I disagree. I believe that Tesla has a very strong motivation to keep them all working and to grow the network.
walterbays wrote:I'm skeptical of the long term prospects for Tesla's supercharger network.
I agree Tesla has a very strong repetitional incentive to keep their Supercharger network in flawless order. When individual units go down, Tesla usually knows about it immediately because they are fully networked. A user can report a problem by calling in a report and talking to a real person 24x7. If a whole SC station goes dark, people could become stranded, because out in small towns there is no alternative, short of a multi-day stay on Level 1, so problems get fixed really fast. In small towns I have never seen less than 4 stalls; in urban locations I have seen up to 12 stalls. Tesla is selling not just cars, but a system that can reliably deliver long-range transport without gasoline. They have begun opening SC centers in major urban centers much closer together than is needed by the 85kWh battery because they want their network ready for both the range and quantity of the Gen3 car.
I know "free" often leads to abuse, but the Tesla network logs the VIN of every car that plugs in, and they know where you live. There have been scattered reports of folks relying on SC in urban areas near their home to get free local charge, but Tesla has stated that they reserve the right to block repeated abusers.
Tesla has the flexibility to operate the network with a different model for later cars. A few 60kWh Model S owners have not paid the fee and are blocked, but Tesla has allowed some of them to charge at a SC in emergency situations.
Even though there are no displays, on or off buttons, or card readers to break down, the Tesla network could be programmed to accept payment for individual charge sessions. You would just do it from your iPhone or Android.
Another factor that is often overlooked when questions are raised about the scaleability of the SC network is their economies of scale. Each SC 120kW charge unit is composed of 12 single-phase 10 kW chargers, wired in 3-phase Y sets of 3, each identical to the AC chargers in each car. Each SC unit serves 2 stalls. Tesla is installing many more of the 10kW chargers in cars each month than in SC units, so they get a very large economy of scale. Tesla prices each 10 kW charger as a $1.5K retail option, so it is very likely that they can produce one 120kW charger for less than other brands produce a 48kW Quickcharger.