During the 2016 Shareholders Meeting yesterday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk clarified an important feature of the Model 3. At the unveiling event in March, Musk said that “with respect to Supercharging, all Model 3 will come with Supercharging standard.” The automaker later updated the Model 3’s webpage to make the language a little more vague.
Yesterday Musk put the issue to rest and clearly said that while the Model 3 will be built with Supercharging capability, the access to the Supercharger network will only be available as an optional package.
He emphasized that the Supercharger is mainly for long distance travel, that most of the charging is done at home, and that the cost of the package will still be a lot less than the cost to travel with a gasoline-powered vehicle.
While all of Tesla’s vehicles currently for sale, Model S and X, are sold with Supercharger access built-in the price of the vehicles, original lower-end Model S’s (40 and 60 kWh version) required a $2500 upgrade to enable Supercharging.
Based on Musk’s comments, it sounds like a similar option will be offered to Model 3 buyers.
In order to be able to support its growing fleet of Model S, X and relatively soon Model 3, Tesla announced that it plans to double the number of Superchargers to 7,000 units and quadruple the number of Destination chargers to 15,000 units within the next 2 years. While the numbers are impressive, Model 3 reservations numbers are even more so.
Tesla received over 373,000 Model 3 pre-orders since the unveiling in March 2016.
Following the higher than expected demand for the vehicle, Tesla accelerated its production plan to 500,000 cars per year in 2018 instead of in 2020. If Tesla can really achieved this production rate, it will put a tremendous strain on its Supercharger network. The optional Supercharging package could lead some buyers to do without or activate later, while the revenue from those who choose the package should go a long way in helping Tesla expand the network of fast-charging stations.
Musk added that Tesla aims to make the Supercharger access as easy as possible. It sounds like a one-time fee for unlimited access for long-distance travel, like the current package, and it doesn’t look like a pay-per-use model is in the cards.