Forbes Defends Tesla’s Supercharger Honor and We Do Too

4 years ago by Eric Loveday 31

Tesla Has a Habit of Turning What's Thought to be Impossible Into Possible

Tesla Has a Habit of Turning What’s Thought to be Impossible Into Possible

It’s not often that Forbes get involved in the electric vehicle space, but when questionable claims are made against an automaker and Forbes gets wind of the red flags waving in the air, then expect there to be a response from the publication.

Tesla Supercharger Map Current as of Today (9/16)

Tesla Supercharger Map Current as of Today (9/17)

That’s precisely the case here, but Forbes missed the mark, too (more on that comes further on down the page).

A recent Forbes article, titled “Another Bet Against Tesla Goes Bust As The Company Draws A 21,is in direct response to some suspect claims made by a green automotive blog.  The blog claimed that Tesla failed to hit its “Summer 2013” Supercharging goals by a fairly significant amount…a judgement that was put forth by the blog nearly two weeks before Summer actually ended.

The word of Forbes contributor Mark Rogowsky will tell most of the story from here on out:

“Tesla promised this past spring that before summer was through, it would have 18 of its high-speed Supercharger stations up and running, allowing longer-distance travel for more owners of its Model S sedan. And just last week, with the last days of the season disappearing off the calendar, the folks at Green Car Reports bet that the company would fail to make its self-imposed deadline. Six days ago, with only half the locations officially open, the bet seemed like a decent one. But the company again proved the doubters wrong.”

“As of today, Tesla claims not just the 18 locations it promised in May but instead has 21 Superchargers up and running, making official a dozen in the past week alone…”

Rogowksy closes with this statement:

25 Superchargers by Summer 2013

25 Superchargers by Summer 2013 – Click to Enlarge

“Expect some more bets against Tesla pulling it off. Just don’t necessarily expect those bets to come up winners.”

But the problem is that neither Rogowky at Forbes nor Green Car Reports (not even in its recent follow-up post) got it right.  And here’s why: as you can clearly see from the graphic to your right, the Tesla Motors’ projection was to have 25 Supercharger stations operational (note: IT guys or graphic designers update these features, not Tesla execs) by the end of Summer 2013 (September 21, to be exact).  That was the figure noted in the graphic when Tesla announced its Supercharger expansion plans back on May 30, 2013.  At the time, only 8 Supercharger stations (see graphic further down below) were active in the US.  Tesla’s press release reads as follows:

Triple the number of Tesla Supercharger stations by the end of next month (see note below), including additional stations in California, coverage of the northwest region from Vancouver to Seattle to Portland, Austin to Dallas in Texas, Illinois and Colorado. There will also be four additional eastern seaboard stations, expanding the density of the network to provide for more convenient stopping points.”

Current Tesla Supercharger Sites as of May 30, 2013

Current Tesla Supercharger Sites as of May 30, 2013

Note: It should immediately be pointed out that when Tesla stated “by the end of next month” it actually meant “Summer 2013.”  This was an error that Elon Musk went on record to correct immediately following the announcement.

So, simple math says that to triple the number of Superchargers “by Summer 2013,” Tesla needs to have 24 operational by September 21st, and they will indeed do it.

As Shanna Hendricks, Tesla’s Communications Manager, told InsideEVs today:

Supercharger Installs Are Worth Celebrating

Supercharger Installs Are Worth Celebrating

“We are opening three more Supercharger sites this week: Port Orange, FL; Darien, CT and Glenwood Springs, CO.”

21 operational today + 3 more coming online this week = 24

In fact, Tesla added a further note on their accomplishments:

“We actually had 24 Superchargers open by August 29 – we opened six Superchargers in Norway last month.

By the end of this week [Thursday], the total number of open Tesla  Superchargers will be at 30.”

Tesla’s Supercharger map that was released concurrently with the May 30, 2013 press release clearly shows that 25 were expected to be operational (again, that IT guy can be probably blamed for any discrepancies here) by “Summer 2013,” but that map has always been considered a projected outlook and nothing was set in stone.  So, the actual figure Tesla is shooting for is 24.   It’s not 18 total as Forbes claims and it’s not 18 “new” Superchargers as Green Car Reports claims.

The 18 “new” figure comes from Tesla’s projected Supercharger install maps it released and updated throughout the year.  This figure was never officially announced by Tesla, nor were the locations of most of the future sites.  The only thing that denoted these future “projected” sites were gray dots on the map.  Gray dots that had no official explanation as to their meaning put forth by Tesla (they could be Walmart stores for all we know).  There was never an official announcement regarding what these gray dots meant, nor was there ever a mention made directly by Tesla saying that these “projected” sites would come online by “Summer 2013.”

What Do You Think Those Gray Dots Represent?  Future Supercharger Sites?

What Do You Think Those Gray Dots Represent? Future Supercharger Sites?

Beyond the “tripling” of the Supercharger network by “Summer 2013,” Tesla never officially promised anything.  That “tripling” was Tesla’s only official goal and it’s a goal that will be met later this week.

By Tesla’s words (and not by relying on some “projected” site map that gets updated by IT guys), it’s been confirmed to us that the goal of “tripling” the Supercharger network by “Summer 2013” will be met.

So, in closing, despite all the hair-splitting going on, we’d like to simply congratulate Tesla on its tremendous achievement.  But even if a  Supercharger went missing here…or an extra one popped up there…should any of us care that much?  No…let’s celebrate with cake, because everything is better with cake!!!

Source: Forbes via Green Car Reports

Additional Sources: Tesla Motors

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31 responses to "Forbes Defends Tesla’s Supercharger Honor and We Do Too"

  1. kdawg says:

    It’s funny how Forbes is defending an EV, only because its stock is doing well. They are fair-weather friends. And of course they will attack a website with “green” in the name. LOL

    1. drpawansharma says:

      That might be true for forbes in general, but this blogger mark rogowski has bucked the trend and defended electric vehicles staunchly and patiently. I am a regular reader of his blogs on forbes green tech. And tell you what, he is actually winning over people by his courteous and patient replies even against rabid tea party commentators.

      1. kdawg says:

        Thanks, good to know there some “fair & balanced” bloggers at Forbes.

    2. MrEnergyCzar says:

      I thought maybe they are defending Tesla because many of it’s readers want one or know someone that has one…

      MrEnergyCzar

  2. Aaron says:

    Graphics don’t get updated by IT (information technology) guys, they get updated by marketing people and/or graphic designers. IT does the grunt work keeping computers running and information flowing.

    Take InsideEV’s logo. It looks like it was created by an IT person, not a graphic designer. Who else would use a “scary”, Halloween-themed font for their blog on electric vehicles?

    http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/itc/chiller/chiller/

    1. Eric Loveday says:

      Yes…our IT guy mistakenly used the wrong font and we loved it so much we kept it in place…That’s sort of our point you see…The graphics might be updated by designers, input by IT guys, scanned by a few interns and signed off by some marketer, but never once have we heard this official 18 “new” announcement come out.

      1. Jay Cole says:

        …I’m impressed you know the name of obscure fonts Aaron, (=

        1. kdawg says:

          LOL, i think I’ve commented on the fonts before. Technically isn’t this font called “slasher”?

          1. kdawg says:

            Oops, meant Chiller (but I kinda like the name Slasher better)

            1. Aaron says:

              “Slasher” does sound better for that font name. 🙂

              I’ve been a professional graphic designer for 32 years and a web developer for 26. Being called an “IT person” is a bit of a sore spot because IT people are generally not creative, and creative people aren’t generally programmers (though I fit both).

  3. evnow says:

    GCR has an update to the story.

    http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1086987_sorting-out-the-superchargers-doing-tesla-math-for-forbes

    Sorting Out The Superchargers: Doing Tesla Math For Forbes

    1. Eric Loveday says:

      The update was linked in our original article, but thanks for sharing it again.

  4. kdawg says:

    “What Do You Think Those Gray Dots Represent? Future Supercharger Sites?”
    ——–

    Hurricane Tesla?

    1. Eric Loveday says:

      Good one kdawg

  5. Ocean Railroader says:

    I really don’t view this as Tesla breaking any words with this in that it does take a lot of time to go though local planning departments to get permits to build these things. Such as they could have 80 stations planned and have 80 of them going though 80 different local planning departments and each local planning department.

    The Generation 3 car is what to me will break if Tesla is lying or telling the truth.

    1. Eric Loveday says:

      Agreed…most of this is truly beyond Tesla’s control. The Superchargers are coming..the Superchargers are coming.

  6. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

    “No…let’s celebrate with cake, because everything is better with cake!!!”

    Celebrate with fruitcake:
    https://www.collinstreet.com/pages/I35_store (Waco Supercharger is open)
    (https://www.collinstreet.com/pages/i45_store (Future location))

  7. DonH says:

    “By summer” and “By the end of summer” are three months apart, and total chargers are of course world-wide. I think they are doing a great job. I’m in Santa Monica right now and I can’t look sideways without seeing a Tesla! Amazing.

    1. Eric Loveday says:

      Yep…it was never an absolute, set-in-stone deadline, which is obvious by how Tesla worded it…Typically, when an automaker says “by summer” it really ends up meaning “by winter of the next calendar year or maybe never” lol…so we applaud Tesla for staying so close to this arbitrary guideline of summer

  8. Brad B says:

    Great Job Eric on your analysis of Tesla’s Supercharger build out timing. When I read that article by Dave Noland last week, I rolled my eye and said to my self “there he goes again”.

    In my opinion, since I first read him, his articles when he writes about Tesla have a negative slant against Tesla, despite his occasional positive remarks and statements. I don’t know, perhaps he feels that he has to point out any perceived lack of performance by Tesla’s company claims, projections or product to show he is not a pure fanboy or something, especially since the man has put his money on the Tesla horse and bought one. But to read his articles, it seems like he is a kid that wants to complain so as to be the squeaky wheel to make Tesla speed up on their promises, so he can have his benefits for owning a Tesla happen faster. It is almost like he bought the car but shorted the stock and lost. Not that I believe that is true, it just seems that his writing tone is from that perspective when it comes to Tesla. He is sorta like the Broder of Tesla owners. You can always count on some negative slant in his Tesla articles. Even Forbes felt the need to Defend Tesla from him, his article was so whiney. As obviously, you did also.

    What Tesla is doing is unsurpassed in the history of the automotive world. No car company in history has provided such a wonderful vehicle in its first ground up design and committed the resources to build out a completely free, and eventually self sustaining nation wide fueling infrastructure, just to make their cars that much more useful. Dave in his nit picking seems to have lost the big picture of what is really happening here. Elon has truly embarked on changing the world in a way no one else has and from what I have seen so far regarding the Supercharger network and knowing how difficult it can be getting county permits for any new electric technology installation approved, let alone getting those permits negotiated on a hard timeline with the political and safety vagaries of local county permit boards.

    What Tesla has done so far in siting superchargers, and will continue to do, is nothing short of amazing by any measure. Comparing that accomplishment to Dave’s complaining two weeks before the date deadline has even arrived and not understanding Tesla’s promises to boot is to say the least disingenuous and overtly negative and nit picky. It does Tesla no favors and shows everyone Dave’s true colors. Thanks again for the great rebuttal.

    1. Eric Loveday says:

      Thanks for the kind words Brad. They’re much appreciated for sure. It took quite a fair amount of effort to put all of this together in a way that was based on facts. We tried our best to present it right and we’re glad you agree with us.

    2. drpawansharma says:

      He bought a tesla didn’t he? Cut him some slack he loves his tesla but may be he doesn’t want to come across as a giggling fangirl:-) check out his story on service nirvana at GCR.

    3. kdawg says:

      Good post Brad. Noland’s article reminds me of Louis CK’s bit on wifi on the airplane.

      http://www.comedycentral.com/video-clips/1myllo/stand-up-louis-ck–the-miracle-of-flight

      “How does the world owe you something you didn’t even know existed 30 seconds ago?”

    4. Kickincanada says:

      Fantastic post! Well said!

  9. Tyl Young says:

    I’ve said it before, a paradigm shift is underway in the automotive industry and we are watching it in real time. This is the biggest industry shift in a 100 years and Tesla is almost alone in making it happen. The Tesla Supercharging Network buildout is right on track regardless of who you” listen” to. So check it our for yourself. The he said, she saider’s foul it up every time. I have visited many of the TSCN sites as they go under construction and certainly view all the photos of those that are far away to make certain the paradigm shift is… shifting! You go TESLA! Congratulations on…… just gittin’ ‘er done!

  10. MDEV says:

    Tesla in building a charging infrastructure for free, a thing that the government should be investing in.

  11. Priusmaniac says:

    Usually what is not possible now is so because you didn’t throw enough technology at it.
    I nice thing to do is take back the old 1920 popular mechanics and analyze every system in it with present day tech. Most of them are or become possible. One can do the same with past machines. I have got a favorite in the X-22, a kind of fanned V44, that flew in its time but that I could make hyper efficient with today’s hybrid technology, if not on pure electric.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell_X-22

  12. GSP says:

    Tesla has explained that the gray dots are Superchargers that are in process, waiting for permits, inspections, utility hookup, etc.

    The red dots are fully operational Superchargers.

    GSP

    1. pjwood says:

      And the red dot in RI? I am happy for them, but we shouldn’t deny there have been negative surprises.