Gilroy Supercharger Expansion!!

Gilroy Supercharger Expansion!!

Passed through Gilroy today and noticed the new construction. Looks like the expansion to at least 8 charging bays. Huge trench next to the existing Superchargers.

mdemetri | September 5, 2013

Hmmm...big trench....could it be for battery swapping? Swapping happens under the car and either requires a trench or a ramp. Gilroy would make a lot of sense for swapping as it s the busiest SC and would really test the willingness to 'pay for fast charging' that Elon talked about during t he swap demo.

shop | September 5, 2013

Someone grab a picture!

jbunn | September 5, 2013

Praise St Elon!

negarholger | September 6, 2013

I checked out Gilroy this morning... the trench goes all the way to the end of the row, so it could be that Elon goes bold here. I didn't see any work started on the support boxes yet.

Dv000 | September 6, 2013

Wow... Elon answers my prayers faster than God

mdemetri | September 6, 2013


How deep was the trench; could it hold a robot for swapping?

SamO | September 6, 2013

Thanks to rgong for keeping his eyes peeled.

They are still doing strange things at Hawthorne but nothing like you described. They've pulled out the grass and concrete block and have replaced with large concrete slabs with pebbles between.

No sign of swap but tons of views of the rockets :-)

negarholger | September 6, 2013

3 feet wide 5-6 feet deep - nothing indicated swapping.

If you look at Google maps there are 18 parking spaces on the row... with bold I mean there could be more then 12 SC stalls in the end. With Gilroy so critical I would doubt Elon would aim for a small expansion.

IMO first swapping station at Gilroy wouldn't make sense, the first you want to have close to your engineering support so you can debug it fast and that would mean the factory or Hawthorne.

msochan | September 6, 2013

Spoke to the foreman on the construction site this morning at the Gilroy SC station. He said 6 stalls are
being added for a total of 10 charging stations. Work is due to be complete in 2 weeks.

Brian H | September 6, 2013

150% addition.

SamO | September 6, 2013

I think retailers see the writing on the walls. Allow Tesla to put in charging ($250K in infrastructure) which doesn't compete with any retailer and makes the customer feel rich (since they aren't paying $60-$75 to fill up a tank. Unless you drive a Suburban and then you spend $150.)

create | September 6, 2013

Wow that is fast. I was there last weekend and no sign of any work.

negarholger | September 6, 2013

For the retailers it pays... I was there today net 5kWh charged = $0.50 saved and picked up a sandwhich at Eric's for $7.60.
Trench looked much longer then 6 bays, but maybe they already put in the conduit in for future upgrades. All depends the power feed they can get now. 10 bays should soften any wait...

hsadler | September 7, 2013

Foremen always say '2 weeks'. : )

Anyway I was told first they are checking to see what's under there and if possible 6 to 10 units. Most likely 6.
I didn't ask timeframe for completion - just glad to see it being taken care of.
Kudos to Tesla for quick response to an obvious problem. (quick - taking into account any permitting)

Will be fun to see the parking fiasco on Black Friday. Tesla owners might want to cut the ICE's some slack and be ready with a back up plan on that day.

hsadler | September 7, 2013

Took pics of the construction today - not confident on how to post here.
A long trench parallel to the road and close to the curb about 2 ft deep.
At each end there is a deeper hole - at one end is a square approx 10 - 12 ft width and about 1 - 2 ft deep (for now)
Other end is a square hole about 6 ft in width and about 4 ft deep.

I would guess these are not for batt replacement. But not sure what. The larger one may be for a concrete pad to hold transformer(s). Couldn't tell where connection to outside world will be.

shop | September 7, 2013

To post pic, you have to upload the pic to some picture sharing site, and then get the actual URL of the pic (test by pasting the URL into a browser window) and then actually putting in raw HTML into the text box. So for instance, this little gold bar thingy here was inserted by typing in:

<img src="">

for posting a large picture, also include, just before the closing angle bracket:


Now watch this post completely fail :-)

hsadler | September 7, 2013

Ok, here goes

hsadler | September 7, 2013

Nothing... - I typed

img src=""width="650"

all inside the angle brackets

Browser test of URL worked.

hsadler | September 7, 2013

Anyway, you can see two pics at:

negarholger | September 7, 2013
negarholger | September 7, 2013

Didn't work... I think flicr needs some special treatment.

negarholger | September 7, 2013

Progress since I was there... the trench is partially back filled and the boxes are new - the small probably for the transformer and the bigger for the chargers. Makes sense to have it as a second seperate installation so the current isn't disrupted.

jbunn | September 7, 2013


And because I have an extra 60 bucks in my wallet I can afford to shop with the half hour free time I have!

Since we are ICE free, I treat the stores and hotels with supercharging and EV charging preferentially. It's good for the merchant.

reitmanr | September 7, 2013


Thanks for the pictures. I am impressed! It will be nice to have the capacity needed at Gilroy.

reitmanr | September 7, 2013


shop | September 7, 2013

Yeah, I missed out a step - the URL has to be a URL for the image itself, not a URL to a website that will then show the image. So, for instance the URL for one of those photos is

And here they are:

jbunn | September 7, 2013

That's not a swapping station.

To give you an idea what a swapping station MIGHT look like, you need a lifting mechanism about 7 feet by 3 feet for the battery. It needs a shuffle mechanism that can take the old battery off the lift, and deposit the new battery on the lift. That needs to be down in the trench as well and that doubles the space requirement. Because the system will need service, assume it's tall enough to allow a man access. It's also going to require a sturdy footing and slab. So assume an excavation something like 12 feet long by 10 feet wide by 9 feet deep. Because it's a hole in the ground, it needs a sump, and because it's for autos, it needs a water separation and treatment system fro the sump. Then it needs a really heavy duty power supply for the battery charging.

Next, consider the storage for racks on racks of batteries coming in and going out. At a minimum, you're talking about a building about the size of a 4 car garage with racks and an automated conveyor. All of that needs to be plumbed with electrical and coolant lines in order to charge and store.

Then you need some kind of point of sale system for the transactions and you need to figure out how you handle people that come in with a beat down 5 year old 60 battery, and they leave with a brand new 85 battery. That transaction could be worth close to 10 grand.

Last, you need office space and a repair bay. This system while automated, will not repair itself should it jam, run into cooling and electrical connection issues, or a have a driver jump the track and drive over the pit. Someone is going to need to watch it, even if it's only to keep an eye on the humans.

What you might expect to see if one of these does go up, is a facility the size of an Oil Can Henry, Jiffy Lube, or whatever flavor of rapid oil change garages you have in your area. A good sized building with a large pit. Because of the size, I would not expect to see them in parking lots at shopping and dining areas. If one goes up, expect it to be more the size of a small McDonalds, for comparison.

Cost for the land, building, automation, and battery float will be in the millions. Cost for a swap will be high. On par with a full tank of gas, but you swap regardless of how much power you have in your battery. You decide to swap based on your next swap or destination. Say you have a half "tank", and you need to swap to get to your destination. But you pay for a full "tank" because you swapped. It's analogous to a gas station owner saying your car takes 70 dollars in gas. Therefore, every time you come in, you will now be charged 70 bucks. Even if you just come in for a quarter tank, it's still 70 bucks.

Or you can supercharge for free.

Swapping ties Tesla to a specific battery chemistry and form factor. That won't work with Gen III which will have a different sized pack. Electrons though are the common denominator. The plug will prevail.

The reasons above are why some of us don't expect to ever see swapping rolled out on any scale.

Brian H | September 8, 2013

Flickr FAQ:
Where is the HTML code and photo file link?

The HTML code to embed a photo in a web page that you used to find on the All Sizes page is now only in the Share menu on the photo, to the left of the More menu. We now also include BBCode! (standard message board code)
There are a few cases where the code may not be available: 1) If the photo is restricted. 2) If that person has turned off "Share this" or access to original files.
The direct link to a photo file is no longer shown on the page. Per the Flickr Community Guidelines "pages on other websites that display content hosted on must provide a link from each photo or video back to its page on Flickr." Linking directly to the photo file doesn't do this.

Your photos are "All rights reserved", so probably can't be used.

Brian H | September 8, 2013

Sorry, only the last line is my text.

Tylyoung | September 9, 2013

Photos... photos... photos... I love watching the progress!! True with any of the supercharging sites! They are so far away for many of us, the photos really are greatly appreciated. I have been to several of the finished supercharging stations however, with construction all over the country, there is just no better way to share the construction progress as they move along. Many thanks!

CalabasasKid | September 9, 2013

Why on Earth don't they erect a canopy? Think of all that roof space for solar panels? Is it perhaps because they're waiting to finish this expansion first?

shop | September 9, 2013

A canopy requires even more permitting and approval. Tesla has said they are getting the stations up first, then they'll work on the permitting for canopies. That gives you an idea of how convoluted the permitting process is...

negarholger | September 9, 2013

I hope they never put the Gilroy SC in the shade. Now the spots are not very desirable on the side, if the SC will be the only shaded spots on the whole lot then they will become the most desirable and ICEed all the time - guaranteed.

reitmanr | September 9, 2013

Talked to workers today. Told that 6 more stations
being added. They will have their work done in about 2 weeks, but PG&E?... he just rolled his eyes! Just glad to see the expansion to this highly used SC facility.
By the way, the workers all were wearing t-shirts with the Tesla T emblem. Couldnt get them to say anything about who they work for. Trucks looked like independants. They were working hard in 95 degree temps. I did not press for answers. HOT!

Brian H | September 11, 2013

Tesla has some crews of its own, I think.

Pungoteague_Dave | September 11, 2013

jbunn =+1

In addition to all the swap station mention, the exiting Model S will need modification for the swap process to work at all. There are panels fore and aft that attach directly to the bottom of the battery, and there will need to be a modification to allow the battery to be removed.

I just had my main battery replaced at Rockville due to "anomalies". The standard TM work order for this is 3 hours and the tech told me it actually takes five hours. The procedure requires evacuating and injecting gallons of ethylene glycol and bleeding the heating/cooling system, and hand-installing the battery connections, which are cables, a procedure that cannot be done robotically.

Also, the specifications call for the 20+ bolts to be replaced every time, as they are part of the stressed body structure, and cannot be re-torqued. While this can be automated, the lawyers will almost definitely require a manual inspection and re-checking of the torque values, as well as the coolant fill levels.

The swap "program" is for marketing optics and to upgrade the battery credit level that TM can claim. Beyond that, the demonstration was PT Barnum level stuff. As you point out, the logistics are many, the long term utility short as new TM cars and battery form factors come online. We will see exactly one of these built, and that only maybe. The genius of TM's battery program is Supercharging, not swapping.

SamO | September 11, 2013


Do you have a theory why the car was designed to be swapped and was in fact swapped in 90 seconds?

Any thoughts on why Elon Musk is deceiving everyone?

Any ideas on how they got a machine to run all the nuts off, disconnect coolant and battery connections, reconnect the nuts and then allow the car to drive off?

You've been proven wrong before about swap, but you didn't seem to learn anything.

1. The car is designed for battery swap.

2. When automated, the swap takes a few seconds. Manually, it requires tools and labor that take much longer than automation.

3. You have no proof about swap other than service center techs that have no INSIDER knowledge of the swap procedure or future of swap.

4. This hasn't stopped you from making incorrect inferences and declarations for months.

Give it a rest.

negarholger | September 12, 2013

Checked out Gilroy today - crew was working on the foundation... they were compacting the soil for the boxes. Next visiable step should be pouring the concrete.

Geert.Snijders | September 13, 2013

Without wanting to highjack this Gilroy discussion, I'd like to share an idea about swapping. Since that is part of the thread as well.

Would it be feasible, perhaps even easier, to integrate the whole swapping mechanism into a trailer. That can be parked at any opportune place/route/event.
The whole trailer and/or battery packs can be swapped for maintenance and/or charging at a central service point overnight.

Repairs or upgrades to the system are so much easier, since it is not poured into reinforced concrete. Instead 360deg accessible...
And you would have variable swapping capacity, when and where to allocate swapping stations. Maybe its even cheaper to build?

Anyway, good luck in Gilroy. I just got my hopes up since I'm living in Arnhem - Holland, right next to the 1st soon to be energized route: Amsterdam-Munich. Maybe they'll put an SC nextdoor!

hsadler | September 15, 2013

Ooooooh - looks like I'll need to practice my 'backing into SC position' skills.

negarholger | September 15, 2013

Or try the forward entry over the sidewalk...

hsadler | September 15, 2013

'Or try the forward entry over the sidewalk...'

With extra points for taking out the hedge.

negarholger | September 15, 2013

Yes, it will leave some scars, but very efficient to snatch the last spot from the guy who takes the slow approach.

tes-s | September 15, 2013

Nice pics! Can't wait until the SCs on the East get busy enough that we need to expand!

I was at Darien CT today. South has 4 stalls not connected yet. North has 4 stalls - met Chris on his way from Long Island to Fairfield University. Other 2 stalls were empty the whole time. So soon we'll have 8 in Darien, and 4 just 30 miles away in Milford.

3 of the 4 in Darien North are nose in and 1 back in; all 4 at Darien South are back in.

Tâm | September 15, 2013


Thanks for the beautiful photos of the progress. It's really shaping up nicely!!!

negarholger | September 15, 2013

@tes-s - buy more cars over on the right coast...

Still the same as on dotors pictures today (Sunday afternoon). I could see it finished by the end of the week. Also having a second installation it allows TM to upgrade the original SC to 120 kW with minimal impact during he week. Just curious where the crew will be headed next?

@tes-s - we on the left coast just work harder, so we get more lollis...

reitmanr | September 15, 2013

Wow! I was just there on Friday and didn't see the charging stands as seen in these pictures. They are moving quickly- and I doubted the gent that told me a week ago that all but PG&E would be done in two weeks- he was right! Amazing. Thanks to those guys who worked through some really hot days to get this done. Now let's see how well PG&E does.

Brian H | September 16, 2013

The second image won't display (desktop), and it's the only one not coded for mobile. Weird!

tes-s | September 16, 2013