Is the Tesla Supercharger Network Untouchable?
Tesla’s superchargernetwork is the largest and fastest of any company in the world. Despite what some others may claim and things you may hear out there, now Tesla just started to roll out their brand new V3 Supercharger networkall across North America. So, I thought it was good time to dive in and see just how far ahead they are. Let’s read the data. (upbeat music) In 2012 in Hawthorne,California, Tesla unveiled their Supercharger network and there were three main things thatthis was aiming to solve. – One is this question of being able to drive long distances conveniently. Then another question is what do we do about the fact that when electricity is generated, it is generatedat a power plant. So what about this idea that the missions I just push to the power plant.
The third is what aboutthe cost of electric vehicles, how do we comparethe cost of electric vehicles with the costof gasoline vehicles? – Now when they unveiled this, there were already a lot of chargers out there. But none that really matched the speed and kinda the range that these could give you back in your car in sucha short period of time. Fast forward to 2019and Tesla unveils their latest version 3 of theirSupercharger network. Giving you upwards of 1,000miles of range per hour. I know, I know, you don’t actually have 1,000 miles in your car, but that’s the speed that it will charge at. And what that means is inabout 15 minutes, you can get about 150 milesdepending on your state of charge and a few other factors. And with that, thatmeans that you will get about 2 1/2 hours of driving depending on your speed and about15 minutes of charging.
So, drive for a couplehours, drive for 15 minutes. It’s not exactly on parwith gas cars, but it’s what I would say is reasonable. And I’ve done a lot oftravels and I’m sure you’ve seen a lot of videosonline of people doing these. So, it’s certainly now issomething that is maybe not ideal, it’s not the best,but it is totally possible. And it’s not an incredibleburden like it was prior to the Supercharger network. And in fact, Tesla withthe V3 network just unveiled over 300 V3 chargingstops in North America. And this also enablesthings like a trans-Canada pathway where you can drive from one end of Canada to the other, it you wanted to do that instead of, say flying. That would be the otherthing you could do, I guess. Now others are gainingtraction in this space. And there are a lot ofcompanies spinning up that are really trying tohelp with this problem of long distance travelin an electric vehicle.
However, when you hearsomeone say they have the largest network or havethey had the most chargers. It really is just marketingspin to try to soften that draw that tells the haves that tell the Supercharger network. You see, they are so farahead that all these other companies have to find away to try to make it sound reasonable to buy somethingother than a Tesla. The thing is these othernetworks, when they tout coverage may meanonly one stall for every 300 miles in that area. Meaning it’s now officiallycovered because your car could, potentially if you droveextremely slow and the wind was at your back, travelfrom one charger to the next. So what happens here, as theNew York Times found out, is that when you have suchlimited stalls at each station, they can easilyget filled up by other people charging or maybe one is even broke and you could be stranded.
So in order to reallyunderstand this we have to think about not just the numberof stations, which have issues when they’reextremely small as many other networks have found out,you have to take into account the number of stalls, how many actual plugs are there at each station? This is where things getmore interesting, but let’s start just looking atstations for an example here. Now, I’m choosingelectrified America as the one I compare to the TeslaSupercharger network. So in terms of stationselectrified America reports that they have 390 stations. That is not a small number,but compared to Tesla, you’re looking at over 1,700 stations.
Now that’s worldwide,so we’re looking at just North America, that numberdrops kinda by a lot down to just over 730. So if you map that out andyou look at them side by side, you can kinda see thatthere’s a lot of similarities. And in fact you may think,’Oh they’re almost the same’ which again is what theywant you to think with the kind of marketing spin thatthey put on their messaging.
But if we look at thenumber of stalls, the actual number of plugs that you can plug your car into and get back on theroad, with electrified America you’re looking at about 1,800chargers in North America that are of the high speed variety. And with Tesla, you’relooking at over 7,000. Now that is a huge numberand some of those are even that V3 charger andwith those V3 chargers, what you get is basicallyabout double the charge rate. Meaning, you can charge upat about 50 percent of the time opening up that chargerport for another person. Now there are some caveatsthere, of course, it’s not always how it works, butthose you can kinda count as a 1.6 or even twotimes as many chargers because of how fast they are.
So while originally onlyannouncing the two at the Hawthorne location, onein Fremont which is kinda just for employees Ibelieve, and then the link high roller station,they actually rolled out 88 version three chargers in 2019. And as of today, worldwide, we’re looking at around 300 V3 chargers. Now remember, these chargersserve the purpose of almost two of the regular chargersand with that you can get people back on the road and kinda free them up meaning less space,quicker installation, and even better results for the customer. And one last thing tothink about here is that a lot of other networks saythey have fast charging.
And it depends on what you mean by that. For example, electrifiedAmerica advertises that they have a 350 kilowattcharger, that’s the speed at which it chargers. Now that’s obviously alot faster than Tesla’s version three chargerwhich boosts 350 kilowatts. Well, in reality thereare no cars on the road or even that are plannedthat can accept this charge. And you may think, ‘Wellhey, what about the Porsche Take-in’, well I took oneto one of those chargers when it was almost emptyand we got just over 250 kilowatts and in facton the Porsche website, it even says that it can only accept 270. Part of that is because thecar needs to have an 800 volt architecture, which issomething that is not standard for any otherelectric car out there. Certainly not for Teslas,which means that in the end, it’s not real yet. It’s almost like you canhave one side of it, but unless the other side isthere it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t truly exist. And Elon on an earnings callrecently talked about this, how 350 kilowatts is a lotunless you have a seriously large battery pack becausethere is a trade off in terms of how fast you can charge versus how much energy it can hold.
And the analogy was thatimagine if you could have your cellphone and itonly last two hours tops, but it you could rechargeit in 15 minutes. Would that be better orwould you rather have your phone last for two days and it could take an hour to charge. So, from the consumerperspective, from our perspective, it actually make senseto have the higher energy density verses theincredible rate of charge. Because, surprise,surprise, you really don’t use superchargers withthese high speed chargers. You don’t need them that often. This is another misconceptionabout electric vehicles is that you have to go toone of these to fill up in order to actually keep going.
But of course, every homehas outlets in it and you can totally live off that. I did a seven day test,I’ll put a link to the video if you guys want to gocheck that out, where I just drove my car my normal to work and back. And charged at home overnighton a regular outlet. Now, on the weekends I didhit some points where I went on longer trips andI did need to kinda let the car sit for a day.
But for a commuter, for mostpurposes, it’s not something that I was really necessaryto either have a high powered wall charger or anyof the high public chargers. And then, of course,depending on your home you can install a high power wallcharger for as little as 200 bucks up to maybe five or 600 bucks. Which will charge roughlyten times faster, if not more than that regular wall outlet. Basically, meaning, younever have to go to any public charger except for those cases where you are on a road trip. And you may think, ‘Ohmaybe that’s just an edge case’, but in factwe have data to show that. Using data from Tesla,which is the Fitbit for your Tesla app that tracksall your trips, your efficiency, and everythingelse and help you connect with other folks in the Tesla community as well as find the best Supercharger in your area.
I was able to look at almost20,000 vehicles that have charged over two milliontimes and I found that 88 percent of the time people are not charging at a supercharger. 88 Percent of the time peopleare charging somewhere other than one of these highpowered chargers designed for these long distance road trips. So no, there won’t ever beas many Superchargers or high powered electric vehiclechargers as gas stations. But you don’t really need that because you don’t charge at these that often. 88 percent of the timepeople are charging at home. Now I know there are cases,and of course in like an apartment and a condo, those kinds of things where there is no option. Or even maybe you live ina really dense urban area like New York City and youjust park on the street.
Yes, there are cases outthere, but overall, looking at the entirety of the population it’s not something that actuallyis a really big concern in terms of electric vehicle adoption. I guess you could say thatwith every home out there, you can charge from anoutlet every home has about 30 plus outlets, thereare 126 million homes give or take and maybe 170,000 gas stations. So you’re, I don’t know,what, close to 1,000 times more electric vehicle chargers. But that’s being kind of, rather pedantic. The point is, is thatcharging an electric vehicle is just so dramaticallydifferent than charging a gas car or filling a gas car. That you have to thinkabout it differently. And that’s what I’m trying tohighlight here with this data. So Tesla is just absolutelycrushing it right now. They just had theirearnings call with a lot of interesting results, they’ve been setting delivery recordsquarter after quarter. Their stock is at an alltime high and of course a question I still wantanswered is whether or not Tesla will let other just usethis Supercharger network.
And they hop on it and Elondid talk about it in the Q1 2018 earnings call. – For the Superchargers, Iknow you guys are not trying to profit off of Tesla ownerswith that infrastructure, but will you ever openthat up to other automakers that try and generaterevenue from that system? – We always said thatthis is not a tie to the (mumble) and we’re happy to supportother automakers and let them use our Supercharger stations. – Now if that’s true thenother automakers that are going electric which seeminglyis all of them today, do join and are ableto use the Supercharger network and really get a leg up. I think that would betremendous for us all. Tesla, of course, wouldhave a lot more revenue coming from this which would mean they can continue that expansion. And other automakerswouldn’t have to put up the billions of dollars andspending years doing it.
Nor would these othercharger companies would have to try and figure it outand try to market spin their way into making itseem like they’re being competitive when they’rereally, really not. And I really hope thatthis becomes a reality and we start to see otherautomakers joining Tesla and using the Supercharger network. Because I think thatwould really kinda spring board a lot of theminto having a compelling offer in terms of notjust the vehicle they’re making, but also the full capabilities of long distance travel andeverything else that the Supercharger network provides. Now as the saying goes, ‘Ifyou can’t beat ’em, join ’em’. And that’s what I hope to see here. So thanks for watching andI hope you guys enjoy this video and as always don’tforget, when you free the data your mind will follow.
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