, possibly with some battery buffering as appropriate
4. Where local/state/station conditions aren't right for arrays, there won't be any. Only the total n/w "balance" matters (financially), so arrays will be placed only where sunshine and utility buy-back rates justify them.
5. Ideally, ongoing costs to TM would be minor maintenance etc. only. They would be paid from "Marketing" budgets, and be (IMO) very productive use of such funds.
6. From SC's POV, the stations provide "hospitable" and easily configured sites for large arrays, from which they will profit.
7. Whether TM pays the utilities and SC collects FITs and they "settle up" monthly, or SC runs all the power arrangements doesn't much matter; it nets out the same, though probably with less administration if SC handles everything.

A terminology quibble: one "stack" is a charging unit; a station comprises all the units and associated arrays, if any.

· Brian H (not verified) · 1 year ago

Corr: "a station comprises all the units and associated arrays, if any, at a given location."

· · 1 year ago

@Brian H,
Your assessment makes sense. SC is in just the business of commercial solar as you describe.

· · 24 weeks ago

Nice picture, and good "personal account" story on this, Brad! I have to admit that I never thought there would *really* be a SuperCharger network. And here we are. Amazing. Bring on the Model E so I can get in on some of this action!

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