Early Adopter Plan ending June 30th 2024

Twelve months ago Charge HQ moved out of beta into a paid service. At the time, we put all existing users on a full-featured, free plan to thank you for the advocacy and feedback that helped us through the early phases of development.

Last December we migrated to Tesla’s official Third Party API. Whilst this has been provided to us free of charge, it will soon become a paid service. This means we can no longer offer the service free to early adopters.

At the end of June 2024, all users on the early adopter plan will automatically switch to the free plan (which does not include solar charging).

If you wish to continue using the solar charging features, you must subscribe to the solar plan. You can do this anytime between now and the end of the month. In the app, go to Settings → My Account → My Plan.

We hope you understand that we cannot continue to provide the service for free given the out-of-pocket expenses that will be incurred.

Whilst there are also a small number of users that don’t rely on the Tesla integration - we are taking the opportunity sunset the plan entirely.

Note also - that whilst we wait for the announcement and timing of Tesla’s API pricing, we have paused annual payments. All users can sign up on a monthly basis.

Thanks again for coming with us on this journey.

Summary

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hey Andrew,
as mentioned several times before, you guys have done an amazing work that really saves money by maximising the solar excess with “dynamic charging”. For most users, it’s probably hard to apprecaite the amount saved without looking at some numbers. Is there any chance the app could calculate that saving based on historical data? It needs some thinking on how to land on a final $ amount but surely possible. and that would help us (users) to value the subscription cost.

I’m afraid that without that, people might turn into “overnight charge” and just accept the cheaper rates.

Another angle could be to re-assess the price and only charge for the actual API costs for those on the early adopter plan rather than throwing all into a single plan.

Thanks again!

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Andrew & Jay, Thank you for creating a really great product.I’ve enjoyed using it. Unfortunately the fixed monthly fee doesn’t work for me as we don’t charge our Teslas from solar often enough to make it work financially at the monthly price proposed. We also get $0.15c/kWh for exports and pay $0.20c/kwh on night rates (Octopus NZ), so the delta isn’t that great. I suspect over time that delta will grow, and that might mean we reconsider.
I would have thought your analytics would allow you to create a pricing plan that was related to solar directly diverted to the car. That way those who benefit the most would pay the most. Or maybe Tesla are charging you a fixed monthly access fee per user.
A quick question though. Is the monthly subscription per vehicle, per subscriber or per household?
Thank you. Hoping this change for early customers (which is totally understandable) will work out for you.
Kind regards
Robert

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$70+ /annum is a really high amount if you just have one car and a small system. I’d probably go back to just scheduling charges from 10-2pm based on best guess peak solar production. Sure it might use some grid power, but probably not $70 worth.

Thanks for your work. Maybe others with multiple vehicles and larger solar systems will get more benefit from your app.

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The monthly subscription is per Charge HQ user account, which will control a single EV at any given time. Multiple people can log in to the same account if they both need to use the app.

You’ve done a great job on the app & service and sad to see Tesla charging so much for the API - why they have not released solar charging with their Powerwall and cars/3gen Wall connector who knows?

I’ve not run the numbers yet but this charge (~54kWh/mo) shall probably blow it out of the water for us.
This is compounded by poor summer in the UK this year.
I guess this shall motivate me to fit my EM112 (£18) to our Wallbox Pulsar Plus (£68) and try it’s solar only charging capabilities.

Could you not consider just passing on Tesla costs to early adopter’s?u

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This is a pity but inevitable. I use the Solar Analytics integration, but that too will now requires a subscription, and with low solar production this year (15% drop on historic 10 year actual records) means like Robert above, it is now easier/cost effective to export and buy back at the night rates. However, thanks to Home Assistant I can now integrate with the Electric Vehicle, Charger and the Solar Inverter without the need of the Internet. The Tesla integration is still free even with the Fleet Connection (thanks Tesla) and with Home Assistant the charge rate can be controlled. TeslaFi which I pay for separately also offers a free Tesla Fleet Token. And I see that Tesla control in the future will require “Premium Connectivity”, even though it is free for me unless I sell the Tesla, and WiFi is available anyway but can’t be used. So with 3 parties “clipping the ticket” you might as well export you solar. But in Australia they are now charging customers to export at peak production times, making self consumption the answer, so I control the EVSE instead - resurrected from my custom 2016 integration with the JuiceBox. This also works fine with OCPP capable EVSEs and Home Assistant. But HA isn’t for everyone but a custom integration does make it easier. Your greatest threat is the other “rent takers”. I’d rather pay one subscription than 3 or 4. So running a car has increased from 4 rent takers (Rego, Insurance, Road User Charges, road tolls) to 8! And I thought the electricity retailers were greedy. Pity the RoboTaxi won’t come my way to offer an alternative!

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VPP is coming form Tesla, but probably not for little New Zealand. We may be early adopters, but Electric Vehicle sales have plunged with the removal of purchase incentives, which makes VPP uptake smaller.

Yeah this a shame. Understand a small payment to cover api costs and development but 7 bucks a month is steep when a small system like mine combined with chargehq would be lucky to save that amount over a month when compared to just scheduling charging.

Doesn’t help my huawei inverter still isn’t supported and is running thanks to a volunteer instead.

Guess it’s time to look for an alternative and hope an open source takes the place in the future, thanks for the run

Thank you for the work you put into Charge HQ!

This is a good motivator to finally try Home Assistant. I can always come back if it doesn’t work out.

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Full respect to the product you guys have developed, but unfortunately it’s just not worth the amount you’re charging. If API cost is the justification then just charge that cost, $7 a month just doesn’t cover the value I (and most other users) get out of it. Sucks but yeah as great as the product is you’re missing the mark here.

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Thanks for all the feedback. Pricing of this service is hard.

The savings are dictated by energy prices, how much driving you do, how much solar you have, how much power you otherwise use. All totally out of our control and different for every user.

On the cost side, it’s not just API costs which need to be covered. There are costs to run servers, email systems, monitoring, communication tools, accountants, GST etc. We’re pretty lean, but like everyone else we also need to get paid at some point.

Most purchasing decisions we make every day are not predicated on the savings they will generate, because most of them don’t generate any.

Sadly this is the hurdle we so often set for spending money on renewable energy.

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Sounds like you’re willing to let 90-95% of your free initial early adopters just walk.
While pricing is undoubtedly hard, from a business standpoint this is a crazy decision.
Users lost are unlikely to return. You have a reasonable first to market server based product for solar excess charging.

I’d urge you to reconsider your pricing structures to potentially a usage tier model which is more reflective of your actual service costs and hopefully retain more users.

Making up numbers here but up to 50kwh/month = $2-3/month etc.

It’s only going to get harder from here. More EVs will be non Tesla’s and aside from your code and servers, having an actual usage base is your most valuable asset.

But hey it’s your business. Genuinely all the best guys.

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I love the ease and integration, but not sure $5/month is really worth it. For comparison, TeslaFi is $50/year and provides vastly more data and functionality. It’s also pretty disingenuous to say you have to raise prices for fees you are not currently paying to Tesla and don’t know when those fees will start or how much they will be. I’ve been here since the beginning, but sad to see things heading this direction.

Also $5/month is per account. Since two vehicles is STILL not supported it would cost me $10/month to properly support both cars. That’s DEFINITELY not worth it. $5/month with multi-vehicle support would probably provide sufficient value.

Can you give us any updated ETA for ChargeHQ to support multiple vehicles at the same address. At the moment, the workaround is to have two ChargeHQ accounts - but that means I will have to pay double the monthly fee.
At present I have one paid subscription and one early adopter freebie.

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Tessie (similar to TeslaFi) increased their price from USD5/month to USD15/month recently.

Everyone’s savings from solar charging is different.

I don’t have an ETA at this time, it requires a reasonable amount of work to adapt the interfaces for multiple vehicles in a single user account. Once offered, we expect that the cost of using Charge HQ with 2 vehicles will be more than that of a single vehicle.

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This is a great product and one that I use every day. To be honest I’m surprised that you hadn’t started charging us early adopters before this and this is a move that you needed to do regardless of any additional costs coming from Tesla. Building consumer products is brutal and thankless - people just don’t understand that you can’t run a business on two bucks a month without millions of customers. You’ve got a very smart product here that replaces a bunch of other hardware-based alternatives. Scrape them off - if people aren’t willing to pay for what you’re making, the sooner you find that out the better.

My primary motivation for having an EV is environmental and ChargeHQ enables me to effectively have a solar powered car (I work from home). I’ll be upgrading to the paid plan and I hope that there are plenty of others like me because I’d like to see you guys able to keep doing what you’re doing!

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I think your product is great, however I think your price point of $70pa AUD is going to kill the product. I totally understand that you need to cover costs, but maybe you should calculate the price point on a mature scale market not a startup scale market. You need to do some marketing to get this scale, but I’m not sure this is happening. Charge HQ is a game changer for EV users with a home solar system. Every home solar installer should be recommending the app to their customers. I just had an upgraded solar system installed and my installer had never heard of ChargeHQ. Maybe you could offer them referral incentives.

In terms of pricing you should be thinking longer term, a happy user will be staying with you for years so you need to be amortising your development costs over a number of years and at scale. With regard to actual price point, a software as a service app that I use regularly is the MiScore golf scoring app. It has a lot of features that are regularly updated. The app is for Australia only and the annual fee is $19.49. I think this is fair value and would suggest that your annual fee should be around this price point.

Startups are hard and require a ton of effort to be invested by the founders to get them off the ground and flying, have you considered involving a venture capitalist to help you get this product to the next level?

You have a very good product here, please don’t screw it up now.

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