Supercharging process?

Hi guys,
I guess a few of you have used the supercharging network already?
Just wondering how it works exactly?
Can you make a "charging reservation" on one of the pumps so that there isn't someone using it when you arrive? Would suck to have to wait for someone else to finish charging before you can even start. This could lead to an assumed 30 minute stop turning into 45 mins or an hour or more (if you are third in line!)

I realize this problem is probably a ways off yet, but there will be a lot more Tesla's on the road soon!

Would be great if the supercharging stations were fully integrated with the onboard touch screen via the web so that you could see what charging times are available and book your charing time well ahead of schedule. This way you can plan your trip to arrive at the chosen time. The station should also prompt you to confirm your time at a certain point so if you are running late you can change or cancel your booking so that someone else can use it if you won't be able to.

I also think they may need an attendant at the supercharing stations. What if someone's car is finished charging but they are running late getting back? A person who has booked their charging time may get a little upset if they can't start charging because someone else has left their car in the way.

You could have the supercharging stations send you txt/email alerts as your car gets close to full charge reminding you to get back and move your car...but it might be better to leave your keys with a supercharging attendant so they could manage all the charging stations and cars, so that they could move vehicles around as they finish charging.

Just trying to think of the smoothest way for this to all work. Don't want Tesla to disappoint here...they have been so great at everything else thus far!

Model S drivers have been very friendly and even more so towards fellow S drivers. I would have no problem if someone left a nice note on my car asking me to call/text/email them when I was finished charging.

The number of notes on the car would also give you an idea how long the line was :-)

We just drove down to Gilroy, primarily to try the Supercharger. It took a few minutes to find it, but despite this being a peak (lunch) moment on a Sunday with *lots* of people at the Outlet, we were the only ones at the charger. I did run into a Tesla employee who was checking it out himself.

Painless and worked as expected. Next test will be a road trip to LA in the future.

Mathematically, the likelihood of finding a free charger goes up dramatically when a few extra are provided. Additionally, the gov. (Highways and Transportation) estimates that 1% of all drivers' trips are long distance (though total mileage is about 30% - most of which is spent driving, by definition). All these fears of lineups are misplaced.

I think a common cutesy would be to leave a card with your number visible in the windshield if you leave your car. I also think that non-local people should definitely have priority. I think most of us are mature enough to discuss it among ourselves if there is a conflict.

Better yet, leave a note saying how much charge you require in the windshield. That way if someone sees through the window that you have hit that level they can call and politely call and ask to use the charger. I'm assuming that the current level of charge is visible through the windshield.

While I don't have my model S yet (hopefully next month #11640).

Green model S Performance, Tech Package, Pano roof, 21" wheels.

I think a smartphone APP for this would be awesome. It could record that your car is at a supercharger, the level of charge, how much you need and a way to contact you. Other people at that location would then be able to see that you're charging and contact you when you have hit your minimum if there's a queue.

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No one else is gonna be unplugging your car unless you leave the fob there.

Charge cable is locked in: it's up to the driver to know/realize/check when his/her car is charged.

Even if they could unplug you, the cable's too short to reach any other car, I think. Owner service required!

I agree with @aaronw2 of simply using the low-tech solution of placing a courtesy card at your windshield when plugging in your car for charging. The card should contain information such as the start time of charge and contact cell number. Maybe the charging station itself can have printing capability (much like how gas pumps are printing out receipts), or even providing a stack of blank courtesy cards for people to fill out.

I think the low tech courtesy card could work for the time being but the relatively simple online reservation system I have proposed should be the end goal.
I guess it is all a matter of cost. Would it be cheaper to put in a reservation system that could interact with your car/smartphone and the supercharger or for Tesla to simply add more superchargers as reports come in about bottlenecks.
I would think using each supercharger to it's maximum potential by allowing people to see the booking schedule online for each charger, thus allowing you to time your trip by reserving a charging period during your scheduled arrival might work best. It will certainly give people some peace of mind knowing that a charger will be available upon arrival instead of rolling the dice and hoping nobody is already using the charger when you arrive. I know this would make me nervous with a whole bunch of friends/family in the car just waiting to ridicule me for buying an electric car!
Again not saying this needs to be done right away but perhaps sometime next year when more cars are on the road.

Getting back to the local supercharging issue. What worries me is this.
Say you live a few blocks away from a supercharger and you have a 85 kWh Tesla...well if your daily commute is say 30 miles per day you could potentially drive all week without plugging in, then come every Sunday you might charge back up from near empty at the supercharger whilst shopping or enjoying a meal nearby.
Essentially this person could do this every week never paying a dime for electricity.
I don't think this scenario would be unthinkable for many people who live within 15-20 miles from a supercharger.
It has been said a person spending many thousands on a Model S wouldn't bother with this as you are only saving a small amount. Well in the scenario above a person living nearby might NEVER pay to charge his car...this would add up to a lot of savings over time.
Also what about when Tesla makes the more affordable Gen III? People with more modest incomes will certainly take advantage of opportunities to save money like this.

Put it this way..if you could buy a $30,000 car and never pay to fill it up EVER by living close to a free many people would look to exploit that? I think a lot once the cars become more widespread.

Again not really an issue currently but something Tesla will have to consider eventually. Would be a shame if locals ended up hogging superchargers for those who really need them for long distance travel.

Even if locals hogged the SC's, Tesla would just put more in so there would be enough to meet demand.

Remember, Tesla is getting telemetrics back from each Model S, and from all the SC stations. Part of that is diagnotic data, to keep things running, the rest is to insure that they have enough SC's where people want to use them. Each station is peanuts to add chargers to once it's in.

Also, the SCs will be between cities, not near them. So few will be close enough to bother. Remember, a complete fillup will save most people <$20. Driving any distance at all (return) and getting more than a minimum wage for the time will be tough. I think FF (Freeloader Fear) is misplaced.

Has it been stated that the Superchargers will be free for the Gen III? I wonder if perhaps there will be a time when Tesla charges for their use. Especially when there are hundreds of thousands on the road.

My apologies if they have stated they will be free for ever for every Tesla. I've only seen it said they will be free for the Model S.

My first post but I've been lurking (and learning) for a while now. Many thanks to all the regular contributors here. I'm very excited to see Tesla grow. I don't have a reservation yet as I'm trying to convince the CFO (aka spouse) that one would fit our needs and which one. I'm sure the S would be fine but the X is very appealing also. When the Supercharger network reaches us here in the PNW that convincing should get easier.


Super chargers will never be installed near where people live. That isn't their purpose, which is to facilitate intercity travel.

I wonder if it depends on Solar City's capabilities and business plan and arrangements. Remember, they handle all the power usage and generation and sale to utilities, etc. So their ability to ramp up is also an issue.

@Pungoteague_Dave, maybe not in the city, but close to one would be useful. If not then half of the benefit of them is lost:

You do a fast round-trip to town from SC picking up something, then head back, total round-trip length 300 miles, SC at 150 mile mark off the city. Now you are facing range anxiety because your trip length from the SC back to SC is your car optimal range.

If you had one SC, lets say 20 mile mark off the city you could recharge at that point either coming in or going out of the city and never have that problem. Even if that would mean driving that 30 miles at wrong direction (go thru the city to get there). You would even then have just 170 miles to drive instead of full 300.

Never is a long time.

Geez. Quit trying to game the system for free urban power.

Non of the problems listed here are the real problem. The 2 Chevy pickups parked in the charging slots in one of the California SC stations (on the evening news) is the real problems. Just as the ICE cars and trucks parked in the commercial charging stations are a problem now. Unless the law is going to start draging away the inconsiderate louts, EV drivers are going to have some inconveniences. The disabled have been inconvenieced for a long time by louts in gas-guzzlers.

I have only seen one SC, (the one in Delaware, which I saw twice) On one occasion I saw a ICE Toyota parked there. Not even a hybrid. The next time I was an S charging there. Not having SC location near urban areas would present a problem for me. Say I drive from DC to NYC. The will need to be at least one SC location near on the NJ turnpike close to NYC, oterwise, I will not have enough juice to get around while there, and how will I get back. I know there is etc, but that is not the point. I am buying a Tesla after all.

It would be a waste (borderline immoral IMHO, and certainly illogical from a business model perspective) for TM to use resources to put SC's in or near urban areas. There are many existing places in and around cities to pick up charges - almost any public garage, Whole Foods, etc. Where they are needed is in travel cooridors, which is why that is the stated TM strategy - to allow people to use the cars for longer trips. TM is not in business to provide free charging for normal daily use - they expect us to provide our own electricity at home and work. Other SC uses would be abusive in my opinion, just as is topping up when unecessary.

@ Pungoteague_Dave

++ 1

@Pungoteague_Dave, did you read what I wrote? In my example I was using long distance travel with need of SC near urban area. Not in it, but close. It really doesn't matter if there are slow charging possibilities in the city if I'm not planning to stay there more than five minutes. I need fast charging otherwise that trip would be really really really annoying and I would stick to ICE car for distance travel. Eventually BEV needs to have that, otherwise it will never beat ICE for distance travel.

You need charger relatively close to city so that that round-trip to it from the SC position is possible within one charge (real life range). That means 100 miles max distance, preferably closer so that round-trip distance is less than 200 miles. Also if you are going to drive in the city for a while without leaving you might want to have relatively high SOC state when you arrive there.

In my model in "travel corridor" I would put one charger within 50miles from any city, then roughly 150 miles for any additional chargers.

You are talking about cities on your route that you are really just bypassing on your way. Your analysis works for that scenario. TM won't be able to cover all possibilities, though.

Not yet. I wouldn't bet about the future for that. It isn't really TM that is building actual SC stations now, so maybe some take away- restaurant could put one in their parking lot just to draw people in (fast food, so that you can actually get it before charge is finished).

"Get your pizza here, charge while waiting! 15min or less wait time guaranteed!"

Well, if they paid for the power. It would have no more 'appeal' than any other SC, aside from convenience for some.

Just to clarify, I did say on the NJ turnpike (toll road) near an urban area, such as NYC. I doubt a person would pay a toll to charge their car when the actual charging cost is less than the toll. I do understand that it would not make business sense. I fully intend to have charging equipment in my garage. For the amount of driving I do, I doubt that I would spend more than $2 per day anyway.

Timo, I did read you example, which makes my point exactly. This is the scneario that I live personally. My home is a farm about 160-170 miles aways from Baltimire & DC. I go to those cities once per week to teach classes at Johns Hopkins and shop, visit doctors, see our kids, transact business, get car wash & haircut, drop off dry cleaning, do banking. etc. With the distance to the cities, plus the amount of running around when there, it is impossible for me to round-trip it without a charge somewhere inthe middle. Further, there are no charging stations except one Nissan dealer in the 120 miles closest to my home on the Eastern Shore (Delmarva).

However, I still see NO need for TM to provide any charging in or near those big city locations because I have plenty of alternatives to get a charge. There are now charging stations at almost every stop. I can charge when stoping for breakfast & coffee, stop for lunch, visiting daughter in Besthesda (in her apartment parking garage or at the metro station garage next door), while teaching class for 4 hours (at the JHU parking lot charging station), while picking up wife at airport (free charge at the short term garage), and while buying groceries at Whole Foods on the return trip, etc. It takes a little planning, but this comes with EV territory.

I envision similar scenarios further afield, such as our couple trips per year to Philly, NYC, Boston, and Portland ME. However, in those situations, the SC WILL make it possible. I have NO interest in an SC in or near Philly, New York City, Boston, etc. - we want the SC's between the cities at places where we will stop for a meal. While in the city, charging aps will take care of our running-around and return top-off power requirements just fine.

Using your scenario or mine, urban areas and nearby suburbs simply have no good reason for an SC, and would probably even be detrimental to battery longevity because we would be tempted to do too many fast charges in routine use. TM gets this and it is fundamental to their SC strategy - to take away the single biggest limitation for EV's - the freedon to just get in and drive. That will work in heavilly popoulated corridirs. Now if we could figure out how to do a National Parks trip without having to center our activities around the car's needs rather than our preferred schedules, we will really have something.

As it stands now, I cannot see how to swing a Model S trip to Glacier, NP, down through Yellowstone, the Tetons, etc., without fairly short driving days (so more days on the road), and constantly planning long stops or overnights at commercial campgrounds (we would normally tent camp at park campgrounds, but that would not work with the Tesla). So while waiting delivery of our S in the next week or so, we remain realistic that there are some things that only an ICE will be able to handle efficiently for the next phase of automotive transport, and will keep a pickup for the practical things it can do, like haul trailers or schlep gear down a 4wd road to a trailhead.

@Pungoteague_Dave, However, I still see NO need for TM to provide any charging in or near those big city locations because I have plenty of alternatives to get a charge.

There's the difference between you and me. Where I live there are absolutely no chargers of any kind available. Which is stupid but, considering how our government does it's best to milk all the money out of people that need cars, not so surprising.

I guess it's hopeless. You'll have to conform, and take the bus. ;(

Where do you live? There are charging stations in virtually every major metropolitan area in the US...

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