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Need to Solve Charging Constraint at Upscale Shopping Centers

Need to Solve Charging Constraint at Upscale Shopping Centers

I’ve now charged at a few upscale places in SoCal, such as Brand at Americana in Glendale and Fashion Valley in San Diego. These places all have many stalls, up to 20, but are easily full during meal time and pretty much all day on weekends. On numerous occasions, I had to wait, up to 30 minutes.

We all know Tesla isn’t cheap and Tesla owners prefer theses upscale establishments over shopping centers with Walmart or Dollar Tree. So these are essentially the watering hole of Tesla vehicles. Tesla should add more stalls at these locations. I believe even if doubling to 40 stalls, Brand and Fashion Valley will still be at full capacity regularly. Adding more stalls has to be a win/win/win proposition for the mall, Tesla and owners.

Charging price should still be fair for all but idle fee can double, triple or even quadruple at these establishments. I think too many people are willing to pay such meager penalty to finish up the meal, complete the manicure or pick the right diamond ring at Tiffany. $60 for 60 minutes may not deter them to play nice but $240 just may.

Lastly, Tesla and the mall could also offer valet Supercharging, a group of stalls separate and not available to self-park. I wouldn’t mind at all tipping $5 - $10 to have someone park for me if all stalls are occupied, do the charging when available and move my 3 to another spot upon completion, so that I can spend all day at the mall if I choose to, without constantly checking the app or disrupting my activity to move my car.

grins.va | September 16, 2019

When there are 40 stalls, will you demand they add 20 more?

jimglas | September 16, 2019

they should add gasoline for ice vehicles to be fair

pkmantmc | September 16, 2019

Yes, if 40 stalls are maxed out regularly with long wait-line, should add 20 more.

Just two years ago, before Model 3 came out, Tesla was a relatively rare sighting. I may see one once or twice a month. Now not a day goes by without seeing at least one Tesla.

All these upscale establishments have plenty of parking and shouldn't have any problem allocating more spaces to Tesla. Brand's parking structure has 8 floors and pretty empty beyond 5th (SC located on 7th). Fashion Valley's parking area where SC's located is also very sparse.

If SC stations and stalls don't catch up to the growing popularity of Tesla, it will hamper its growth.

SamO | September 16, 2019

Problems that make you go hmmmmm. More charging sounds great. Demand problems are great problems to have.

Lots of ungaraged wealthy in California that want to drive an EV and are willing to pay.

#DriveFree

TeslaTap.com | September 16, 2019

One solution that Tesla is already implementing is speeding the charging time. At some point, existing SCs will be upgraded to V3, which doubles the speed on many Teslas. So a 20 stall location, should be able to process almost twice as many cars per hour without having to add any new spaces.

pkmantmc | September 16, 2019

"Lots of ungaraged wealthy in California"
More like many financially secured people in SoCal choose apartment-living (both rent and buy), to be closer to the their ideal hot spots (downtown, close to work, close to the beach, etc.) and avoid the hassles of house-ownership.

"One solution that Tesla is already implementing is speeding the charging time"
Would be great for remote and pit-stop locations (say Mojave or Baker) but mall is where people typically spend hours to shop, dine, hangout, etc. I know I wouldn't want my meal time to be cut short or disrupted if charging too fast. More stalls still the better solution.

jimglas | September 17, 2019

spambot flagged

Darthamerica | September 17, 2019

Manhattan Beach Mall and the Redondo Beach SCs are also very high volume with ~5 or more cars waiting for a spot daily. There’s always 2 or more SCs stalls that are broken as well which doesn’t help...

TeslaTap.com | September 17, 2019

@pkmantmc - So you're advocating for slower charging? Perhaps Tesla should remove Superchargers from malls and replace them with L2 chargers that way, owners can enjoy a meal, see a double feature and still have time to shop for a few hours and perhaps a second meal. Just like Bolt, Leaf, iPace and Taycan owners currently do.

Earl and Nagin ... | September 17, 2019

@TT,
Slower charging is more valuable for the shopping mall while faster charging is better for folks just wanting a charge. I would propose a 2 or 3 tier scheme with higher charging and idle costs for faster charging with lower costs (to the car owner) for slower charging. Costs to the mall might be reciprocal to charging speed.
Destination charging (including J-1772) actually makes the most sense at shopping malls that want folks to spend a lot of time there.

pkmantmc | September 17, 2019

"@pkmantmc - So you're advocating for slower charging? Perhaps Tesla should remove"
If it's my call and if it comes down to upgrading existing stalls to charge faster or add more stalls, I'd pick latter. I'm sure the mall management would also like to see more Tesla congregating at their properties, but in no rush to get back to their vehicles. Like I said, adding more stalls is the win/win/win proposition for Tesla, Tesla owners and the mall. The envy of the non-Tesla-EV-owners is the strategically-placed pit stop SC locations for road-trip, not the in-city SC locations. If I don't ever plan on driving outside of my city, I would've considered other EVs.

"Destination charging (including J-1772) actually makes the most sense at shopping malls...."
Planning to going to a local mall with free J-1772 to catch a movie. If charged at an SC, movie would not be possible..... unless I'm willing to pay for the $1.00/min. idling fee, which many wealthier folks will gladly accept, to enjoy their freedom of disconnecting whenever they wish, which brings back to the need of adding more SC stalls and raise idling fee at these premium establishments.

shinytop | September 18, 2019

Another solution would be for Tesla to deny supercharging for a period of time once a car exceeded an certain number of idle minutes.

nukequazar | September 18, 2019

At some point, every parking spot in the country will have an EV charger so, yeah, having more than 20 stalls in a huge mall like Americana should be the plan. It's good for mall business, good for Tesla (promotional), good for Tesla drivers.

RatherBeBoarding | September 18, 2019

Since most of these chargers are urban chargers with 72kW peak only, I suspect the original intent is to slow charge so people can have enough time to shop or eat. The problem is that there are so many Teslas around now that means if you get there when it is full you can wait up to 30 minutes easily. I think for shopping mall urban chargers they should have at least 40 stations, I notice one shopping mall garage with 40 stations that is heavily used but never full. For 20 or less stations I think valet would be a good solution, there are enough valet companies that would pick up the contract.

Earl and Nagin ... | September 19, 2019

@RatherBeBoarding,
Good point. If EVs with smart charging become used to balance the electrical grid, incentives will be put on parking lot owners and EV drivers to provide and use charging in all parking spaces.
Its this transition phase that is tricky to do.
I spoke with the general manager of a large mall near my house: He currently offers about 10 free EV charging spaces. He would definitely like to install more, however, the mall parking garages were built in the early '70's when there was no assumption that much electric supply would be needed. He would like nothing better than for EV drivers to consider his mall to be a regular part of their lives. If the only cost is a few more electrons, that's no big deal.

pkmantmc | September 19, 2019

I'm sure most malls would love to be the local watering hole of Tesla vehicles. Hoping some of these mall operators would compensate Tesla to install SC at their property (not the meager 16kw destination charger).

This doesn't sound fair to other EVs but Tesla has the dominate market position right now so that's that.

jordanrichard | September 20, 2019

Like all supercharger locations, Tesla can’t just put chargers wherever they want. So you may think Tesla “should” put more chargers in locations that you think are best, it doesn’t work that way.

HETZ | September 20, 2019

It seems to me, if wait times become a problem, more people will install home chargers. When I was at Americana last week, I will bet most of the cars waiting lived within a couple miles and figured they don't need to spend the money to install a home charger. I am glad I have home charging. When the others get tired of waiting they'll figure that out. As EV's get more prevalent, they can get their landlords to install pay for use charging systems.

jordanrichard | September 20, 2019

HETZ, what charger needs to be installed at home?

pkmantmc | September 20, 2019

"Tesla can’t just put chargers wherever they want"
Yes! That's why it would be great if the mall operators could chip in, or even pick up the entire tab, if they want to be the watering hole.

"I will bet most of the cars waiting lived within a couple miles"
Probably. But that's good for the mall, even if Tesla owners are frequenting the place just to charge. Americana can only park free under 1 hour, so people are likely to spend some $$ to validate parking. That's why it should double, triple or quadruple the SC stalls. Heck, turn the entire 7th floor into SC stalls! It will then instantly be my favorite shopping location in LA.

guyvii7 | September 20, 2019

@jordanrichard... In case you were not joking. You get get a NEMA 14-50 type plug that give 240V at 40 amps and thus charge a model 3 around 30+ miles per hour plugged in. You will need to have the outlet close enough to your car to plug in. If you have your own garage or pole (with access to 240v with 60 Amps) you can install at Tesla wall connector and charge around 44 miles per hour plugged in. Otherwise, if you have to use you normal 110 v outlet, it will give you about 3 to 5 miles per hour connected.