Here’s Why Tesla’s Supercharging Network Will Prevail

JAN 1 2019 BY MARK KANE 162

Tesla accounted for ~ 80% of all-electric car sales in the U.S.this past year.

From time to time we read in comments about the fairly decent Tesla Supercharging network and not that much progress in the case of CHAdeMO or CCS Combo 1 (SAE J1772 Combo) DC fast chargers.

Tesla was able to cover most important highways and some metro areas, deliver 120 kW DC output, developed its own charging connector and even the fees are comparable with electricity costs. Why the two other standards were progressing much slower – initially with just 50 kW and no infrastructure supporting long-distance travel?

Well, let’s take a look on the demand side for DC fast charging. The demand is highly correlated with the number of fast rechargeable cars (we obviously need to skip all the PHEVs, which don’t have a DC inlet or, in the case of i3 REx, doesn’t have that much incentive to use DC charger on the route as a BEV).

Volume

Tesla had two major advantages over the past six years since 2012 when the Model S came out. First is the volume of sales of fast rechargeable cars – almost all of the 318,000 of S, X and 3 sold so far have the ability to use Superchargers (besides no more than a few percent of Model S cars several years ago, when DC was an option). No other standard can boast such a high number.

Last year, Tesla accounted for almost 80% of all-electric car sales in the U.S., which obviously will translate in higher demand for the infrastructure.

Premium segment

The second advantage is the premium segment – the higher prices and higher margins translates to the ability to invest in the infrastructure. The advantage of having the network partially pays off because it encourages more customers and is like an ad.

In the high-end segment, battery capacity and charging power is usually higher, as well as the demand for long-distance travel capability.

 U.S. BEV Sales (Cumulative) By Charging Standard (Potential)

In case of other standards, the volume and average prices are lower, so it was more difficult to support the infrastructure rollout – regardless of who would pay for it (manufacturer or 3rd party network).

CHAdeMO

Nissan LEAF and CHAdeMO plug

Japanese CHAdeMO standard was the first, but despite it being the same around the world (as the only one), it failed to become a global standard (it’s losing traction in Europe and the U.S. and didn’t catch on in China).

Besides the Nissan LEAF, initially Mitsubishi i-MiEV and Kia Soul EV (soon it will switch to CCS), there are no models for the CHAdeMO chargers. As LEAF sales remain disappointing, everything that CHAdeMO can count on is the dual-head chargers with CCS.

Only about 136,322 LEAF, i-MiEV and Soul EV were sold by November 2018, but as not all of them were equipped with the CHAdeMO DC charging inlet (we assume maybe 75-80% are), there is a smaller fleet and slower progress, as well as no need for much more than 50 kW chargers.

CCS Combo 1 (SAE J1772 Combo)

Chevrolet Bolt EV w/Optional CCS Combo

North American’s version of the CCS started around 2013 with the Chevrolet Spark EV (discontinued in 2016), followed by BMW i3, Volkswagen e-Golf, Chevrolet Bolt EV, Ford Focus Electric (DC from 2017), Hyundai IONIQ Electric and Honda Clarity Electric. The latest model is Jaguar I-PACE. Those models in total noted over 103,000 sales, which determines the potential for CCS. As the BMW i3 was available with REx and DC was an option (only for 2014 in the U.S.), we assume that probably less than 65-70% are fast rechargeable (but more like 95% are in the U.S.).

The growing number of CCS compatible models, especially the upcoming premium models (Jaguar, Audi, Porsche, Mercedes), as well as the Electrify America initiative (with hundreds of new stations) probably will highly improve the CCS progress.

It’s still unclear though whether CCS will catch Tesla Superchargers 10 years from now, especially if Tesla introduces the high volume Model Y and electric pickup (the hottest segments), thus securing the majority of BEV sales in the country.

So, in conclusion, Tesla’s dominance on the sales front will alone push the Supercharger network from its already-leading spot to a place even higher up the ladder in the future.

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162 Comments on "Here’s Why Tesla’s Supercharging Network Will Prevail"

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Seems likely.

I‘d prefer them to switch to CCS globally, like they do in Europe.

They can still just let Tesla cars use the supercharger, but you can use a gas station with every brand petrol car, while you can’t with an EV. But soon (if the last CHAdeMO brands give up, too) you can do that in Europe, which would be really great.

We desperately need the widest possible adoption of EVs, and the surest way to do that is to knock down barriers to acceptance. Some of those are educational — lots of people still have lots of wildly wrong ideas about EVs — some are financial — but the declining cost of batteries and increasing economies of scale will likely solve that, in time — and some are infrastructure. Right now, the public charging situation in the US is a dumpster fire. Different networks, different plugs, long charging times, etc. The average car owner would rather drive an ICEv that s/he can fill up at any gas station without a moment’s thought instead of having to learn about charging rates and plugs and how to pay for charging in different places. For those of us (like me) who exclusively charge via a L1 socket in our garages, this situation doesn’t create an immediate impact. But it is a very big deal to many would-be EV buyers. When I talk to friends and relatives about EVs (which I do a lot), it’s very clear that once they get over their range and cost anxieties, the “how to charge” hurdle is a major… Read more »

Which stops being a problem a week after they get an EV. Its entirely psychological.

Nah…if you want to use your EV to drive long distances, it is a pain in the butt for an EV except for a Tesla. (And even with a Tesla it can be a pain in the butt at times.)

For local driving, yeah, entirely psychological.

Agreed, but how do we get people past the perceived hurdle? While CHAdeMO will continue in China it does look like CCS will rule in America and Europe

I think you mean CHAdeMO will continue in Japan. China has its own, and different, charging protocol.

I hope that Americans and Europeans will eventually agree on one EV charging standard… which will likely be CCS, and certainly won’t be Tesla’s. However, since we’re still using incompatible (European vs. American) plugs for electrical appliances, I’m not sure that’s going to happen. 🙁

But if we can come to an agreement — which I guess means an agreement by the governments, since auto makers obviously aren’t moving to agree on a universal EV charging standard — then that will certainly put pressure on the rest of the world to follow suit. I expect China can resist that pressure if they want to — altho even China might fall in line, as Chinese EV makers move to market their cars in Europe and the U.S.

Yes, the EV revolution desperately needs a true universal charging standard.

That will never come so long as Tesla’s cars use a non-standard charging protocol, nor will it ever come by expecting legacy auto makers to adopt Tesla’s proprietary charging protocol — or any other protocol controlled by one of their competitors.

I’d love to see the U.S. government step in and mandate that all future plug-in EVs have to use CCS-compatible plugs… as the EU has done. We’ve let the situation go on too long as it is; obviously the various EV makers are in no hurry to agree on a universal standard, so the government needs to impose it on them.

Tesla does not want a universal charging for the very reason that they think their charging system is an advantage. But they won’t mind making adapters for so Tesla’s could use the other standards. Musk isn’t as much interested in saving the world as promoting his brand. I get it.

Let’s not forget that most gas stations in NA have four different types of fuel, only one of which is intended for any given car. Future EV chargers may indeed just have multiple connectors just like gas and diesel are separate now. (There are even stations that have only gas or diesel in NA.)

We have gas(low, mid and premium, some cars only take premium, but others can take all of them), diesel, E85, and bio-diesel. The good thing is, a car that runs on E85 will also take any grade of gasoline. A car that takes biodiesel will also run on regular diesel, just like a conventional diesel car will take biodiesel. If you put E85 into a conventional gas car, it will cause damage, but as long as you catch your mistake in time to dilute it down to E35 or less, it won’t be a serious issue(maybe a few bad sensors might result)… So, the situation with EV’s is a bit better, since the plugs are all physically different, there is no way to mistake the different charging systems and voltage standards. Of course, CHAdeMO(in the US) is only propped up by Nissan, when they finally go with CCS, that means we only have 2 standards. If Tesla does the same thing they did with Europe(hopefully they do), then maybe by Q3 2019, there will be Tesla’s on the road, that use CCS stations. And Superchargers with CCS plugs. Also, if Tesla can come up with a payment system, they could… Read more »

No, just three. I guess you mean diesel as the 4th, but only a minority of gas stations have diesel.

Not in Ohio, very few stations don’t have diesel.

“(we obviously needs to skip all the PHEVs,”

The Mitsubishi Outlander comes with a DC charge port. You would think writers for Insideevs would know that.

https://www.mitsubishicars.com/outlander-phev/2018/specifications

I thought this was an Evannex post when I started reading this. They’re are declaring winners and the real race for the other 99% of the market hasn’t even started.

The entire point of the article is presenting reasons for their assessment of the future. Let us know how you disagree with the logic presented. I just don’t see how anyone is going to catch up with the supercharger network in the next 5 years no matter how much of the EV market share anyone else captures. It’s not clear yet that any of the ‘newcomers’ understand the competitive advantage of charging that is convenient to interstates in the US.

Audi are one of the newcomers. Audi’s parent company is creating a network of charging convenient to interstates in the US, called Electrify America (EA).
EA have the largest network of High Power Chargers (HPCs) in North America, and the HPCs have been going live at the rate of about one a day for months now.

EA also have roaming agreements with the USA’s 3rd-largest CCS charger network operator (Greenlots), and two others. (Greenlots also now have a roaming agreement with the USA’s 2nd-largest CCS charger network operator).

Can you point to any case in history where a proprietary technology has succeeded in becoming the universal standard?

No, I don’t think you can. There are cases where a formerly proprietary technology fell out of patent protection into the public domain and became the universal standard, but that’s not the case here. Tesla’s Supercharger protocol is a proprietary standard, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

Looking at history, we get a truly universal technological standard one of three ways:

1. Enough manufacturers get together and agree on one standard that everybody else is forced to get on board. Examples: DVD and Blu-Ray.

2. There is a format war that continues until eventually one format gains dominance in the market. Example: VHS vs. BetaMAX.

3. The governments get tired of manufacturers refusing to agree on a standard, and impose it equally on everyone. Examples: seat belts, air bags, and gas stations dispensing unleaded gasoline (and the gas pump nozzles for those)

Sadly, none of those three scenarios appears to be happening in the U.S. with EV charging protocols. I’m glad that at least the EU has mandated all future EVs be CCS compatible, but so far that’s just Europe.

How about VHS taking the market from Beta, considered the superior technology. Happens all the time using advertising. Tale politics for instance ……

Same reasoning for i3 REx applies to Outlander.

True, but it doesn’t excuse missing an electric vehicle that has been middle of the pack in plugin vehicles sales and has a CHAdeMO charge port. This is a web site that specializes in plugin vehicles!

They of course know that but short range PHEVs of course do not count. Range extended EVs (there is only one so far, the i3 REx) could and probably should be counted.

65.8% of my driving in 2018 for my Outlander was done on Battery. Of course they do count. That’s close to 7,000 miles of Petrol/Gas I didn’t buy.

Back when EV’s were first hitting the market, one of the common bits of advice for sub-100 mile potential buyers (like the Leaf) was to buy it as a second car in a two car household and then use the gas car for longer trips.

That led to pure EV’s like the Leaf driving around 9K miles per year on average on electricity, while these families used their second gas car for longer trips. At 7K miles you are only a little bit behind those stats, without having to have a second gas car for road trips.

That definitely counts.

https://insideevs.com/annual-electric-miles-traveled-varies-widely-8-plug-electric-cars/

I read that as saying PHEVs don’t matter for this discussion because they don’t need charging networks for long distance travel. They can just use gas.

I don’t think that the US model has a DC charge port.

I don’t know why people are downvoting this comment. It is 100% correct.
Reviews of the latest version of the Outlander here mention the DC Charging.
I used the CHAdeMO port on my Outlander this morning when I shopped at Lidl.

I just don’t see a business case for standalone charging network. If they price it like Tesla (roughly utility), there’s no way to make money they spent on installation. They necessarily have to price it higher, which reduces demand. Lower demand = lower profit, may need to increase price further in death spiral.

Yet there are standalone charging networks thriving…

Question is, how are they thriving? Yes, they are installing stuff, but how much money will they make or will they even break-even in their investment? I just don’t see it long term.

By selling adds and kw’s for the EV’s at the charge station screens. Kind of a Facebook model.

1) Are there chargers that actually do this? I hope not, it sounds awful.

2) Is this even a valid business model? When filling a petrol car, you are standing there looking around for 5 minutes. When using a fast charger, you plug in and walk away. Who’s going to take notice of the ads?

I think he’s deluding himself by thinking for-profit chargers are going to be paid for with advertising. You can run a website that way, but not a hardware network which needs to be maintained!

There are, unfortunately, some gas stations which show video ads while you’re pumping gas, but I think that’s a reaction to the gas station making very little if any profit margin on selling gas… that being so very, very competitive.

EV fast chargers won’t need to be so competitive, because they will be more rare, and people will still be mostly charging up at home and/or at work, not mostly paying to charge at an EV fast-charge station. Using such a station will be a convenience, and thus worth paying for that convenience.

Unlike gas stations, the average PEV driver won’t visit an EV charging station every week.

They are intentionally managing their pricing to intentionally just break even. Same as their service departments.

The long term plan is to net-generate across the United States more electricity with solar than the superchargers use, so the long term plan is for Tesla to become an electricity utility where they are producing their own electricity at below utility wholesale prices by installing their own solar and producing their own solar panels. That is the long term plan.

With Tesla, they can even continue to lose money, because superchargers are effectively advertising budget. I’m specifically questioning business model for standalone chargers (ie, not tied to manufacturer or utility).

If various companies are continuing to install new chargers and are keeping most of the old ones maintained, then common sense says they must be making a profit at it.

I have seen various claims that, for example, Blink is out of business, or about to go under, but that’s just normal competition; Blink has priced itself out of the market.

The for-profit EV charger business is small, but it’s going to grow every bit as fast as PEV sales grow. Right now, only 2% of new car sales are PEVs. Imagine what it’s going to be like when that is 90% or more!

Up the EV revolution!

Why?
NonTeslas will still have to use them, even if the price is a lot higher than @ SC.

Teslas will onnly show up when there is no SC available, an in this case the few € do not matter.
For European Teslas with CCS the situation will be exactly what I have been wishing for since I first testdrove an S in August 2015.

AFAIK, there will be no free Supercharging for the Model 3 in Europe so they will have to pay to use the SC. I know of at least six 50kW CCS chargers that are totally free to use. Guess which one the Model 3 owners will use?

Yes, and hopefully the situation with European Teslae and CCS is exactly what the EV market will move toward. That is, every car will be equipped for CCS charging, whether or not it is also equipped for some other DCFC protocol (such as Tesla’s cars equipped for Tesla Supercharging).

Or, you know, it doesn’t have to be CCS. Maybe the EV makers will finally get together and create a true universal charging standard; what CCS should have been from the beginning, but wasn’t, which is why Tesla couldn’t use it and went their own way.

But no way is Tesla’s proprietary charging protocol gonna become the universal EV charging standard. Anybody who thinks that’s gonna happen is ignoring the lessons of history very firmly indeed.

At first glance, it would make sense that people would automatically consider the company providing the cheaper fueling option. The problem in comparing to the gasoline model in an above thread is that you don’t use it the same. The standalone network is for 10% of most driving needs, therefore (within reason) you won’t look for the cheaper station. If you did, then everyone would buy a Tesla for they are offering at utility rates. Now that is surely a bonus for Tesla but when people start doing the math it shouldn’t be the deciding factor. If the average EV driver spends $800 annually on fuel and 10% of that requires a charging network, $80-$160 is not going to change your habits. Currently, Tesla’s network is a sound reason for buying a Tesla “if” you require the network. That is based more on convenience than paying utility rates. I like using the Tesla network but would have no problem paying double the utility rate for the few times I need it. Paying double would mean the average US EV driver would pay a premium of $80 annually for convenience. That is a very small price to pay to change the… Read more »

Right, when I drive to Florida from Toronto I use $200 in gas each way. But the rest of the year I use ten times as much gas driving around (especially city driving).

Once I get a Tesla or other long range BEV daily driving costs will drop to a fraction since I would charge at home, thus the long distance driving be my only time spending money.

I will buy a Tesla because of there nice looking cars, constant improvement, first to make supercharger stations, low fee rate for superchargers, best battery, no independent dealerships, excellent sales staff, Tesla’s mission statement, and they actually want to make EV’s. + Elon Musk

I completely reject the argument that charging prices don’t matter. Maybe for the first round of early-adopter BEV purchasers, who only care about helping the environment at any price, but for the general public? No freeken way. Maybe I’m still angry because I saw a station charging the gasoline equivalent of $15/gallon. And gasoline stations have legally required large prices posted. The charging stations do not and often put it in really tiny print that you need reading glasses to see (I’m talking Chargepoint). Electrify America is another data point. They charge per hour instead of per kilowatt (which Tesla stations do in the states that allow it). That means the ultracharging Porsche drivers will be paying 1/4 the cost of a Hyundai driver, which charges at 1/4 the rate. You don’t think that’s going to make people upset? Again, I’m talking the general public here, not you. You, and the rest of the readers of this site are the exception. The public cares about how much they are being charged, and for a long time they are going to think in terms of dollars per gallon, not kilowatts. Tesla stations have an enormous cost advantage over most other stations.

Meh. $15/gallon equivalent is too high but a high price on a long-distance highway route isn’t that big of a deal. 95% if the time you charge up cheap at home. If you pay a high price 2 or 3 times a year to be able to handle a long drive, its not that big of a deal.

While that may be true for a lot of people, for those of us that do the majority of their trips long distance the high cost of recharging outside of the home will be something to seriously consider when thinking about the financials.

If 70% of your energy is more expensive than gas that’s a big red flag and something that will kill EV’s for long distance drivers. Obviously for commuters that’s not as big an issue.

Charging prices DO matter. When there are prices ranging from £0.00 to £0.15 to £0.30 right up to £0.78 per kW it matters a lot.
As for £5.00 connection charge per visit… Those operators really need to go Bankwupt right now. IMHO, even £1.00 is too high. We don’t pay to visit a Gas/Petrol Station now do we?

If you drive a gasmobile, you have to go to a gas/petrol station to fill up on a regular basis. But lots of people who drive BEVs never, ever charge away from home. A few years ago, one survey said 55% of BEV drivers had never used a public charger.

It’s not the same thing at all, and we can’t expect EV fast-charge stations to be run at the same razor-thin profit margin as gas stations.

Now, that’s not to say that we should excuse price gouging at EV charging stations. But those stations will only price themselves out of the market; perfectly ordinary competition will soon sort that out.

You’re completely ignoring M. Hovis’ point: That the overwhelming majority of PEV charging is, and will continue to be, charging at home or at work, where you’re not paying for anything except the electricity, at least not after you pay to install the charger itself.

For the most part, charging at a DCFC station will only be done when on an extended trip, where people are more willing to pay “outrageous” prices because their time is valuable, and convenience is worth paying for.

Look at it this way: If Station A has a fee of $25 for 300 miles worth of charging in 20 minutes, and Station B across the street has a fee of $33 for 300 miles worth of charging in 10 minutes, do you really think few people will choose Station B?

The difference in price paid when charging 10% of the time, or less, isn’t going to have much impact on the choices people make when buying cars… or at least, it shouldn’t. Many other factors will be more important.

When you start driving an EV for a year we will discuss this matter again. You are still missing the point that 90% of your fueling happens at home.

Margins for a gallon of gasoline have generally been razor thin (a few cents per gallon), especially for the independent operators. They are really hoping you buy a 2$ bottle of water or better yet, a fountain drink.

The secret for a gas station is volume. When you look at the size of those storage tanks, and realize they get filled probably on a weekly basis, you can see there is some money to be made with a 3-5 cent margin. Those tanks also represent a huge expense and liability. I can’t imagine an independent operator, or a Kroger/Costco/Walmart, not seeing the opportunity to offer charging as way of getting someone to spend 20 minutes in their store and skipping the liability of a leaking storage tank.

It still amazes me that there aren’t fast chargers at every Starbucks on a highway

What you say might make sense if people charge up at star bucks as often as they use gasoline. But the biggest perk of EV is charging at home. I don’t see how Star Bucks etc can justify $100K DCFC for something that’s rarely used.

Making it cheaper than home charging could spur usage, but that means even more money lost than $100K installation cost not to mention clogging problem.

The problem is that other that Tesla, there are no other cars with good DC fast-charge ports. You need at least ~200 miles range AND a >100KW DC fast charge port to be an EV for long distance driving without it being a hassle. None existed until now with just a few way too expensive models coming only recently.

The “>100kW” seems very carefully chosen, given that the fastest-charging non-Tesla on the US market peaks at 100kW.

What matters is the average charge rate to 80%, and the efficiency (kWh/mile)

Which is why a Hyundai Kona Electric drew with a Tesla Model X on a long-distance trip that required charging. (Race organised by @TeslaBjorn)

You’re citing an almost totally meaningless case. It seems pretty clear from the report that the drivers were trying hard to have a tie outcome; neither was trying to win the “race”, and the Tesla driver, at least, took time out to answer questions from passersby about his Tesla car.

Run that same race with two drivers using optimum charging/ driving strategies and trying to minimize wasted time, and the outcome might be rather different.

The Sheetz chain of stores is now installing Tesla Superchargers at many or most locations. But Sheetz is sort of a combo fast food restaurant, conveniences store, and filling station; not the usual type of store most people shop at.

Are there Starbucks on highways? I thought that was pretty much just an urban thing.

Lots, along with McDonalds and other coffee/fast food chains.

Fast chargers in their car parks would be ideal in less populated places. Driving into a town is a pain to refuel/charge, but dropping into a little service area off the main highway is easy. A 5-10 minute stop every 2-3 hours for a drink/snack/leg stretch is convenient only if it’s right off the highway.

For a network with selective charging locations, it’s possible to make money in high volume spots, but that’s not enough to make EVs attractive.

This reminds me of efforts to privatize public transit. Companies can make money on the most common routes, leaving the money-losing ones to the city.

The biggest difference, IMO, is vested interest. Tesla absolutely MUST make their network have the highest reliability with perfect communication of availability, or it will hurt vehicle sales. Such direct consequences doesn’t exist for charging networks or even VWs Ionity/Electrify, because the sales consequence of screwups is miniscule.

Vested interest, absolutely agree. You can see how free charging sucks for many years, yet still continues today (and more free charging via Maven) and only 1 or 2 handles per site despite 9 cars waiting at 2 handle site. When easy money comes from elsewhere, customer service be damned.

Yes, that indeed is the problem with depending on for-profit networks to spring up to rival Tesla’s Supercharger. As you say, those for-profit charging stations will tend to concentrate in high volume places… leaving the lonely stretches in between cities to Tesla Superchargers alone.

That situation will improve gradually, as more and more PEVs appear on the roads, eventually creating enough demand for EV charging stations along highways between cities, just as there are now gas stations.

But with 90% or more of EV charging happening at slow-charging spots at home or at work, there shouldn’t ever be as high a demand for EV fast-charge stations as there is now for gas stations, and thus it seems there will never be even nearly as many EV charging stations as there are now gas stations. EVs are really going to need to display the location of the nearest charging stations, and that info is going to need to be reliable and up-to-date, in order for the average person to have confidence in driving a non-Tesla BEV outside its normal range.

I think DC charges can economically work.
1) Utilities do make money.
2) Then can charge a little more than a utility. People mostly charge EVs at home. Paying a little more now & then so you can do a long distance drive is not a big deal. Just don’t price it more than gasoline.

AC level 2 chargers…that’s harder. Too little electricity per tine to charge much. But they are an enticement for people to come to your restaurant, mall, motel, etc.

It costs about $100K to install DCFC (need at least 2 handles). It’s pretty tough to make that when you’re billing just few cents more than utility, especially since most people will charge at home. Combined with maintenance and service, it’s hard to see how they can make money.

Gasoline stations also make razor thin margins, and they cost millions to build. $100K is a drop in the bucket.

You should see the Tesla charging stations around Coalinga California (1/2 way between San Francisco and LA). 40 at Kettleman City, 20 at Harris Ranch. And they are often close to 100% usage.

And it seems to me that most companies just don’t get it. As has been mentioned above, gas stations make a lot of their money from food and supplies.

Just think about this for a minute. Tesla drivers are wealthy. And when they stop at a Supercharger, they are typically there for 1/2 hour–not the 5 minutes of a gas station. Isn’t attracting wealthy people to a store and/or restaurant for 1/2 hour extremely valuable? You think people would be killing each other over the rights to get a Tesla Supercharger near their location. Harris Ranch, a high end restaurant plus store, seems to be the only place I’ve seen that recognizes and profits from the opportunity.

You really can’t compare to gasoline. Even if all cars are EV, they will not use public chargers as often as gas stations since most will charge at home. Throughput (foot traffic) for EV is far less due to much longer time to charge.

Tesla drivers may be wealthy, but they are price conscious (hence, over crowding at free charging locations vs pay to park sites). I doubt they’ll use public chargers much if it’s significantly higher than home charging.

But for highway rest stops like Harris Ranch & Kettlemen’s ranch, you can. There is always a steady traffic up and down the 5 that connects Northern & Southern California. They’ll always have EVs stopping.

Yes, for your typical gas station in a city, that model doesn’t work. Those will go away when EVs become very popular. But DC fast-charge stations on long-distance travel corridors are very much like gas-station rest-stops with restaurants.

That’s just it. With only very few locations able to make any money, it’s hard to see how they’ll deploy widely.

If you’re spending $10m building a McDonalds/fast food restaurant in the country then a couple of $100k to put in a few fast chargers is relatively minimal cost, especially when you consider the potential extra customers stopping at your location, buying food/drink while they’re there.

Sure, it may not work as well in a built up area, but in lots of North America outside of the NE and California it may well be quite profitable, even if the chargers themselves don’t make much profit.

They need to get that price down.

It’s been reported that Tesla can install an 8 stall Supercharger for $250k. That’s quite a bit cheaper than what other networks are paying to install. Tesla’s Superchargers are also known to be very reliable, especially compared to the other DC QCs.

Obviously, it’s going to take some time to streamline installation and hardware costs, but Tesla has a significant cost advantage due to their volumes.

1) I think that DC fast-chargers placed on long distance travel routes SHOULD charge more than just a few pennies more than utility.
2) These chargers need to be put in by companies also making money other ways….you make the money selling coffee, burgers, internet access, snacks, etc.

I could see restaurants along highways putting in DC fast chargers and offering a free charge if you buy a meal at the restaurant. For now the restaurants would probably need to be at least mid-priced (Chiles, Olive Garden etc) for this to make sense. To keep the costs a little more reasonable they could probably offer 60kW kind if like the Tesla Urban Superchargers since during the time it takes to order and eat a sit down meal even 60kW can add a lot of range.

A DCFC at what speed? A DCFC for what purpose? It’s certainly one thing to install multiple 175 kW ultra fast travel chargers such as Electrify America is doing as opposed to installing a couple of 25 kW DCFC which can be purchased and installed off the shelf for about $15-20K USD each. Note their purpose isn’t as a travel charger. Rather they can be used as a opportunity charger in retail spots where folks will be doing something else for an hour or less. It could be a market to attract more customers. Groceries could attach their store loyalty cards to them where you pay less when you shop for example. One task we probably will all need to participate in is identifying the approximate recharging time for some standard length of time, say an hour, at some standard efficiency, say 4 mi/kWh. As both EV and charging populations grow, folks will need to know that there is a big difference between a 175 kW EA stations that can recharge 400-500 miles in an hour as opposed to a 25 kW DCFC which will deliver 100 miles in an hour. Of course that’s a sight better than an L2… Read more »

I really hope that electric utilities get into the DCFC business. They would be able to use their own personnel and equipment for installation; no need for ridiculous fees just for (for example) digging a slit trench for installing electrical lines, or for digging a slit in a road to run a cable underneath. Utilities do that on an everyday basis.

Utilities might also find it makes more sense for them to install DCFC stations in a pattern designed to provide coverage for a region, rather than just a few chargers concentrated where traffic is highest. A utility may be more inclined to look at the overall costs and revenue for an entire network, rather than making each individual station justify its existence with a stand-alone profit margin.

And at worst, if electric utilities won’t do that voluntarily, well then State regulators can force that on them, in a manner similar to rural electrification.

Utilities LOVE the idea of chargers. My utility paid 80% of the cost of my smart EVSE that wirelessly gives them my charging patterns for market research. I pay 8 cents per killowatt. Think what it costs them. A chance to sell for 38 cents a killowatt? C’mon! They look long term.

Well obviously Tesla has a greater incentive to build chargers. The other car makers sell plenty of cars that don’t need to be charged

Yep.

The other car makers sell plenty of cars that don’t need to be charged
What is filling a car with Petrol(Gas) or Diesel if it isn’t charging it? You are putting a fuel (energy) into your vehicle so that you can use it on the move.
Please tell us what car don’t need to be ‘charged’? (apart from those who never move that is

But there are no Toyota or Ford gas stations; no Chevrolet or Volkswagen gas stations.

Auto makers didn’t have to build gas stations, and most of them are highly resistant to the idea that they should need to build EV charging stations.

Personally, I think they have the right idea. For general use, EV charging stations should be built in response to demand, not to help create demand for EVs, the way Tesla is using them.

I don’t think it’s realistic to expect every individual EV maker to build its own network of EV charging stations. And if they all did, that would make it more likely to see each EV maker use its own EV charging protocol, rather that agree on a universal, true EV charging standard.

We need for-profit EV charging stations that can charge all PEVs (Plug-in EVs)… not just some of them! A universal charging standard will help that happen. And much as I’m a fan of Tesla, it’s not going to be Tesla’s charging protocol which will become a universal charging standard.

That would be like expecting all the cell phone manufacturers to switch over to running the Apple iPhone operating system. Hasn’t happened, and ain’t gonna.

One really nice SC (Super Charger) network feature which I think CCS networks combined with multiple car brands will have a tough time matching is being able to see stall availability real time in the car. I love this feature in my model 3 because it helps me decide whether to skip an SC. The SC network has also proven to be very reliable. CCS networks would need to either match this level of reliability to compete or have much denser coverage so that if one site is down another site is available less than 15 miles away.

It’s not just a nice feature to be able to track SuperCharger availability. It is a requirement.

We can quibble about whether a service that is only utilized 10% of the time is that critical to the purchasing process, or to the conversion process from ICEs, but the reality is that negative charging experiences by a few will translate into a PR nightmare for any EV that cannot provide reliable recharging information. The following article from a frustrated i-Pace driver illustrates the point succinctly:

https://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-ev-charging-challenge-20181226-story.html

It brings to mind the wisdom of customer service – Keep your customers happy, because one disgruntled customer will undo the work of 10 happy ones. And this guy just told the entire subscription base of the Los Angeles Times that EVs are for puttering around town.

You do realize that this article is complete bunk. He only tried L2, not even bothering with DCFC. Yet he know it’d take hours to charge on L2. Why the hell would he pull up to dealer for L2 to sit there for hours? Or “soon I found another charging station” when map on browser shows hundreds of them right away?

Granted, there could be sometimes hours waiting at some DCFC thanks to free chargers, but he would not be locked out of some hotel parking lot. The article is just a hit piece.

“One really nice SC (Super Charger) network feature which I think CCS networks combined with multiple car brands will have a tough time matching is being able to see stall availability real time in the car.”

Let us please be aware that even for the Tesla Supercharger network, this is a very new thing! I was expecting this upgrade to happen much earlier than it did, but I’m glad Tesla finally enabled that.

Some entrepreneur will soon make “an app for that” for CCS charging stations. I predict that this will soon be seen as a requirement for plug-in EVs… not something that is merely “nice to have”.

And different EV charging companies will be forced to join, or see their sales dwindle, lost to those companies which do get on board such a data-sharing network.

It seems to me that this must happen, because public EV charging stations will always be rarer than gas stations. For PEVs to replace gasmobiles, an app in the car and/or on your smart phone, displaying charging station location and stall availability in real time, will soon be seen as a necessity, not a luxury.

At least, that’s how I see it.

Is there a table somewhere that summarizes the above information?

I’m not sure how a proprietary system can “prevail”. In order to prevail you have to have competition, The SC network has no competition in the sense that non-Tesla vehicles can’t use it, and Teslas can’t use the competing CCS or CHAdoMO system either (in the U.S.). So really you have to talk about the vehicle/network as a whole, but Tesla does not have models to compete with the low end Leaf, Bolt, Kona, Niro, etc. and the high end competitors hitting the market are planning much higher charge rates than anyone currently offers, including Tesla. So again no direct comparison. We are talking about a very short period in EV history. It won’t be long (in the big scheme of things) before charging rates become inconsequential to the whole discussion.

I think S/X can use Chademo in the US with an adapter Tesla sells.

No non-VW-Group car can use Porsche’s 800V network (as tiny as it is), so why does Porsche keep touting and boasting about their 800V network as if it will “prevail”? You should be calling out Porsche for its silly taunts by the same argument.

There are ABSOLUTELY ZERO CARS that can use that charger at full speed….not even Porsches.

They pulled a clever PR stunt.

The Porsche charger network of 800V chargers can be used by any CCS-equipped car.
Only about a third of the planned chargers are going to be at Porsche dealerships, iirc.
VW group also own the ElectrifyAmerica network and its 800V chargers, and a share of the Ionity network and its 800V chargers.

As of 1/1/19 how many CCS-equipped cars (not models) sold to the public charge at 800V? 800V chargers aren’t interesting if no one can use their most distinctive feature.

The concept we’re dancing around is “VaporWare”.

This is called investing for the future. Perhaps you may have heard of it?
In a couple of years we will be talking about 500kW and above chargers.
The fact that at the present time zero cars on sale in the USA can use 800V charging really is irrelevant. They will before the end of the year.
If there were NOT 800v chargers already in place by then think of the bad publicity the charging companies would get for NOT thinking of the future (at least 1-2 years out)…

I don’t understand how you can question it when IT DID PREVAIL. Long-term, a public standard will dominate. But for the foreseeable future, Tesla is the only game in town for long distance EV driving.

Yet hundreds if not thousands of EV drivers make long distance journeys every day using non Tesla cars. My former Brother in Law is going from Rotterdam to Northern Italy next week in his non Tesla EV. He’ll be charging it (CCS) along the way.
CCS is the long term standard in Europe. Even Tesla is getting on board with the Model 3’s that are sold here.

Yeah, I’m talking about the USA. Europe has a much better charging infrastructure and a much smaller land mass.

Europe has a much better charging infrastructure, and about the same land mass.
Driving from Finland to Spain is about the same as Oregon to New England.

Y’all are just dancing around the real issue; the one overwhelmingly important variable:

Europe, or at least EU countries, have a much higher population per square mile than does the U.S., and therefore can much more easily afford (on a per-capita basis) a better electrical infrastructure, which will certainly extend to EV chargers.

There are certainly areas of the U.S. with that kind of population density; the “Bos-Wash” area of the East Coast, and part of California. But not the USA as a whole.

It amazes me that the EV revolution has taken off earlier in the U.S. than in the EU. With the EU’s very high gas prices, denser populations, better infrastructure, and the popularity of smaller cars there, I expected PEV sales to take off in a big way there before they did here. But now that things have finally started in the EU, I expect the acceleration of PEV sales (as a percentage of all new car sales) to be faster there than here.

I expect the EU to get a truly reliable, usable, relatively close-spaced network of (non-Tesla) for-profit EV chargers before we see that in the U.S., too.

“Planning charging spots for a trip” is just dumb. We just take our ICE when we go somewhere farther than my EV range.

Exactly what does the Tesla supercharging network win??
A Cuisinart??

“as well as the Electrify America initiative (with hundreds of new stations) probably will highly improve the CCS progress”
Probably?? or most definitely??
Probably… Seriously??

Do you actually think every legacy automaker in the world is going to drop their free and open standard and pay Tesla a fee??
Do you think they would have their brand of cars charge at stations owned and marketed as a competitors brand?? Seriously??

Nissan is not even letting CHAdeMO go and they are doubling down on it in Asia with China…

Sad news for you as the Tesla supercharging network is not prevailing or winning or doing anything more than more of the same…
And CHAdeMO and CCS are only going to grow…
The US needs the GOV to do their job and set a standard…
Good luck with that since they have had almost 10 years to do their job…

What does it win? The very first line of the article:

Tesla accounted for ~ 80% of all-electric car sales in the U.S.this past year.

That’s what they won. Duh. Holy smokes is your post dumb.

“Do you actually think every legacy automaker in the world is going to drop their free and open standard and pay Tesla a fee??”

If I were a legacy automaker, I would instantly sign a reasonable licence deal to get supercharger access for my EVs where my EVs get to charge for the same monetary rate as the Model 3.

The question is what does that license cost per vehicle. At this point, Tesla probably doesn’t want to give out such a deal because the Supercharger network is a HUGE competitive advantage to them.

No auto maker of any size is going to agree to let Tesla be in a position to hold hostage the ability of its cars to charge.

That’s as absurd as suggesting that Android cell phone makers are going to switch to paying Apple for using the iPhone operating system.

I suspect you haven’t really thought thru this issue, Speculawyer. You’re a pretty smart guy. If you really disagree, then cite just one example from history where a proprietary system has become a universal standard while still protected by patents.

I don’t think you can; I don’t think it has ever happened, and the reason why it hasn’t isn’t hard to figure out.

I think too many EV makers have already decided on the CCS protocol for anything else to become a true universal standard, unless the various EV makers finally get together and create something better, less clumsy.

A tiny number of the overall vehicles in the US are EVs (1 million vehicles, or about .3% of the 276 million registered vehicles), and some charging stations already have long lines during high volume days. High volume means no skipping spaces to maximize charging speed. It may be ok for some drivers to wait 40 minutes while their car charges, go get a bite and stretch out while they wait… but waiting an additional 40+ minutes in line on top of their own charging time won’t fly. If the US charging infrastructure is already too small to handle high volume days, how much larger will it need to grow to handle 10 million EVs? 20? 100? How large will these charging lots need to be to handle high volume days? What about when our freight trucks go EV? Will we need to build new power plants around these stations to handle higher peak demand? ICE’s 5 minute fill-ups doesn’t just have to do with getting back on the road ASAP. If you want to stretch/eat, you still can. What it does is get you out of the way of other people that need to fill up. If you have… Read more »
I agree a lot more EV quick charging stations are needed to sustain EV population in the future. Charging speed will shorten with advancement of technology. If charging takes 40 min to 80% or 250 mile range, and average filling up of gas takes 7 min, 6 times more charging stations per EV is needed than current number of gas stations per ICE. Dividing 270 million ICE autos by 1,200,000 gas pumps = 225 ICE per available gas pump. 900000 EV divide by 7500 QC ports = 120 EV per fast charging port. To make the available pumps to 6 times the ratio of ice/gas pumps we need 3 times more fast charging pumps installed than what we have now. For Tesla the ratio is about 40. This is already about 6 times the ratio. However, the majority of EV owners utilize cheap electricity by charging at home overnight. Therefore, we can only guess what percentage of EV drivers use fast charging at any given day. Let’s assume 10% of EV use public fast charging on a given day. Then we Already have more than enough since the ratio is at 12 EV per QC, which is 19 times less… Read more »

The problem lies in the high trafficked areas that will only see super high volumes a few times a year, such as on holidays. You effectively need to build a massive grid of chargers that will only be utilized a few times a year. It’s a massive waste of money and resources to always account for the worst case scenario.

Agree, I mentioned faster charging would solve the issue… but that may require advancements in battery tech as well as in the charging tech. If millions of EVs are sold with old battery tech that’s incapable of 5-10 minute charging, then we have a problem there as well. If this new battery tech or the chargers are prohibitively expensive, then we have a problem.

People want a wholesale switchover to EV for the cool factor.. not for any real logical reasons. Cutting carbon emissions by 95% using PHEVs, as well as using smaller amounts of battery materials (more PHEVs can be produced faster than EVs), and not having to build an entire new charging infrastructure that may need to be completely upgraded in 5-10 years when new charging/battery tech is created… is frankly wasteful and silly.

It is bizarre how you think building more chargers is such an onerous task but literally putting two different drivetrains into every single car is easy-peasy. GM just dropped the Volt because the cost/complexity of having two full different drivetrains in a small car is just silly when you can you can instead just have the very simple EV drivetrain and a larger battery.

I think small cars like the Model 3 & Bolt should be pure EV. Big trucks & SUVs should be PHEV NOW because they are heavy not aerodynamic and thus too expensive to do with batteries. But in the long run, battery prices will come down and they’ll go pure EV too.

You’ve essentially described the entire airline industry, which only sees super high volumes those exact same few times a year.

And the entire electrical grid, which also only sees peak volume a few weeks out of the year. And retail malls, which see peak traffic only on a few weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

And Sports stadiums. And Sports bars. And industries linked to tourism that see peak demand a dozen weekends over the summer (or winter, like Tucson). Restaurants on Valentine’s day. Irish pubs on St. Patrick’s day. Grocery stores around Thanksgiving and Christmas. Fireworks in July. Etc, etc.

Commerce is much, much more seasonal and tied to limited time events than you might believe. This issue is overblown.

But this is also being solved for in the long term by building EV’s that charge faster, and need to charge fewer times between charges, and destination chargers.

Several fallacies there. We already know how much it would cost to build a high-power, ultra-fast EV charging station. High voltage and high current electrical engineering is nothing new.

And if those new ultra-fast-charging batteries are too expensive to use in mass-produced BEVs, well then, the battery makers will just keep looking for something else, won’t they? Competition will keep driving faster and faster fast-charging ability, as it already is; that’s inevitable.

“It’s a massive waste of money and resources to always account for the worst case scenario.”

Yes, it is. I don’t know what the solution is to the problem of massive overload of EV charging stations (or at least some Tesla Supercharger stations) over Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, in some areas. Not a lot of areas nationwide, but certainly in certain regions of California where EVs are a lot more commonplace than they are nationwide.

But if we are going to convert 90% or more of our passenger vehicle fleet to BEVs, which I see as inevitable over the next 15-25 years, then a solution will have to be found. As they say: “Necessity is the mother of invention.”

“…on weekend when a lot more people are traveling, let’s assume 70% of EV are charging on the road.”

Let’s not. ~10% is the average, not the minimum. And a survey of plug-in EV owners a few years ago showed that 55% percent of owners said they had never, ever used a public EV charger.

It may be useful to look at the extreme cases, which is traveling during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, when many Supercharger stations are reported to be overloaded. But suggesting that as much as 70% of all cars are going to need to use public fast-charging stations on a single weekend or holiday… that’s just not going to happen. Not even close; not ever; very likely not even half that.

Are current owners of EV’s representative of the motoring public though? I’d argue that current EV owners are likely to be heavily over represented by a few select groups – the early adopter technologist, the environmentalist, and the commuter.

The latter group is most pertinent here as they are likely to have bought a vehicle for their commute, knowing they will only need to charge at home.

Groups that are likely to be heavily unrepresentative will be people driving larger vehicles and most importantly people driving longer distances.

Uh…just build more chargers as needed. Lol!

I hate posts like this that try to make a big “problem” out of absolutely nothing.

There is absolutely no obstacle to building more chargers, powerlines, batteries for buffering & power generation. NONE of that is unknown, difficult, or expensive technology.

Sounds awesome to me! Lots of new jobs! Lots of new clean energy coming on line! (Wind, solar PV, etc.)

BTW, Porche built a fast charger…BUT THEY HAVE NO CARS THAT CAN USE IT.

They have no cars that can use it… yet. Maybe building for the future isn’t such a bad idea.

I always find these suggestions that we either can’t or won’t upgrade the electrical grid to handle fast-charging charging millions of plug-in EVs, to be rather myopic. If you look at a graph of how much power humans have used throughout history, you’ll see a relatively smoothly rising exponential curve. What may seem impossible or at least extremely difficult today, regarding bulk generation and distribution of industrial grade power, will seem routine a generation from now.

You can’t imagine that we’ll build out a more robust electrical grid capable of handling 10-minute (or even less) charging times for BEVs, and to do that for millions of vehicles? Then you need to stretch your imagination.

But keep in mind that we’ll never need to as many EV fast-charger (or eventually, ultra-fast-charger) stations charging at once, as compered to the number of gas stations now pumping gas at once. Most EV charging, probably the overwhelming majority (presently it’s something like 90%) of charging, will continue to be slow charging at home or at work.

I disagree with this. Right now, the Tesla Superchargers are not much of an income producer for Tesla. The stations are expensive to install and maintain. I believe Tesla installed the stations because nobody else would. But once the network is built out to the point that people can travel anywhere, I believe they will stop expanding. I think in cases where certain superchargers become very busy and there are long waits, that is where 3rd parties can step up and install charging next door and charge for their service.

The SC network is essentially a loss leader for Tesla. They need it if they are to sell lots of cars, because of the popular perception that BEVs are just like conventional cars. It’s ironic to see just how many of the SC stations are sitting empty most of the time, because the vast majority of owners use their Teslas the same way the vast majority of conventional car owners use theirs: for commuting and local short hop driving. Most friends with Teslas don’t even have a L2 charger at home; they simply top them up on 110V, because usually that’s all that’s needed.

The answer is very obvious here. Soon the laggard electrical utilities will “get in the game” so to speak since it is to their benefit to sell their product (electricity). After all, oil companies built gas stations.

The reason (besides the fact that they are extremely conservative businesses) is that they have not been enough EVs sold so far to go all in yet but that will be changing rapidly as EVs go into the steeper part of the S-Curve adoption. The connector doesn’t really matter to the utilities so they will install whatever connectors are needed.

Now the wild card here is Tesla since they sell the most EVs and have an energy division that will also grow in an S-Curve fashion makes it certainly possible that Tesla will become a rival to the utilities and disrupt them more then they already are with battery storage?

Yeah, I’ve been shocked at how slow utilities have been at jumping into the EV game. I think it’s partly because they are regulated monopolies. But they are starting to get it.

If I were a utility, I’d offer free home chargers (installation not included) that include demand-response circuitry to any customer that buys an EV.

Indeed, I would expect the electric utilities would already be building out EV fast charging stations faster than anybody else, if they were not so heavily regulated. It’s an obvious growth market for them.

But over time, regulators should respond in a way which will make it possible — and profitable — for the utilities to build out a growing number of EV fast-charge stations.

Yup, utilities are the most sensible solution for “third party” charging. However, given how slow and inefficient they are, I question if they’ll ever do it or do it to any degree of customer satisfaction.

This is a problem with the Tesla pre-paid fast charging business model. They have little incentive to install enough chargers.

They do need to transition to a pay-per charge model where people pay for charging such that they have an incentive to build chargers as needed to collect that money.

I certainly hope that Tesla never, ever switches to a for-profit approach to its Supercharger network. If it does, then you can forget about ever seeing more Supercharger stations being built in lonely places.

“that is where 3rd parties can step up and install charging next door and charge for their service”

San Diego is a perfect test case for why that doesn’t work. Even when supercharger has 10 car long waits, they don’t bother going down 3 miles to Chademo (on the way to freeway). Free charging makes people lose their minds. Might be less when Tesla starts billing for supercharger, but many will wait at Supercharger for few cents cheaper.

I agree. I see this for ICE vehicles at the local Costco as well… A BMW in a line at least 8 cars deep to get gasoline at perhaps $0.30 less per gallon. Personally I would pay ICE gas prices for DC charging to avoiding waiting in line at a SuperCharger site. Not that I have had to do that yet but I can see it coming.

“A BMW in a line at least 8 cars deep to get gasoline at perhaps $0.30 less per gallon.”

Did you possibly mean $0.03 less per gallon? …and likely burning gas by idling the engine for the entire waiting time, too!

Tesla has already said it has switched from spending more resources on building more Superchargers in new locations, to spending more on building more stalls at existing locations.

It’s not very reasonable to think that Tesla is going to stop adding more stalls so long as the fleet in a given country keeps growing. If Tesla dedicates a certain percentage of the price of every car to helping build and maintain the Supercharger network, then it’s never going to stop growing unless Tesla’s sales stop growing.

Over time, of course, the cost of maintaining the system will rise to a greater and greater percentage of the entire cost of building and maintaining the system, so it’s inevitable that growth of the network will slow over time. We will hope that by the time growth slows significantly, there will be enough independent for-profit DCFC stations that the Supercharger network will no longer be the only reliable way to travel nationwide… or in Europe, continent-wide.

I’d agree, except there is a market for “under 100km/day EV’s that don’t need regular public charging. My experience, Seattle to San Diego, tells me that fast charging a 2013 LEAF shortens battery life. L1 worked fine for around town. I got an L2 because I now charhe when the sun shines on my solar.

But…
Aren’t we almost continually being told that 85% of charging is done at home.

I’ve long said that we don’t have Ford Gas or GM Gas so why should we limit ourselves to a make specific charging network?
Let the car makers make the cars and leave the charging to other companies. Tesla had to create the SC network because there was nothing in place that they could use.
The situation is different these days.
IMHO, it is time for Tesla US to follow what it has done in Europe and go to CCS. They can buy 350kW chargers off the shelf and save on that R&D and use it on cars, trucks etc. Or take the lead and introduce a CCS Mega Charger for Trucks. That will make the adoption of Electric Trucking even faster.

Technology is one thing, authorization is another. Everyone keeps talking about the advance of Model 3’s using CCS in the EU. But I haven’t seen one word as to whether or not Tesla is actually going to open up their CCS SC cables for non Tesla use.

Hopefully Tesla will add CCS, create a membership system for non Tesla EVs, and allow individuals, not companies, to charge at SuperChargers. Then and only then will I actually be impressed with the SC network.

ga2500ev

It seemed like a completely insane idea for a car company to pull off their own charging network….but they pulled it off. It is now their biggest competitive asset, IMHO.

Certainly at present, Tesla’s Supercharger network is one of their biggest assets, and absolutely is helping them sell cars.

But will it always be that way? Over time, the amount of money they set aside from car sales to build and maintain the Supercharger network will become more and more consumed by maintaining — and paying for the electricity for — existing stations… and less and less for building new Supercharger stalls and stations.

It seems inevitable that the day will come, some years or decades from now, when the Supercharger network will be a net liability for Tesla rather than a net asset.

Fortunately, that time is still some distance in the future.

This article is only relevant to the US market. The situation in the rest of the world, where 80%+ of EVs are sold, is completely different.

Non-Tesla fast charging in the US is a dumpster fire. VW’s Electrify America program is really the only hope, and the jury is still out on that.

VW is currently lobbying the current US fed. administration to roll back emissions standards, and then to invalidate their penalties under the premise that their cars would meet those future lowered emissions standards so they should no longer be punished at that point.

Gahhh! Just when you think VW’s execs have cleaned up their act…

I’m sorry but this article is way, way off! It operates on the assumption of the status quo prevailing. But until now none of the big manufacturers have really competed yet; 2019 and 2020 will be first years of true competition, and things will change dramatically. Tesla have struggled to reach production of 5,000 cars a week, not sure they’re there yet in a stable, sustained fashion. VW are about to start production of their ID range towards the end of the year. Their first factory in Zwickau has a capacity of 1,500 cars A DAY, and we know VW can produce cars at a steady rate. And that’s just one factory of several planned, and just one manufacturer of several big ones ramping up. All these new cars are using CCS2, some with up to 350 kW charging. Once these cars hit the market in huge volumes and BEVs leave their boutique status, the CCS networks–such as Ionity in Europe–will quickly dwarf the SC network. It would be stupid and bad business for Tesla to keep insisting on their proprietary chargers at that point. Just as Apple are giving up on their Lightning connector and are going USB-C, so… Read more »

Yep the Zwickau factory can produce up to 1500 cars per day, some of them might even be BEVs. But if they actually DO manufacture 1500 BEVs per day, they will hit VWs 2019 maximum production figure in about 24 days. VW is BEV cell constrained; and LG Chem has been raising prices.

Add to all of this VWs abysmally bad credibility on BEVs, and I will take them seriously when they actually are a serious competitor.

The legacy automakers were foolish to allow Tesla to get this far ahead; Tesla is already at a production rate close to ~450k cars per year and growing 30% to 50% a year. 2019 will see an additional annual rate of ~250k of Teslas just for the China market — further years will see even quicker growth as the GigaFactory Europe comes on line.

In such a world, producing ~35k BEVs a year is NOT the way to force Tesla to switch standards.

The Zwickau factory is being retooled exclusively for the ID range, so all BEV. I think you’re not realizing just how seriously VW are getting into the BEV game. This March they optioned $48B worth of batteries from a number of manufacturers into the mid-2020s, that’s the entire market cap of Tesla. No doubt they seriously miscalculated with the diesel and ignoring EVs for so long. But we benefit from hindsight, and in 2010 nobody could have foreseen Tesla’s wild success. That’s barely two car cycles ago. And why is VW particularly uncredible with EVs? The e-UP and e-Golf were both seen as decent initial efforts. And they set a new Pikes Peak climb record this year, with a BEV, developed in 9 months, as a first effort. Yeah they’re conservative and slow to jump on new trends, but once they turn on the spigot Tesla’s production rates will look like a garden hose next to a fire hydrant. There’s really little point in arguing about it, in a couple of years it will seem so obvious.

It’s just a question of time before Tesla go CCS worldwide. Europe is a great test market for it , they seem to be able to add CCS cables easily enough in the SC housing.

A car owner can spend as much on fuel as on the car in the first 10 years,
too bad there were no GM stations.

Thank goodness there were never any GM gas stations! If there were, then GM would have its proprietary gas nozzle which wouldn’t fit non-GM cars. Ditto for Ford gas stations, Toyota gas stations… etc. etc.

Down the road European Tesla Superchargers might open to other cars.
Seems like free advertising to people if somehow Tesla chargers are twice as fast.

Currently, the CCS chargers are up to 5 times faster than the Superchargers.
(Urban Superchargers are 72kW, CCS are up to 350kW) The fastest CCS chargers are currently two-and-a-half times faster than the fastest Superchargers.
This seems unlikely to change. CCS have prototype 400kW chargers available for public use, now.
Supercharger 2.0 has yet to have its specs revealed, or be publically demonstrated.

Too bad there aren’t currently* any production EVs which can actually charge at 350 kW, or anywhere close to it.

You might be able to find exceptions due to local placement of fast-charging stations, but generally speaking, Tesla cars offer the fastest long-distance travel involving multiple fast-charging stops.

*pun intended 😉

Since Tesla makes theirs for 15-20% of the others, everyone should just go for that excellent standard, equipment. And any cord /plug can be put on with just another com card, a cheap addition.
The one thing you can be sure of is governments, EV people getting screwed by present DC charger prices way more than they should.
For instance I can build a 300kw one for under $4k using retail parts and Tesla, others should be able to beat me, a
1 person shop. No? Vs they’ll charge $20k-$100k each.
BTW their business model bankrupts when people find out how cheap SCs are and government, etc only pay a reasonable price, leaving the units stranded.
If you look into them, there is just space. Thy just make the cabinet bigger to make people think it is something more expensive.
I’ve been doing SC, what we called dump charging at 1k amps+ for 35 yrs, just isn’t hard.
Exciting at times as we learned but not hard.

“I can build a 300kw one for under $4k using retail parts and Tesla, others should be able to beat me, a 1 person shop. No? Vs they’ll charge $20k-$100k each.”

You’ll build the equivalent of a Tesla Supercharging station, including the bank of batteries used as a buffer, for $4000?

No, you won’t.

A few years back, it was reported that Tesla was building Supercharger stations for $50k apiece. That $50k would include, at a minimum, 2 charging stalls plus the… I dunno what it’s called; the box or tower with the batteries, transformer/ voltage converter, and other electronics inside. I never saw a cost breakdown, so I don’t know if that $50k included the price for buying/ leasing the land, or not.

However, Tesla offers to hotels and other businesses to install a Destination Charger, with up to 2 charging stalls, at no cost to the business for installation. (Maintenance and providing power to the Destination Chargers is up to the business owner, not Tesla.) If they want more than 2 stalls, then they have to pay for the extra ones.

Are you gonna make a similar offer? No, you’re not.

Tesla network will be sold or open to others in the next 5 years… In Europe probably sooner.
They’ll adopt other standards connectors.
In 5 years (or less) we’ll see who’s right.

You remind me of all the people 5 years ago who said Tesla wouldn’t last, and would be forced to close their doors……

Underestimating Tesla has become a long-term chronic mistake.

Long term, I do expect to see Tesla sell off its Supercharger network, but certainly not within 5 years. Some things would have to happen first, including equipping all newer Tesla cars for an alternative form of fast-charging… probably CCS, unless EV makers agree on a better charging protocol.

And Tesla will want to let most of the Model S/X owners who were guaranteed “free unlimited Supercharger use forever” to age out of the system before they sell it off. Paying off those who still own Tesla cars with that guarantee would be a liability that Tesla will want to avoid as much as possible, which means putting it off as a long as possible.

Ultimately, CCS will win in Europe & USA while Chademo already won Japan. But there is no reason why the Tesla network can’t exist in parallel. And Tesla is the winner, by far, in the USA. It is literally the ONLY DC fast-charge network that allows for practical long-distance driving.

I think the EVENTUALLY, the rest of the car makers will get off their lazy butts and build pure EVs that can charge at greater than 120KW. At that point private companies and/or the car makers will push for a good CCS network.

But for the foreseeable future….Tesla is the only game in town in the USA. Europe has a much better CCS network but the Tesla chargers are still faster, more reliable, and better place in Europe.

Part of the issue with faster charging is the batteries degrade too fast with higher charge rates. It’s not the manufacturers not wanting to charge faster, it’s that they can’t without reducing battery life. I look forward to the day where we talk about charge rates by C and not by kw. C rates are more representative of how fast a battery is charging. A 100kwh pack charging at 125 kw is only 1.25c vs a 60 kWh pack charging at 125, which is over 2c.

And SparkEV with 18.4 kWh charging at 55 kW at 80% is 3C, yet it did fine for hundreds of DCFC sessions over 3 years (10% capacity loss).

We are certainly going to need battery cells which can be charged much faster without overheating, which means cells with a much lower internal resistance. Those have been shown in laboratory demos, using electrodes with much larger surface area, coated with CNT (carbon nanotubes) or graphene.

But sadly, nobody has figured out how to scale up production of CNT or graphene to industrial scale. So battery cell researchers are still looking for a commercially practical way to produce cells with much lower resistance to charging and discharging.

Someday…

The Audi e-tron is a pure that can charge at 150kW. It has has been in series production for four months now, so can be expected to be on sale very very soon.
Audi’s parent company started putting 150kW, 175kW and 350kW chargers live in the USA seven months ago.
You can currently drive from Denver to Boston on their fast charge network (i.e. ElectrifyAmerica)

A lot of comments here are focused on the plug used on the SC network. The plug is immaterial and easily changed as standards solidify.

The killer feature of the SC network is that Tesla manage it very well ensuring stations are kept operating as much as possible. The 3rd party networks are poorly maintained and have little to no redundancy making them unsuitable for long distance travel.

It’s all about the management and ease of use, not about the plug or standards.

Actually, equally important is the placement of the charging stations. Tesla has build out a planned, systematic way of building Supercharger stations to allow coast-to-coast travel, and in most (but not all) States, also north/south travel along certain corridors.

No other charging network supports nationwide travel in the U.S.; nothing else is even remotely close. I don’t think Electrify America will be building out nearly as many of either stations or charging stalls… but we’ll see.

I think a similar situation exists for continent-wide travel in EU nations, with Tesla Superchargers offering the only practical network in many areas. But I wouldn’t be surprised if that situation changes in the EU before many years pass; likely the EU — with its much higher population density — will get practical alternatives to the Supercharger network long before the less well-populated 3/4 of the U.S. States do.

When it comes to supporting a network of EV charging stations, population density counts for a great deal — just as it does for building and maintaining other infrastructure, such as the electrical grid, roads, and bridges.

This ignores one other major factor. Nobody with an 80-mile range cares about fast charging infrastructure for travel . I don’t really care if I can theoretically drive across the country in may 2012 Leaf, I’m not stopping every hour to charge. Fast charging doesn’t get interesting until you get to something like a 200-mile range. When you look at it that way, most of the non-Tesla sales numbers drop right out. That’s also the logic that drops out any PHEVs with DC charging.

The terms of the article are off the mark. I did not buy my EV based on charging concerns regarding longer trips. I bought it for traveling my region. But CCS has developed quickly and filled in the holes, and will be popping up even faster judging by the sites under construction – many of which are Electrify America. The electric utilities have had a hand in the early sites. There are some routes that are still questionable but not critical. I’m in an off the main highway rural area. But I’ve long enough range to get where I want to go.

Musk says he wants to save the planet. I call BS! Tesla chargers are designed to block alien brands – even with a designed adapter. Not true going the other way with CCS. That is an unassailable fact.

So, enough with the ‘winning’. CCS will develop as needed. I will say that a longer range car mitigates some of the charging needs of some brands.

The basic concept that Tesla uses with their supercharger network will definitely prevail. They put 8+ plugs at most locations, put stations at places that people actually want to visit, created a functional network for long distance travel instead of only focusing on urban areas, show real-time status information for each station (including how many total stalls, how many in use, and highest power available), make everything as simple as possible (no card readers, touch screens, etc. that can fail), do a great job maintaining the stations, and add additional capacity based on demand. They have even built two “supercharger lounges” along heavily traveled routes with 40 plugs each, clean restrooms, tables, comfy chairs, free wifi, vending machines, and a coffee bar staffed during business hours (the door code for the lounge is displayed by the nav system in the car). This makes for a much better experience than putting the chargers at gas stations and truck stops. There was actually a time when all 40 stations at Kettleman City were in use right before Christmas, but the wait wasn’t very long since the throughput of 40 plugs was about a car a minute. We used to lease a BMW… Read more »
This is a very US centric article and the balance changes a lot when you look at other regions: Europe: * Tesla is changing to the CCS2 standard for the Model 3 * Every car except for the Nissan Leaf uses CCS2 China: * They are a special case – they have their own standard – for them and (AFAIK) only them. Australia is an interesting case: Up until a couple of years ago, there were no industry standards, very few fast chargers were available (about 15 public ones and about 12 superchargers nationwide – size of contiguous USA), few models and almost every model used a different connector: Leaf & i-Miev used Chademo, Tesla S & X used the Europe-style Tesla plug, BMW i3 used CCS1 (although DC charging was an optional extra and the dealers actively recommended against it because there weren’t any DC chargers), there were also some PHEVs but they didn’t use fast charging. Then a couple of years ago they all got together and decided that CCS2 is the preferred standard for vehicles, and dual-cable CCS2/Chademo is the preferred standard for charging stations. Sounds odd considering that there wasn’t a CCS2 vehicle in the country… Read more »

“Tesla’s dominance on the sales front will alone push the Supercharger network from its already-leading spot to a place even higher up the ladder in the future.”

Ridiculous. No proprietary protocol will ever become a universal standard. If Tesla wants its Supercharger standard to become the universal standard, then it needs to assign its patents on that to the public domain. And despite what some people think, Tesla’s offer of a “free license” to use its patents came with some pretty heavy-duty strings attached… rather far from the actual free use that Tesla suggests.

Tesla owns the majority of the PEV market, but only in the USA, and probably only for the next few years. And by “few”, I mean “less than several”.

(continued…)

(…continued)

Tesla isn’t going to be like the Ford Motor Co. in the days of the Model T, with a 90% monopoly which lasted for many years. There may be some Tesla cheerleaders who honestly think that Tesla is going to dominate future auto sales that way, but even as a strong Tesla advocate, I don’t see it happening. No one single company can possibly get sufficient capital investment to replace 90% of the automobile production in the entire world.

Eventually, some of the legacy auto makers are going to get serious about making and selling PEVs in large numbers. Volkswagen at least claims it’s going to do so, and if it doesn’t, then other auto makers will.

It looks to me like CCS currently has the best shot at becoming the universal EV charging standard — that is, a real standard, not just one of several competing charging protocols. In fact, Tesla is now making its European market cars CCS-compatible, due to new EU regulations. It’s far, far more likely that Tesla is going to switch to the CCS charging protocol than sizable legacy auto makers switching to Tesla’s charging protocol.

“It’s still unclear though whether CCS will catch Tesla Superchargers 10 years from now, especially if Tesla introduces the high volume Model Y and electric pickup (the hottest segments), thus securing the majority of BEV sales in the country.”

If that’s actually what happens then EV adoption will be slower than even some of the most conservative predictions. It’s basically a prediction that only one company will produce EV’s in any volume, which means EV’s will still only have a few percent of the US market in a decade.

I don’t think that will be the case though. For starters the article completely ignores Electrify Americas court mandated buildout, which is going to have a similar number of fast charge locations (but probably not individual chargers) as Tesla have now by the end of this year. They’re also mandated to have a lot more by the end of the decade. Even if Tesla only double their supercharger locations they would be left behind by Electrify America alone. That’s ignoring all the other companies involved in the CCS charging networks.

CCS needs to overtake the supercharger network for EV’s to become a mainstream option for most people.

I agree that Electrify America will dramatically improve the CCS charging infrastructure, but they are definitely a bit behind on their own plans at the moment. The stated goal was 250-300 operational CCS locations by the end of 2018 and I count only 60 operational stations on their map. And the plugshare reviews for their flagship California station in Livermore at the San Francisco premium outlets are pretty brutal. I imagine they will eventually get all the planned stations built and will overcome the usability issues, but they only plan to have “2,500+” plugs at “450+” stations. Tesla currently has 5,490 plugs at 599 operational stations and that was barely able to handle the load during the holiday travel season from the ~350,000 cars they have delivered so far in the US (1 plug per 64 cars). So Electrify America’s planned network will only be able to support about 160,000 cars. They plan to charge $1 per session plus $0.30 per minute so something like $10 per charging session. Assuming they pay something like half that amount for the electricity then we have $5 profit per charging session. How many charging sessions the average owner will use per year is… Read more »
There are several errors in your post, which may explain a few things. First off, Cycle 1 with the “2,500+” plugs at “450+” stations ends in June 2019, not the end of 2018, so they have another 6 months to get those stations in place (they just need them started, their plan is to have all of them up and running by the end of 2019). There’s also Cycle 1 of the California plan which runs concurrently for another several hundred stations. The planning and permitting phase of the build out is going to be the longest part, so, as seen already the number of charging stations will ramp up significantly as time goes on. Whether all of them are actually built by June we won’t know until then. That’s the first phase, and a quarter of the money that is being spent over then next 10 years. There are three more phases/cycles of a similar amount of investment. They are court mandated, so they have to spend it. With that money I wouldn’t be surprised if by 2028 EA have 2000+ highway locations and 10,000+ stalls. That’s not including a likely larger number of stations and stalls with slower… Read more »
“First off, Cycle 1 with the “2,500+” plugs at “450+” stations ends in June 2019, not the end of 2018” Here is the info I found on the Electrify America site: TABLE 1: PRELIMINARY MILESTONES FOR NETWORK CONSTRUCTION FOR THE NATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE PLAN Pre-site selection In development Operational Q2 2017 350-400 100-150 0 Q4 2017 150-200 200-250 50-100 Q2 2018 0-50 300-350 150-200 Q4 2018 0 150-200 250-300 Q2 2019 0 0-50 450+ The Q4 2018 goal was 250-300 operational stations. And they have not met that. “So basically Tesla have spent around 10 years building their infrastructure, and EA will have almost as many operational stations by the end of next year.” The first Tesla supercharger site went live in late 2012. So they have been working on things for 6 years and a few months- not 10 years. Also, the total number of plugs along a given route rather than the number of sites is the key factor determining how many cars you can handle before you start getting really long lines. I learned this first hand on my recent trip along interstate 10. But my main point, which you did not address, is that the underlying economics… Read more »
I’m conflicted. Ten years ago, I predicted the China standard, fledgling at the time, would prevail. Then CHAdeMO happened, and my prediction looked dumb. Then Tesla quietly appeared and no one noticed. Then CCS came along, and I figured it would be a dog fight between CCS and CHAdeMO. Now, what fascinates me is the tie-up between Japan and China on CHAdeMO, or possibly the next generation of CHAdeMO. China is much too big to ignore. Not only that, but I’m officially resurrecting my prediction that China will win (whatever “win” means). CCS has a solid hold in Europe, but is having a very difficult time in the US. Tesla S has CHAdeMO adapters, and so, reportedly will 3’s. The 3’s reportedly have CCS adapters in Europe. Nobody said Tesla was dim. My guess is that they’ll keep with their philosophy of regionalizing connectors/adaptors in the near term (Asia, US, EU), and see what trends emerge in the long-term. Sticking charging stations in the ground and operating them is the hard part. Changing to a different connector, while annoying, is doable. Tesla will figure it out. As the article says, they have a very large lead. No one in the… Read more »