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Supercharger Anxiety

We are all familiar with the term 'Range Anxiety'. Tesla has solved this with the superchargers, but has created a related anxiety: 'Supercharger Anxiety'. This anxiety appears to arise from three concerns: 1) Will all the supercharger stalls be occupied when I arrive, either by other cars charging or ICEd; 2) Will only a single spot be open and therefore I will have to split the charge and thus prolong my stopover and 3) Will the supercharger be functional. I have experienced all three. Last summer, multiple stalls at the Tejon Ranch supercharger were down when I arrived (another thread today indicates this has happened again). This week, I drove to Vegas from Southern California via the Barstow supercharger. I experienced anxiety about all spots being occupied and/or only a single spot being open. Both turned out to be true on the outbound and inbound trips. While this does not bother me, it is a major problem for my wife and kids. This is the crowd Tesla needs to make happy to get widespread adoption of BEV.

I think Tesla is working to fix 'Supercharge Anxiety' with more supercharges and more stalls per site (this approach has appeared to work at Gilroy). However, I would have preferred that they had first focused on improving the high-use supercharges like Barstow before making a cross-country route that very few will use.

Thanks I will look for the thread. Curious to these numbers.

Think of it as a cheaper and more productive way to spend their marketing budget than TV ads.

@mb Parking arms are just one more thing to break, then the spot is unavailable to everyone. Also, imagine a malfunctioning spike taking out a tire in a non-spare-having Tesla. Not worth it for the infrequency of the ICEing problem.

On my weekend trip, encountered two ICEs blocking parking spaces at a supercharger located at a hotel.

I immediately e-mailed Ownership - and they responded immediately that they would contact the hotel.

At my destination, I stayed at a hotel I had used several months ago. At that time, ICEs were blocking all but one of the EV charging spots - even though there were signs (like at the Tesla SC) indicating the spots were for EV charging.

I e-mailed the hotel manager - and he responded that he would research several options and implement an improvement.

This time, none of the spots were blocked by EVs. They have a sign posted near the spots warning drivers that cars parked blocking spots will be towed. And they had repainted the pavement for the EV charging spots with very large signs on the pavement indicating the spots were reserved for EV charging.

The combination of the towing sign and the extremely visible signs painted on the parking spots - seems to have done the trick. Even though the lot was pretty full, and these spots are located next to the door - no one parked in them.

While an arm or some other solution might help - Tesla could try doing something similar with some of the SCs - posting a towing warning and repainting the parking spots - and see if that helps.

As a Volt owner having witnessed other EV's being ICE's I wonder if Tesla should start installing their SC network on "Tesla Property" and not leased etc space in area's like mall's etc. You don't see cars blocking fuel pumps at gas stations.

Just a thought going forward which BTW is why I own TWO Volt's, am operating over 94% of the grid, but in those instannces I need to wander from home I just go w/o much thought or planning.


Exactly and what I meant about the current model of the SC's. No one complains about other car companies SC network. The problem being if they owned the land??? Now costs are going up...

I think the OP has a good point. It's an area of concern for me as well. As far as expanding the network for better coverage vs. upgrading existing superchargers, I'd argue that upgrading makes sense in some cases. This is a case of managing expectations. If a SC is advertised, drivers expect to be able to SC. If there's no SC in a location, drivers don't expect it.

Barstow seems to be an area of upgrade that would benefit the company as a whole. Remember that the marketable base in LA is still very, very large. If LA residents hear of troubles at local SCs, that's a very big deal for Tesla. If Tesla doesn't have or offer a SC in South Dakota, expectations are not that they have one, so drivers will make appropriate plans to work around the lack of SC (while complaining, I recognize).

Full disclosure - I haven't used Barstow, and don't have any plans to do so anytime in the future. I'd love an I-80 route but my vote is to make sure existing SCs are serviced and of appropriate capacity.

Serviced - yes!

Appropriate capacity - yes! But appropriate capacity can be achieved through expansion (increased capacity) or adding alternate locations (lower demand).

Agreed, if expansion means intermediate locations on existing routes. I'd argue that from a permitting and installation standpoint, that's a more difficult solution - but not being educated on it, I admit I don't know for sure.

I'm sort of thinking the gas station model. Around here, there are not many "superstations". 8 to 16 pumps is pretty typical. But they are everywhere.

I was thinking something similar for superchargers.

And I like the app that shows the stall-status at the superchargers, like Chargepoint does. If a supercharger is busy, you can just stop at the next one.

I noticed supercharge station south of Pittsburgh had a sign saying cars could park there for up to 30 minutes but maybe that was part of the deal with Burger King or whatever restaurant it was

There were 12 SC's when I took delivery of my M85. In Jan I drove 600 miles in snow from NH to VA and then shipped my baby to Scottsdale, because there were no SC's or slow chargers that would allow a reasonable route. I leave later today for a 3600 mi trip from Scottsdale to NH. I am delighted that the trip is possible and will report any Supercharger Anxiety issues. Personally, I think it only occurs in California.

Definitely a real issue (before everyone starts jumping down my throat, like they did the OP's, I understand that we're early in the game, it's a huge improvement from even a year ago, etc).

For instance, I am planning to drive down to Baltimore from the New York area over Memorial Day weekend. Distance is maybe 180 miles. I will not be able to charge (other than maybe a 120 volt charger) and will probably do some local driving in town, so it would be perfect to stop at the Newark supercharger on the way down so I can be sure to make it home. However, with only 4 stations over a busy travel weekend, I have "Supercharger anxiety" and am considering taking my wife's horrible mileage hybrid SUV instead.

@church70, I see these signs at the Vacaville location as well, but I think they imply that Teslas should only charge for 30 minutes max (when cars are waiting). At least, that's my interpretation.

@newampster, you're probably right for now. Ownership density is much higher in CA. Hopefully what's learned here will roll out eastward to avoid any similar situations your way. Good luck on the trip!

There are two of those signs at the Harris Ranch Superchargers as well. 4 stalls have normal signage and two stalls (back-in) say something about parking for only 45 minutes. My assumption was that patrons of Harris Ranch could use those two spots for up to 45 minutes without requiring an EV.

Your interpretation makes more sense since these two stalls seem to be newer and have more combined power between them.

@dramingly - I have charged in Newark at least 5 times in the past 2 months, and only once seen another MS there.

It would be nice to see more chargers there, and perhaps there will be chargers in the Maryland rest areas they are rebuilding now.

tes-s- That's nice to know.

I think the cheap way (for future installs) to prevent ICEing is to put the spots in the back. The reason they are taken by regular cars is usually because the drivers are too lazy to park further away (probably 90%) or resentful that they don't get a preferred spot (a small minority). Putting them in a safe, but not prime spot would largely eliminate the problem. It's like that at the JFK charger.

The Tejon Ranch Superchargers are literally up on a hill and the very farthest spots from anything. They have a canopy, however, and that makes them more desirable than a spot right in front of a restaurant.

Just start keying in the cars that'll stop the problem LOL. JK

The Newark supercharger location is interesting. It is right by the door that buses use. There are handicapped spaces, and some regular spaces, where the supercharger is. But most people would not drive to that part of the lot or even know there was parking there. Have not seen an ICEing problem there.

I think people are starting to get it. In Darien North two spaces used to get ICEd, so they put cones there. Now no cones, and no ICEing.

@tes-s and others: The Newark superchargers are in a terrible spot, since they are right by the doors, and thus ICE cars will park there. I agree that they should be in the least desirable locations.

The problem is with that is it cost more or it might cost more the reason they tend to be in the best spot is because it's cheaper to run the power

@harner - have you seen ICE parked there? I've been there several times and have not. Most people don't even know there is car parking in that part of the lot.

@tes-s: I have not seen an ICE parked there. But I think putting those spaces right next to the building without the power to tow violators is asking for trouble.

To OP: Yeah, instead of expanding nationally, Tesla should just super-build up California superchargers and reinforce the notion that MS is a warm-weather California-only plaything for the rich.

I had the same experience at Newark, DE on Sunday night. All stalls taken on arrival and when I could connect, it was slow. It was an excuse to go chat up other Teslans. I like the idea of being able to report problems from the car and seeing usage reports on the map before arriving.

Traffic on I-95 was nuts this past weekend!

@Tiebreaker -- I personally prioritize quality over quantity. Supporting existing infrastructure doesn't reinforce anything except the notion that they'll take care of their customers, at least in my opinion.

@Tiebreaker - re-read the post, I never said to do that. Places like Barstow will likely see at least 50-100X more use than superchargers in the middle of the country (e.g. California population ~38 million, Wyoming population ~600K). So yes, the priority should be where the most customers are located and the busiest SC. I know of no other business that is successful that does not prioritize where most of its customers are located.


"However, I would have preferred that they had first focused on improving the high-use supercharges like Barstow before making a cross-country route that very few will use."

It works perfectly if you are conveniently located near Barstow. Not good for the global acceptance.

"Preferred that they first focused on..." is far different than "Tesla should just super-build up California superchargers..".

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