Elon Musk: Tesla Model 3 Owners Will Have To Pay For Charging - InformationWeek

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Elon Musk: Tesla Model 3 Owners Will Have To Pay For Charging

Tesla cofounder Elon Musk said that giving the same free access to its network of Supercharger stations for Model 3 owners that Model S and Model X owners enjoy would be cost-prohibitive for the company.

Tesla Model 3, BMW i3: 10 Electric Vehicles To Own
Tesla Model 3, BMW i3: 10 Electric Vehicles To Own
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

Tesla's Model S and Model X customers never have to worry about cracking open their wallets to pay for access to the company's Supercharger stations when their electric vehicles run low. But owners of Tesla's mass-market $35,000 Model 3 won't be so lucky.

Tesla cofounder Elon Musk explained his reasoning behind what will likely be an unpopular decision with Model 3 owners, during a webcast of the company's annual shareholders meeting.      

If the company hits its production goals, it will be faced with the potential of having to provide free charges to upwards of 500,000 Model 3 cars for the life of the vehicles, which would become cost-prohibitive. The free charges for life feature is currently offered to its high-end Model S and Model X owners.

(Image: Tesla Motors)

(Image: Tesla Motors)

As a result, Tesla plans to make Model 3 owners pay for using the stations, unless they purchase a specific package. The cost of the package was not announced during the webcast.

"I want to emphasize what Tesla's motivation is, and that is to make electric transport as affordable as possible. That is what informs all of our actions," Musk said during the webcast. "So, if we do something where we charge for this, or charge for that, it is not because we want to make things more expensive. It is because we can't figure out how to make it less expensive."

The solution Tesla came up with was to "decouple" its long-distance for life program from its Model 3. But Musk tried to soften the blow by comparing the cost of an electric charge with the price of gasoline.

"It will still be very cheap and far cheaper than gasoline to drive long distances with the Model 3," Musk said. "But it will not be the long-distance for life, unless you purchase that package. I wish we could, but in order to achieve the economics, it has to be something like that."

The company also tried to downplay the change to its charging program by noting that Tesla owners would be better off spending the minute it takes to hook up a charge at home or at work and walking away, compared to sitting in the car at a Tesla charging station for upwards of half an hour.

[See Google, Tesla and Apple Race for Electric, Autonomous Vehicle Talent.]

Whether this disclosure by Musk this week will temper the crush of pre-orders for the Model 3 has yet to be seen.

When Tesla unveiled the Model 3 on March 31, the company noted that it had already received 115,000 orders for the $35,000 car. Within just a few days, that figure ballooned to 276,000 orders. The company said Model 3 production is scheduled to begin in late 2017.

Interest in Tesla's lower-end, mass-market electric vehicle has been keen, despite a rise in competition over the years with other electric vehicles by the nation's largest automakers such as Ford and General Motors. Now, as self-driving cars are gaining attention, with the goal of moving beyond the testing phase and into market sales as soon as possible, Tesla will potentially find another competitor for consumers' dollars.

Dawn Kawamoto is an Associate Editor for Dark Reading, where she covers cybersecurity news and trends. She is an award-winning journalist who has written and edited technology, management, leadership, career, finance, and innovation stories for such publications as CNET's ... View Full Bio

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tjgkg
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tjgkg,
User Rank: Ninja
7/2/2016 | 4:56:33 PM
Re: Different car, different expenses
Thanks! This is the first I have heard regarding these expenses. I wonder how much your electric bill will go up once you start charging the car? That figure would be an interesting comparison against what it cost to fill the car up with gas on a monthly basis.
scalbert
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50%
scalbert,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/3/2016 | 9:43:55 AM
Re: Different car, different expenses
Regarding the cost to install at home. A 220VAC, commonly referred to Level 2 charging, will begin at about $1000 and go up from there. There are units available that will handle 3.6kW charging for under $500 now. And then the electrician costs will depend on breaker box location and available amperage. It really is no different than the service for an electic oven. I have a Level 2 charger installed at home and at my office.

The DC fast chargers are a different story. Those can cost expotentially more.
CorrinL266
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50%
CorrinL266,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/3/2016 | 2:06:17 AM
Re: Different car, different expenses
Your post has a lot of speculation in it, how about looking up the actual numbers?

[more trips to gas stations] A Tesla 3 has a range of over 200 miles. I can't imagine many people that drive longer than that day-to-day, can you? Maybe if you are a courier driver, or in sales with a large territory.

[cost to charge at home] The cost of full charge at home is around $6, depending on where you are. Let's double that to give a range comporable to your standard gas guzzler and we're sitting around $12 for a full tank. Not bad.

[Cost to install a charger]. This is be anywere from around $700 if everything goes your way through to $4000 in the worst case.

There you go - wasn't too hard to work out. Now you said these expenses "might prove higher than a conventional car" - how did you come to that conclusion, it doesn't seem to be supported by the numbers?
tjgkg
50%
50%
tjgkg,
User Rank: Ninja
6/2/2016 | 9:49:09 PM
Different car, different expenses
At $35k, you can't have all the benefits a premium customer gets. These folks will just have to get used to going to a different "gas station"-maybe a lot more often too considering the resticted driving range of electric cars. And then there is the cost of charging at home. I wonder how much it would cost to put in a charging station at 220v or the high speed chargers and how much that electricity will add to monthly bills.

I can see eventually charging being incorporated into roadways and other places not yet thought of much the same way as wifi has proliferated over the past 10 years. Until then there are going to be expenses that might prove to be higher than a conventional car in addition to the restrictions of an electric vehicle.
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