Worry about SuperCharger availability when Model 3 comes out

Worry about SuperCharger availability when Model 3 comes out

I'm sitting here at the Fremont factory charging my Model S. Finding an open space upon pulling in and having only 42 miles of range left on my S, I plugged in next to a "paired" S next to me. What a surprise when I sought a full charge and was greeted with a message that 3 hours and 20 minutes was required to charge. What happened to the claim of 80% charge in 30 minutes. When I complained to the front desk, she said that would happen if someone pulls into a stall that is shared with another S or X as the first one there gets priority. She was right, once the neighboring S left, my S's charging rate went up, but now that I'm the only S in the paired stalls, there remains 1 hour left of charging and I've been here for 50 minutes. So, if it's this bad at the factory, what is going to happen when the new Xs and the future 3s show up to charge? I was going to put a deposit down for the 3 but I'm having serious second thoughts about the long-term viability of SuperCharge availabiity. I'm thinking something like a Chevy Volt might be the better choice for travel when the Xs and 3s start rolling off the line. Anyone else worried about the same thing?

KP in NPT | 2 marts 2016

Is this guy for real?

How fast dos the Volt charger at a supercharger? | 2 marts 2016

I wouldnt be so much worried about the superchargers. My primary concern is how quickly their support can match with the demand. Support as in the response times to calls as its not like we can drive to any car mechanic for any issues, number of service centers, number of authorized body shops and how quickly we can obtain the spare parts.

aarnold | 2 marts 2016

I agree with the OP...If the number of cars double in a short time, the Super Chargers will be a lot busier. Right now (on the East Coast) I can go to an SC and get a spot that is not being shared. I can "fill" up in less than an hour and be on my way. With the number of cars getting more and more, this could become a problem. Maybe they will double the SC in the busy areas and everything will be fine.

KP in NPT | 2 marts 2016

I would say that starting from nothing, they have built a pretty impressive SC network in a relatively short amount of time - and it will continue. Other than a few specific areas, at this time crowding is not an issue. Besides "filling in the gaps" in the current network, I believe SCs will be added relative to the amount of Teslas on the road. I'm pretty sure they've thought of this.

TaoJones | 2 marts 2016

Tesla committed 1.5 years ago to density as well as distance with regard to SCs. No worries there other than the inexplicable failure to make any progress in that 1.5 years toward filling the I-10 gap between Tucson and San Antonio (thus enabling the first and only transcontinental route that won't require chains or snow tires).

I too would be more concerned about Service consistency and competence keeping up with demand. It's not just volume - it's multiple platforms and an increasingly less knowledgable/patient customer base.

Rocky_H | 2 marts 2016

Logical fallacy:

“Here are how many Superchargers there are right now. It’s going to be awful when the Model 3 comes out in 2 to 3 years, because I’m certain Tesla isn’t going to build any more Superchargers between now and then.”

This is like when people say, “If everyone switches to electric cars, the electric grid can’t handle it.” You are taking a potential condition from the future and applying it to something now, assuming there will be no growth to adapt to this gradual shift.

Haggy | 2 marts 2016

One problem is that Tesla is a bit misleading when they say "up to" regarding percentage or miles of range added without giving any indication of what's typical. Technically they are correct if they assure that you don't get more than that, but it's not useful information. Likewise, it's not helpful if the car tells you that you will need to stop at a supercharger for 15 minutes and it will really be 45 minutes because you are paired and that particular area always has more than half of the chargers in use during anything but off peak times. I can think of a number of supercharger stations I've been to when I never got there when they weren't at least half full. If you stay with your car and are lucky enough to see a non-shared spot open up, then you can move your car and speed things up. But if you go to eat, come back 40 minutes later and the estimate is another 30 minutes to charge, there's a problem.

Incidentally, if everybody switched to electric cars, the grid might be able to handle it just fine, as long as we schedule charging for off peak hours. I use less electricity at night even when charging than I do during the day, and that's just my household use. At night, factories, offices, stores and all sorts of places shut down. Huge daytime loads from AC goes way down. If the grid can handle daytime household use, it's clear that it can handle it at night with a car charging, especially when all those other high users of electricity are idle. If anything, there's so much extra capacity at night that introducing EV rates could be a boon to the industry. They could take the unused capacity and sell it, generating far more money without the need to improve infrastructure.

TesMD | 2 marts 2016

First off, we don't even know when model 3 will actually be on the road so even hypothetically it will go in production in late 2017 or early 2018, that is almost 2 years away and by then hopefully more superchargers and DC fast charging stations will be added to the network. So, why worry about something that may happen in 2 years.

As for charging rates goes, I am not sure at what rate you were charging but even in most cases that I have been paired up in full supercharger, I usually got 200m/hr to start if my soc was low. So, you might have had a bad supercharger cable so might have helped if you had changed stalls to see if your charging rate improved.

I agree that the number of service centers need to increase greatly if/when model 3 is on the road and if it is as successful as Elon hopes it will be. That is why It will be interesting to see the number of people that would be willing to put 1000$ deposit down for model 3. I know in Cailfornia where I live, a lot of people love the model S and would get one if it was not for the high price but I am not sure how the response will be in there rest of US and other countries.

Haggy | 2 marts 2016

I've had plenty of times when I was paired and got under 100 MILES/hour, but if you got 200 meters per hour you are really scrod. I've also had somebody charging next to me asking if I was doing as poorly as he was (under 100) and I explained how the A|B worked. I was in line ahead of him, and right after a car left and I pulled in, the car next to me left. So he was literally moments behind me but got a very low rate. So I had to deal with the line first of all, and if I had gotten there a minute later I would have spent several times as long charging.

timmsteiner | 2 marts 2016

The problem is intention of use. If people would use them exclusively for trips instead of just getting a free charge, we wouldnt have this problem.

Haggy | 2 marts 2016

I don't know about that. The biggest problem I had with lines was at Tejon Ranch and it seems unlikely to me that there's a large population of locals around there who are charging. It's on a major route and not near a populated area. Lebec has a population of about 1400. I don't think enough of those could be Teslas to create a problem.

jordanrichard | 2 marts 2016

Wow, and yet again people are comparing the speculative amount of Model 3s on the road in 2 years to the CURRENT state of the SC network today.

For those complaining about the advertised charge rate to what they are experiencing, what exactly would you have Tesla say? There are far too many variables to say what every single person will experience. They have to come up with a general statement. What is next, get pissed off at Tesla because you planned on it taking "x" amount of time to charge so you go off shopping/eating and the car finishes sooner and you have cut your shopping/eat short.

In the past, every time you bought gas it took the exact amount of time?

AoneOne | 2 marts 2016

In the last quarterly earnings meeting, Tesla announced the intent to install another 300 superchargers this year, about as many as they did last year. While there are still gaps, and there will still be some gaps next year, coverage is dramatically better than it was last year and the year before that.

Tesla isn't stupid. They know the math. They know how much drivers charge and home and how much they charge on the road. They understand that the supercharger network is an enormous advantage which they're not about to squander.

With sale of around $5B last year, and gross profit of $800+M, $75M for 300 superchargers (@$250K ea) is a significant expense, but hardly unsupportable. They can afford to continue to build out the network and increase their available market.

TaoJones | 2 marts 2016

@tim -1.

Tesla has committed to building SCs for both density and distance. In other words, get used to "locals" charging in much greater numbers - in particular the non-garaged locals. It's all part of the plan. The only bottlenecks have resulted from insufficient planning in a very few areas, and those areas are slowly being addressed. Examples include Orange County (CA) and Tejon Ranch referenced above. Schiphol was another problem child due to livery saturation, and frankly that problem is of greater concern than the very few locals who have home charging and opt to save a buck.

Happily, a dose of reality tends to mitigate the handwringing and non-critical thinking. It will take years for Model 3 production to ramp to even 100,000/year domestic, let alone 500,000. In fact, I suggest it will take 5 years and that 5 years will be the average ownership life of a Model 3. Coincidence? I think not. Ok, it might be, but the point remains. Or points: 90% of Model S/X owners don't use SCs at all. Figure 60% of Model 3 owners won't either.

Try to keep in mind that most people have jobs and lives and families and don't drive much more than they have to.

Lastly, Tesla didn't invest in basic research (apart from the obvious applied research) for nothing. Improvements in range and charging infrastructure will be compelling. Also keep in mind that once Tesla finally gets some real competition (hello e-Golf, Bolt, and whatever improvements BMW makes to their sneaker), alternate charging networks will improve as well. Why, someday we might even see more than 1 ChaDeMo per installation *gasp*. And they might even be full-strength and functional!

Crazy talk, I know. By all means, let the handwringing resume. Like the entry-level Mustang hat had no radio, I could envision a base Model 3 without SC capability (again, since the majority of owners don't use SCs). But from a capacity standpoint, all will be just fine. Even if 100,000 units/year were sold in the US, the SC network would be just fine. That would require a total annual production of 250,000 or so. And by then it will be 5 years hence. Even with the slowing domestic SC deployment, by then they might even have closed the I-10 gap - so even less pressure upon existing SCs :).

tes-s | 2 marts 2016

Not worried. More cars is more revenue is more superchargers. More superchargers is more cars is more revenue is more superchargers.

Madatgascar | 2 marts 2016

tes-s, we have been round and round this issue before. Model 3 will sell at razor thin profit margins compared to the S and yet will require an order of magnitude more SC PER CAR than the S because it is selling to a demographic that (A) largely lives in apartments, and (B) can better rationalize the time cost of sitting at a supercharger to meet ALL their energy needs. People buying a car now want to be able to look 5 or more years down the road and have a clear picture of what will happen to this network. What is Tesla's plan? What is their math? It's a fair question that needs a better answer than "not worried, more cars is more revenue."

eye.surgeon | 2 marts 2016

Before you start worrying about the flood of Model 3s coming our way, look at how slowly the X's are trickling out.

church70 | 2 marts 2016

Supercharge stations are meant for travel only. 95% of your charging comes from your home or it should
And you should never charge to 100% unless you really need to anytime I have traveled the supercharge stations network
From Toronto to Florida mainly I charge to about 80% and then leave and go to the next one and do the same thing over and over again so please don't charge 100% that's a waste of everybody's time unless you really need to

KP in NPT | 3 marts 2016

@tbouquet I have to disagree that "it is selling to a demographic that (A) largely lives in apartments, and (B) can better rationalize the time cost of sitting at a supercharger to meet ALL their energy needs."

that is so elitist, honestly. The M3 might be for the masses, but it will not be a "cheap car." Do BMW 3 series or Audi A4 drivers mostly live in apartments? Is their time worth that much less than the upper echelon Model S drivers? Sheesh.

tes-s | 3 marts 2016

@tbouquet - I am making the assumption that however Tesla decides to charge for supercharging the M3 (same as MS, pay as you go, or whatever) that they will charge enough to cover their costs - including capital costs.

As long as they do that, and have access to capital, then whether they sell 100 M3 or 10,000,000 they will have the money available to expand supercharger capacity to meet the demand.

If they make a mistake and underestimate the demand and don't charge enough to cover their costs, then they will have to choose between losing money on supercharging, or underbuilding the network to force rationing and less use and pissing off their customers.

I'm betting they get it right, and if they find it costs more raise the price going forward and suck it up in the meantime.

tes-s | 3 marts 2016

@church70 - I'm not sure they are meant for travel only. Elon has talked about superchargers in metro areas - I believe for people who cannot charge where they park overnight.

"We strategically place Superchargers along well-traveled highways and in congested city centers."

Georgemadi | 3 marts 2016

How can a true Tesla lover ever think of buying a GM product? After I learned what GM is trying to do to Tesla I decided not to purchase a Bolt and to wait for the Model 3.

First GM killed off the Trolley buses, then they killed the first electric car and now they are trying to squeeze Tesla out of the market place. NO GM for me, ever.

SamO | 3 marts 2016



Superchargers are placed in certain cities that have much off street parking (London, Shanghai, Hong Kong . . . ) for owners who don't have charging.

That being said, Tesla has been giving away HPWCs to anyone in those areas that MIGHT have access to parking.

They are going to have to push in every direction to fill out the worldwide charging network not just for access but for redundancy as well.

They simply haven't kept up in California and will likely have some of the same issues once Model 3 debuts and is delivered.

tes-s | 3 marts 2016

Are there still lines in CA? I thought they had addressed that with some new locations, and expanding existing locations. Still not keeping up?

Tesltoronto | 3 marts 2016

We don't know Tesla's plans. For all we know, Superchargers may not be free for M3. But I do hope they are planning ahead. I think the concern here is because what has happened to the Service Centers scenario where we have to wait for a month or more to get a service appointment (at least in Toronto).

jordanrichard | 3 marts 2016

Tesltoronto, yes they will be free for the Model ≡. Elon has already stated that Model ≡ cars will come with free access to the superchargers.

inconel | 3 marts 2016

I might be dreaming but by 2020 (or a bit later) when there are many EVs from other manufacturers on the road I would expect a dense network of high speed charging on well traveled roads. Hopefully we will have one common standard by then as well.

church70 | 3 marts 2016

I remember and some of you might as well
Letters were sent out to people using supercharge stations daily and I believe they were told to stop

Something else that might be a concern I have seen BMW I3s charging with supercharge stations. With a modified plug that's concerning.

bt456 | 3 marts 2016

Really are not that many Tesla's on the road outside of CA. Fleet size is constantly increasing over time with every new car sold. Even if Tesla triples the number of SC in the US, it will be a struggle in many places. Right now it is only the S on the road. Soon the X will be in high volume. Then the Model 3. I could see fleet of 500k to a million in a few years.

Silver2K | 3 marts 2016


I believe that letter was about people leaving their cars on the charger for a long time though.

tes-s | 3 marts 2016

"Letters were sent out to people using supercharge stations daily and I believe they were told to stop"

Told to stop using unlimited, free, forever supercharging?? I can't believe Tesla did or would do that.

"I have seen BMW I3s charging with supercharge stations."

At a Tesla supercharger?? Someone was funnin' with ya.

Silver2K | 3 marts 2016

the reason the letter was not for daily use is because they cannot discern who is a homeowner and who is not when charging. they don't ask you if you're a homeowner or not, they just ask if you have a charger at home to see if you need a recommendation for an installer.

jordanrichard | 3 marts 2016

i3s at a supercharger actually charging.......? I don't think so. The supercharger first communicates with your car, then lets the juice flow. A supercharger obviously won't be able to talk to an i3.

No, Tesla did not send out any emails or letters telling certain people to point blank cut down your supercharger use. They simply stated and don't quote me, the original intent of the supercharger network and that primary charging is best done at home.

rg22.vanhorn | 3 marts 2016

I just wish there were Superchargers along I-80 in Iowa, Illinois, and Nebraska; and I-35 in Iowa and Missouri. Too many vacant holes in various places in the U.S. must be filled in ... soon I hope.
Marion, IA

doug.ingraham | 3 marts 2016

I don't think this will be a big deal because I suspect that like the 40 and 60 kWh MS supercharging will not be free. It will be a paid for option. Yes there will be some people who will pay the $2500 or perhaps $3000 for the option and then try to charge there as often as necessary but it won't be massive numbers of people. I live 6 miles from a Super Charger, about a 10 minute drive. I was originally planning on doing all my charging there because it seemed like it would be convenient. But it is not. Maybe if it was across the street and I didn't have a place to charge at home I would use it all the time. But even 10 minutes away is inconvenient. So I use it once per week when I meet friends at a restaurant next to it and when I go on day trips. I am looking forward to taking some longer road trips this year.

TaoJones | 3 marts 2016

1. 90% of owners don't use SCs today.
2. The Model 3 will take years to ramp to even half of the 41,667 units/month pipe dream. And even then, the majority of that production will land overseas.
3. Tesla has committed to DENSITY as well as DISTANCE for a year and half now insofar as SCs are concerned.
4. 98% of the SCs today have never incurred a wait for any owner at any time.
5. In five years, battery capacity will be at least 25% greater.
6. Consider the possibility of faster chargers or charging.
7. Consider that by then, Tesla will finally have competition - and that competition will need to bring charging alternatives to the party. Today, I can charge at full-strength, fully functional 125A Chademos along the Oregon Coast for $19.95/month - unlimited usage. That's today.

I could go on.

Point is that there is no reason to castigate those darned garaged locals who happen to live near an SC - very few of them use SCs as an alternative to waking up with a full charge every day. Nor is it necessary to suggest pay-per-use models that are, frankly, absurd solutions in search of a problem.

***The majority of Model 3 owners will want charging at home or they won't buy the car.*** The minority will be people without the ability to charge at home or at work. And there will be room within the SC network for every single one of them.

Put another way - nothing to see here - move along.


Rocky_H | 3 marts 2016

@church70, Quote: "Something else that might be a concern I have seen BMW I3s charging with supercharge stations. With a modified plug that's concerning."

Uh yeah, I'm going to chime in on that as well to say that is absolutely bull.

church70 | 3 marts 2016

Yeah it wasn't meant to be quoted lol
I'm not sure how real it was I thought the same thing to be honest still do I guess I'm not convinced it's real. I thought for sure there would be a handshake needed but somebody went through a lot of trouble to make it look real

church70 | 3 marts 2016

I have read many times supercharge stations are not meant for daily use bad for the battery and so on it was meant for travel.
This is just a discussion people doesn't have to get all your wrong in capital letters. My opinion it is just a light entertainment. With a little bit of education

church70 | 3 marts 2016

I'll try to find the photo of the i3 charging later

SamO | 4 marts 2016

OMFG . . . again? Local vs Non-local electric car charging crimes?

1. There are occasional surges in Superchargers being full. Yes even recently. The last time I stopped at Fountain Valley (3 weeks ago on a Thursday at 4pm), I got the last charging spot. And yes, Santa Ana, CA 12 miles away will help. For now.

2. People overstaying a full charge and ICEholes are a bigger risk to Tesla than "locals" charging. Not an opinion. An observation from 3 years on Teslamotorsclub and here on this forum. And hundreds of personal supercharger visits in California. I make no personal claims about other Superchargers, but others often chime in that most are empty.

3. California is different. Highest Model S and X uptake of any state. Of any nation. We also have the most similar living situations to Tokyo, Shanghia, London, NY etc. as well as rural drives, long distance drives, corner cases and long driving days.

4. These issues (except ICEholes) will be solved with autopilot and automatic handsfree charging.

jordanrichard | 4 marts 2016

doug.ingraham, no, the Model 3 will have FREE access to the superchargers. My source? Elon Musk

SamO | 4 marts 2016


Tesla was still charging for supercharger software and hardware AND was saying Supercharging is free. Don't get out over your skis trying to parse Elon's (seemingly) contradictory statements.

SamO | 4 marts 2016

If you doubt local charging was contemplated, feel free to read this thread:

Madatgascar | 4 marts 2016

SamO, I was just in Fullerton last week, one of 3 cars waiting in line for 20 minutes to charge. Finding SCs jammed a lot here in So Cal. About to hit the road for AZ tonight, hope I don't have to wait much.

Speculation on the effect of the Model 3 on SC availability.... Apparently I am an "elitist" for thinking Model 3 owners are more likely to live in apartments than in homes with HPWCs. Here's hoping there are some elitists at Tesla who have the same idea, and plan the SC buildout accordingly....

SamO | 4 marts 2016


There WILL be more apartment dwellers buying Model 3. That's not evidence for or against your elitism. ;-)

No matter how many time you tell the rubes, Tesla is not keeping up with Supercharger buildout between Southern California and Northern California. That's just a fact, based upon hard learned experience.

Keep us posted.

milesbb | 4 marts 2016

If the model 3 fails Tesla is dead. You can kiss the superchargers good by. Tesla will not be able to even pay the utility bills on the existing superchargers. If the Motel 3 is successful Tesla will continue to expand the supercharger network, they will open up new routes and make the supercharger network better. If the Motel 3 is successful Tesla will expand existing sites to handle the growing number of Tesla cars seeking power. All model S owners should pray for a big success of the model 3 and welcome them when they show up at supercharger sites. Model 3 owners will determine the continued presence of the supercharger network.

church70 | 4 marts 2016

If you don't have a place to charge your car you shouldn't buy an electric car.

church70 | 4 marts 2016

Supercharge stations should be for travel only.

tes-s | 5 marts 2016

When you start your EV company, you can build a network of supercharge stations that are for travel only.

Tesla has decided otherwise - supercharge anywhere, anytime, free, forever! Located on travel routes and in city centers.