"Savannah" Supercharger Location Was Not a Good Idea

"Savannah" Supercharger Location Was Not a Good Idea

Tesla placed the "Savannah" SC at the Savannah Airport which is actually closer to Pooler, a booming town outside of Savannah right off of I-95. In fact, the area right off of the I-95 exit that the charger is at (2 miles or so to the airport) has gone nuts. There has been a Home Depot, Walmart, Sams Club, and a few restaurants (Chic-Fil-A, Arby's, Longhorn) for several years, but a couple of years ago they announced they were building one of (if not THE) biggest shopping outlet in the Southeast at that exit. Since then, it has just gone nuts there. Almost every restaurant chain has opened now. Several shopping centers have popped up with stores like TJ Maxx and Ross. There is also a World Of Beer location (my personal favorite :). I mean, the area is full of just about every type of restaurant you can imagine, including some good local ones. All in a 1/2 mile area, all on the same side of the interstate.

But, WHERE does Tesla put the SC? At the freaking airport where a) it is cumbersome to get into and out of, b) there are limited choices on where to eat, c) it's a pretty long walk from the back of the parking garage where the chargers are at to the airport lobby where there are BRs and food, and d) absolutely ZERO exposure for Tesla. This area (South Ga) basically has no Teslas. Most people here have never even seen one. To them, it's some "California" car for the Hollywood elite (if they've even heard of Tesla). If the SC station were right in the middle of all this mega "happening" area, it would be MUCH more convenient for owners, and TONS of people would see the charging station, the cars driving to them, and the cars charging at them. I don't know what kind of deal Tesla got at the airport, but the only way it was worth it was if it was free (and I seriously doubt that).

Someone needs to recommend to Tesla that they put an additional charging station near this mega shopping area. It would be WELL worth the $250k.

dlake | 15 februar 2015

Does anyone know how Tesla chooses SC sites? Seems like there is a lack of transparency on this.

petochok | 15 februar 2015

The idea is not to have them at places that have "gone nuts". SC's are meant for interstate travelers, not those who want to plug in and go on a shopping spree. Having said that, it is important to have nearby amenities with ease of access from the freeway.

Ponyotoro | 15 februar 2015

Totally agree. There are no signs directing you to the superchargers there. You have to drive through the several two level parking garages to find them. Plus you have to pay the airport parking fee on the way out. It wasn't expensive for a 1.5 hour stay, but an inconvenience none the less. If these superchargers were placed in more advantageous high traffic venues they would get convenience and free advertising accomplished in one move. Oh well, 10 years from now we will all just remenice about these early times and wonder how society could have possibly gone by without a supercharger or hypercharger at every 5-10 mile radius.

buddyroe | 15 februar 2015

@TeslaDreamer5 - I don't think you have to pay unless it is over 2 hours. You should be able to get your parking validated. Hopefully someone else here will chime in on that. I am not an owner [yet].

Red Sage ca us | 16 februar 2015

I sort of think that ultimately, a lot of the Supercharger locations that today seem to be primary, will eventually be seen as supplementary to the network as expansion progresses.

Ponyotoro | 16 februar 2015

@buddyroe, funny how I'm speaking from exeperience. I was there for around 1.5 hours and had to pay the parking fee on my way out. Like I said, it wasn't much but it was an inconvenience none the less. You shouldn't reply with an "I think..." rebuttal on a subject you don't have actual facts about and then going on to hope that someone else "chimes" in to help confirm your guess. "I think" does not belong in an argumentative statement about factual events. It belongs in speculative statements that lack actual facts.

buddyroe | 16 februar 2015


Thank you for the lesson.

Now, a lesson for you. I was not in an argument with you so I was not making an "argumentative statement". I was actually, in a nice way, without sounding like a know-it-all, trying to help you out. I didn't want to seem like I was saying, "hey dumbass, you don't have to pay." Sometimes the written word doesn't come across as you intend. I was simply trying to be respectful. I asked for others to chime in that own a Tesla and knew the process. However, my brother works there so I KNOW you don't have to pay. Is that better for you?

So, go on paying or figure it out for yourself. You are obviously way too smart for your own good and can't tell when someone is just offering some info. Either way, this will be my last reply to you. I don't have time for stupid.

buddyroe | 16 februar 2015

I guess I lied @TeslaDreamer5. I will reply to you one more time. You are a REAL smart one. Here is the info RIGHT FROM TESLA's WEB PAGE! Took me 30 seconds to find it (and I'm not even a Tesla owner).

Is this "factual" enough for you? Pay attention to the last sentence. It's pretty much EXACTLY what I told you.

Economy Lot:
Each Hour $1.00
Max Each 24 Hrs. $8.00
Tesla customers park free for 2 hours. Parking tickets can be validated at Information Desk on first floor of Airport or with Airport Security,-81.0303609,31.89107...

You may want to stop and think next time before you post and make an a$$ of yourself.

Ponyotoro | 16 februar 2015

@buddyroe, touché. Well I apologize for rubbing you wrong. In the end we all got the facts straight, which was my intent. Much better than assumptions. Please have yourself a nice week!

DTsea | 17 februar 2015

Well, having to go into the airport to validate a $1 parking fee hardly seems worth the bother.

ElectricSteve | 18 februar 2015

". If the SC station were right in the middle of all this mega "happening" area, it would be MUCH more convenient for owner"

There is a downside to this.
If the SC would be there, it would be ICE'ed all the frigg'n time, like some SC's in Germany...

buddyroe | 18 februar 2015

That's something that needs to be dealt with. Most people, myself included, aren't going to spend 40-50 minutes charging, and then have to go get something to eat 2 miles away. It simply adds too much to the travel time to have to stop every 3 hours for an extra hour to hour and 30 minutes. In the discussions I have had with people about Tesla, their biggest complaint/argument was that it is too cumbersome to charge. First, there aren't many chargers, and next, it takes too long. The only argument to that is a) they are building SC stations very quickly, and b) that you can go to the bathroom and get something to eat while you charge. But, if that is not the case, people are not going to sacrifice more than 40-50 minutes per "re-fuel" on a 600 or 700 mile trip. This will NEVER make it very far - whether it be an $80k Model S or a $35k Model 3. People simply aren't willing to spend that much time "re-fueling."

Brian H | 18 februar 2015

Maybe some people aren't; most here seem to find the breaks useful and relaxing. An hour's break in an 8-9 hr journey is not excessive.

bluealien | 18 februar 2015

Tesla has placed Super Chargers at a couple of airport locations. The JFK Airport plaza location is also not really convenient for most people traveling in NYC/Long Island area because one is almost always guaranteed to hit traffic either entering or leaving the Airport. But, since this location was opened back when vampire drain was more of a problem, I believe the main reason for this location is to provide peace of mind to drivers returning from a long trip. Even though the idle power drain has been reduced, in cases like this past week when there have been some bitterly cold nights, the capacity loss could be difficult to predict. Under these circumstances being able to charge before driving home is very welcome.

Tesla-David | 18 februar 2015

We used the Savannah SC 3 times on our cross country trip, and had ticket validated the first two times, which was a bit of a hassle to locate the office for validation. The third time, I just handed the ticket, which I signed on the back to attendant at the gate and the attendant fussed a bit at not getting it validated but waved us through without paying. I agree this SC was poorly located, and inconvenient relative to other SCs on our trip.

buddyroe | 18 februar 2015

Brian - You'll have to explain to me how you do a 9 hour drive and only stop for an hour. You'd have to be driving 55 mph and the Super Charging station placed PERFECTLY for your trip. And the truth is, most people on the interstates these days are driving 75-80. Even at 75, you'll get about 250 miles tops. And that is about 3 hours and 20 mins of driving (less if you don't have a P85D), IF you take your miles all the way to almost ZERO - which no one will, so 2 hours and 45 minutes to 3 hours is more realistic (and still, the charging station has to be placed perfectly). You charge for an hour and you can make another ~ 3 hours. So, either you drive 55 everywhere and SC stations are placed perfectly for your trip, or you are getting many more miles than everybody else. Regardless, the average person isn't going back to the Carter administration and drive 55.

Even Edmunds said they spent 22% of their travel time across the country charging. And they broke the record for an EV trip across the country.

22% doesn't bother me IF there is no additional time stopping to eat because there was nothing within walking distance of the SC stations I had to use.

These are REAL WORLD ISSUES that people tell me when I discuss Tesla's with them. I mean, OVER and OVER, it's what I hear from people. They simply don't want to be forced to drive 55 mph or stop for 40 minutes to an hour every 3 hours when they are on a 5 or 600 mile trip.

Brian H | 18 februar 2015

Ya, your math is about right, though the legs and stops generally seem to run shorter than that. Which "people" are you talking to? Current or possible future owners?

buddyroe | 19 februar 2015

Just general people. I post a lot on a forum for my favorite college FB team and I was surprised at all the Tesla haters there. I could pretty much shut them down with facts since things like, "you can't take it more than 50 miles from home", "who wants to charge for 4 hours every time you drive 2 hours?", "they catch on fire constantly", "Tesla has never made a profit" are all easy to defend and proven wrong with facts.

But, the overwhelming majority cited range and charge time as the reasons they wouldn't buy one. When I cited the range being 265-285 miles with 50% charges in 20 minutes and 80% charges in 40 minutes, they were pretty quick to go to Tesla's web site and figure out that on the interstate, cruising 75, you wouldn't get that much range. They were also smart enough to point out that those charge times were in optimal conditions at the best charging stations - and if you were sharing with other people at the station, the charge time would be substantially greater. These were all arguments they had me on. All I had to counter back with was, "well, Tesla isn't sitting on their hands. They will, of course, increase range and decrease charge time." To which they answered, and that's when I'll be interested in buying one.

I tried to point out to them that the trade off for a little time added to their long trips (about 5% of most people's driving time) was NEVER having to get gas during you local driving and have a "full tank" every time you wake up. But, most said the trade off wasn't worth it to them. They sometimes needed to make a long trip in a hurry and to them, right now, they just couldn't do it in a Tesla. So, they would still need a second (ICE) car just for long trips. They also pointed out the restrictions on where you could go with the current SC network. All of your routes MUST include SC's in the right spot (or your travel must be tweaked to where there are SC stations), unlike ICE cars where you can re-fuel almost anywhere at any time.

This is why I believe Tesla really needs to focus on "comfort" and "convenience" while charging. Of course they are working on the range and charge time, but until those 2 factors are something close to re-fueling a tank of gas, stops at SC stations need to be very convenient (not at a confusing airport where you have to pull a ticket and then get it validated) and very comfortable (an easy, short, SAFE walk to restaurants and/or gas stations). People simply are not going to adapt to this model if it is so cumbersome to travel in an EV.

buddyroe | 19 februar 2015

Here are some of the things people say (direct copy/paste):

"Try making a cross country trip in a Tesla. Until they rectify the range limitations, many people will continue buying one car that does everything pretty well, rather than two cars - one for "local" driving and one for everything else."


"Having to stop for roughly an hour to charge about every 170 miles ain't exactly the way I roll... Especially, since the charging locations are relatively few in number and are primarily on major interstates, so the 170 mile number may be 100 or 120 miles in reality. Try to get to Oklahoma from Atlanta via the Tesla supercharger network. Or the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone. It isn't doable today.

I'd rather do what I did to return from the Gator Bowl a decade ago. Climb in the car, drive 5 hours without stopping, and roll into the driveway. With the Tesla, that trip would have required at least another hour and a half, maybe two."


"Wow...I didn't realize it was that bad.

You really have to wait 40 minutes to get a charge that delivers less range than about 2/3 of a tank in my F150?

As others have posted...that's a significant logistical issue..."


"What bothers me about Teslas is the environmental impact. The undisputed fact is that most electricity is produced by burning coal. So everytime you plug in your neighbors Tesla, you are polluting the environment. Coal is dirtier than the gasoline your car burns, therefore Tesla's are more harmful to the environment than Lexus'."


Rocky_H | 19 februar 2015

@buddyroe, yeah, those are generally pretty real rational points, except that last one about coal. When someone starts their point off with the blatantly, provably wrong statement:
"The undisputed fact is that most electricity is produced by burning coal."
Then I definitely blow a crater-sized hole in whatever they say after that. Coal is about 37-38% ish, which is not "most". Way too many people falsely use the word "most", which is defined as over 50%. They just know it's a kind of big percentage, so they falsely use that word.

The other complaints are pretty solid. I still haven't even gotten to use a Supercharger in almost a year of ownership because I'm in one of those empty areas, but the five hour drive point is sure accurate. We just did a trip (with the gas car) that was 318 miles. We didn't take the Tesla because the only charging possibilities along the route are 14-50 plugs at RV parks. Doable, but sitting for a few hours for that would be pretty painful.

Brian H | 19 februar 2015

The current charging inconveniences are worth it for the vastly superior driving experience, and the counter-balancing conveniences. Starting every day with a full tank is the major one. Pre-warming and cooling the car before starting out is the next. Neither is possible with an ICE-machine.

steytler | 19 februar 2015

Brian H:
I'll second that "vastly superior driving experience". Just finished a 941 mile trip with my wife, all SC fueled. She was remarking to a friend the difference between this and earlier ventures via ICE, thusly-
'You arrive in a better frame of mind, and much more relaxed.'

There you have it.

buddyroe | 19 februar 2015

Brian - I agree with you and I don't even own one. However, most people that agree with you DO own a Tesla. The only real way to know that is to own one. And when people already have their minds made up that it will be too cumbersome to travel in, they aren't going to buy one to find out. In fact, most people I have met that own a Model S told me they bought it to just be their local car, and THEN found they could travel in it a lot more than they realized. Unfortunately, the vast majority of people aren't going to plunk down $80 to $100k THINKING they will need a different car for long distance travel.

And further, most people simply aren't going to go through the pains of finding a hotel or resort that has a charger when they are going somewhere. They don't want to have to plan out their trips to that extent - even if they only travel 2 or 3 times per year.

Until people can realistically jump in their Tesla and go on a long trip without a ton of fanfare, Tesla will not gain mainstream (500k cars or more) status. That doesn't mean it has to be AS convenient as an ICE car, but it definitely has to be much less cumbersome than it is right now. I often see people posting about needing a charger in X city and looking for a Tesla owner that might let them charge, and all that kind of stuff. That just isn't going to cut it. And I'm sure that is why Tesla is building SC stations at breakneck speed right now. When the 3 comes out, that 2016 map needs to be fulfilled - and that is a minimum. The charge time at that point also needs to be cut to around 12-15 mins for a half charge and 25-30 mins for an 80% charge. I mean, that is the worst the average American will take to charge (unless the car can go 4-500 miles on a charge). Basically, the additional time on a road trip needs to be 10% or less for people to adopt this methodology - even if they're driving for free.

Rocky_H | 19 februar 2015

@buddyroe, yeah, the finding local charging stuff I think is an aspect of the moment of time we are in, while the Supercharger network is still a bit early. If there was a Supercharger on the way into the destination I was going, I could hit it on the way in, possibly not even need charging for a day or two, and hit it on the way back out of town heading home. Also, regarding hotels with charging, most cities already have at least one or two hotels with it here in the beginning of 2015. By 2017, when the Model 3 comes along, there will be more.

Brian H | 19 februar 2015

Your concern about lack of interest is groundless. Every owner spawns new owners, at a rate Tesla can't keep up with.

buddyroe | 19 februar 2015

Brian - I'm not talking about today when they can only make around 50-70k cars per year. I'm talking about in 2017 when the GF is running and the 3 is out - when they hope to sell 200-300k cars.

buddyroe | 23 februar 2015

@Brian - these are the kinds of things the average person is simply NOT going to consider. It's too cumbersome right now. Tesla has GOT to fix this and I don't know that 5000 SC stations will even do it. The range has got to exceed the 300 mile mark in the Model 3 for it to have mass appeal (IMO).

"That's a good idea. I am planning a Coeur d'Alene to Ashland, OR trip just after July 4th and was considering how to get to The Dalles especially considering the big headwinds I would see in the Columbia gorge.
Detouring through Ellensburg adds 40 miles to the trip but would probably end up being faster than sitting in a campground with a 14-50.

Another option I was considering is the CHAdeMO charger at the Arlington OR City Hall. That would give a quick boost and ensure I could make it to The Dalles despite the headwinds.
Has anyone had any experience with it? I hadn't heard of Opconnect but they sound like a reasonable group. Free Level 2 charging. $7 per charge for CHAdeMO."

Red Sage ca us | 26 februar 2015

So... 375 miles, using only 70% charge, while driving 75 MPH...? Yeah. This is why I do so many calculations, to determine 'The NUMBER' thast would allow Tesla Motors to tell Naysayers to simply [SIERRA TANGO FOXTROT UNIFORM].

On the one hand, it seems people want Tesla to come up with some sort of hyper-efficient energy transmission system. It works out to something like 194 Wh per mile. With that low rate of consumption still making a constant 75 MPH or more cruising rate a reality.

On the other hand, it amounts to guaranteeing a minimum range in the worst of conditions. Uphill, hub-deep snow, gale force headwinds, sub-zero temperatures, while towing, at 25+ MPH over the posted speed limit. Call it 600 Wh per mile.

No one seems willing to accept the notion that in actual practice, better than 95% of normal driving could be handled by an electric car with a demonstrable range of 200 miles and access to high speed charging. They only look to the extremes.

375 miles at 194 Wh per mile may be possible with a ~90 kWh (100%) to ~115 kWh (70%) battery pack.

375 miles at 600 Wh per mile would likely require a 250 kWh (100%) or ~360 kWh (70%) battery pack.

But to be a bit more reasonable, you can probably manage 375 miles at 323 Wh per mile, at legal highway speeds, using a 135 kWh (100%) or ~190 kWh (70%) battery pack.

phil | 21 juni 2016

Looks like I'll be going to Savannah for a couple days. How difficult is it to find this charger?

Tesla-David | 21 juni 2016

@phil, they are easy to find. Just drive into the parking garage and you will see the chargers on the left side.

ram1901 | 21 juni 2016

OPS: @buddyroe wrote: ".... I don't even own one. "

While I believe the Savannah Area Airport Parking Garage is a bad spot for the Tesla SC along i95, I'm a little bit puzzled as to why a non-owner would even brings this up.

There is a similar problem in the SC network near Washington, DC (Bethesda) where the SC is in a Shopping Complex Parking Garage and is frequented by locals so that the long distance travelers rarely can use it without having to wait in line for hours to get one of the only two slots. And this one is listed as Temporary although it's been there for almost two years. It's also used by the Tesla Store that's nearby to charge it's cars. You'd think a progressive area like DC would have a 12 bay charging facility near this major hub. [ Especially with all the tourist attractions in the area. ???? ]

But I digress. I suspect Savannah site was the best they could find at the time while building out their network.
And I suspect they had difficulty finding an affordable spot in the DC area for a large charging area. Property prices for purchase and/or lease in that area are ridiculously high...(over priced). Like some pointed out, if they put it in a shopping center parking lot the SC slots would likely be ICED.

PV_Dave @US-PA | 22 juni 2016

@ram1901: Bethesda's mall location was always temporary because the intent has always been to find a better location. It's expected to be decommissioned next week when the Laurel Supercharger site hopefully comes on line.

I agree that the Savannah site was probably the best they could do at the time, and was also an experiment (along with JFK) to see if airports were good locations. In theory the idea was that folks with a long drive to the airport could do a quick charge to 80% before their flight, then charge again upon return to offset stationary losses and to ensure they've got enough charge for the long drive home. It does make it easier to extend the effective range to the airport without leaving your car plugged in, though I prefer in Philly to use an offsite parking service with 120V outlets available.

In the end, 120V outlets are much cheaper than Superchargers, and more convenient if you've got enough of them, because the car's typically sitting for more than enough time to trickle charge.

jordanrichard | 23 juni 2016

In traveling back from FL with friends in their new X, we stopped at Savannah and we thought it was a fantastic location. We didn't find it to be that difficult get off and back on 95. Yes, it was "fun" finding the stalls, but now that we know where to find them, it is no big deal. One simply turns into Economy parking, go straight into the "South parking" garage, keep going straight, right into the North parking garage and the stalls are immediately on your left. They are pull through stalls. So what, one has to walk a bit to the terminal. You get to stretch your legs, it could be pouring out and you won't get wet. The airport is gorgeous. There was a nice assortment of places to eat in a park like setting.

Blue X | 13 juli 2016

I've stopped there 8x in last 2 months. I have mixed feelings on the site.

Positive: in summer, you will welcome parking in a garage and out of the sun.. Airport has many services and provides a great break in terms of AC and stretching the legs on a long trip

Negative: SC is veryyyyyyy slow re: to others in FL, GA, SC, NC, VA. I could never get more than 171A in any stop no matter my battery reserve level.
Big Negative: Never hit airport around 4-6PM. Major Gulfstream employment center and road out of airport and onto I95 is heavily congested. Could add another 20 minutes to your trip.