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Some good news and some bad news about Supercharger ICEing

Some good news and some bad news about Supercharger ICEing

Took a trip to Boston from PA this past weekend. I have some good news, some bad news, and some suggestions about Supercharger ICEing. First the good news. I approached my first SC stop at Darien, CT, Northbound. I had never stopped there. There are only two SCs located a few feet from the entrance of the restaurant, the best slots in the parking lot. The parking lot was filled to capacity, and as I was pulling in I was already calculating the mileage to the next SC in Milford, CT, 30 or 40 miles up the road. Wrong!! Both slots were available!! Why? Some genius had placed two orange cones in front of the two slots. I stopped in front of the SC, removed the cone, backed into the SC, placed the cone in front of Tessie, and started charging. When done, I pulled out, replaced the cone in front of the SC slot and left... Somebody had figured out the perfect solution to SC ICEing!
Now for the bad news. On my way back from Boston on Sunday, I stopped at the Greenwich, CT, Southbound SC. All 4 slots were ICEd in a very crowded lot. I noticed that one of the slots was occupied by a small sedan with the driver in it. I knocked on the window and asked the guy if he was about to leave. He tells me: "No, I just got here and I work here. This is where I always park". Sure enough, the guy is wearing a gas station attendant uniform. "Look, I don't have a lot of patience, why don't you move somewhere else and let me charge. As you can see from the signs, these parking spots are reserved for Tesla EV charging only". "I don't give a d... about Tesla and you can't make me move" "Fair enough, I can't, but your boss can" In saying that, I started walking towards the office. As I looked back, the guy had started to move the car and freed the SC spot, which I quickly secured and started charging. While charging, another slot opened up and I stood on the spot, waiting for another Tesla and shooing away other ICEs trying to pull in. Sure enough, in a few minutes a gorgeous metallic blue Tesla 60 shows up with a Tesla employee at the wheel, backs in and starts to charge. I commiserated with the employee a bit and asked him why Tesla doesn't do the cone bit everywhere. He agreed that it was a great idea and that he was going to suggest it to corporate. Here are some more suggestions, since I don't particularly like to fight these kinds of battles at every SC.
1. Get codified agreements with the operators of the parking areas to place orange cones in front of every SC slot. It would be good if the cones had the name of the facility or some other "official" designation.
2. When designing SC locations, place the units as far away from the action as possible and make those the least desirable spots in the parking lot. I don't mind walking to make sure I have a charging spot.
3. At the very least, get agreement from the lot operators that their own employees won't ICE the spots. That's adding insult to absolute injury.
4. Signage on the SCs is totally inadequate to keep ICEs away. When I talked to people pulling into the SC spots I got various responses, "What about him, he's not a Tesla" "I'm only running in for a bathroom break" "You don't own this spot" "F... You" and worse...

Tesla is spending a tremendous amount of money to set up the SC infrastructure. If something isn't done soon, it will have been money spent for naught. This is really Tesla's problem to solve to protect their investment.

Grinnin'.VA | June 9, 2014

+1 on your last paragraph.

If Tesla and its partners wait for the ICE drivers to park elsewhere, a whole hell of a lot of money will be wasted, and lots of Tesla owners will be very frustrated.

Ron

Red Sage ca us | June 9, 2014

ICE WARNING CITATION #4

This version allows you to print out three warnings on a single sheet of paper. Presented with a link to a PDF file and a displayed image of a PNG. Each are at full size and printable. Enjoy!

PDF (181.5 KB) - ICE WARNING CITATION

JonathanL | June 9, 2014

It seems as if Greenwich has a really bad ICE'ing problem and I avoid going there. I prefer Milford over Darien because it has faster chargers (at least as of March). However, given the potential for ICE'ing problems there too, I now plan on stopping at Darien first on my way north and charge there if available and Milford first on the way south if available.

Personally, I would rather the chargers be in less desirable parking spots to avoid the ICE'ing issue or off the highway in a privately owned mall/shopping center with a lower chance of ICE'ing and better food/shopping options than your usual rest stop fare.

Captain_Zap | June 9, 2014

Here is a thought on the proclamation "You don't own this spot!".

You could inform them that Tesla does lease the space (if you are familiar with the spot's background) and you paid Tesla for the rights to use that space for charging.

TESLA168 | June 9, 2014

ice-anxiety is as bad as range-anxiety.. maybe even worse because at least i know what to expect in terms of range, while ICE anxiety is totally unpredictable.

tesla, please listen to your customers and do something about it!

Olof | June 9, 2014

What do people say if we park at a gas station pump all day? Why don't people do it?

MezzaLuna | June 9, 2014

I completely agree with locating the SC spots at the far end of a parking lot; putting them in a prime location is just asking for trouble. From what I've seen, the larger newer SCs are a bit removed.

As for Greenwich CT, both directions have a very small parking lot with four parking spots taken up by the SC, so it's not surprising that ICEs park there. But, your experience aside, most people are in and out pretty quick there -- it's more like a convenience store, and there are just a few stools by Subway, no inside places to sit and eat and rest. So, unlike other places, the ICEing there doesn't seem to last too long.

The cones are a very good idea -- they probably won't solve the problem completely but will probably mitigate it.

tes-s | June 9, 2014

There are 4 stalls at Darien North. Two that you saw, and two on the other side of the building - past the gas pumps.

Greenwich will always be trouble - particularly South. The lot is too small - more cars than parking spaces.

Tesla needs to work with the management and/or state of CT on addressing that.

BrassGuy | June 9, 2014

We don't do it because it would just bring us down to that level; not solve anything, and give us a bad reputation.

Captain_Zap | June 9, 2014

I think that most Superchargers are sited based on how close the chargers can be to a sufficient power source. From what I understand, when it comes to high power the lines, the closer it is to the power source the better the situation is. Also it makes for lower installation costs.

LEvans | June 9, 2014

All these silly printed citation notices are not going to do anything. You think people who ignore the signs and park there anyway care about citation of no consequence?

The only thing that will work is to have a very prominent notice saying that if you are not an EV and park here you WILL BE towed.

Now they don't have to even enforce the towing (for now). But if you have a nasty/stern message in big letters at each parking spot about their car being towed I bet 80-90+% of drivers will not park there. Who wants to risk getting their car towed?

IMHO Tesla has done a poor job of protecting their customers from being ICE's and receiving the charge they had paid for. Those small dainty "oh please don't park here" notices are not working and they are being ignored. At the least Tesla need to paint over those spots with RESERVED notices and some mention of vehicles being parked there that are not EVs being subject to towing.

tes-s | June 9, 2014

The power feeder for a supercharger is not that big a deal - 3ph/480v. If there is only 208v, then thicker cables.

In Greenwich they ran the longer cable to have the chargers further from the building.

Red Sage ca us | June 9, 2014

WEB_SRFR wrote, "But if you have a nasty/stern message in big letters at each parking spot about their car being towed I bet 80-90+% of drivers will not park there."

99.9% of drivers won't park in an EV spot as long as a charger is visible. It is 100% of those termed 'fargin bastidge iceholes' that will, even if there are other parking spaces available. They will still roll the dice anyway, even with the big sign there, that they'll be able to get away with it -- every time. They do the same thing in Handicapped spaces and in Fire Lanes, every day of the week.

socalsam | June 9, 2014

Pass legislation for a $450 fine for an ICE car parking in an EV slot. Problem solved.

Those printed "tickets" are useless. There needs to be meat behind the threat.

shop | June 9, 2014

I like the cone idea the best. And Tessie, what a nice name :-)

tes-s | June 9, 2014

Cones work well at Darien North. Only place I have seen them. They put them out when it gets busy there.

I stopped by today, and there was a BMW parked diagonally blocking both. Guy was in it - moved to let me charge, but stayed in one spot!!

After I started charging, I looked and the other two (at the other charger) were open.

Red Sage ca us | June 9, 2014

Perfect Example:

Red Sage ca us | June 9, 2014

Another Try:

Red Sage ca us | June 9, 2014

Oops... completely wrong HTML...

ICEHOLE

Mel. | June 9, 2014

tes-s
You are right on Darien north.. But you will have to admit Rhode Island is a different animal.

JenAlJill13 | June 9, 2014

@Red Sage: in your part of the country it's possible that people respect ev signs. In the DC to Boston corridor my experience has been that many if not most people will seek out an ev slot to park unencumbered. I witnessed that at the East Greenwich, RI SC this past weekend. The location (a busy Whalgreen) has eight slots with four having the 30 minute general parking/ev designation, the other four having only the ev parking sign. Invariably, as ICEs came and went, they would park at the ev only spots in preference to the 30 minute general parking. Why? I suspect because the former were nominally closer to the entrance... A 911 parked in one of those slots and by then I was thoroughly aggravated that I made some outloud remarks about my Tessie not liking the obnoxious noise and the even more obnoxious fumes but what do you expect from someone desperately trying to hang on to their youth, etc... The guy finally got the hint and left, wheels screeching, fumes billowing behind him...

Mel. | June 9, 2014

JenAlJill13,
Good for you.

TeoTeslaFan | June 9, 2014

Red Sage,
As usual your messages are passionate and good intended but not always the most relevant.

JenAlJill13,
You are right. Tesla doesn't do enough. For example in California and Washington it is illegal to park in EV charging stations. They both have fines around $100. They both require a "no parking sign except EV charging" to be displayed.

However for some reason Tesla doesn't follow the regulations and adds illegal signs to some stations that conflict with the state law.

The way to fix this is to make your opinions clear to Tesla. Send a message to "owner feedback":
http://www.teslamotors.com/contact

Also send an email to:
supercharger@teslamotors.com

JenAlJill13 said "If something isn't done soon, it will have been money spent for naught."

I agree. I think some of the stations need to be replaced because they are in prime spots and will cause problems continuously unless there is much stronger signage and tarmac signs.

shop | June 9, 2014

@Teo_ my read of CA law is that it is only illegal to park in an EV charging spot IF the local municipality has made it a crime AND the EV spot is marked as EV only. Not quite as broad as your statement.

And property owners are quite free to post signs that allow non-EVs to park at chargers.

tes-s | June 9, 2014

RI has 8 stalls. 4 are marked EV and the other 4 are marked EV/30 min. Should be no problem with ICEing there - plenty of parking. It if is employees, that will be rectified quickly if it becomes a problem.

I charged there twice and I think there was one spot ICEed. Didn't see another Tesla there - or in RI at all.

Red Sage ca us | June 9, 2014

Teo_ commented, "As usual your messages are passionate and good intended but not always the most relevant."

Oh. Well. OK, then. Thanks for letting me know, and stuff. I'll just STFU. Would you care to join me in that endeavor?

kenj | June 9, 2014

@Jen

There isn't a lot to do about the Greenwich, CT Southbound area. There just are not enough spaces. Period. It was a problem before SCs.

The SC spaces are thefts 4 spots, the furthest away from the building, although by the dog walk and picnic table area.

Maybe a second row of spaces, although I think that may be a safety issue.

JenAlJill13 | June 9, 2014

@kenj: poor planning on Tesla's part...
@tes: the RI SC ICEing situation is highly dependent on time of day and time of week... Friday afternoon it was very crowded, Sunday morning nobody there...
It doesn't do me any good to have SCs unICEd when I don't need them. I agree with Tesla68 that SC ICEing anxiety is much more serious than range anxiety. I've never suffered from the latter one bit since the planning is under my control.

TeoTeslaFan | June 9, 2014

JenAlJill13,

You are absolutely right. Tesla is not doing enough. The bizarre thing is, in Washington it is illegal to park at charging station. But Tesla is breaking the law and installing signs that allow ICE to park. Here is that other topic:

http://www.teslamotors.com/forum/forums/all-ellensburg-wa-supercharger-s...

There is another recent topic here:
http://www.teslamotors.com/forum/forums/non-teslas-supercharger

I have contacted a news website about this and passed all the information. I hope others will do the same.

Tesla should not go out of their way and break the law to help ICE drivers park at supercharge stations. If hosts want that flexibility, then don't open a SC there. The existing problem stations need to be moved.

Allowing for 30 minute parking creates conflict and arguments. People could get shot or shoot somebody because of these unnecessary arguments. The car might be safe but the morons Tesla invites to their superchargers might kill you.

Tesla shouldn't allow ICE parking at all. It undermines regulations that prohibit parking.

Writing in forums is not enough. I hope some of you start taking pictures and video and send them to Tesla and to news channels or EV blogs.

Captain_Zap | June 9, 2014

Better use of the supercharger e-mail address is for recommendations on lots that you have already done some background checks on. It is easy to do. Please don't plug up their mail boxes. If that happens, they will change the address and we won't be able to contact them when we need to.

Just go to your the county assessor's page and figure out who owns the property and what purpose it is used for. The lot in Centralia, WA was just a parking lot next to the outlet mall with a transformer on it. None of the local businesses owned it. It was just speculation real estate by the freeway.

Chunky Jr. | June 9, 2014

For new superchargers, build spikes in front of the spot like they have at most rental car exits. Add a button to the tesla touch screen to lower the spikes. Over time retrofit older SCs with the spikes Maybe not practical, but that would certainly solve the problem.

Tesla could probably do a kickstarter project for this and Tesla owners would pony up enough to cover the costs and solve this problem forever.

JenAlJill13 | June 10, 2014

@JonathanL and others: Staying away from SC locations that suffer from chronic ICEing is probably the worse thing we can do. We're giving up without a fight and will lose any usage of the SC in the future. 200K down the drain for Tesla each time we do that... We've brought the issue to the forefront on numerous threads on this and other forums. It's clear to me that the problem is getting measurably worse and will continue to get worse as the ICEing public realizes that there are zero consequences for blocking EV charging spots. It's time for Tesla to take some meaningful action or lose the battle... Maybe they've already given up as witness the fact that we haven't seen much action on SC construction in the past few weeks. If they lose, we all lose, and you can kiss Gen III good bye... And that would be a shame for humanity. I'm about to embark on a cross country trip to LA, SF, Seattle, and Vancouver. I was looking forward to the adventure, now I dread the dozens of potential confrontations at the 40 SCs or so I'll be visiting. Not good.

hsadler | June 10, 2014

Instead of using a traditional parking spot, I wonder if Tesla has thought about building islands (like gas station pumps). Could be shaped like an 'x' where each one can service 4 MS's backing in from 4 directions. Charging equipment would be in the center so one 'hose holder' would now contain 4 plugs instead of 1.
It would be unique and indicate its purpose of 'refueling' or charging EV's.

No reason an ICE would want to park there.

Mark22 | June 10, 2014

To anyone that has been ICEd, did you call the Tesla number posted on the superchargers and/or speak with the manager or owner of the business?
These are the ways to make sure Tesla knows about this and, hopefully, alleviate the issue.
At Eau Claire employees were icing the SC stalls because that had been where they always parked.
A couple of owners spoke with the Noodles manager (who was hosting the SCs). Since then, as far as I have heard, no more icing.
On our trip out to CA we stopped at a SC which had 3 of 6 spots ICEd. On our way back (one week later) they had put a construction barrel in one of the spots with a sign that non charging EVs would be towed. None of the spots were ICEd.

Captain_Zap | June 10, 2014

Traffic cones are cheap and easy to buy.

If someone is in such a hurry or too lazy to park away from the building they would probably not inclined to get out and move a cone either.

sbeggs | June 10, 2014

@Captain_Zap, good point.

jzahrt | June 10, 2014

What about using the Homelink transmitter to activate gates (like in parking garages)? As you drive up to a SC, you get some sort of screen that pops up that allows you to select which gate to open.

(Haven't searched to see if anything like this has already been suggested. Apologies in advance if already considered.)

Red Sage ca us | June 10, 2014

JenAlJill13 said, "It's time for Tesla to take some meaningful action or lose the battle..."

Tesla Motors is building new Supercharger locations around the world, while simultaneously expanding existing Superchargers as need arises.

"Maybe they've already given up as witness the fact that we haven't seen much action on SC construction in the past few weeks."

Elon Musk says that over 100 more Superchargers will be in place before the end of the year. Since the beginning of April 2014, Tesla has installed 19 Superchargers worldwide. 12 of those are in the United States of America. 6 of those US Superchargers have been installed in the past month. Another 16 are under construction or in the permitting phase within the US.

That doesn't seem like 'giving up' to me. The only way to do this faster would be to do it either irresponsibly, or illegally. Which would you prefer?

"If they lose, we all lose, and you can kiss Gen III good bye..."

Assuming that GIII arrives in the fourth quarter of 2016 -- about two-and-a-half years from now, there will be several hundred more Supercharger locations, and even more HPWCs in public spaces such as Tesla Service Centers well before then. At the pace noted above, there will be at least 180 more Superchargers in the US alone, over 270 locations, by the end of 2016. I expect it will be much more than that.

I very much doubt they'll all be ICEd.

TeoTeslaFan | June 10, 2014

Red Sage said:
"I very much doubt they'll all be ICEd."

I don't think anxiety works like that. You won't have ICEing anxiety because you expect all stations to be ICEd. If some stations are ICEd sometimes, that is enough to create anxiety because you won't know whether the station will be ICEd or not before you arrive three. Not knowing creates anxiety. This will put off people from buying Teslas when Gen3 arrives.

Red Sage ca us | June 10, 2014

Knowing the Unknowable Known...?

What we know is that a quick conversation with management on site will take care of the issue, should it arise. What we know is that a quick phone call will take care of the issue, should it arise. What we know is that the issue rarely arises at all. Therefore, we know there is no issue.

KenN | June 10, 2014

As a resident of rainy Vancouver, BC, I'm not a big fan of the orange cone idea. For 6 months of the year, that means stepping out into the monsoon to move the cone, back into the car dripping wet, then out again to charge and go about my business. Reverse procedure on the way out. Far too much monkeying around in the wet weather for my liking!

Most EV charging spots in our area are painted a very distinctive shade of green - the whole space is painted, so there's a very abrupt visual cue. That seems to work surprisingly well. By my unscientific tally, charging spots that aren't painted seem to be ICEd far more often then those that are painted.

http://www.plugincars.com/sites/default/files/charging-space-620p.jpg

Red Sage ca us | June 10, 2014

That is indeed very distinctive.

sbeggs | June 10, 2014

@KenN and @Red Sage,

That shade of green is precisely what we need in Ellensburg!

JenAlJill13 | June 10, 2014

The fact that many SCs are not ICEd doesn't do me any good and does not relieve my ICEing anxiety. All I need is a single SC stop to be ICEd to create a major headache for me on a long distance trip... We don't have the luxury of driving a couple of miles to the next gas station. Until you drive a few times from Virginia to Boston and back, you don't know and cannot know what the ICEing situation is. I have seen it get worse every trip I take and summer isn't even here yet. This might not be an issue everywhere, but it's a real issue on the DC-Boston corridor. We should take the position that if it affects some of us it affects all of us. Red Sage you might want to make the DC-Boston trip yourself someday...

sbeggs | June 10, 2014

@JenAlJill13,

We heartily empathize, due to our hair raising Omak Pateros Ellensburg run.

I am composing the letters in my mind to the appropriate parties to try to get the WA state laws enforced at that Supercharger.

cantcurecancer | June 10, 2014

Just egg their car. Point of interest would be the driver-side door handle.

Philip2 | June 10, 2014

+1 on painting the supercharger spots a brilliant green.

windex | June 10, 2014

The law in WA actually requires they be painted similar to that to have the EV charging only parking ticket law enforced.

larsong93 | June 10, 2014

The easiest and least confrontational approach is simply to locate superchargers where they are just slightly more inconvenient than most of the other parking spaces. The Burlington, NC, supercharger lot is a perfect example.

I was recently at a motel in Chattanooga with two BLINK J1772 chargers. They were nicely placed a little farther away from the entrances than most of the parking spaces. Few ICE cars owners want to walk an extra 40 feet just to block a charging spot.

TeoTeslaFan | June 10, 2014

sbeggs and JenAlJill13,

I'm glad that you guys are here. Some of the Tesla fans in this forum are so determined to support Tesla no matter what, it is difficult to discuss any problem or solution.

KenN,
Those signs are great. The problem is Tesla is teaming up with hosts that don't have suitable spaces to build stations but they build them anyway and then put up signs allowing other vehicles to park there. Ellensburg is a typical example. Check this topic:

http://www.teslamotors.com/forum/forums/all-ellensburg-wa-supercharger-s...

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