Few or no superchargers planned for the bay area?

Few or no superchargers planned for the bay area?

Though it is vague from the planned supercharger map, it doesn't look like there are plans for any along the SF Bay peninsula, between SF and silicon valley along 101 or 280. Or really anywhere in the inner bay area.

Considering the high number of teslas sold in the bay area, why no superchargers? Real estate too expensive?


Brian H | 15 July 2013

To ideally serve the bay area, SCs would surround it at about 100-150 miles distance.

ian | 16 July 2013

That's where people live and is within the range of an S for everyday use. Why would you need a supercharger when you've got a full battery every morning? ;-)


CalDreamin | 16 July 2013

Plan shows SCs positioned outside of big metro areas so that MS/MX owners can reach more distant metro areas. SCs will generally not be positioned within big metro areas, Hawthorne (next door to SpaceX) being an exception.

SF Bay area MS/MX owners are well served by the plan showing several SCs surrounding the region. Charge your car at home, and reach areas outside the region using the SCs.

On a related note, if Tesla offers a CHAdeMO adaptor in North America, DC quick charging options will become available to MS/MX owners within a number of metro areas. CHAdeMO chargers are mostly within metro areas, while SCs mainly connect metro areas.

GeekEV | 16 July 2013

Think of it this way, SCs are for *on the way* to the destination, not once you get there.

GeekEV | 16 July 2013

Although, personally, I'd like to see some in the city too. When I make a day trip from Sacramento to the bay, I typically want my car while I'm there, so it would be nice to be able to top up quickly instead of L2 charging. However, based on the SC map, it looks like they'll be putting one in or around Vacaville which would also do the trick. But it wouldn't be quite as convenient on the way there because I'd still be mostly full and SCs slow down the fuller you are.

Katrina | 20 July 2013

Actually, it's silly to think superchargers are not necessary near metropolitan areas. Just as many people venture into cities as venture out. I, for example, live in the suburbs but work and have a flat in the city. Paying ChargePoint $.50 per kWh AND pay to park in a lot that generously provides a paid station is quite discouraging to drive an EV in the Bay Area. For instance:

Parking rate downtown San Francisco: 15-28 / day
Charging rates:
Free in city garages, but have to pay parking rates $1-3/hour
$.49 most city garages. Plus parking.
$1-1.50 / hour at some lots like Giants parking lot A and UCSF China Basin campus.
Nominal max amperage is 30 Amps from these chargers. Most houses have 240 volts, or 7.3 kW
However, most of them are able to push 200-203 volts, dramatically lowering kWh to 6.1. That's 20% slower, and in the case of "pay by the minute" stations, it's significantly more money.

Why not put SC's in crowded areas? Because people will use them! Think about that. Someone has to pay for the power and infrastructure.

Allow Model S users to travel from city to city, but become stranded upon arrival, as GeekEV points out. And, god forbid, you have a roadster, you're screwed everywhere you turn.

Lets face it. For Tesla users, due to the much greater power needs of the car, are just not going to have the choices the Plu-ins have. It is up to some smart entrepreneurs or even Tesla itself to create an ecosystem for high powered EVs, whether Telas or not. And hell, they don't have to be completely free. Fast and cheaper than gas, that's all, that's really necessary.

Oh, and how about a DC charging system for the roadster? Have we early adopters been left to die on the vine? I made a trio from SF to sacto and almost didn't make it back. The charging stations you do find take all night, which time one usually does not have. This really needs to be addressed if Tesla wants to be seen as a serious nigh boy in the industry.

Drive on!

Kleist | 20 July 2013

If we have SC in the city then people will park there for 10 hours to go to work or watch a baseball game. That system would be broken from the beginning.
TM has a solution for that and that is swapping - all of Europe and many places in Asia are exactly like SF - lets see how the actual swap test sites will work.
I am thankful that Tesla is actually putting some thought into the charging infra structure ( look at Nissan charging points at the dealers ? And the rest of the car companies is waiting for the goverment ). But we are at the very beginning...

Brian H | 20 July 2013

It may well be expensive and inconvenient to charge at your destination. But at least it's possible. The trade-off of time for charge is easier someplace you plan to hang around for a while. But without en route SuperCharging, reaching the destination is impossible, and time/charge trade-offs are much more problematic.

Destination charging is being pushed by local EV, PHEV, etc. groups of all stripes and types, so it has some chance of developing on its own. Fast mid-route charging for Teslas is much less likely unless TM creates it.

So SuperCharging mid-route is the clear priority.

ian | 20 July 2013

+1 Brian H. Tesla is doing way more for the adoption of EV's by creating the infrastructure for long distance travel and should definitely remain their priority. Others will come along and fill in the need in cities.

@Katrina - Go check out the video from Teslive at In it he promises something special for Roadster owners next year.


nwdiver93 | 20 July 2013

I really wish Tesla had a HPWC program. If a business wants to install a HPWC for public use then Tesla should sent them one for free.

It is kind of a waste to put a $20,000 Supercharger in a city when 10 HPWCs would be cheaper and more effective. Gilroy is a great proof that SCs and urban areas don't mix well.

mdemetri | 21 July 2013

I dont buy any of this idea that we need to restrict access to SC in destinations because people will use it. Thats like GM saying we don't want gas stations in cities because our customers will use it. It is nonsensical. The problems seen with Gilroy are very simple to fix: more and faster SC. We need SC in destinations (the best example being national parks like Yosemite), not just on the route to the destination. Restrict locals if you must, but give travelers the ability to SC in destinations.

I appreciate that Tesla cannot do it all, but if they will not deploy 'free' SC in destinations, then they should at least license the technology to others so that market forces can deploy SC in destinations. Paying for SC in destinations is infinitely better than not having the service available at all (and IMO a very small price to pay for a dramatic increase in convenience and reduction in range anxiety). Tesla needs a plan for this ASAP. While I agree with Brian H that deploying SC on the routes to destinations is a higher priority, this does not mean that they cannot also have a plan for destination SC (either directly by Tesla or through licensing to a third party). Lack of SC in destinations is a significant barrier to EV adoption and needs to be addressed by Tesla.

Kleist | 21 July 2013

@mdemetri - OK what are the ideas for destination charging?

- no in house charging possible ( e.g. at my wifes sister in San Diego - street parking only )
- SC not possible ( lack of industrial infrastructure, e.g. assumed true for Yosemite )
- no RV parks or unacceptable ( e.g. I can not hang out for 8 hrs at a RV park with my wifes 70+ year old parents )
- ...

Possible solutions ( just what comes to my head right now )
- hotel/motel with 14-50 or similar
- rent a house with dryer connection in garage
- ChaDemo adapter ( on West coast would give many more options )
- Service center with HPWC
- my favorite technical solution: mini SC with 40 kW DC - only a 240 V 200 A feed required ( 2-3 hrs charging )
- battery swapping ( to be seen how popular that will be )
- ... ( here add your solutions )

Kleist | 21 July 2013

one more potential solution for places that lack industrial infrastructure e.g. Yosemite
- battery: 20 kW feed could recharge 0.5MWh battery in 24 hrs - limit the amout of charge to 30 kWh charge only in 20 min per car and that could get you to the next en route SC e.g. In Merced.

GeekEV | 21 July 2013

I like the idea of offering free HPWCs to any business that wants one and is willing to run them at full power. That would be a very nice option, particularly for those of us who opted for the dual chargers.

nwdiver93 | 23 July 2013


1- Gas Stations were never intended to be a free source of fuel

2- There isn't a gas station in 99.999% of homes

The end game for EVs needs to be park/charge@L2 ; park/charge@L2 Creating the expectation or perception that routine L3 charging is the norm like the current gas station paradigm will be too costly and too stressful on the grid.

L3 for roadtrips; L2 for where you live and where you're visiting

carlgo | 23 July 2013

Why are there so many gas stations? Obviously it is because there is a need for them despite the great range of ICE vehicles.

If electric cars are to be universal, so must be Superchargers. The allure of planning for charging like an expedition to Everest will soon fade.

Superchargers simply have to be everywhere, at destinations, near destinations, on the way to destinations, on your commute, in the city, in the neighborhood....everywhere.

Charging, not range, is the key. Your 1000-mile battery will need to be charged up and there had better be a place to do it when the need arises, not some place that is 100 miles away from where you are.

carlgo | 23 July 2013

So, mdemetri is right IMO.

kleist: the solution is likely one of these:

Partner up with an existing gas station chain, charge for charging or swapping and thus make a profit. Profitable stations would be everywhere, the more the better for Tesla, owners and the technology.

Tesla/SolarCity becoming the Chevron of Electrons, putting in thousands of Tesla stations that will charge up most any car for a fee. Again, being profitable removes any excuse to not do it.

Tesla partners with a number of other manufacturers who adopt the same technology, spreading out the cost and further advancing the electric cause. Might even be able to make this free.

Swapping might be the choice at the more heavily used stations, with Superchargers used at more remote areas. Also, if Tesla shared facilities in some ways, Tesla batteries could be swapped while owners of other brands would have to wait for charges. There would be Tesla envy, which would be good.

Frankly, I would reject any solution that takes hours of charging, extension cords, extensive planning, driving long distances to get to a place to charge, etc.

Time to look at the next generation of this technology and the actual batteries are only a part of this.

Kleist | 23 July 2013

"Partner up with an existing gas station chain" - same problem as with dealers, different revenue model. But finding abandoned gas stations should not be a problem... 3-4 going out of business every day in the US.
"Why are there so many gas stations?" - because there are 2 billion ICEs on this planet. Demand drives the number of gas stations, not convenience. Demand goes down so goes down the number of gas stations as you can witness. If we had 100k ICEs on the roads in the US you would not find a gas station close by.
Yes, long term you'll find convenient charging close by, but so far the demand simply isn't there and instead of an arbitrary distribution of charging opportunities Tesla is building the first planned net of charging stations across the US. Once the initial net is in place, then local demand will drive more stations.

LionPowered | 23 July 2013

+1 Kleist

It's early in the game. We're early adopters. The game will evolve along with us. Some are early adopters despite their needs :-)

nwdiver93 | 23 July 2013

"long term you'll find convenient charging close by" ????

Everyone in the county can charge even a 85 kWh battery in <8 hours with a $200 outlet. Why are so many people so stuck on this meme of charging their EV like they used to refuel their ICE? How often do most people really travel >100 miles from their home? When Motor Trend reviewed the Model S they were quick to point out that an EV is not an ICE, not better or worse but different. We need to stop trying to pound the square peg in the round hole. Ask yourselves this... if the world had never turned their backs on EVs do you really think we would have recharging stations like we have gas stations or would ~98% of charging simply be done at home/office/hotel/shopping. Or... if ICE owners could add 200 miles of fuel to their cars in the comfort of their garages every night for 1/5 the cost of gas how much traffic do you think the gas stations would get? The focus needs to be easy access to public L2 charging, offices, shopping, hotels and apartments.

Fast Charging has its place... between cities, not in them. IMO the 2015 plan for SCs is probably ~90% of what we need. L2 still has a long way to go... especially for apartment dwellers.

ian | 23 July 2013

+1 nwdiver93.

It continues to boggle my mind that folks just don't get it. "It" being the convenience of leaving the place you sleep every night with a full "tank".

Yes, I know some live in apartments and condos and don't have a garage. Blah, blah, blah. When the demand is there (also known as apartment renters and condo owners driving EV's), the supply will catch up quickly (apartment owners and condo complexes installing chargers or providing access via a simple NEMA 14-50 dryer plug connected to their electricity meter). Watch, as more EV's are purchased you'll start seeing Apartment complexes advertising charging for EV's to attract renters, and condo complexes doing the same.

Gas stations are everywhere because they NEED to be everywhere. Electrical outlets ALREADY ARE everywhere. They will get adapted to serve us.


Kleist | 23 July 2013

nwdiver93 & goneskiian - you are missing the point. Sister in-law in SD... street parking half a block away, no outlet near by and no I will not wake up with a charged car. We can manage, but not convenient. My wifes parents dryer is upstairs and we need a 50 ft extension through the livingroom - too heavy for my wife to carry. Doable yes, but not convenient ( we fixed it by having a 14-50 installed in their garage ). Plan a trip from the Bay Area to Yosemite... doable absolutely, convenient no.
Yes, at your home it is convenient, however at this point not at many destinations. Yes, electrical infrastructure is there, but is there a plug? My wifes parents house we fixed, but at my sister in-laws house I would even know where to plug before any permission. This will evolve over time... and no, I am not calling for a SC at every street corner.

Brian H | 23 July 2013

nw, gone;

It's a different scene than has existed before. What ICE driver can fill up at home, nightly? There is a need perhaps for emergency in-city fillups for EVs, but it is a fraction of 'what we're used to'.

carlgo | 23 July 2013

Some people here are making somewhat impassioned arguments for fewer and less convenient chargers. Why? I must be missing something.

Timo | 23 July 2013

@nwdiver93 How often do most people really travel >100 miles from their home?

You'd be surprised how often. That's just 50mile one way trip. Not uncommon trip to work, and almost all of my friends live at least that far from where I live, so just to visit friends or couple of my relatives would require that. That's why 200 mile range is absolute minimum for me and I would like a lot longer range just for convenience to be able to slow charge at home and not somewhere in middle of nowhere. Road trips are different case, there you need SC network.

nwdiver93 | 23 July 2013

I agree 100% that we NEED superchargers. The point is that they shouldn't be IN major population centers... like San Francisco; that's what level 2 charging is for. Put one 50 miles north of San Fran and 50 miles south... and 50 miles East.


There are two schools of thought on charging...

- Fast Charging on a regular basis is fine so Tesla should install SCs in places like San Fran, Seattle and Austin. They will be congested so Tesla needs SCs with 20+ bays in these areas. If you don't have a place to charge at home then stop by an SC every couple days... kind of like we do now for gas.

- Fast Charging is for travelling 100+ miles so put them in places like Folsom, Centrailia and Temple. Every EV should go home to a place to charge and mostly charge there. IF your <100 miles of where you want to be home/work/shopping then you don't need to charge 80% in 40 minutes. Charge overnight at home or while at work. I realize some people don't have access yet but my argument that using fast chargers as a solution to this is not sustainable; they need to get access to L2 charging.

nora-te | 24 July 2013

I agree with Timo and those that advocate SC's within the Bay Area. We have a LOT of Teslas here; I see different ones almost every day on my commute.

An example for my reasoning:, my husband commutes 100 miles every day in his Model S. He often has to work on weekends, and it is not uncommon for us to have plans on a Saturday when he gets home. If we drive to our son's house, there goes another 100 miles. One time, everyone wanted to go to dinner 10 miles further that our son's, but we had to pass since we had range anxiety.

Another concern for us: we have a boat in Alameda. We used to stay there for a week at a time in the summer, and commute to work. There is no outlet whatsoever available in the parking lot. We are willing to pay ChargePoint, but there is none nearby. The only public charger we have found in the entire city of Alameda is in a pay parking garage, several miles from our boat. Not only are the two spots always full, they are too narrow for our MS. (We contacted the City of Alameda, CA to petition for more charges, but no luck)

CalDreamin | 24 July 2013

I checked plugshare and there are more than 30 CHAdeMO DC fast chargers in the SF Bay Area. MS owners who think we need SCs within the Bay Area might consider writing to Tesla ( and requesting that Tesla sell a CHAdeMO adapter for the MS.

@carlgo, I'm not advocating for less convenient or slower charging. But I don't think it's realistic to expect Tesla to install SCs within metro areas when they've made it clear that's not what the SC network is for. I live in the East Bay and can easily do a round trip to any other part of the Bay Area by charging my MS in my garage.

Tesla does not have an infinite pile of resources. I'd prefer that they spend their finite resources getting their planned SC network built, getting MS adapted for international sales (RHD and Asia/Pacific after the Euro launch), and getting Model X and Gen3 to market.

I do think we need one or two SCs on CA Highway 99. The future SC plan shows nothing on this major traffic corridor that is on the way to Yosemite, Kings Canyon, and Sequoia Nat Parks, as well as winter ski areas and other parts of the Sierras.

carlgo | 24 July 2013

nora- your post made me think of those muni type chargers. All they do is delay the needed roll-out of useful charging stations.

We cannot rely on public agencies to put up enough chargers. They, and the general public as well, believe that those muni chargers are sufficient. They know nothing about amps and stuff. And there is often adamant political opposition to any such project.

It would be very interesting if somebody put in a charging facility that could charge up any electric car in the fastest way their proprietary technology allows. Tesla or SolarCity could test this idea in an e-friendly place like the Bay Area.

When you are low on electrons, you should be able to pull into a proper station and fuel up like everyone else in the entire world does with ICE cars, not tie up to a pole for hours like some sad goat in a parking lot.

carlgo | 24 July 2013

cal-you are right that the SCs are not meant to be the urban solution, just to allay the fears of long distance driving and to advance the Tesla brand, sort of like practical advertising.

Fleshing out the charging system, for convenient charging everywhere, will likely require a profit motive. I think people will be thrilled to pay a fraction of the cost of gas for a decent charging experience and if there was a profit to be made then Tesla or independents would build stations everywhere, the more the better.

As for urban areas, I think this is exactly where swap stations have to be. It is go, go, go, not a rural rest stop mode. It is for people without a garage and home charger, people who need to get to work, to top off for a trip.

Also, city real estate is expensive. You can't afford to pay for a big lot and have cars sit for an hour. Even a tiny lot would be enough for a swap kiosk and they could be scattered all over a city as necessary, as the brand grows.

This idea is completely opposite of the quick-charge on the freeway swap station concept. Of course, in the end both might be the best idea and relegate SCs to the most remote areas. | 24 July 2013

So, as a couple of folks have pointed out, some more Bay Area chargers would be good for folks coming TO the Bay Area--it is a travel destination after all. I my case, I need to drive from Sacramento to San Jose about once a week and it would be nice to snag some electrons somewhere along the way.


mdemetri | 24 July 2013

carlgo +100

To be successful, EV's need to be at least as convenient as ICE to fill up. Yes, when you are at home you can fully charge overnight. Very convenient; in fact more convenient than gas stations. There is no argument about this. However, when traveling, the only way to makes EV's as convenient as ICE is to have SC (or other fast DC charging or swapping) in destinations. There is simply no question about it.

I am not advocating for Tesla to put SC in destinations. Rather, if they do not plan on doing this then I want them to license the technology to allow a third party to do it for the profit motive. Many EV owners would be very happy to pay to have this convenience when traveling. Locals could also use it, but would have to pay as well.

I really do not understand why anyone would advocate to limit the easiest and most convenient way to charge when traveling. Fast charging/swapping in destinations is essential for EV's to fully compete with the convenience of ICE vehicles.

carlgo | 24 July 2013

At California retail rates it costs about $13 for a 300 mile charge. If the electricity is supplied by SolarCity, the cost is less and wholesale to Tesla. Let's just say $11 for the same charge.*

Assuming 20 mpg, it costs about $60 for the same distance at $4 per gallon for the ICE owner.

Gas station owners make only pennies per gallon, supposedly about 5c. They make money from the mini mart, car wash and of course lots of gallons sold.

That 15 gallons of gas for a 300 mile trip makes the station owner a whole 75c. Make it a dollar.

If the Tesla station sold electrons at double the cost, a 300 mile charge would cost the Tesla owner $22. Even with overhead, the factor we do not know, the electric station is vastly more profitable assuming the same expenditure at the mini-mart, car wash, etc.

It is probably safe to assume that Tesla owners would be happy to pay one-third the cost of gas! It is also safe to assume that an electric gas station would be very profitable if there were enough Teslas charging up every day.

Of course I advocate charging up every make and model to make more money for both Tesla and SolarCity.

The point is that electric charging has an actual advantage in both the cost to the consumer and in the profits for the stations. There is no reason for Tesla to hang its hat on a handful of free stations when zillions of profitable ones would likely prove to be better for everyone, and would advance electrical transportation generally.

"Build it and they will come". Per the movie Charging of Dreams.

* Figures per some random web site. Close enough for a general comparison.

Brian H | 24 July 2013

That model breaks the "free for life" model and promise.

Not in the foreseeable future.

Accommodation-centric hi-power AC charging is far more likely.

Matching ICE "stop-anywhere" convenience is not a reasonable short or medium-term goal. TM is building on a different base. Extra-convenient home fillups plus free intercity charging changes all priorities.

nwdiver93 | 25 July 2013

Quick poll... For non-transient charging which is really more convenient;

1-Charging pretty much where-ever you park to eat/sleep/shop/work.

2-Going to one of the Fast Chargers scattered about that may or may-not be somewhere worth spending 20 minutes to an hour.

On a side note... Fast charging is significantly less efficient than "slow" charging since due to I^2R losses. Double the Power; quadruple the losses. 4x the charge rate = 16x energy loss to heat.

carlgo | 25 July 2013

Statements I have seen basically say "Model S charging will be free at the Superchargers". Could easily be wrong, but it seems that promise is carefully limited.

The relatively few SC stations that serve the small percentage of cars actually off on long trips on the most travelled freeways would indeed remain free for the S model, and likely all Teslas.

The thousand of additional stations actually required can probably only be built if they are profitable enterprises.

Per the crude math in my previous post, it seems this could be done.

Brian H | 25 July 2013

Wrong. The model is self-sustaining and financing.

Look at it this way: the Teslas withdraw a certain amount of energy from the grid, and Solar City contributes slightly more than that back with dedicated arrays. It makes a bit of profit by doing so, which the utilities are willing to support because it minimizes drain on existing generation capacity (on average).

The "average" does not necessarily allow for the peaks and valleys, but station buffering with racks of retired battery packs with decades of remaining usefulness should actually increase grid stability in the end.

CalDreamin | 28 July 2013

The solar PV panels on the canopies over the SCs could not produce nearly enough electricity even with buffering using battery storage. The panels don't cover enough area. Does Tesla or Solar City have off site PV panels to support the SC stations?

ian | 28 July 2013

Yeah they do. Their off site PV systems are all the home systems they own and lease out to homeowners. Aren't those producing more energy than the home owners using?

Timo | 28 July 2013

Also one canopy is quite large. Three spot charger is at least 10x7 meters. That's 70m^7. That's something like 70kWh daily (my guestimate, depends of place and orientation and weather and...). Those chargers are mostly unused and it could take days without any cars come by. Difference between places is covered using grid power.

Not much off site needed (if any).

Timo | 28 July 2013

m^2 obviously. m^7 has quite a few extra dimensions.

Brian H | 29 July 2013

Power from the 7th dimension! Good deal! Unless the inhabitants invade to get it back ...