• Wed. Jan 26th, 2022

Tesla: with the increase in Supercharge prices, is electric still interesting? – Frandroid


Jan 15, 2022

For once, the American manufacturer Tesla increased the prices on its fast charging stations at the end of 2021. Today, how much does a Tesla trip cost? Will it become more home than gasoline? Let’s try to see more clearly in this case.

A Tesla Model S in Supercharge // Source: Bob Jouy for Frandroid

Acquire a electric car, this is the promise of driving at low cost: there is little or no maintenance, and the price for “refueling” is much lower than the price of gasoline. If this is proven for home charging where the price per kilowatt hour is relatively low (under 0.20 euros), with the increase in the prices of the various fast charging operators, the risk of arriving at a price approaching from that of a full tank of gas is only growing.

Just three years ago, crossing France in a Tesla was at low cost: between 0.20 and 0.24 euros per kilowatt hour, or more or less 10 to 20% more expensive than a home charge. But nowadays, finding these rates for fast charging has become a perilous mission, if not impossible.

Are Supercharge prices becoming prohibitive?

In 2020, the average consumption of a petrol vehicle was 6.8 liters per 100 kilometers according to ADEME, and the average price per liter of petrol in mainland France is now around 1.70 Euro (Lead Free 98). Thus, we will consider that the average cost of a petrol vehicle per 100 kilometers is 11.56 euros.

As we pointed out in the introduction, the costs of recharging an electric vehicle at home are very attractive, with a rate easily below 3 euros per 100 kilometres. This makes petrol vehicles almost four times more expensive on a daily basis. But for long journeys, while the price for a full tank of gas does not increase significantly, those for electricity soar.

The prices of Tesla Superchargers in France

The prices of Tesla Superchargers in France

The average price of Tesla Supercharging in France is 0.40 euros per kilowatt hour in January 2022. Thus, the price per 100 kilometers on the motorway is approximately 8 euros, if we consider an average consumption of 20 kWh /100 km at 130 km/h.

Although this price is almost three times higher than that of charging at home, it is still well below the average price of a gasoline vehicle, thus making long journeys, even using Tesla Superchargers exclusively, more economical.

Rates that increase very quickly

If today, traveling by electric vehicle is more economical, this situation may well be only temporary. In the sense that fast charging prices tend to increase much faster than gasoline prices.

Indeed, if we take the example of Tesla Superchargers in France, which are today at 0.40 euros per kilowatt hour, the evolution of costs since 2019 may make us fear the worst. Just three years ago, Superchargers charged 0.20 euros per kilowatt hour: with biannual increases, these prices have doubled.

If this increase continues, we would arrive at a rate of 0.80 euros per kilowatt hour by 2025, making the price of fast charging much higher than the price of gasoline: count 16 euros for 100 kilometers on the motorway, for a consumption of 20 kWh/100 km.

And although the price of gasoline is not constant, its changes over time are not as significant as those of fast charging prices. At the beginning of 2019, for example, the average price per liter of Unleaded 98 was 1.49 euros: the increase in three years is only 14%, compared to 100% for Tesla Superchargers.

Outside the Superchargers, is the grass greener?

The advantage that Tesla vehicles have – for the moment – ​​compared to other electric vehicles is their ability to recharge at the terminals of other fast-charging operators, such as Ionity, Fastned or Totalenergies. We will see that depending on the situation, this can allow you to save a few euros with each recharge.

Let’s start with the most obvious: Fastned. With a price displayed at 0.59 euro per kilowatt hour (0.45 euro with subscription), it is always more expensive to recharge at Fastned than on a Tesla Supercharger. On the other hand, for other recharging operators charging by the minute, there can be significant advantages.

Thus, for Total energies, with a rate for fast charging displayed at 0.65 euros per minute, it will be necessary to estimate the average power of the charging to define whether or not it is more interesting to charge on a Total terminal or a Tesla Supercharger. As soon as the power exceeds 98 kW, the final charging price will be lower than at Tesla.

For a Tesla Model 3 Where Tesla Model Y, this means that if we charge up to about 60% of the battery, Totalenergies is cheaper than Tesla.

Tesla Model 3 charging on an iONITY terminal

Tesla Model 3 recharging on an iONITY terminal // Source: Bob Jouy for Frandroid

Regarding ionity, the rate at the start of 2022 is 0.79 euros per minute: charging is therefore less expensive than Tesla as long as you charge at a power greater than 120 kW. In short: as long as you charge with less than 50% battery remaining for a Tesla Model 3 or Y, it is better to set your sights on Ionity rather than Tesla.

What does the future of fast charging hold for us?

With the proliferation of players, competition will become organized in the fast charging sector. However, it seems naive to imagine that prices will be driven down. Tesla has been showing it for several years, their objective seems to be to make their network profitable by increasing prices on the one hand, and by opening it up to all vehicles to significantly increase their customer base on the other.

We can then easily anticipate fast charging rates reaching 1 euro per kilowatt hour within five years, with probably subscriptions to contain everything, like what Ionity offers with its “Passport” offer.

Ionity charging station

Ionity offers a subscription at 17.99 euros per month to take advantage of fast charging at a preferential rate

Still, the promise of inexpensive travel in electric vehicles will be less and less true during long journeys, with, depending on the models and networks used, fares already higher than those made in internal combustion vehicles.

However, it is important to put this into perspective by recalling the following fact: if the few major annual journeys cost between 10 and 20 euros per 100 kilometres, the overwhelming majority of daily journeys will always be more economical at less than three euros 100 kilometers. Thus, averaged over a full year, and even taking into account very expensive long journeys, an electric vehicle will have no trouble costing less than 5 euros per 100 kilometres, something impossible for any thermal car.

Although electric vehicles are increasingly popular, they are still far from free from flaws. Between prices that are too high, charging time that can be improved or even autonomy below what is offered…
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