Tesla free supercharging for the life of the car will discourage upgrades?

A friend owns a Tesla X (see my review) that came with “free supercharging for life.” The company periodically pings him to try to get him to trade in the current car on a new and improved Tesla X. He can easily afford this, but if he does it he says that he loses the free supercharging, which is attached to the “life of the car,” not the “life of the buyer.” Having purchased the car for its novelty value, he enjoys the experience of getting free electricity.

I wonder if Tesla has made a huge strategic mistake. Doesn’t the typical car company make much of its profits off loyal repeat buyers who trade up every 2-4 years? How can it be smart to set up a structure in which the earliest and most enthusiastic buyers are discouraged from trading in and buying a new car?

8 thoughts on “Tesla free supercharging for the life of the car will discourage upgrades?

  1. New Teslas haven’t come with free supercharging for life for a long time.

    Reading the Tesla forums, I’ve never seen anyone decide not to upgrade because of free supercharging for life.

  2. Keeping your old car as long as possible to take advantage of free supercharging for life is a rational decision. However, Tesla target audience is religious fanatics who (by definition) are not rational.

  3. That’s known as a tautology, Ken. First, you assert a definition. Then you use that definition to make a point. But you haven’t given any evidence for your definition, so your point is unsupported.

    Worse, it’s also an ad hominem argument, which makes it even more suspect.

    Many of us just like Tesla cars, regardless of any political motivations, environmental concerns, or virtue signaling. They’re just a lot of fun.

  4. I thought the primary purpose of the supercharging network was to eliminate buyer concerns over long trips. Once the buyer gets over that hump, then the actual value of the benefit may be small for most people.

    How many long trips do they actually make? Does the money you save outweigh the inconvenience of making a trip to the supercharger for electricity when you aren’t making a long trip.

    I would think it’s not really a factor unless you take frequent trips or there is a supercharger conveniently located for your normal driving.

  5. Unless there there is a Supercharger right outside their house where they can charge every night, I would imagine the electricity savings from free Supercharging would be a rounding error to anyone who is willing to shell out for a Tesla S or X.

    • There is a supercharger right at one of the big box strip malls that is among the closest to my friend’s house. He goes there, shops or has lunch, and comes back to his charged-up car. There is one in the only shopping mall in Cambridge. So if you went there once every couple of weeks you’d never have to pay for electricity for local driving.

    • The thing about new cars is so called hardware version 3, which is supposed to provide much better automation. If he can charge at home, then worrying about free supercharging is just not worth it because 1000 miles of charging costs $100, so it’s quite affordable for the trips.

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