concerns about supercharging lines?

concerns about supercharging lines?

I know in California there have been waits for SC. In other parts of the country, where there will be an explosion of MS on the road when the Gen III comes out, how concerned are you that there will be long waits at stops for SC when on the road? With the increase in SC stalls over time will help though.

Captain_Zap | 20. Mai 2014

No waiting in the NW.

PaceyWhitter | 20. Mai 2014

You are actually concerned about something that might happen 5+ years from now? Heck, if there are lines at SC stations that means Tesla has sold a whole bunch of cars, is in no danger of going under, and has the money to build more. Sounds like a great situation to me. | 20. Mai 2014

I've occasionally had to wait. The worst case was an hour at Harris ranch when they had only one stall! Tesla monitors supercharger usage and has been very proactive in adding stalls to existing locations as demand warrants. For example, Harris Ranch now has 7 stalls. Gilroy went from four to 12 stalls. It rarely gets talked about, but location expansions are also going on all the time.

It's still possible to run into a crowd, especially Friday and Sunday afternoons when a lot of people are going somewhere for the weekend. Often I find no one using any stalls, and in the rare cases of all the stations busy, it usually takes less than 15 minutes before someone leaves. Keep in mind, most times you'll only need 20-30 minutes, as it's rare to run the charge down to zero, and I find I only add enough to get safety to the next Supercharger and/or home. It's not worth waiting around any longer than you need to.

mrdaniel | 20. Mai 2014

I remain optimistic that Tesla will solve the logistics problem by the time Model X comes out. With all of the charging data, they should be able to give you a pretty good estimate1 of wait times (if any) at superchargers. Not to mention they can estimate when and where a new supercharger ought to go in a congested area.

There are also other factors such as those who use battery swap and whether someone enables supercharging on their Gen III. I think if battery swap is in the cost range of an ICE fuel cost, a lot of people will do that because they can.

1It can't be precise, but for example if you are charging at Barstow it is reasonable to assume the majority of people are traveling to Las Vegas or to Los Angeles.

stevenmaifert | 20. Mai 2014

Not too worried. There will be congestion on heavily travel routes, but Tesla has already shown their concern by adding additional stalls at several busy SC locations. I think they will expand as demand increases in locations where their real estate agreements allow them to.

SamO | 20. Mai 2014

If Tesla (internally) allocates $2000/car for Supercharging, then for every 10,000 cars sold, there should be $20,000,000 for additional Superchargers.

$150,000 for hardware and installation = 133 additional Superchargers

SD Supercharger | 20. Mai 2014

After the initial supercharger build-out in 2015--i would expect Tesla to monitor heavy traffic areas and not only expand the number of bays--but also the number of chargers in areas of high use. In addition, efficiency increases might reduce the time to charge. This won't happen until Europe and China get wired, but I expect it will continue to be a dynamic process

Jolinar | 20. Mai 2014

I'd guess that in future updates we will see on the 17" display how many free stalls are at any SuperChargers in real-time so it will be easier to plan and we will know if we should drive more carefully, if we should skip the SuperCharger or charge at some other fast charging non-Tesla locations.

And of course more SC sites and more expansion will come too.

David Trushin | 20. Mai 2014

Try driving anywhere on the Illinois, Indiana, Ohio tollway system on a heavy driving weekend (memorial day, labor day, thankgiving, Christmas, Easter, 4th of July) and you will see lines at the gas stations. So what's new.

Roamer@AZ USA | 20. Mai 2014

Not worried. The system will expand as the use warrants. Never will be perfect.

Absolutely amazing that a company can not only create an entirely new production vehicle and at the same time build out a nation wide charging system. I think we take for granted what is being accomplished with quiet Tesla efficiency. Not to mention they are doing it on three continents simultaneously.


By the time I get my X I will be able to, "See the USA the Tesla Way", those over 50 will understand the phrase.

SamO | 20. Mai 2014

Having crossed the existing Supercharge network, I look forward to more direct routes opening up. But I'm also patient and thankful for the rate that Tesla is adding. Based on my conversations with Supercharger contractors, Tesla's "coming now" map and the public statements from Elon and others, I'm excited to see what we see by the end of this year.

I'm thinking seeing an additional 200 Superchargers by the end of 2014 (worldwide) will really change the conversation.

pabeader | 20. Mai 2014

Do you really believe that GENIII wil use superchargers? I would think by then fast/high current charging will be done at home. There is no way that 200,000+ cars are going to be able to charge 'on the road'. If there is public charging, what we will see is a higher density of smaller fast chargers. Kinda like gas stations. Where you pull in, hook up for 1 to 5 mins, unhook and drive away. And probably none of the hooking up and unhooking buisness either. More likely either indirect induction or some type of automatic hookup.

wraithnot | 20. Mai 2014

In the past I've had to wait at both Gilroy and Hawthorne when they only had four stalls. But this weekend I stopped by the Freemont superchargers (the busiest supercharger location based on the supercharger dashboard at the Hawthorne design center) around noon on a Saturday and I didn't have to wait at all. There were already four cars charging, but the location now has eight stalls. Assuming Tesla keeps adding stalls to meet peak demand then things should be fine.

wraithnot | 20. Mai 2014

@pabeader "Do you really believe that GENIII wil use superchargers? I would think by then fast/high current charging will be done at home"

Most homes in the US only have 100 amp or 200 amp 240 Volt electrical service- not nearly enough to power a supercharger. But more than enough for an overnight charge. There are already something like 40,000 Model S's on the road and they aren't overwhelming the current supercharger network. 200,000 GenIII cars is only a 5X scale up.

golftoday | 20. Mai 2014

@wraithnot I think you are exactly touching on the point. Superchargers are intended for "long distance travel", not for charging near your home. At home, overnight charging is plenty with a Nema 14-50 and 40 amps. Certainly more Tesla's on the road will mean more road trips, but they'll be able to keep up if they are able to limit use to those over 50 miles from home, i.e. charge those who are charging within 50 miles of their home.

TeoTeslaFan | 20. Mai 2014

I think Teslas strategy is wrong. In the future a station with 40 stalls would work much better than 5 stations around the same area with only 8 stalls.

You might say, why would they open 5 stations around the same area. Well, because in the US right now there are 26K Teslas. At the end of 2019 there will be 249K. These small stations aren't going to cut it.

I think this is what Tesla is going to do:
Step 1. Open more small stations around the same area
Step 2. Add a live monitoring system to show drivers number of free stalls in each station
Step 3. Implement smart navigation where you enter your final destination and the software tells you where to charge.

However non of this can prevent long wait times. It is just mathematically not possible because even the software at step 3 can't be precise at what exact time a driver will start and finish charging. Some people drive slowly and then speed up. Some do the opposite. Some people leave the car plugged and and have a long dinner. It is just not going to be precise.

The problem is, 8-stall stations are just to small to prevent wait times even with advanced software. Main stations needs to be at least 20 stalls. I think the problem will become obvious after Gen3.

Details about the 249K number are here in one of my replies:

Supercharging: multiple small stations vs. one big station

pabeader | 20. Mai 2014

Another question. Do you honestly think that charging is going to continue to be free? Really? I'm not talking about supercharging. Just plain old charging, like at the gas station. Do you really think that with 1,000,000 GenIIIs, that Tesla could continue to pay that electric bill? Really??

arneva | 20. Mai 2014

@pabeader if every genIII owner pays 2000 for supercharging, that gives Tesla 2000 x 1.000.000 or 2 billion dollars to pay that electric bil. Yes, i think they can continue to pay...

david.baird | 20. Mai 2014

Besides, I assume that Tesla will invest in order to get their electricity from their own renewable sources.

NO2PTRL | 20. Mai 2014

Since I have been considering buying a spot on Elon's first Mar's mission, my main concern would be, will there be a charging station in place before I get there?

pabeader | 20. Mai 2014

@arneva Good point. I completely forgot that it isn't free, even today. Sorry about that.

Tâm | 20. Mai 2014


For expediency, most Superchargers are not first solar powered.

Elon stated that they all will eventually be caught up with solar powered and battery storage to honor your warranty even in a zombie apocalypse.

He stated those stations will produce excess energy to generate profit even though drivers do not pay for each use.

negarholger | 20. Mai 2014

@Teo_ - Tesla latest patent... they are thinking about your concerns.
Key info here is predicting a fast charge event.

"Disclosed is a system and method for early identification of an impending fast-charge or fast-charge opportunity and use of that information to prepare the battery cells for the fast-charge."

k39XXX | 20. Mai 2014

Does anyone have any experience driving up and down I-5 in California on a busy weekend? I would love to take the MS on a trip from the Bay Area to Southern Oregon this weekend, but am worried about charging capacity on peak travel days. (I should add that the car is new so I'm not skilled at finding the off-the-beaten path chargers.) I'm looking at the 2 Supercharging stations between the Bay Area and the Oregon border and imagining pulling into one of them and seeing a line of 10 Teslas waiting... I'm inclined to take another vehicle unless someone can give me some courage.

NKYTA | 20. Mai 2014

@kdk, I think you are probably fine at Corning and Mt. Shasta, but I drove to Portland and back at the beginning of the year, so planning off-peak travel is the most sensible advice given that NorCal has even more MS'. Consider taking off Monday instead of Friday and travel off-hours.

Tâm | 20. Mai 2014


Please see the same concern at the same time, last year.

You could see Superchargers' pictures as evidence last Memorial Day Weekend:

Aleksandyr | MAY 21, 2013

Sadly I can't risk having crowded SC stations. I decided I would scope out the chargers and see the status. My parents are going to wonder why they installed an outlet for me!

SCCRENDO | 20. Mai 2014

Drove to Oregon from SoCal early May starting on a Friday. Return journey was Sat/Sun the next weekend. Lebec 2 other cars on the way up, 1 other on return. Harris Ranch I was the second car at the start, range charged for 90 mins and there were 3 others at that point. Return journey parking lot full including an ICE using a supercharger spot that allows 45 min general parking as well, I was the only one charging. Vacaville and Corning only one charging both directions. Mt Shasta one other car both ways. Grant pass used 3 times, 1 time 2 other cars, other times empty. Springfield used 4 times, only one other car seen on 1 occasion. Woodburne 2 other cars but one was leaving. Went to Vegas last weekend. Barstow had one other car on the way up (Wed night 10 pm). Sat night 9 pm 2 other cars. I limped in with 4 miles remaining. Vegas one car was leaving as I arrived and 1 other was there when I left.

tes-s | 21. Mai 2014

No more concerned about lines at superchargers than I am about lines at gas stations.

Red Sage ca us | 21. Mai 2014

jman inquired, "...when the Gen III comes out, how concerned are you that there will be long waits at stops for SC when on the road?"

Not at all. The Supercharger network will expand steadily, and eternally. It will never be 'done'. Tesla Motors is planning for all eventualities. A wait at a Supercharger will be no longer than the wait in line at busy gas stations.

Red Sage ca us | 21. Mai 2014

pabeader asked, "Do you really believe that GENIII wil use superchargers?"

Yes. It will be a purchased option on the 60 kWh version, and standard on the 85 kWh or higher versions, just as it is on the Tesla Model S.

I expect that SolarCity may eventually open urban charging stations that have the equivalent of both HPWCs and Superchargers for per use or monthly charges. They may even offer connectors for competing EVs as well 'at the pump'.

I'm sure that Elon and JB have explored induction options, but have found them too wasteful of energy. It's better for now to hook up with cables.

Thomas N. | 21. Mai 2014

Our local Costco has four rows of pumps which can support eight lines of cars. It's awlays a parking lot because the gas is around $0.20 cheaper per gallon which apparently is enough for people to wait 10-15 minutes for an opportunity to gas up. I guess if you have a Suburban with a 60 gallon tank you can save $12 which makes it work it. The people in a Prius trying to save $2 I don't understand but that's neither here nor there.

They have closed down two rows of pumps for renovation. It's been like that for probably a couple weeks now. You should see the place. We drove to Costco the other day and couldn't believe what we saw. They had TWO traffic attendants manning the lot and the lines. The lines actually backed up onto the main road through the complex rendering it useless for travel. I imagine the wait was well over 30 minutes to get gas. You couldn't pay me to sit in that line to save a couple bucks. But it was full of people who did it.

So I guess my point is you can wait in line anywhere. It's your choice. Don't travel at peak times across high usage Superchargers if it bothers you.

My only issue is if I have to wait because there are Superchargers that aren't operable. That happened to me at Harris Ranch when two stations were down and I had to kill 40 minutes waiting for a spot. That wasn't fun.

bak_phy | 21. Mai 2014

@ Tom It makes me wonder if many GenIII purchasers will be going out of their way to superchargers rather than charge at home to save $10.

Red Sage ca us | 21. Mai 2014

I think it's much more likely that El Cheapos will find a parking lot somewhere with outlets at the base of a streetlamp that are meant for plugging in Christmas Lights.

It really amazes me the sheer number of people here in Los Angeles who have literally never been anywhere. They don't do road trips really. They don't know how. Because they can't read maps. And they can't follow directions.

Other than Hawthorne, Las Vegas and Barstow, they would literally never venture to a Supercharger station, because they are completely beyond their sphere of comfort. And they probably wouldn't do the Barstow/Vegas run either.

If on the other hand there were local HPWCs at a library, post office, city hall... They would hog those, no doubt. Chevrolet and Nissan dealerships can look forward to seeing a Whole Bunch of Teslas hanging around too.

Most likely these people would lobby for their favorite local shopping centers and malls to have free public charging. That is what they would find most convenient, if they don't want to charge at home, or are unable to due to parking space location in an apartment megacomplex.

Brian H | 21. Mai 2014

Thomas N;
"You couldn't pay me to sit in that line to save a couple bucks." Um, yeah, OK. \:p
For both the savings and pay? Say a couple hundred$ ? Let the auction begin!

marcustcohn | 21. Mai 2014

How much of SC use is local vs. long distance travel ? I read reports of drivers seeing a waiting line and driving away - a long distance traveler does not have that option - that particular SC is often his only charging opportunity. That then begs the question as to who the SCs are meant to service. Should any owner, even one in his home zip code, be allowed to hook up ?

Thomas N. | 21. Mai 2014

Hah! Ok Brian. You're correct. I guess you COULD pay me to be in that line if the price was right.

justineet | 21. Mai 2014

If Tesla sales increases exponentially, it means also Tesla has the financial capacity to increase the number of Superchargers proportionally to meet the increased it's not really an issue!

jman | 21. Mai 2014

I love Tesla, have stock, have gear, spoken with various owners, BUT around here in Mass. we still have only southern SC in RI and Conn. We haven't even heard of permits being pulled. I know a lot of red tape must be broken, but I thought with winter much of that could have been done. It is almost June and if the trend continues with the amount of New England SC are put into place the number of SC around the country might not be as high as some people think on this thread. I hope I read this months or years from now and am totally wrong !!!! With the current MS on the road, future MX on the road, and then Gen III out there MANY more Teslas will be hitting the roads especially in the travel months, that is all I am saying. When we put in for our MS I am thinking about having dual chargers for less charging time, my wife unfortunately dislikes waiting any longer than she needs to....

KWTESLA | 21. Mai 2014

I have waited 3 times since I got my Tesla 26,000 plus miles . We have driven it from Ca. to Tx and Ca. to BC. This waiting is not an issue. I would have spent more time waiting in gas lines in that same time period if I still had a ICE vehicle.

JohhnyS | 21. Mai 2014

I have not had to wait despite arriving at some of the superchargers during busy times. When Harris Ranch was a single charger I think we waited 2 minutes.

k39XXX | 23. Mai 2014

Well, I lost out. Corning Supercharger station had only one station used at 1pm today. My concerns - unwarranted. I didn't take the MS on the trip :(

Red Sage ca us | 23. Mai 2014

I... won't say it.

Tâm | 27. Mai 2014


Unlike last year, I was no longer a loner at a Supercharger station this Memorial weekend.

Yes! The traffic has doubled in 1 year!!!!

I visited one Supercharger this time: Tejon Ranch on I-5, California:

At the start: Friday, 05/23/2014 at 7:36PM: 2 cars out of 6 bays.

At the end: Monday, 05/26/2014 6:26PM: 2 cars out of 6 bays.

tes-s | 27. Mai 2014

I don't recall anyone posting they had to wait for a supercharger this Memorial Day weekend.

Plugged In | 27. Mai 2014

I think it needs to be made clear where we may be over the course of the next 5-10 years. Specifically, my expectation is that with the success of Tesla and -- Let us take a flying leap and assume that the competitors WAKE UP and compete with Tesla by then -- it will become far easier to plug in and charge up wherever we are. If competitors buy in to the Tesla Supercharger system, that will create further crowding but also provide a stream of revenue that would at least partially be reinvested into expanding the SC infrastructure. As the system builds out, there will be more stations to choose from.

It is not that the Supercharger network won't be needed -- far from it -- but that the SC's will be needed primarily for intercity travel and not for local commuters unless necessary. As certain stations become perpetually overcrowded, those will in time expand. As battery technology improves, it will become less necessary to charge up at every (other) SC en route to one's destination.

Will there be delays? Sometimes, particularly if some stalls are not functioning and those who drive ICE cars park in the way. But I view that as a happy problem, the problem that can only come with success and prosperity.

Grinnin'.VA | 27. Mai 2014

I just ordered my Tesla S yesterday.
Availability of SC stations is one of my main sources of anxiety. When I venture out on a road trip, it's very important that I find a stall available when I stop at a SC to recharge. I have family members who will not seriously consider getting a Tesla because of this concern alone.

I note an unsettling vagueness in Tesla's description of the SC system. I am missing the following essential bits of information on how Tesla intends to develop and manage the SC system:

1. What busy or peak period usage does Tesla intend to support with 'normal' SC service?
- The busiest hour of the busiest day of the typical week in the summer?
- The busiest hour of the highest usage day of the year?

2. What standards are intended to define 'normal' SC service?
- X% of users find an available/functional stall with no wait? What is the goal for X?
- Average wait time for users who wait for a stall < M minutes? What is the goal for M?

3. Are there plans to monitor and police the usage and queues for SCs?

- When (not if!) there are queues, we'll need to have someone tow cars away from stalls that are occupied by cars that aren't charging. This includes Tesla owners who left their cars charging while they went to dinner and a movie as well as cars that can't even use the chargers using them as parking spots.
- For large SCs it might be worthwhile to offer a valet service with a Tesla employee moving cars from the stalls to nearby parking places to make way for others waiting in the queue to charge their batteries.

4. I consider real-time monitoring and reporting on the usage and availability of all SCs to help users decide when and where to stop to charge their Teslas. At a minimum, this needs to work as a feature of the Tesla web site. It should be integrated into the the Tesla control system with its marvelous touch screen.

Tesla's exceptional focus on owner support gives me some comfort. However, I'd be a lot happier if/when Tesla establishes basic goals and standards to guide their development of the SC system as it grows.

Please Elon, please figure out how Tesla intends to deliver on the promise of the SC system.

Ron K.

P.S. I have experience in engineering and managing the now-obsolete modem banks that were used to access the internet a long time ago. The mathematics is substantially the same as what is needed for Tesla's SC system. I know how to do this. For a modest consulting fee, I'd be pleased to help Tesla get it right.

shop | 27. Mai 2014

All these concerns about Superchargers are completely overblown. This Memorial Day weekend was a prime example - based on threads here and at TMC, there were NO waiting at ANY Supercharger this weekend.

Tesla (and Elon) are well aware that easy long distance travel is an issue with electric cars, that's why they are building a very robust Supercharger network. Unlike Evgo and other third party solutions, Tesla is actually building the correct number of bays for each location. There is no other company in the world putting in 8-10 fast DC charger stations per site.

A year ago, there were bottlenecks in various California locations (Gilroy, Harris Ranch) since these locations where part of the original six and were quickly put in as fast as Tesla could do so. They went back last year and upgraded them when they had time for extra permitting. Recently, the pressure points were Barstow and Hawthorne. Hawthorne has recently been fixed, and Tesla is working on Barstow.

Mark my words, one year from now, the analysts and competitors will sit up and take notice of a built out coast to coast wide coverage fast charging network with plenty of over capacity and say, "Wow, when did that happen?". One year from now...

ir | 27. Mai 2014

In the case of Gilroy, they also left lots of room for expansion. The concrete slab that the chargers rest on has extra conduit placeholders for more stacks.

Plugged In | 27. Mai 2014

@rkronz - I am not speaking on behalf of Tesla Motors in how they have or will handle the crowds, but here is my take given that I have had my Model S for just over a month:

1) If you live in CA, the most commonly backed up supercharger by reputation is in Barstow, which makes sense: Fridays and Sundays can be problematic there. Apart from when the SC system was still brand new and there were very few SC's even along I-5 such as Harris Ranch a while ago, backups have been uncommon to this point. There was a recent series of posts asking about SC backups over the Memorial Day weekend. None occurred.

2) There is at least a sense of etiquette here that has been voiced before. Specifically: a) Monitor your MS and move it when it is done to make way for others, if you're shopping / dining / etc. It is a matter of mutual respect for the Tesla owners, and not being greedy about having the parking spot. b) There has been some sentiment expressed about the ignorance of those who haven't quite understood that "Tesla Parking only" means get your stupid Ford out of the way. Some think towing would be a good way to go, and Tesla does offer to do that to violators ("just call"), but my feeling is that if we educate politely instead of inflict misery then we have done right by Tesla Motors as well as ourselves. c) More etiquette: Don't use the superchargers if you don't need them. If you are traveling longer distances, they're all yours. But if you are commuting from home to office and back then please charge at home or at work if available but not at the SC unless you must. Again, that is the etiquette: Some may follow it, some may not.

3) One of my favorite pastimes during the day is to check out the latest and greatest under permit, construction or completed at Among many things, you can track the pace at which SC's are opening and which ones are the latest, and check on the progress as they begin to build it out such as along interstate 70 eastbound into Kansas and such. The reason I check is that there are places I know that I cannot go from where I live just yet, because there are not yet SC's. Montreal, for instance, is out of the question today. Tesla's priority right now seems to be to build out this system, so that Californians can get to the Grand Canyon and those of us in the northeast can get to Maine some day as effortlessly as we can get to Miami today. Work is proceeding steadily. All here have counseled patience. It may help to know, in the meantime, where you can charge when not at a SC, such as at a destination -- choosing one specifically because they have the appropriate charging capability. That too is becoming more common.

There are other points to be made, but that's enough for me. Enjoy your Model S when you get it.

tes-s | 27. Mai 2014

I think a reasonable expectation is waits for a supercharger would be similar to waits at gas stations.

My experience with gas stations is you rarely have to wait - with the exception of very-high travel periods, or when a storm is forecast. The storm forecast should not affect MS since you would simply top-off at home.

Memorial Day weekend is a very high travel time - similar to the Thanksgiving weekend. I did not see any reports of supercharger congestion this weekend.