Join The Community

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.

To his defense he is simply saying that they should add more support to busy locations
Tesla has the money they can double up if they needed to I don't know why they don't

While I appreciate the desire to expand the Supercharger network beyond California, I think that Tesla has actually fallen behind in Southern California -- not overbuilt it.

Southern California has ~23 million residents. That's 7% of America.

We deserve at least 7% of the superchargers and depending on how you define our region, we don't quite have that. On a market-adjusted basis (Southern California maybe has >20% of all Teslas ever sold), for all the reasons discussed in this thread, we need a lot more than that. That doesn't mean the rest of the country doesn't need more chargers too, but we should at least be keeping pace.

Tesla was so focused on the cross-country excursion that it fell behind on its own backyard with only Atescedero and Buellton coming online in Southern California within the last 12 months (and that was last July!).

Tesla obviously has some difficulty with Superchargers in Southern California with Primm, expansion at Barstow, 395 route, San Juan Capistrano and Ventura all falling behind. When all those get built out, I might concede that Tesla has adequately built out Southern California.

Northern California has done much better with its Supercharger roll-out and I hope they emulate that model throughout the country and the world. They really should start with their largest (2nd largest?) market, Southern California.

@rallykeeper - Superchargers are there to escape from S. Cal, not to use within S. Cal. Perhaps more of the former, less of the latter is in order. ;^)

Seriously, it isn't at all about population density. In fact, it is the opposite of that. The sparser the population, the more a Supercharger is required. They are to be used where people DON'T live. Where they live, people already have (or should have) the means to charge.

BTW, no one "deserves" a Supercharger. Looking at the map, you have what you need, except that some residents feel entitled to not take care of their own charging requirements at home and/or work, and choose to use the Superchargers as their primary weekly charging tool. Shame on them for hurting the Tesla mojo.

Another point - Superchargers, on average, are very little used. The most recent numbers show that the entire worldwide Supercharger network barely charges as many batteries in a month as a single high-volume gas station serves fill-ups. S. Cal appears to be the exception because in my roughly two-dozen times using a Supercharger, from Delaware to Southern Florida, I have seen only two other Teslas being charged.

Population density=more cars trying to escape=more superchargers/stalls

@Pungoteague_Dave. Sloppy language on my part. Of course, no one "deserves" a supercharger, any more than any of us deserve our Tesla's.

I'd echo @mdemetri on density and escapage, but also point out that the Southern California map might be misleading to a non-resident.

You can't reliably travel to San Diego and back because Tesla has failed to deliver on that supercharger.

You can't reliably drive to Vegas without expecting very long waits (turning a 4 hour drive into potentially a 5 or 6 hour one).

You can't reliably drive up the 395.

Moreover, the only route that has decent coverage (the SF/LA route) isn't as traveled as San Diego-LA and LA/San Diego to Vegas. I have no evidence of this other than anecdotal and my own inclinations, but I think Model S owners are far more likely to fly the SF/LA route than drive. Free or not, it's still a 5-6 hour drive.

U want a black hole of superchargers....visit Idaho. I am hoping and praying that we get a few here by the end of the year. I'm sure they are many who are chomping at the bit to see the route from SLC to Portland, OR finished soon...hopefully by the end of the year or sooner.

No kidding. I see these comments about, "I had to sit and wait 30 to 60 minutes. It was the worst experience of my life!" And I compare that to having to sit at an RV park for 4+ hours and wonder what their problem is. Turning a 5 hour drive into a 9 hour drive is painful.

It wasn't the worst experience of my life by any means but I was visibly annoyed by my wait. Not so much because all of the Superchargers were full but because there was an open spot that wasn't working and from my own experience and other people that have reported back here that has been the case for at least a couple of weeks.

I have made the Southern California to Northern California drive many times in an ICE and it takes me six hours on average. Heading North it took us 8 hours and heading South it took us almost 9 hours. That's a 50% increase in the amount of time! Over 30 minutes of that time was spent sitting in my car waiting for a Supercharger to free up and then an hour waiting for it to charge. That's a 90 minute stop for me and at 75mph average speed I could have been 112 miles down the road in an ICE.

So my 6 hour drive turned into a 9 hour drive - not far off from your example above. And the entire time at my destination I used a welder plug to gain 29mph of charge rate so that I could be out and about.

All of these problems are first world problems. I'm sure there's somebody somewhere in the world trying to get a warm meal tonight that doesn't want to hear about sitting in an RV park for 4+ hours charging.

It's all relative.

+1 APU. I'm still looking forward to the first supercharger in MA. Sure CA has 5x the population, but there are plenty of Teslas in MA and not even one supercharger??

Cry be a river about waiting in line. I'll bet the total wait/charge time is much less than my charge time at a L2.

I like Elon's statement to his team in China - spend money as fast as you can without wasting it. Wish they had that attitude here - then there would be no debate about expanding in CA and building out critical routes in the rest of the country. They could simply do both.

tes-s - I agree with you, high population regions with high MS sales (like MA and Toronto) should be a priority. That is my point all along: the places with the most customers should be prioritized, or at the very least done simultaneously with the build out of cross-country SC in low population areas.

WRT to level 2 charging, I have done this many times in California despite the superchargers. But there is a big difference. When I have travelled outside the supercharger network, I did so in the full knowledge that I will have to use slow charging. This is very different when expecting quick and fast charging when planning a trip using superchargers. To compare these two is like comparing apples and oranges. One is range anxiety, the other is Supercharger anxiety. The former is done with expectations of slow charging (and if not acceptable, then taking the ICE) while the other has expectations of fast charging. Both are real anxieties and equally need to be addressed by Tesla.

There's a bit of a chicken-and-egg problem; Elon has said they're building out fastest where the most MSes are sold. Which promotes more sales, which promotes more SCs, etc. Positive feedback. The flip is negative feedback: few MSes sold, few SCs, fewer sold, etc.

So of course they compromise some on both ends.

@Thomas...I also do Northern-Southern Cali trips often and I have started to take my ICE, just so that I can save extra hours of waiting to charge. It's a personal preference on my part to save time. just not worth my time at this time.

@mdemetri makes a good point. The situation I mentioned about RV park charging is at least known, expected, and consistent. It sucks, but it's predictable. While I could say that you could try to leave a little earlier to account for some possible waiting, you never really know how much time it would take, and that does have its own planning problems.


I was at the Greenwich, CT N charger Easter Sunday. I was the only one there for most of the time I was there. One other MS.

The Greenwich, SB was iced and the spots are the furthest from the door -- there simply was not enough spaces -- ICEd with an explanation?

I too have been at Newark, DE -- not a like spot to be ICEd -- doesn't look like there are any spaces at all. Only one other MS charging.

The OP has a valid point. If I was going to take a trip, and I thought I might be waiting 2 hours to charge when it was supposed to take 30 minutes, I would definitely take an ICE instead. In other words, crowded superchargers that make it impractical to take the EV, are no different than no superchargers at all. Either way, I'm not taking a chance and I'm taking the ICE.

Mdemetri - thanks for this productive thread.

SC anxiety is largely the result of one key dimension of EV operation - charge rate.

You can imagine an axiom similar to Moore's Law for silicon. (Musk's Law?) for EV charging:

"Charger congestion is inversely proportional to the square of charge rate."

In other words, for a given population of EVs, the probability of contention drops by a factor of 4 with each doubling of charge rate.

Charge rate improvement is technically very challenging, but Tesla has already nearly doubled it, and they won't stop improving it.

This is useful to ponder since it actually has a much larger impact than simply the number of stalls.

3X more stalls ==> 1/3 congestion ==> Normalized probability of contention drops to 33%

3X faster charge rate ==> 1/9 congestion ==> Normalized probability of contention drops to 11%

That's dramatic. It also qualitatively improves the EV experience, since your stop time gets much shorter.

What's so cool about this is that it's a dimension driven by almost entirely by technology rather than capital, or brute force execution.

Very smart technology is where Tesla shines brightest.

I'd say the future looks bright.

You see those little critters up there in the above link. Place them in your frunk and connect the wheel to an alternator with a plug attachment to your charging port. You will never have to worry about Supercharger or any charging thereafter..never, ever....:)

Really? We all paid the same amount for the uses of SC. Some of us have used many and some of us have used none. The have used group, sound like spoiled brats: give me more, give me more and me,me,me and always me first. Here's my idea, if the need is greater in your area, then you guys should pay more.

@mark - agree. Telsa could replace the 90kW superchargers with 180kW, doubling the capacity without using more parking spaces.



Contention produces uncertainty.

Simple solution, travel off-peak. I waited once at an SC, the old Gilroy four pack.
If you can't travel off-peak, get a better job. ;-p

@NKYTA Great advice except not always practical. Some of us work for a living and don't have the flexibility. I bought my car as a means of transport with my occupation where I may occasionally need to supercharge and also for leisure. Although we all recognize a certain inconvenience relative to gasoline, superchargers are not meant to be a chore.

Others have said this before: By buying this car now, we are early adopters of a new technology. This is comparable to buying a new ICE in 1905 (or perhaps earlier). There were not gas stations on every corner. If you wanted to drive you had to plan where you'd buy gas. When you got there they might have been out of gas and there was not another gas station across the street.

Much as I want to see more superchargers more places faster (hey, I'd 63 years old and if I have to wait 20 years I probably won't be here), they are building them out incredibly fast: one year ago there were maybe 6 on the west coast, 1 on the east coast, and none anywhere else. I don't know why they're not completely transparent about it. I don't see how it could hurt them to tell us every time they've applied for a permit, bought some land, least parking lot space, started designing a supercharger, started building one, etc. The more we knew the more we might be able to help push politicians to get up off their duffs and help.

@SCCRENDO, yeah that was tongue-in-cheek for the most part. But I do plan my travel around busy SC days (Friday aft/eve and Sunday aft/eve). If I'm going away for a weekend, I'll try to take Monday off so I can travel easily.

TM learned the hard way that they get the bejesus harassed out of them if they run into delays on promised SC installations, so they now say nothing very detailed until they're "100% certain".

X Deutschland Site Besuchen