Superchargers should be for long distance travelers ONLY

Superchargers should be for long distance travelers ONLY

I have seen quite a few people make comments here and there on these forums that they hope a supercharger gets installed near them so they can charge from it routinely. I think this is a bad attitude, it is rude and inconsiderate. Especially now and for the next two years of supercharger build out, supercharger bays are at a premium. There isn't a lot of extra spaces just sitting there idle. In another thread, a long distance traveller had to wait 2 hours for one of 4 slots to come open - four cars were just sitting there idle connected and obviously already fully charged. The one person to come back (shouldn't pick on him because he was slightly better than than other people just parking) was at a movie. Really? Supercharger bays are not parking spots. They are meant for people to charge in hopefully one hour or less.

Like it or not, we are all pioneers in this electric car revolution. Being a pioneer means doing your part to help the community. And at a minimum that means having the ability to charge at your house and to use that house charger, and not try to game the system by sucking free charging out of Tesla. I know some people have challenging situations, but come on, work a bit harder. Yeah dealing with the condo association is difficult, but your work will pay off for the others that follow. Finding the facilities person at your office building, and inviting them for a test drive lunch isn't that hard and it may get you an EV parking spot.

Helping to build out the world's EV charging infrastructure is cool. Hogging supercharger spots to save $5 is not.

AlMc | July 7, 2013

shop: I agree with your part about people being inconsiderate and leaving their cars plugged in when fully charged AND that people who are local to the superchargers should not take up a spot IF there is a long distance traveler waiting to charge. Also, if a local charger is in a spot and all the other spots are full that they should give up their spot for a long distance traveler.

However, I feel that any Tesla owner should be able to use an open charging spot in any other circumstance whether they are local or long distance in instances where there are open spots/no waiting.

You can take out your wrath on me if you like. I live local to the Delaware charger and go over periodically to charge there. It gives me an opportunity to talk to interested people about the car and meet other Tesla owners. I have/will never take up a spot if someone is waiting.

This whole issue comes down to common courtesy.

Docrob | July 7, 2013

Completely agree about not leaving cars in superchargers longer then necessary, have stated my opinion before that I think any car left an hour after a full charge should have the flow reversed to discharge their battery and leave them with enough range to reach their next nearest charge station, effective and only requires a software change at the superchargers and no policing/towing costs. However I completely disagree about use of local superchargers, superchargers have always been about closing the experience gap between ICE cars and EVs, if locals wish to charge their car at them they have paid their share of the infrastructure costs as well as anyone else and should be able to make use of them. Is it good etiquette and courtesy to offer a supercharger up to another if they are in greater need then you? Absolutely, and that goes for long distance travellers who have enough to get to the next supercharger too. However should that be in any way compulsory? No. I completely disagree that people should be ale to charge at home "as a minimum" for EV ownership. If people have access to workplace charging and the odd supercharge and can make that work why limit potential sales and owners? That rule right there rules most of the population of manhattan out of ownership. You want to know the most powerful signal to encourage infrastructure build out? Utilisation rates. If we want more superchargers and charging infrastructure in general the worst thing we can do is tell people not to use public charging infrastructure, if we want faster rollout we want to aim for 100% utilisation.

Kleist | July 7, 2013

@admjr +1
I am local to Gilroy...
- I need 25 miles to go home. I arrive with 10 miles left and now I can not charge because I am local ???
- sometimes I go from Carmel to Petaluma the same day... Now I am a long distance traveler and can not charge because I am considered local ( if I charge at home then I can not travel to Petaluma the same day )

I think this broadband local bashing has to stop. Doesn't make any sense and is not justified.

tobi_ger | July 7, 2013

Docrob | 7. Juli 2013
any car left an hour after a full charge should have the flow reversed to discharge their battery [...] and only requires a software change at the superchargers
I thought SC's are not designed/capable of drawing current.
Have you any evidence that a software upgrade would change that?

Docrob | July 7, 2013

It is an electrical device with a grid interconnect, there is no fundamental reason power can't flow both ways, I have no proof that absolutely no hardware modification would be necessary however it would almost certainly be minor in nature, I am certain less then the cost of paying for parking enforcement officers or the cost of any scheme which requires billing infrastructure to be implemented.

Brian H | July 7, 2013

"paid their share of the infrastructure costs" shows fundamental misunderstanding of the purpose of the stations. They are there to remove a physical and mental barrier to long distance travel. Any other use is theft.

Brian H | July 7, 2013

The most mileage you can save is the distance to home: 25 miles. You are disadvantaged in living so close. My sympathies.

AlMc | July 7, 2013

So, Brian H. I am a thief?

Docrob | July 7, 2013

BrianH care to supply a quote from Elon or Tesla that the have rolled this infrastructure only for the use of long distance travellers to support your outrageous accusation that anything else is theft? It may be your opinion that is what they are for, your opinion holds no more weight then anyone else's opinion and when it comes to how one may use the superchargers it incompletely irrelevant, only the opinion of the owners of the superchargers is relevant and I have never seen Tesla place any such restriction, even as a suggestion let alone a firm rule, on supercharger use.

Kleist | July 7, 2013

Brian - you and I figured out long time ago that it doesn't pay for me to suck up some free electrons at Gilroy just for the fun of it... 2+ hrs invested to save $10 - no way.
I live 19.7 miles from Gilroy... coming from the south below 25 miles rated range is my must charge point... there is nothing else before or after Gilroy. Coming from the north my last escape is TM headquarters... there I need 40 miles rated range to make it home safely. I never plan to use my escape points but you could have an unforseen event and be stuck on the highway for an accident or so and run lower then planned.

SCCRENDO.Ca.US | July 7, 2013

I have not had the opportunity to use superchargers yet but when I travel I would hate to wait 2 hrs for a supercharger because of a bunch of selfish jerks. If you are local and need an emergency charge go for it but frankly if you are 15 miles short, charge up. But do you truly need more than 50 miles (I am being generous here), which should take under 10 mins to get home. I reckon locals should be restricted somehow if this is becoming an issue. Perhaps no more than 10 mins occasionally to get home and if it becomes a habit and an abuse send them a warning letter and then perhaps suspend their privileges at superchargers for awhile.

Crow | July 7, 2013

Unless you are close by and monitoring the car's status, you are running the risk of being rude. Really, we should just use a supercharger when it is necessary to get to our destination.

archibaldcrane | July 7, 2013

Pretty sure common courtesy and "don't be a dickhead" are going to cover 99% of Supercharger congestion issues.

mdemetri | July 7, 2013

Brian H is right. The SC were developed and deployed to enable long distance travel. Period. THEY WERE NOT DEPLOYED TO ALLOW LOCALS TO USE AS A REGULAR PLACE TO CHARGE. I agree with shop on this, locals should not use SC unless they are going on or returning from a long distance trip (which means they are no longer locals but rather long distance travelers). Otherwise it very disrespectful of long distance travelers, especially when are others waiting.

AlMc | July 7, 2013

Yes. The issue should be common courtesy.

Not sure that anyone is more or less courteous if they are a local or long distance driver. | July 7, 2013

This whole thread seems to be based on the premise that local folks are selfish long distance travelers are angels, which seems a bit tenuous. "Selfish jerks" as @SCCRENDO calls them are going to act that way regardless of whether they are close to home or on the road. If you cannot charge because someone is camped out in an SC bay, what difference does it make where they live?


AlMc | July 7, 2013

So, there are many times at my local SC station in Delaware (has 4 charging stations) that there are no cars or 1 car when I go over to grab a cup of coffee, get some electrons and talk up the car/company or discuss problems I have encountered and/or solutions to problems with other Tesla owners.

Who am I injuring/being discourteous to if I take some electrons when there are still open spots?

Kleist | July 7, 2013

@SCCRENDO - first and only time in needed to charge in Gilroy ( +50 miles on my way way to Petaluma ) I was the second car and it charged at 56 miles per hour. The first car ( master car) sucked all the electrons... so that would take me (slave car) about an hour. If the master car leaves, then the slave car has to dicsonnect and reconnect in order to become the master car (and charge faster).
Lots of little improvements TM can make here...

CalabasasKid | July 7, 2013

Exactly Omar. If people merely plug in, grab their 200 miles and leave after a half hour, problem mostly solved. If everyone follows that model and yet we are still experiencing needless delays at the SC charging stations, then it's time for TM to step up and add more SC bays.

shop | July 7, 2013

@admjr, of course you aren't harming anyone in your situation, as long as you keep in view of your car. If are around a corner, you have zero way of knowing if four people just pulled up or not. You just don't know. So, unless you are keeping an eye on your car, which no one would do if they are local and don't need the juice, then, yes, you are being a jerk.

@Kleist, come on, cut me some slack. Of course if you are low on charge, using the supercharger is fine even if you live close by. I was just saying that leaving the house every morning with like 50 miles in the battery expecting to charge up every night at the supercharger is being inconsiderate since you have the ability to charge at home.

The overall gist of what I was saying is that superchargers are a scarce resource. Don't plan on using them if you can reasonably avoid them (like by charging at home, office or hotel).

Michu | July 7, 2013

It's not all that complicated:

Always try to charge at home or wherever you are overnight and start the day with a fully charged car (if possible).
Only use the superchargers when really needed and only as long as really needed!

Brian H | July 7, 2013

trying to make it home is of course a special case. But as you say, anyone routinely using SC to save money is working for 3rd world wages.

Supercharging for daily short-distance use reminds me of the iconic housewife who drives 5 miles checking 5 stores to save 50¢ on a purchase. She usually knows she's not really saving, she just wants to "win", and score the lowest price.

Kleist | July 7, 2013

the only problem I have is locals are bad, long distance is good. Many threads unfortunately simplify that way.

I've learned my lesson early on - brand new car test SC in Gilroy Sunday 3:30 pm... great no car - plug it in, get out of the sun into the shade ( can't see the SC)... 10 min later check - 9 cars. Shock and I left quietly.

SCCRENDO.Ca.US | July 7, 2013

@Kleist if that's the case then accommodations should be made. As many have stated jerks are jerks and they are the ones that need to addressed. Perhaps you could answer my other question though. Leaving on Friday for Healdsburg. If I use my Tesla will hopefully get a max charge at Gilroy if all the locals are not out there shopping. What are my best options to make it back to Gilroy. Based in Healdsburg at a B and B and unlikely to even get 110v there. My wife needs to get me down to Guernville for the start of the half-ironman with some driving around. Returning Monday. Don't have many hours to hang around campgrounds. Will I make back to Gilroy. From there I am actually pretty confident the supercharger network will get me back to OC. Or should I just ICE it.

AlMc | July 7, 2013

Shop: Your assumption is that I do not keep an eye on my car when it is charging. Incorrect. Since you are unfamiliar with the Delaware SC station it is at a large rest stop on I95 right next to the bus parking. The food/coffee is within view of the SC spots.

Your assumption is also that all locals leave their cars unattended. Again, common courtesy says you should be aware of your vehicle when you are in a position where you are sharing a potentially scare commodity.

Make no assumptions about people you do not know or generalize 'locals' or 'long distance travelers'. we are all Tesla owners.

I stand by my initial assertion: This is not a matter of whether people are locals or long distance travelers. It is about common courtesy when it comes to sharing a scarce commodity/service.

If Kleist wants to 'fill up' when he is 25 minutes from home and he is not blocking someone else's ability to charge what is the harm and where is the lack of courtesy?

gill_sans | July 7, 2013

I've got a mental picture now of Roy Scheider in Jaws. We're gonna need more Superchargers.

mdemetri | July 7, 2013


There is a difference. Anyone on a long distance trip is eager to get to their destination ASAP and therefore are much less like to linger than a local.

But this brings up a related issue that most are not recognizing: a max range charge (which is much more likely done by a long distance traveller) can take over two hours when sharing the juice. This is the real problem of waiting lines at SC, not locals or people shopping/lingering after the car is charged. The only solution is faster and more SC, both of which are in the works.

phat78boy | July 7, 2013

I'm with you guys on these issues. It seems like some people are using the spaces as preferred parking and not even charging. I'm not sure how you would go about stopping this.

Maybe you could put an hour restriction on the spot, like downtown parking if you will. From there, if a car is reported, it will be towed at the owners expense.

AlMc | July 7, 2013

mdemetri...Agreed. That will help solve the problem.

Issues/Decisions for Tesla: Ramp up production of S; push for getting the 'X' and 'Gen III' out; expand the number and capabilities of the SCs. Hope they can do this all at the same time.

Bob W | July 7, 2013

For those who are unaware, the new SuperChargers at Arastradero and Buelton that just opened have eight (8) charging stalls. That's really good news, except that it may bring even more Model S owners to Gilroy.

I expect Gilroy will eventually (soon?) have additional chargers, maybe in the other parking lot on the other side of the main road.

At Menlo Park today, the Tesla rep. said they were aware (from the usage logs) that "Some locals are only charging at the SuperChargers, and never charging at home." He didn't indicate how many, but I got the feeling they were not pleased to discover this.

I believe such behavior may explain why SuperCharger congestion at some locations is higher than Tesla had anticipated. They assumed that most people would charge at home, not at a SuperCharger, even if they lived nearby.

I live 20 miles North of the Gilroy SuperCharger, but I have never used it even once. Once I wanted to, for only 10 minutes, because I wanted to be certain that I could make a side trip to San Jose Airport and then back home after getting a standard charge at Harris Ranch, but Gilroy was all full on a Sunday afternoon last April, so I just got back on the freeway and went for it, and I made it OK, with 40 miles of range remaining when I got home. Love the 85!

Lucky me, I won't ever need to charge at Gilroy, unless there's a massive extended power outage at home.

Tesla4JP | July 7, 2013


This discussion is relevant to Model S owners. Courtesy should be the guideline for SC use.

Brian states "shows fundamental misunderstanding of the purpose of the stations......any other use is theft" I find that rather interesting insight coming from someone who does not own a Model S nor has a reservation for one, or has likely not had any real world experience using SC. You can state your "opinion", but describing use of SC as theft is not appropriate. In my opinion...your understanding is fundamentally flawed.

Kleist | July 7, 2013

@SCCRENDO - Gilroy to Healdsburg and back on a single 85 kWh charge... no way. With overnight 110 V charging maybe but close. On the way up avoid going through SF that eats a lot miles, so 880 would be my best guess - check energy used on way up. Way down options are San Rafael service - not sure if accessable during weekends so call ahead - or TM headquarters off 280 page mill road they have four 14-50 and one 60 A HPWC and are open on weekends ( I was there 4th of July ). From headquarters you need at least 60 rates miles to get to Gilroy. Gilroy is not bad for most of the week, problem are the weekends with the added heavy Monterey/Carmel weekend travel... avoid late afternoons. If you start as a slave car stay with it until someone leaves and you can be a master car.
The rest of your trip I don't know...

sharpe222 | July 7, 2013

Part of the downside of making it free instead of a nominal fee = to cost of powering at your home. Great for marketing not great for incentivizing using your own charger if you happen to live close to a super. That said a true tipping point for EV's wont occur until one can get current supercharging times (minimum) with locations as prevalent as gas stations. Making the perfect car isn't even half the battle Elon and company have taken on,it's building an entirely new transportation infrastructure. No way that is going to happen without some mistaken assumptions and trial and error.

Xerogas | July 7, 2013

Tesla has made it quite clear that SC are for road trips.

Quoting from :
"Road trippers can stop for a quick meal and have their Model S charged when they’re done."
"We want to encourage Model S owners to take road trips."

Electrons cost money. The more electrons Tesla doles out, the more money is taken away from their bottom line. At some point, that turns into higher-cost cars and services for all of us. If it becomes too much of a problem, Tesla may re-think how it wants to dole out electrons.

Yes, I've heard the argument that solar-powered SC stations can turn a profit, but not all of them are solar-powered, and even if they do turn a profit, the profit is *less* when more people use them.

I plan to continue charging at home, even if Tesla installs a SC next door. Same reason I don't go to a food bank to get free food.

trydesky | July 7, 2013

I've never used an SC, and for a while I didn't understand why the forums were going about lines. Where that many people running out of electrons? Then I realized people were filling up to save $5. I agree that they should be used primarily for long trips, but of course there are exceptions for every rule.

You will also see this behavior at work charging stations. I see people (mostly shorter range BEVs/PEVs) where they sit there all day and never charge at home. This is sort of an issue for me (the only Tesla at my office). Many feel I should never plug in, since I live close to work and don't really need it.

One last point I don't see anyone making...
Didn't TM say that frequent use of the SC will reduce battery life?
Are those using SCs every day going to trade in their car in 3 or 4 years, and don't really care about battery life?

Kleist | July 7, 2013

@Bob W - I" believe such behavior may explain why SuperCharger congestion at some locations is higher than Tesla had anticipated."
No way... Gilroy is overloaded because there are too many MSs north of it and Gilroy is the only outlet south and south you want to go on weekends. Tesla simply underestimated the potential usage of that location... success has its price. If Tesla thinks for a second a few black sheep are to blame then Teslas SC concept is doomed to fail.

sharpe222 | July 7, 2013

Umm I think the frequent use of superchargers as being harmful has been debunked. It is hard to imagine someone paying a hundred K for a car and going out of the way to save 5 bucks. Lack of chargers in destinations when not plugging in at home does cause one to need range charges when ever they take a trip to a place that has a supercharger. Since it is free Tesla needs to make whatever adjustments to the real world usage of its network. Towing or otherwise punishing people who bought cars from them isn't going to happen.

Mark Z | July 7, 2013

The SuperCharge locations where some park their vehicles for extended times should have adequate HPWC for those who need to park for hours and charge.

The best solution for this serious dilemma came from a friend. Use a valet "parking" service at busy locations. The valet gets the key and handles the parking and removal of the vehicles from the SuperChargers. The original owner gets their key and car back with a numbered tag and/or showing their vehicle insurance wallet card with the printed VIN. The valet would know the charging status of every vehicle to give accurate wait estimates if, for example,10 cars are in the queue for 8 spaces. The valet doubles as a security officer for the vehicles as well. The valet could optionally reject charging for frequent visitors from the local area, or put them at the end of the queue if long distant drivers arrive.

Tesla Motors has got to fix this before the news media has a field day with the topic!

Kleist | July 7, 2013

@sharpe222 - I think it is a simple misconception.
When I got my car I thought living next to a SC would be a bonus. Brian H actually beat me into reason. I need at least 25 miles left to get to the SC - 20 min, fill it up to 90% = at least an hour, burn another 20 min and 25 miles to go home. Not worth it... 3rd world wages - you can't afford the car, do something better with your time.

Docrob | July 7, 2013

Tesla has not ever stated they have an issue with locals using superchargers. The purpose of superchargers is to narrow the experience gap with ICE cars and every model S buyer is entitled to their use at any time. Using them for parking beyond what is needed for charging is a separate and valid issue. Should we be employ common courtesy and generosity in our use of superchargers? Yes. Does Yesla, or anyone else, require us to? No.

tobi_ger | July 7, 2013

Yesla? Is that a new word of admiration? :)

Kleist | July 8, 2013

Yes Tesla = Yesla

wcalvin | July 8, 2013

Such heat over a hypothetical problem. There aren't even any real in-city superchargers yet.

Looks like the first will be in Seattle sometime this winter. My guess is that it will be at the to-be-relocated Seattle Service Center at the junction of I-90 and I-5, near the stadiums.

I have speculated elsewhere that there will be a "Supercharged Valet Service" that will ferry Teslas over and back during the game, allowing fans to drive back home after the game without waiting in line. One can even imagine a valet service leasing their own supercharger to pioneer the e-station business in an abandoned gas station.

WA is getting two new 8-car superchargers, in operation before the end of this month. One is halfway between Seattle and Portland; the other halfway between Seattle and Vancouver BC.

DJung | July 8, 2013

It's like parking your car in front of a gas pump and going shopping. Can you technically do it? yes. Is it a considerate thing to do? no. I think locals are entitled to use superchargers as long as they are considerate such as allow long distance travelers to have priority when their charging is not urgent and not use the spots as parking spaces.

shop | July 8, 2013

"It's like parking your car in front of a gas pump and going shopping." - I like it! Good analogy and not very far from the mark at all. Just as you wouldn't do this in your ICE, you shouldn't park longer than you need to charge (more or less, 20 mins extra isn't the end of the world).

Docrob | July 8, 2013

The issue about people using them as parking spots is a non issue, we all agree it is douchebaggery of the highest order to do anything other then move your car ASAP after the required charge level is reached. The question is whether road trippers have more right to use a supercharger then anyone else, Tesla have built out superchargers to make the EV experience even closer to the ICE experience, They have said they make road tripping easier, they have NEVER, not once, said that those who live locally should in any way refrain from using them. Supercharging opens up the model S to millions of customers who have limited or no home charging options, to those with old homes with wiring wihch struggles to support the high currents required for anything other then 110V service and a bunch of other groups. The most powerful signal to get additional bays installed and more closely spaced superchargers is high utilisation rates, if we come they will build them. So I say use them lots and use them often.

J.T. | July 8, 2013

It's like parking your car at a gas pump and going shopping.

This is hardly analogous. Gas pumps are on private property. A gas station owner has a perfect right to tow any car that is left at a pump unattended.

Docrob | July 8, 2013

Most car parks are on private property, I think its highly analogous.

matt.wis | July 8, 2013

Courtesy will always help, but most of this is on Tesla to fix. Some of that is software -- I should be able to register in my travel planning when I expect to hit the supercharging station. When others connect to the supercharging station before me, their cars should tell them if it is a high congestion time, and if others plan to arrive. Courtesy is a lot easier when you have a chance at knowing you will be rude. If your car is nearly fully charged you should get a notification on your phone (5 minutes left!), and if another driver shows up, you should get a more intense notification that somebody is now waiting for you to come back.

Then there is the hardware side of longer cables, auto-unlocking after full charge, and more parking spots. Or so I have read. I've never been to a Supercharging station, and wish we had them in the South of the US. I think this is what is known as a "first world problem", even for us Tesla owners.

I think using emotional pressure to get the right behavior is ultimately destructive to our community, assuming we could all agree on that behavior, and we don't appear to in this thread. We can't even get slow drivers to use the right lane in the US!

Generally, a network system like this has high-utlization folks that cost way more than the average user. Think of people that sit around with bit torrent running all day. The internet connectivity suppliers don't want to tell home users that their usage is capped just because of these outliers, but they do, in fact, cap usage at some point. When it is enough of a priority, Tesla could easily change their slogan to "Superchargers are free for life for distance travelers" and implement this in software.

Lastly, if there was a "fine" for leaving your car fully charged and hogging space while other drivers are waiting, say $1 a minute that is donated to the Red Cross, that would probably get the message across. Superchargers are free for life, but the parking space requires a donation if others need it and you have not attended to your vehicle. But give me a few minutes as a grace period before I need to pay up :)

ColonyGolfer | July 8, 2013

Tesla needs to develop a "ping" alert when your car is done charging. An alert pings your cell phone to tell you your car is charged.....then you go move it. I know about the app, but I am not going to look at my phone while I am dining, etc. Beep me and I am there. It seems to me that this would be the most efficient, simple, effective use of the mobile app. Any developers wanna "chime" in on this? Pun intended. Is this even possible?