There’s been a lot of positive changes at Tesla this week, with a refresh to the Model 3, cheaper prices for the Model S, talks of Model Y deliveries accelerating internationally, and amazing progress on new Gigafactories.
Something less positive is a change to Supercharging prices in Australia. The price of Supercharging in Australia (on average) now costs A$0.52 per kWh, a rise from A$0.42. This represents an increase of 23.8% over the price last week.
Supercharging is also the most expensive technique to charge your car, with many owners opting to charge at home, on lower overnight electricity rates.
When you do need to go on a longer driver, Supercharging offers the ability to charge at the fastest rate which is currently around 150kW. In 2019, Tesla began rolling out its V3 Superchargers which can provide up to 250kW charging, obviously consuming more power, at higher costs.
Whether the price rise is a result of a pending V3 rollout in Australia, or simply to cover costs of the continuing roll-out of Supercharger locations across Australia’s vast land mass, price rises are never fun.
One positive is for those with referral credits. Given Tesla issues the Supercharging credits of 1,500km for each vehicle purchase (for owner and referrer), this means each referral bonus just increased in value.
Australia’s 3rd-party EV charging infrastructure is also accelerating with increased competition and an impending growth in EV sales. Given the availability of alternative fast charging locations, I thought it’d be interesting to take a look at the situation there.
Chargefox, who provides 350kW ultra-rapid DC chargers charge A$0.40 per kWh. For a saving of A$0.02 less than the previous Supercharger rate, travelling any distance from your optimal route to charge at Chargefox wouldn’t make sense. In some very small number of cases, the new $0.12 per kWh difference may make sense in locations like Torquay and Euroa that will soon have both Tesla and Chargefox locations.
It is really important to keep perspective on this. The cost of recharging an EV, remains significantly less than the cost of refueling an ICE vehicle. One of the great benefits of going electric, are those lower ongoing costs, helping to offset the higher purchase price.
Today, the average retail price of petrol this week (October 18th, 2020) is A$121.2 in Australia. Let’s say you travel an average of 500km on a full charge or full tank, the higher Supercharger rates still translate to between one half and one third of the cost of refueling a petrol or diesel vehicle.
Again, most people Supercharge occasionally, typically charging at rates of A$0.30c per kWh or less. Given the new era of working from home, that also opens the door for more EV owners to charge for free during the day, directly from solar power captured from PV on their roof.
If we look internationally, the United States is paying US$0.28 per kWh. If we pass that through our exchange rate today – US to AUD (A$1.41), we get A$0.39 per kWh. Add GST to that and we find ourselves at A$0.429, which was basically the old price.
Another potential explanation for the localised price rise is the cost of power in Australia for Tesla. With the exception of the odd charger in a shopping center, Tesla almost exclusively uses renewable energy to power their Superchargers.
If the cost of energy supply or new lease agreements has impacted the cost of Supercharging in Australia, it may be time for the company to double down and add solar panels and PowerPacks to capture and store more of their own energy, reducing their reliance on the grid.