Elon Musk On Why Supercharging Won’t Be Free For Model 3 (w/video)


Supercharging Not Free For Model 3

Supercharging Not Free For Model 3

Earlier today, news broke related to Tesla Model 3 supercharging. In summary, Model 3 supercharging won’t be free.

Now we’ve come across a transcript from a four-hour presentation hosted by Tesla CEO Elon Musk and CTO J.B. Straubel. The presentaion was part of Tesla’s annual shareholder meeting in Mountain View, California yesterday evening.

Elon Musk directly field questions related to Model 3 supercharging.

Here’s what he had to say, according to Tesla Updates:

“… we wanted to make it really straightforward and easy, that’s why the Superchargers are set up at -least today – for people on board the car to travel long distances for life. Obviously, that has fundamentally a cost… The obvious thing to do is decouple that from the cost of the Model 3. So it will still be very cheap, and far cheaper than gasoline, to drive long-distance with the Model 3, but it will not be free long distance for life unless you purchase that package. I wish we could [make it free], but in order to achieve the economics, it has to be something like that. What Tesla’s motivation is, to make electric transport as affordable as possible. That is what informs all of our actions. It’s not because we want to make things more expensive, it is because we can’t figure out how to make it less expensive. That’s all.”

J.B Straubel commented too:

“It also pains us to see people mis-valuing their time at charging stations so often, it is far more convenient and faster for you overall to charge at home or at work. It takes one second to plug in, you don’t have to go to a separate location and wait for the car to be there. Time and time again, we see people drive to Supercharger stations, wait there for 30 minutes and drive to a different destination. And if they do their math – and they value their time – it makes no sense.” 

So, there it is…right from the two top-level execs at Tesla. There’s no disputing the facts now.

Below is a full YouTube live-stream from shareholders meeting. (As we have come to expected, not everything started on time).

Source: Tesla Updates

Categories: Charging, Tesla

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152 Comments on "Elon Musk On Why Supercharging Won’t Be Free For Model 3 (w/video)"

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It… it was NEVER going to be free. The only new bit is that they will allow you to opt out.

I’m not sure it’s a deal breaker for me, but FREE supercharging is what I was looking for, for my travels. During the reveal, Elon said “All Model 3’s will come with supercharging standard.” In other words, we won’t have to pay for supercharging, thus the word STANDARD. He said that the supercharging gives you FREEDOM of Travel. He didn’t say the supercharging was FREE, but I am sure his statement was intended to make everyone believe that the car comes with free supercharging, and not just supercharging CAPABLE.

Comes with Supercharging standard obviously means just that.. it comes as a standard feature on the car. In other words, the car is capable of being Supercharged.

During reveal video, Elon said that “all Model 3’s will come standard with autopilot HARDWARE.” He clearly said that only the hardware was STANDARD (is included in the cost of the car). But when he mentions supercharging, like I said previously, he said, “All Model 3’s will come with supercharging standard.” Not supercharging equipment/hardware, but SUPERCHARGING.

Like I said, not a deal breaker, but say what you mean and mean what you say. Don’t make statements that are intended to make the prospective novice Tesla owner expect a standard feature and then learn they have to pay for it to function. Like buying an ICE vehicle that comes standard with air conditioning and then being told you have to pay to activate the air conditioning.

I’m happy to pay the cost for lifetime supercharging. I did like the idea of charging a reasonable price to use a supercharger system to charge my Model 3, and then simply bill me since you know who I am when I charged my car.

If he meant free, he would have said free. That’s what they say for the Model S on their webpage and in PR.

I don’t know what the problem is. It was very clear to me that “standard” is a different word from “free”.

Waiting, after seeing this point and discussing it on a few articles, I thought I should review the Reveal Video on the Model 3 page again! In the Vudeo, beginning at a time of 12:57, to about 13:03 and continuing to 14:06, Elon introduced it like this:

“With respect to Supercharging, all Model 3’s will come with Supercharging, standard!”

He continued to cover numbers of Suoerchargers, Destination Chargers, and discussed that having a vehicle is about freedom, and they will be expanding Superchargers to double what March 31st had, and Quadrupling the number of Destination Chargers to give Tesla Model 3 owners that freedom!

So, I must say, since the video background said ‘Supercharging Capability’ on screen, the two aspects kind of look like Elon might have made promises before looking at the net cost of the unexpected high demand of Model 3 reservations!

Thank you Robert!

I don’t give a rip if I have to pay a little more to use the supercharging. But don’t tell me it’s standard (Like automatic transmission is standard on an ICE vehicle), and then expect me to pay to have to use it. That is not what STANDARD means in the sale of vehicles.

Agreed, 100%.

someone has to pay to install more superchargers and if it is asked to pay 2000 $ to assist in putting a supercharger between point a to b i would gladly do that.

Sure, autopilot hardware and supercharging connector/hardware are included in the car, you just have to pay to use either of those. Don’t see where he said they would be free recently. They install the autopilot hardware even if you don’t buy it because they use the data to test how their system would function. You pay $2500-3000 for the software bit flip to use it, is my understanding.

On my second Tesla S and I paid for supercharger twice, why Model 3 would be different?

No everyone draw the conclusion that it wasn’t going to be free since they made very sure to not say that. They would have said precisely that if it were. Supercharging capable as standard is what they said and most people took that to mean that you get the supercharging hardware but not the service.

They were careful not to say “free” during the reveal – that led to widespread speculation that it would not be free, for at least two reasons:

1) cost, and
2) overcrowding.

It looks like they had both in mind – Musk stressed cost, while Straubel clearly alluded to overcrowding/abuse of the SC network.

You are correct I heard the exact same thing and that’s exactly what they say during the reveal deceptive advertising the best !

Hopefully this means others could use and pay which would be well worth it.
I know I’ll use it if allowed and install the correct plugs, etc.


Hmmm, well, I think part of the problem here is the way advertisers use the word “free”. It’s used as a selling ploy, and often deceptively.

I’ll point out that Tesla uses the description “free for life” for Model S Supercharging, despite the fact you do have to pay a lifetime access fee. (The $2000 access fee is now included in the price, so is “standard equipment”. But you still pay for it.)

It would have been more honest if Tesla had said “Supercharging for the Model ≡ will be free after paying the lifetime access fee.” And yeah, they were being coy about not making that clear. So definitely some lack of honesty there in their advertising.

Sadly, such lack of honesty in advertising is more or less standard practice, at least by American corporations. Note I’m not defending the practice, merely noting that it’s the usual business practice.

Let us work it out. Let us say that the average M3 will travel 10,000 miles per year. Let us assume that it will take 150 watts per mile. So this is 10000*150=1,500,000 watts per year.

Four panels 250 watts each exposed to 2500 hours of sun shine will produce 2,500,000 per year. More than needed, but let us go on.

Four of these lovely panels cost $500 max.


So it is very little money.

So what is the fuss is all about?

If you pay $35,000 for a car then you can $500 extra for the electricity for 20 years!

Your solar generation estimate is way off. In most of the US you’ll see at maximum 20% of rated output from your panels. For us in the midwest it’s even less, not to mention winter.

Nearly everything he wrote is way off.

He must mean watt hours, not watts.

It takes about 330 watt hours to go a mile, not 150.

Average mileage is more like 13,000 miles.

The best places in the US get about 2,200 hours of noon equivalent sunlight, most are under 2,000.

Hum..I actually use 1 kWh per 8 kilometer or so on my Leaf.
It’ spring and no heat or a/c needed.
No over speeding but just steady traffic pace.
The point is 150 watts per mile is optimistic but 330 is overblown for the future M3
Put it at 225 watts per miles and you’ll be close.
+ 200 miles on a less than 60 kWh battery is close to 255 watts per miles anyway.
Those are what model 3 are supposed to have.

“watt hours per mile”, not “watts per mile”

The Model 3 will get over 200 miles per battery on the base model, so bigger battery packs will have higher mileage.

Yes he is off but closer than you ambulator.
First the 3 is likely to be 200wthrs/mile or less.
Next you can buy panels very cheap, under $.50/wt. Sunelec, others.
So 1kw of panels gives a US average of 5kwhr/day or over 25 miles /day on the 3.
Musk pays even less as owns part of solarcity.
So for under $500 Musks cost would cover any 3 supercharger needs for traveling through not daily use.
My own EVs will get under 150wthr/mile and where EVs are headed.

I was wrong in thinking it was the Model S. Still, it’s more like 250 watt hours per mile.

I am a HUGE PV and EV advocate. But such fuzzy math is counter productive! Inverters are free? 150 watts/mile?

Use accurate numbers.

I tell you what, let us double the cost from $500 to $1000. Big deal.

A Supercharger station costs a couple hundred thousand dollars just to install, let alone utility demand charges which typically can account for 2/3 of the electricity costs then.

Correctly done solar doesn’t need an inverter to charge EVs . As long as high enough voltage it will charge directly just fine.
I’m setting mine up to do just that as part of my home/EV system.
Or better feeding into a battery pack that the station uses to feed EV chargers.


I’m seeing a lot of bashing of the OP’s $500 dollar estimate, but no alternate dollar amount. Is the OP off by $100 bucks (trivial), or off by $500 bucks?

If somebody has something more accurate, can they post it? Thanks.

my 17 panels + install + inverter = $14k nearly 3 years ago. for 4.25 kwh’s. I will not ever see that high of an output in Arkansas. I harvested 495 KWH last month. that means I could harvest enough energy to drive a little over 2k miles each month. A smaller system would do to offset 1k miles per month but would still cost about $5k or more.

My 21 panel 327 Watt SunPower + Inverter + Install was $27,000 in 2014. Subtract out the 30% tax credit and my system was about $19,000 complete. I live in the Denver, CO area. System is rated at 6.867 KW – typical peak production at highest point on a clear day is about 5500 watts (5.5 KW) – when the sun shines through and bounces off clouds the system can easily max out my inverter at 7500 watts. I have averaged just over 800 KWh of production per month over the last 22 months. Panels are worthless without an inverter (or micro-inverters) – and are worthless without the wiring to bring it into your home – so simply making assumptions based on panel cost alone is worthless. Post tax credit – my system installed was $2.75 a watt – there is a large amount of the purchase price which goes into the fixed costs – so don’t make the assumption that a 4 panel 1000 Watt system is going to be $2750 either – I would place a rough guess that even a small install of a 1 KW system is going to start at least at $5000 or more.… Read more »

Never ceases to amaze me how frickin’ expensive solar is in the US. I installed 12 250W panels last year here in NL – 3495 EUR was all it costed me.

Coz in this crazy country, the guy with a truck, ladder and drill somehow thinks he deserves to live in a $500K house with a truck and SUV in the driveway plus his boat, ATV or dirtbike in his garage.

Amazingly, he gets away with it. This is suburbia America.

You can get it here if you shop like Sunelec and have a local electrician permit, install is under $1.50/wt in 4kwhr and up.
I’m installing a 1kw off grid , battery and dc generator with a 3kw inverter in my new home for under $1k including running a/c in Florida in my small home.

I have the same. An mppsolar.com 3kva inverter, 1000 18650 batteries in 7s and (~1000/7)p. Old laptop batteries that give me 6 to 7 kWh I do not use a charge controller. I have panels that has a max voltage under load that will make the 7s go up to 4v * 7 = 28v because of the voltage drop and the heat in Cairo Egypt. And I have 2 250 watts solar panels in parallel. I get about 3400 of sun shine hours per year. I have a Samsung AC inverter 1 ton that cost me nothing to run all year round. Batteries inverter and panels were for a little over $1k. The Samsung ac was about $500. The inverter is 2.4kW which can take the lights washing machines fridge freezer TV chargers laptops etc. So all in all for less than $2k I am almost off grid. I use the grid for the water heater of the dish washer, the micro wave, the toaster etc. At the end of the month I pay for 300kWh to the utility. It is highly subsidized in Cairo Egypt so I pay about EGP60, that is $5 a month. Yes FIVE dollars… Read more »

Cairo, Egypt! Now there is a place for some great sun! Well done, sir!

install is a huge part of the cost. nearly 50% of mine was install; however, I am not physically able to scale my roof or have the equipment to keep me safe on the steep pitch of my roof. So, I had to pay to have it installed. I also made sure that I had the best warranties around that cover hail damage etc. we get quite a bit of hail in Arkansas.

I’m always amazed how cheap it is in Europe

Tell us your secrets!
Did you self-install?
Is that after a government incentive?
Is the permit system very easy and cheap?

I self-installed solar PV so it was ridiculously cheap. I highly recommend that those who are capable to do it themselves. The project is basically installing a money printing machine on my roof when you have a good net-metering arrangement and an EV.

But I realize most people won’t be able to do that.

Nix said:

“I’m seeing a lot of bashing of the OP’s $500 dollar estimate, but no alternate dollar amount. Is the OP off by $100 bucks (trivial), or off by $500 bucks?”

Doesn’t matter. It’s not so much that Alaa’s numbers are off. It’s that what he posted is almost entirely irrelevant to the question of how much it will cost Tesla to build Superchargers and provide electricity to Model ≡’s.

What Alaa posts can almost always be described as “not even wrong”. It certainly is in this case.

Oh, goodie, another post from Alaa… which means another post containing nothing but misinformation. *sigh*

The cost of a Tesla Supercharger is about $50,000 to supply two stalls. Not including the cost of buying or leasing the land, installing pavement, nor the cost of maintenance.

Very little of the energy for Supercharging comes from solar panels, despite Tesla’s hype about “solar powered” Superchargers. So the cost of electricity will be close to the going rate for the region where the Supercharger is installed, even if it’s one of the few Supercharger stations with a solar roof.

It will be interesting to see what the price point is. On the S60, it was $2K at order time or $2500 after the fact. Given the smaller battery and lower price point of the M3, I would guess somewhere in the $1K to $1500 range.

Has nothing to do with the size of the battery, and everything to do with how much electricity consumed (directly related to miles traveled). People who buy lower-end cars are more likely to drive to their destinations than fly.

I’m expecting to see the same $2k/$2.5k charge, with maybe options for a 10,000 miles use-pass

It appears there will be both a pay per charge and a pay in advance then free for life deals:

“…it will still be very cheap, and far cheaper than gasoline, to drive long-distance with the Model 3, but it will not be free long distance for life unless you purchase that package.”

One of major obstacles to EV adoption is that many people, such as apartment dwellers, can’t home or work charge. The charging speed of the Superchargers would be a viable alternative for people who can’t home charge but Tesla discourages this kind of day to day charging. At least we have companies like eVgo that try to support the DCFC needs of local populations.

I agree that Model 3 buyers are much more likely to have apartments. To think that they would clog the supercharger network with “at home” charging is a real problem. However, it’s something to bring up with property management. Either it gets added or you move. That’s the beauty of apartments: no responsibility to maintain the property. I know it is coming, sure at the high end first, but I’ve seen places in town advertising it. How is this Tesla’s concern? Talk 2 Chargepoint.

The better solution is adding chargers at apartments. It is basic electrician work.

I live in a 60 year old condo that had no plug near my parking space. It took the engineer almost 30 minutes to install a plug for my car. He didn’t want me to pay for it because the material was so cheap it wasn’t worth writing up a work order.

It is only a 110 volt plug, but it is more than enough to overnight charge my Volt 99.9% of the time. The 0.1% of the time I have most of a charge when I take off in the morning.

I praise your Condo owner/manager!!!

I suck down at least one full charge almost every day. It takes about 20 hours to charge my car on 110V. For my EV to work the way I need it to I need access to a L2 charger either at work or at home.

It takes about 3 hours to charge my car on L2. If I could charge on CCS at 50kW then it would only take about twenty minutes to charge. If I was an apartment dweller I could see myself waiting at a charging station for 20 minutes each day to charge my car but not three hours.

Well done, good sir!

It won’t be so easy in a lot of other situations. But it is not that hard and the long-term gains make it worth it even if it costs a few thousands to get a charger installed.

I think there should be some program wherein the renter, the apartment complex owner, and the local utility all pitch in a little for apartment installations. It is a win, win, win:
1) The renter can now charge up an EV and drive on electricity.
2) The apartment complex increased the value of their property with this addition. They will be able to rent to EV owners.
3) The utility gets a customer that will consume a large amount of electricity at night when they have lots of spare capacity.

Everyone pays a little, everyone wins!

I believe this solution to be very unrealistic over the short term. Installing chargers at apartment complexes would require a significant financial expenditure for wiring installation from complex owners even if the apartment dwellers bought the chargers. The only way we are going to get a significant number of apartments wired for EV chargers is to get cities to pass ordinance requiring the wiring and that’s not going to happen any time soon.

You should try living in Santa Monica…

All the more reason to be pushing for these changes now. We really should require any new construction include X number of charging stations, and all parking spots wired for adding stations in the future.

What the hell does DCFC have to do with home apartment charging????
Does GM offer anything for home apartment charging????
Does Ford offer anything for home apartment charging????
Does Honda offer anything for home apartment charging????
Does Toyota offer anything for home apartment charging????

If an apt complex won’t accommodate move elsewhere, otherwise the EV does not fit your lifestyle at home.

Doesn’t sound like you own an EV or know anything about EV charging.

Then enlighten us all on how many home apartments have DCFC or even home residents that have DCFC 480VAC in their home that didn’t retrofit to make the accommodation.

By all means please tell us all and give us some examples and links…

and those that do not have the 480VAC for DCFC probably don’t know anything about EV’s and charging by your logic.

Also looks like you completely missed the subject of the comment.

DCFC 480V, Level 3, or 40kw-115kw, is NOT found in homes. Homes are 240 volt, 3kw-20kw, typically.

Musk and Straubel are not apparently accommodating those who need regular local charging. At least, by omission, they don’t support it.

Think about it. Even if Tesla were inclined to price a package to support these (condo) kind of users, the Supercharger footprint would have to look a lot different. I find 8 chargers local to Boston, like I found 8 chargers on I-70 in Kansas. If Tesla were interested in local support, they’d have to substantially beef up the number urban SC’s. Not happening.

I’m pretty sure Nikola Tesla would find a way to address ap dwellers’ case. Though, seeing the actual state of play we can’t ask him to, can we ? One thing is imminently certain – as months and years creep by, we will be hearing more and more about Nikola Tesla, as no viable longstanding resolution is gonna be established until Nikola’s findings are 100% applied.

True now.
But I believe it will be solve sooner than most think.

Texas FFE said: “One of major obstacles to EV adoption is that many people, such as apartment dwellers, can’t home or work charge. The charging speed of the Superchargers would be a viable alternative for people who can’t home charge but Tesla discourages this kind of day to day charging.” People who cannot charge at home or at work shouldn’t be buying a plug-in EV, period. The time will come when just about every parking place will have a slow EV charger within reach. As PEV sales grow, that will create demand for parking lots and curbside parking with EV chargers. But that is for the future, not today. At present, those who don’t have off-street parking simply aren’t in the market for a PEV. Note you don’t need a garage; just a driveway. An EV charge point can be mounted on the outside of a house, or on a post next to the driveway. I can’t imagine that most PEV owners would be willing to spend hours sitting at a Supercharger station, twice a week or so, waiting for their Model ≡ to charge, just so they don’t have to charge at home or work. Sure, there are a… Read more »

Yet Musk promised “free” (free as in included in evrey #Model3 car price) Supercharging back in January 2014 in Germany.

And it’s gone…

He promised free hardware. Nobody listens to me.

Didn’t even promise the hardware would be activated for free. Some people just heard what they wanted to hear.

Oh really?

How come they changed the Model3 website language:


Look at the screenshots.

Overpromise and underdeliver – after thousands of people already deposited $1k.

LOL, Tesla has definitely delivered compelling EVs and the proof is in their 93% customer satisfaction rating which is far ahead of all the other OEMs.

EVERY Model 3 from a base model to the highest trim will be capable of Supercharging and Auto Pilot.

“Capable” but disabled in software means “not capable”. Which means big LIE, no excuses needed. There is zero difference for customer if it is NOT capable because of hardware or software, it is still not capable and you need to pay to enable it.

Musk specifically did not say “free” at the reveal – leading to widespread speculation that it would not be free, including manifold discussions in the comment threads on this site.

No surprise here.

The exact words were “All Model 3 will come with Supercharging standard”. Tesla is slowly moving the goalposts as they realize the $35,000 base price of a 200+ mile vehicle is not feasible, and fanboys are defending the moves while attempting to call critics liars. This is disappointing.

[Model 3 Reservee]

Musk deliberately did not say “Free” at the reveal – leading to widespread speculation that it would not be free, including in many comment threads on this site.

No surprise here.

“Standard” in auto-speak means ” included with the purchase” my friends…

When a car comes with “standard’ equipment.. that means “included in the base price”

“optional” means “at an extra cost”

what part of the M# would need to be equipped any different for supercharging??

A bit of back peddling mr musk???

– Supercharging “Capability” standard

Yes, I think that was the language used. Definitely intended to be misleading. Not an outright lie; those of us who were paying attention noticed the weasel word(s).

But lying by implication, certainly. Sadly, another case of Tesla hype.

I am not a Tesla owner, nor even a Fanboy. However, I suspect that the typical Tesla watcher took Musk’s explanation as accurate, the SC hardware would be included as standard but there would be a fee to activate it. This is contrasted by GM’s separate cost to buy a Bolt EV with CCS. They plan to sell(or at least offer) versions of the Bolt EV without it. At least with the M3, you could purchase a base Model 3 without paying for the activation and later add it in. Not so with the Bolt EV.

Right on. Correct context and correct interpretation.

Musk promised all Model 3s will be capable of Supercharging, i.e- will be built with the necessary wiring.

Unlike FUD spreading, slimy stock manipulator troll’s like tfwtf who don’t even drive an EVs, Musk and Tesla actually are selling things of great value to individuals and greater society.

Tfwtf and others like Mark Spiegel are purely financial gamblers (with mostly other people’s money) who DO NOT create any new wealth, they merely leach off of the greater society. In other word, tfwtf creates nothing of value that benefits the greater society.

Yes, let’s attack the messenger (as if you knew what I do in my job) instead of looking at Tesla’s promises. Once again:


See the difference in the screenshots?

I know you only comer here to spread anti-Tesla FUD.

tftf whinged:

“…as if you knew what I do in my job…”

Well, obviously for you, writing and posting anti-Tesla FUD is a full-time occupation. Whether or not you call that a “job” seems rather irrelevant. Obviously you don’t have time for a real full-time job, considering how much time you spend online bashing Tesla, on Seeking Alpha and other forums.

“Supercharging capable” was not what was originally promised. What was originally promised was “…will come with Supercharging standard”, very clearly interpreted as, “Supercharging is built into the $35,000 price”. Not so now, because they changed their plans.

If an ICE manufacturer advertised cruise control is standard, that doesn’t mean it’s cruise control *capable*. If they advertised “air conditioning standard”, that doesn’t mean there’s an open gap in the engine bay where an AC compressor can be mounted and belted as a option. Standard means standard. Tesla changed their position on what was standard.

Tesla is moving the goalposts, and I fear this is only the start. The M3 when it’s released, if they can even achieve the $35,000 price, will be bare bones.

14 gallon gas tank standard.

I agree that they left the language deliberately vague, but they never said “free” SC for the Model 3, so that led to widespread speculation that it would not be, for very practical reasons.

No surprises here.

It’s not a hardware issue (wasn’t for the old S60s, either) – it’s simply an activation fee.

His statements were ambiguous. Probably intentionally ambiguous. A little sleazy? Sort of. When you say something ambiguous, you often do so with the intention of the listener filling in the gaps with what they want to hear.

Trump has been a master of the tactic. At least Elon uses it for a better goal.

I was really hoping there would be a pay per use option, and that’s how I interpret the statement “So it will still be very cheap, and far cheaper than gasoline, to drive long-distance with the Model 3, but it will not be free long distance for life unless you purchase that package”

There is no way I’m paying $2k to have super charging for life, but I was worried that might shut me out of the network. I’m encouraged that there will/may be a pay per use option.

Tesla already knows what car is getting charged and who owns it, so they can just send a monthly bill for super charger use. That will avoid having to install pay terminals at all the stations. Although I’m not sure how tesla deals with second hand cars.

Through the CPO program, it gets handled rather invisibly. I don’t know about third party sales, but I expect you call them and for help.

The payment process will likely work like the unpopular battery swap.

At 10 dollars a charge, you can go 200 miles * 200 charges = 40,000 miles. That’s a lot of highway miles. How much will be charge for a fill?

The full video can be found at the link below. The Supercharger Q&A starts at 2:38.


Free…..lol, no such thing.

If you want the SC, pony up for the SC. Even just doing that you will still be in the same price point as the Bolt, which has no SC nor does GM have any type of infrastructure widely developed out for their products like Tesla does.

Agree it was naive to believe you’ll get the includes of a $100K vehicle with a much less expensive one. However, the Bolt EV will likely be $10K cheaper and in California there will be far more CCS chargers than superchargers available. What the Bolt EV won’t have are DC chargers located along interstates. People will have to decide what’s important to them.

The Bolt EV will be 10k cheaper then the Model 3 because Chevy will have to discount the inferior Bolt by 10k to compete with the Model 3 when it hits the road.

I agree . . . people were quite naive to assume a $35K car would come with free fuel for life.

If it sounds too good to be true . . .

People need a good amount of skepticism.

Smooth timing on that one. If they said this on, e.g., March 25, then Model 3 reservations would have been halved. After all, for day-to-day and even day-trip driving, a 107-Leaf or a 120-mile eGolf (both available *years* before the Model 3) are p-l-e-n-t-y enough. Practically speaking, the main motive in buying a 200-mile BEV is to break the road-trip barrier. Of course there’s the mass-consumer psychology aspect which Musk has been playing so well. But on the ground, that’s what it boils down to, and sooner or later consumers will be more familiar with the facts on the ground. If you need to pay $2k extra for road-trip viability on top of the Model 3 price, you might as well get a much cheaper 100-mile BEV right now rather than wait 2-3 years and fight the crowds, and rent an ICE when you go on road trips. The only honorable way out for Tesla is to go for the standard, pay-per-use approach like the ChaDeMO and CCS charger companies are doing. This way you can buy your Model 3, and pay extra only on road trips, still better than renting an ICE. Between the lines of these Musk/Straubel quotes,… Read more »

“If they said this on, e.g., March 25, then Model 3 reservations would have been halved.”

Patently ridiculous.

Let’s take a poll: I’ll start. I’m keeping my reservation.

Since the reservations are fully refundable, I guess it means that reservations will be down to around 185,000 in a couple of weeks.

We’ll see.

Yeah, keeping my reservation too!

They never specifically said “supercharging will be free for life” like they do with the S and X. Unlike some people here, I never assumed that it would be free, and I went in on my reservation with that knowledge.

If they had meant “free”, Elon would have said “free”…. he did not, so I figured there would be some cost associated.

Wait, what exactly are you trying to say?

Are you trying to say that if people have to pay extra for a feature (or pay per use of that feature) that people should buy a car that doesn’t even offer that feature at any price?

Yeah, he lost me too.

I think few people expected free lifetime SC charging. It’s simply not scalable once you’re doing mass volumes — SC is a service whose cost to provide is a function of usage (electricity, real-estate, installing & maintaining HW, not to mention expanding the network).
It’s been proving countless times that providing a cost-depends-widely-on-usage service for a flat rate is bad business and frustrates customers who have unrealistic expectations… Just see ISPs and cellcos.

Re TEsla speficially, see Straubel’s talk here, a bit over a year ago, 13min in:

Tesla thought they’d make it free until they had about 1M cars on the road, to avoid dealing with billing; they did not expect to to it indefinitely. I think they’ve retought that number… In Tesla’s place, I wouldn’t offer any upfront-flat-fee option for the Model 3.
It’s clear from what was said now there’ll be a per-session (or the like) option. If I were TEsla, I’d give every buyer 10-15 free sessions a year for 4 years, which should cover a reasonable 4-5 long-distance trips a year, or a few emergencies.

Oh, and fully agreed that it was an a****** move to say “supercharging is standard” during the reveal without making it clear that they meant “SC _hardware_ will be standard” — unlike what they said re Autopilot, where it was made clear.
I and many others picked up on the language immediately after the reveal, and in discussions elsewhere speculated that this vagueness meant it wouldn’t be free.

The term “free supercharging” is itself a misnomer. If you look at / listen to Tesla financials, the cost of supercharging *today* is built into the cost of Model S/X vehicles. Just as you won’t be able to buy a Model 3 for $30,000 (because the starting cost of $35,000 is based on the projected cost to build, plus a profit margin), you don’t have to pay $37,000 – $38,000 to subsidize all other users of the SC network if you happen to not need it. Like others, I’m hoping for a pay-per-use model, although I don’t think you can interpret anything that has been said by anyone at Tesla as saying what the payment model will be; only that there will be a payment to use SC with M3.

“you don’t have to pay $37,000 – $38,000 to subsidize all other users of the SC network”


To me the even larger issue is the potential for overcrowding the Supercharger facilities by hordes of Model 3’s.

Just to help with that problem, some form of pay-per-use supercharging will be needed to cull the numbers.

Prepayed “free” supercharging won’t work as it will just inculcate the entitlement mentality and end up clogging the SC system, giving EVs more of a bad name among the ICE crowd.

Someone here raised this same issue (SparkEV?) a while back from his/her own observation of local charging habits.

Pay per Use !!!!

Yes, I bitch often about the evils of “free” (aka, prepaid). It seems there are still some who are not convinced that “free” is evil, but I’m glad many like you recognize the potential for problems. That might be one of the biggest reasons to avoid Tesla 3 if they have too many taking/paying for the “free” option.

As I often say, free charging SUCKS!


Unfortunately, “FREE!” is a powerful and well-proven advertising tool, and it looks like Tesla isn’t going to resist the siren call.

I’m glad to hear Musk talk about what sounds like a pay-as-you-go business model, as an alternative to what sounds like a (hopefully very steep) lifetime access fee.

It would be better for all Tesla drivers if all Supercharger access was pay-as-you-go, to discourage clogging the system by people who don’t really need to use a Supercharger. (And abuse by Uber/Taxi drivers using it for commercial purposes.)

But Tesla Motors will probably offer the lifetime access fee because advertising it as “FREE!” will attract more business.

Tesla 3 doesn’t need free charging to be able to sell well. Pre-paid unlimited charging is just shooting themselves in the foot, and it will have HUGE negative consequences when people are waiting (and waiting and waiting) when millions (billions?) of Tesla 3 are on the road. What does it matter if it’s free if you can’t use it?

If they offer pre-paid, the fee should be high enough to setup up another supercharger. That will discourage “free” as well as having more of them setup for those who truly need them. Unfortunately, not gonna happen.

I like it. I don’t think I’ll be traveling much on superchargers – so paying for that upfront makes no sense to me. Yet, allowing pay-per-view lets me buy the energy when I need it.

It sounds like there will be 3 ways to purchase Supercharger access:

1) Lifetime access bundled into the base price (all current Model S and Model X sales).

2) Lifetime access as a separate option (old Model S 60 and future Model 3 sales).

3) Some sort of paid non-lifetime access.

I personally would rather purchase my charging separate. Bundling it with the purchase price (either as an option or included in the base price) makes it so I have to pay sales and licensing tax on the lifetime charging.

This also helps people who are leasing, and won’t own the car for life, and don’t want to pay extra up front for something they personally won’t use.

There was never “free” supercharging, it was always prepaid, either bundled into the price, or as an option.

The rational conversation is about topics like what pre-paid lifetime charging is worth to you, and how best to handle non-lifetime charging costs. If you are here to hype a non-rational attack as part of some axe to grind, or personal agenda, or as a stock shorter, don’t bother replying to my post.

Absolutely, the point of so any of us here!

Well said, and thanks, Nix! 🙂

I hope it will be less than 2k.

My guess is it will cost $2.5K to flip the boolean value of SC_ON = TRUE


+1 Prediction $2,500, because Tesla can’t afford to have its SC’s over-run. A check of the map also shows they’re developing a national footprint, over an urban, sub-60kwh Model 3 war-zone:

Nothing is ever free, not even the +20% shampoo in a bottle. It is always in the price or in the price of some other product – the producers of any product are not humanitary aid organizations – they have their economics to meet / investors to satisfy, so nothing is free. Also with Model S / X – you already paid for it when buying the car – yes, you do not have to pay for every usage, but you still paid for it already in advance. What is positive with Model 3 – you can get the car without paying for superchargers – especially advantageous in places of the world where the SC network does not (yet and in coming decade) exist.

You can get people for free. How many do you want?

You definitely are from Egypt. 😉

I’m somewhat surprised. Obviously there is high cost involved in maintaining charging infrastructure, but there is normally also high cost involved in marketing and the “free for life” slogan was pure gold for marketing.

So I expected a conditional free to use policy, the conditions being: no free use of local superchargers (charge at home already!) and a (steep)fee after keeping a Supercharger stall occupied after a certain amount of time, say one hour.

Of course Model 3 has proved to sell itself without any promises of free stuff, so I guess it makes sense to make people pay, also as an easy way to counter abusive practices.

Chris O said:

“…the “free for life” slogan was pure gold for marketing.”

Yes, but for “premium” cars like the Model S and X. And there have already been complaints about waiting lines on holidays, when traffic is heavier than at any other time of the year.

Now, consider what happens when there are 10x as many Model ≡’s driving on highways as Model S’s and X’s. Even with Tesla building more stalls, there can’t help but be clustered clogging of the system in certain areas, especially on holiday weekends.

Tesla doesn’t want its “pure gold” of free marketing from Supercharging to turn into “pure dross” if news reports start appearing of widespread clogging of the system. The backlash could be terrific from people rightly complaining about having paid thousands of dollars for a lifetime access fee, if the system is too busy to use when they need it.

I’m sure Tesla is thinking about the possibility, and planning for how they can minimize it. Different pricing structures, to discourage drivers Supercharging when they don’t really need to, would be one way to minimize the problem.

Yup, as expected.

I had a feeling that these would’t be free but I’d like to see something more to the tune of…

10 free supercharging sessions a year for any Model 3 owner.
$750 for unlimited Supercharging if purchased with the vehicle. Good for the life of the vehicle.
$1000 to add unlimited Supercharging after the purchase of the vehicle.

I think this goes a long way to support the occasional need, or a once or twice a year long journey. I think it also presents a dilemma for someone who may want to purchase unlimited charges. Is it worth it? Maybe not unless you live very close to a supercharger yourself or have a job that requires a lot of travel. I also think that the advent of 200+ mi EVs will actually decrease the amount of L2 stations because most people will charge at home and not need the daily boost except for in rare cases.

Oh and unlimited supercharging isn’t transferable to a second owner. Also the price for a pay as you go supercharge should be about $20 for a 30 minute session. This puts it comparable, or slightly cheaper to a fuel efficient ICE car. Assuming that most owners would keep their cars for 5 years or so, this would mean that the $750 unlimited fee would pay for itself in about 38 charges. So if you use a supercharger more than 10 times a year, you’re better off paying for unlimited.

At first sight supercharger access would be the same as for Model S, but then again one could argue that the number of KWh per mile for a Model 3 is lower than for a Model S, so it takes less electricity. But that would only apply for a third of the price since on board system, R&D and building the superchargers likely make the other two third. So instead of paying 2000 $, you would end up paying 20% less on a third of that which means 1867 $. Although the part for the onboard system could also be cheaper to the same proportion in which case you would actually have 1733 $ to pay.

Priusmanic said:

“So instead of paying 2000 $, you would end up paying 20% less on a third of that which means 1867 $.”

I suggest looking at it from a different direction:

The average Tesla Model S has an 85 kWh battery pack, so can charge significantly faster than a car with a 55 kWh battery pack. So a Model ≡ will have to sit at a Supercharger significantly longer to charge for the same distance. This means Model ≡’s will need more Supercharger stalls per car than the average Model S or X.

Therefore, Tesla will need to charge a higher access fee for the Model ≡, because Tesla will need to build more Superchargers per car.

Well I actually don’t care much how I have to pay for supercharger access as long as I can do it whenever I need to. Upfront or per use it is OK. However what I do care about is that superchargers numbers would grow with the car numbers and that charging power would not stagnate as a result of expansion demands. It is at 135 KW now but I would like to see it increase further to 200 KW and then to 500 KW for a true 10 minutes charging experience.

500 kW would mean some serious peak demand charges from most electric utilities. It may be $5/kW in places having no issues balancing grid, or it may reach whooping $42/kWh somewhere in San Diego with third of the power coming from intermittent renewables. And it may stay for the whole year once you keep peak power for even 15 minutes – nothing is free, and electric grid needs to invest to be ready to provide you these megawatts on demand.
500kW * 10 cars charging together even once per month or year * $42/kW = $210,000 each month. Now guess what would be your price to charge at such supercharger and would you still want to go with electric battery on your road trip?

It is quite simple to put a cap on charging power when a set max is reached in order to avoid the problem you describe. It is also possible to have local storage combined with local solar power production. Actually those 3 fit just fine. Solar panels for production, battery for storage and doubling as peak shaving and electric cars that run on the supplied electricity.

It is simple to put a power cap technically, but then you’ll have 1 mile long line on Thanksgiving or any busy day and what your customers will tell you and what media will report?

Solar has nothing to do with it, you can’t order Sun to come out of clouds when you need to reduce peak demand.

The same for batteries, 1000 kW (4000 kWh of powerpacks would cost you about 2 million dollars, plus installation. That is just for some 8 x 120 kW chargers that take minimum half an hour to charge.

It should be obvious now why Toyota isn’t very enthusiastic about battery cars further than local transportation. They are not idiots and do calculations and understand that it doesn’t scale very well at mass level. Electric grid gets too expensive at such power levels.

zzzzzzzzzz posted more FUD:

“500 kW would mean some serious peak demand charges from most electric utilities…
500kW * 10 cars charging together even once per month or year * $42/kW = $210,000 each month.”

Oh gosh, more anti-EV fear-mongering from zzzzzzzzzz. What a surprise. >:-(

Any large commercial building will be drawing 500 kW, or more. As I understand it, demand charges are applied when a commercial or industrial building suddenly demands significantly more power than it has contracted for from the local utility. As I understand it, demand charges can be mostly or completely avoided by either using a battery buffer or else simply contracting for more power on a regular basis.

Yes, you can use battery buffer. Some $500/kWh powerpacks, great idea. Do you have idea how much such charging will cost when you add capital costs?
40 powerpacks can provide 1000 kW power, just enough for 8 120 kWh charger.
Cost: just $2,162,000.
You obviously have no idea how industrial electricity bill looks like. Electric utilities may go with per kWh pricing only as there are few smartass residential customers with power generators and high welding equipment. But it is not the case when you reach industrial consumption level. Then you need to pay your share for capital cost of peak power just being available to you any moment you demand it, and it can reach 2/3 of the bill. That is per kW, not kWh.

“So it will still be very cheap .. to drive long-distance with the Model 3, but it will not be free long distance for life unless you purchase that package.”

I’m still confused. Is he saying there will be options other than the “long distance for life package”, or not?

That’s what it sounds like to me. They may actually be developing a pay-per-use plan of some sort.

Yeah! I hope they do that. Give people the option of per-charge usage (with a really high rate for that) or the ~$2K lifetime fee (with restrictions that make it for long distance driving only, not charging up near home.)

That’s literally what’s he said, without giving details (which I suspect they haven’t decided yet).

There’s nothing literal in what he says. It’s very vague. If he had said “We will have a pay-per-charge plan”, I would be satisfied. Now we are all just guessing.

Why is anyone shocked? The model 3 is a city car in its based configuration. If you want long distance Tesla, get a CPO model S or pay close to $50k for the model 3.

Model 3 range
215 miles at 100% SOC.
172 miles at 80% SOC.
30 mile buffer at lower aer.
Usable range is 142 miles.
15% lose due to speed, elevation, AC/heater, etc..
120 mile real range.

Model 3 price
Base: $35k
Destination: ~$1k
Supercharger access: $2k
Bigger battery 70kwh: $9750 ($650/kWh)
Sales tax: $4295.50
Total cost: $52,047.50
Federal tax credit: $7500
California rebate: $2500
Total cost: $42,047.50

Those are some silly bogus numbers you have there kid.

I seriously doubt the pay for use model. The entire point of paid upfront is so that cash can be used to build out more SC networks. With model 3 influx of new owners, the SC network will need a significant upgrade with both number of stations and number of sites. The Pay for use model won’t generate enough money upfront to pay for the upgrade and expansion. Tesla will be in the cash flow negative without requiring the upfront purchase. However, I guess they can include it in the higher optioned Model 3 since that is what they will be building for the first 6 months to 1 year anyway which should pay for some of the SC cost. I think the Model 3 will ultimately pay for it two ways: 1. Expensive “life time option” but limited to long distance usage only with “limited usage per month”, might be low cost to zero cost per session. But high upfront cost. 2. Pay to get into the access program and then pay per session. An upfront fee to allow you access and then per access session fee. Low upfront cost, but high per session fee. It is almost like… Read more »

Why not? It just depends on how much you charge. Charge a high amount to make it cover the costs. If you really need the charge then you’ll pay. Or buy the lifetime subscription.

Because the expanded SC needs cash upfront to build out more.

Pay per use model means that Tesla has to finance the cost of SC network expansion first. Financing cost money.

You’re ignoring the fact that from Tesla’s viewpoint, the primary purpose of the Supercharger network is to promote new car sales. In that respect, it’s certainly worth the investment in the same way that a retail “loss leader” is worth losing money on a certain percentage of sales.

What Tesla needs to do at all costs is avoid negative publicity from a lot of clogging of the Supercharger system. A pay-as-you-go system, which discourages casual use, will help prevent clogging.

Hopefully Tesla will set the lifetime access fee for the Model ≡ high enough to encourage many drivers to go for the pay-as-you-go model instead. Fewer drivers using the Supercharger system when they don’t really need to means less clogging, which means overall more happy customers in Tesla cars.

I will pre-fix this comment by writing that Tesla has already sent warning’ letters out to some MS owners that habitually are using their local supercharging stations to charge their vehicles… these charging stations are for “traveling” NOT for daily commuting.. or because you are too cheap to install a 240V 50amp socket….

Tesla calls the system “traveling charging stations”

“Standard” in auto-speak means ” included with the purchase” my friends…

Now…..traditionally , like for the past 90 years or so….when a car comes with “standard’ equipment.. that means “included in the base price”

“optional” means “at an extra cost”

what part of the M3 would need to be equipped any different for supercharging??

A bit of back peddling mr musk???

I think elon wanted model 3 to have supercharger as standard; elon being such a people pleaser. The adults at Tesla probably overruled musk.

That certainly could be true. He is known for making promises that are far too aggressive.

The bean counters are quite right to reel him back into reality at times.

Future Supercharging will work like this: you plug it in, set the charge limit and when it is met, it will unplug itself and drive itself to a non-charging parking spot. That way some of the crowding can be mitigated.

I won’t buy supercharging for my model 3, but I will be prepared to pay a small premium once or twice a year for longer trips.

Does anyone know what is Teslas solution for apartment dwellers?

If you own a parking space with the appartment then you could install an outdoor EVSE, or push for workspace charging. If that fails – Supercharge all the way.

Superchargers are not intended for everyday charging, period.

If you can’t talk either your landlord or your workplace into installing an EV charger for your use… well, Tesla would never tell you this, but your options are:

1. Find a new place to live.

2. Sell your car and get something that’s appropriate for where you are living.

Fortunately Tesla cars have a high resale value, so option #2 should be relatively painless.

I wish Elon made the Supercharger charge situation clear during the announcement however it probably is a case where he wanted to make it free and talked like it was free but then somebody did the math on the number of reservations and number of superchargers that need to be built so they are not swamped with lower range Model 3’s.

I can see a time in three years from now when an hour wait for a supercharger could become routine on weekends. This can only be prevented by a massive expansion of the supercharger network as it exists or by providing every gas station with a supercharger space or two.


We love Elon mask for his innovative working doing for his company and the world. We are very impressed for his work for solar city and tesla power wall.

I am amol from loomsolar.com, India’s premier solar online store, It is new startup, making India a dark free country.