Supercharger Network

Supercharger Network

The 2015 goal for the supercharger network is to serve 98% of the population in the contiguous US. Uh, where's the 2% that's left out. Well it appears to be the Brownsville-McAllen-Harlingen metro area - in south Texas. How difficult would it be to set up a supercharger station just outside Corpus Christi, Texas - even if its a 2 station unit - just to be able to say you've covered the entire 100% of the US. Given the marketing savvy of the Tesla organization I'm surprised at this faux pas. The cost of a little station would be well worth the marketing boost of 100% coverage.

Vawlkus | 26/07/2013

It's impossible while you've got those idiots in charge down there, saying Tesla isn't welcome by passing laws to prohibit Tesla's business in the state.

You want that to change? Elect some leaders who aren't going to ban Tesla from your state.

teslajolt | 26/07/2013

@Vawlkus +1000

nwdiver93 | 26/07/2013

I suspect that there are going to be a lot of 2 station units... perhaps in 2016 it will be 99.9%. Still think they need to have a HPWC program too. I don't need to charge in 40 minutes if I'm @ my hotel, catching a movie, shopping or going to dinner... Are you listening TESLA!?

carlgo | 27/07/2013

There are already indications of bad feelings at some popular stations. The idea of tethering up your Tesla and going off to some leisurely dinner and shopping was kind of romantic at first, but now just POs the people waiting behind them.

More SCs, and chargers at existing ones, are needed now even before a lot of Teslas are driving around. In the future this is really going to be a problem. It will be interesting to see what Tesla does because thousands of fast charging stations will be required.

nwdiver93 | 27/07/2013

"thousands of fast charging stations will be required"

thousands of L2 stations perhaps... those are cheap, I have little doubt a HPWC is <$500; A 30 amp station probably <$300 since the wire is a smaller gauge. We should only need a few hundred superchargers.... provided they're kept ~100 miles from major city centers.

Let Chargepoint, Blink and Semacharge work on that; As mentioned above I also think Tesla needs to have a HPWC program but they shouldn't have to pay for everything like they do for the SCs.

Brian H | 27/07/2013


carlgo | 27/07/2013

Funny, people want SCs 100 miles apart, but not in cities for some reason, and so continuing through the city on to the next SC is another 100 miles, a total of 200 miles between chargers just because there is a city in the middle? What is the advantage of this?

Actually, I sort of agree in that it makes much more sense to put swapping stations in cities, the opposite of $300 toy chargers that take how long to charge up a Tesla?

negarholger | 27/07/2013

Sure we want have fast chargers in the city, but I don' think it is fair to put the burden again on TM. If TM can make cross country possible that would be big step forward. For that you need a SC about 50 miles outside the city... you fill before you go into your destination and on the way out you fill up again for your leg home.
The current plan by YE 2015 calls for about 200 locations avg 4 SC each = 800 plus some high density areas and you have about a thousand SC. By then you should have enough usage data to plan for the Gen3 wave starting in 2017... and yes you need thousands of SC.
Funny thing at Gilroy this afternoon... pulled in at 4:20 all 4 stalls open. At 4:30 a second car, a couple minutes later one after the other came in - at 4:40 we had 9 or 10 cars. Seems like they all had a 4:35 appointment...
PS. I pulled out because I had enough to get home.

nwdiver93 | 27/07/2013

OK... ~50-75 miles from major city centers... but you get the point...

I wonder how many of the cars at Gilroy today had a home <10 miles away...

negarholger | 27/07/2013

One turned away and didn't come back, the rest seemed to need juice. I didn't need much just a little safety margin.

bp | 28/07/2013

Tesla could do more to help manage expectations on the SCs.

When driving towards an SC, the owner could indicate on the touchscreen an intention to stop at the SC for charging. Tesla could track all cars headed to the SC, project arrival - and also likely amount of time to charge - and provide guidance on projected wait times for charging.

The owner should also indicate how much charging is going to be needed - the target range intended before leaving the charger. Tesla should be able to calculate about how long the charging will take, based on the car's current charge level, distance to the charger, expected discharge rate for that distance, and the desired charging level when leaving the charger.

When the car hits the desired charging level, it should be possible to remove the charging cable, so even if the owner isn't there, another MS could back begin charging their car - assuming the cable is long enough to reach a second MS.

The mobile app could be updated, or even better, text messaging could be used - to notify the owner with a warning charging will be finished within 10 minutes, 5 minutes and charging has reached the desired level. The message could also indicate the number of cars waiting for charging - to encourage the owner to get the car and move it.

Of course, this will take more software - and one of the major problems Tesla is having right now is getting software developed. They really need to add more software developers - because they can make considerable improvements to the ownership experience by taking advantage of the software and internet capabilities of the cars.

carlgo | 28/07/2013

bp-you cannot expect people to do any of that. I would refuse to just on general principles even if my head didn't hurt from reading the directions.

Kleist- it is a burden on Tesla only if they allow it to be one. Simply charge for a charge. An electrical station would be vastly more profitable than a gas station, per customer. And add the usual mini-mart, car wash, etc and there is no comparison.

Tesla would make money on each station opened. The more the better. And of course it would entice more people to buy Teslas.

A double shot of goodness. A profitable business all by itself. Not a burden at all.

Musk says he wants to promote electrification in general, so why not have facilities that would charge up any brand and make money off of all of them? I see Teslas coming in for swap 'n goes, while ordinary electric cars are tethered forever, their embarrassed owners wishing that they owned a Tesla.

carlgo | 28/07/2013

nw-just the point. Many people are driving to Gilroy for a charge, most probably coming from a lot more than 5-10 miles away, and then going back to where they came from. This is not a sustainable charging solution.

oildeathspiral | 28/07/2013

The intent of the Superchargers was to "allow Model S owners to travel for free between cities along well-traveled highways in North America." It seems some want it to become a entitlement located in ever increasing locales. One suggestion: leave free Superchargers for their original intent as stated by Tesla above. Build as many paid battery swap only locations within cities as supported by demand. These "micro" gas stations could be located almost anywhere and would be another nail in the coffin of range anxiety.

A sufficiently large network of Supercharging and battery swap locations might even sway a large auto company to go with the Tesla "platform". What a game changer that would be.

carlgo | 28/07/2013

Yup, totally. On another post I speculated that within cities, where charging needs to be fast and land is expensive, small swapper kiosks would be a good idea. SCs are fine as promised, but they will only serve statistically insignificant long distance use.

oildeathspiral | 28/07/2013


Battery swap kiosks-I like the sound of that. Describes it very well.

A large network of battery swap kiosks with the availability of even just a 150 mile range Tesla thus bringing the price down would eliminate range anxiety and put Tesla in the driver's seat of EVs and charging infrastructure. There's no one I'd want to be charge of both of these important areas more than Elon Musk. With the right pricing, it could exponentially boost EV sales. Just staring in CA's largest cities, with their large populations AND high annual driving averages, could really jump start things.

Brian H | 28/07/2013

carlgo | July 28, 2013
nw-just the point. Many people are driving to Gilroy for a charge, most probably coming from a lot more than 5-10 miles away, and then going back to where they came from. This is not a sustainable charging solution.

Think so? Then they're dumber than a bucket of rocks. The driving + charging time, divided into the ~$10 max savings (assuming they're taking a full charge, very unlikely) means they value their time at less than minimum wage.

Brian H | 28/07/2013

Update: maybe $20. Same diff.

CalDreamin | 28/07/2013

@nwdiver93, I charged at the Gilroy SC yesterday afternoon when things got backed up. I live 83 miles north of the Gilroy SC and arrived with 23 miles rated range (returning from a roadtrip to Morro Bay along Highway 1). There were 4 MS charging and 2 more MS lined up waiting ahead of me when I arrived. I spoke with another MS owner charging there and he lives about twice as far from Gilroy as I do. Neither one of us would have made it home with the Gilroy SC.

CalDreamin | 28/07/2013

correction: Neither one of us would have made it home without the Gilroy SC.

ian | 28/07/2013

I'm confused too Brian. What ever happened to the convenience of charging while you're sleeping, working or otherwise not driving? It seems like there are some that actually like the "gas station" model of energy delivery.

ian | 28/07/2013

CalDreamin - It's good to hear at least 2 of those using the Gilroy chargers actually needed them. Did you happen to talk to any others?

nwdiver93 | 28/07/2013


What was your trip profile? Coming from ~Berkley? Let's assume you live in Berkley... My point is that the SCs should be in Gilroy and Winsor... but not IN Berkley. Tesla appears to be spacing SCs ~150 miles apart. So some SCs will be in populated areas simply because they have to be... but only so you can get to the next SC. I point to Gilroy as an example not because there shouldn't be one there... we probably do need it. I point it out as "You think Gilroy is congested... try putting one in the middle of a LARGE city..."

My point is that SCs exist to get you to the next SC and to where you want to be... not for a quick top-up 10 miles from where your car sleeps. That's what we need L2 for. IMO L3 is not simply faster L2... they have different roles. No doubt there were transients @ Gilroy... I've used it and I live in New Mexico but when I was there 50% of the cars were residents.

I thought it was crazy too that people with a ~$100000 car would go to a SC to save $ until I spoke to some MS owners at Gilroy while waiting 2 hours for my turn to charge. They pay $0.30/kWh so stopping by the SC saves them $20 and they get a nice drive and lunch out of it. I agree it probably doesn't make a lot of sense... but they do it; And Gen III is going to bring a whole new income bracket into the Tesla family.

CalDreamin | 28/07/2013

I live in Orinda. I didn't find out where the others came from who were at the Gilroy SC yesterday afternoon, other than the family that lives east of Folsom. One of the other MS charging there had manufacturer's plates, and on the back it said Model S on the right side instead of the left side.

My road trip this weekend with my 85 was:
left home Friday 8am from Orinda with a 90% charge --> Gilroy SC --> Atascadero SC --> Morro Bay overnight --> Highway 1 back to Gilroy SC --> pick up my dog in Concord --> home in Orinda with 25 rated miles left. Great trip! I was surprised that I only saw 1 other MS on Highway 1, given the perfect weather on a Saturday.

When I arrived at the Gilroy SC on Friday morning, nobody else was there. A MS arrived from San Francisco, the family was taking a road trip to SLO.

My understanding is that Gilroy will be getting 10 more SC slots, for a total of 14.

If people who live nearby are regularly using a SC because they are too cheap to pay for their own electricity, they threaten the business model that allows all of us to use SCs for occasional road trips. Tesla knows who is using each SC, and they've made it clear the SCs are for road trips.

TimC | 28/07/2013

I figure all issues can be addressed with software. The software can know a car's 'home base' relative to a SC and either limit the charge or bill the owner to prevent abuses of the SC network by locals. Also, owners could maybe be billed if for the time they leave their completely charged car occupying a SC. Cost is obviously a strong motivator of behavior.

Timo | 28/07/2013

@TimC, that would be wrong in many ways. For example if you are close to your home but are coming home from long road trip and have still some errands to run it would be very harsh to force that person to slow-charge at home instead of using that SC to charge so that he can make his runs and then go to home.

It is also possible that Model S is so successful that there are already people without home charging possibility buying them because there happens to be SC close by (not that uncommon for city dwellers).

negarholger | 28/07/2013

I think the local charging is over blown... yes, there will always be some abuse if something is free.
I live 19.7 miles north of Gilroy and we do frequent trips to Monterey/Carmel on the weekend (friends), on the way back I have anywhere between 20 miles ( tight ) to 80 miles left on a standard charge. Most of the times we stop at Gilroy - four times in all ( and I was twice there for testing during the week ).
1st Sun 5 pm - 4 free stalls, plugged in and left for shade. Checked 10 min later... 9 cars. I unplugged and left.
2nd Sun 4:30 pm - 8 cars. I moved on home
3rd Sun 4:40 pm - 4 free stalls, charged to 200 miles and when I left a second car arrived
4th Sat 4:20 pm - 4 free stalls, 4:30 pm next car arrives. Then every minute one more... 4:40 9-10 cars and I left.
According to my limited observations 10 stalls and the problem would be gone. Currently there are about 3-4k cars north of Gilroy and Gilroy is only outlet south supporting LA/SD travel via I5 and 101 and the very heavy weekend travel to Monterey/Carmel.
For me the visits to Gilroy are very clear- I save $10 in electricity at best, my wife spends at the same time about $150 in the shops. Am I entitled to grab some electrons - absolutely yes. Am I entitled to block a spot if there a are a bunch of others waiting - NO !

carlgo | 28/07/2013

I think most people who travel to and SC aren't doing it to save a few bucks, but because they do not have access to a home charger and don't want to park their car all day for the trickle charge.

Local, for-profit fast chargers/swappers would actually ensure that people stay local to charge and don't clog up the free Superchargers.

nwdiver93 | 28/07/2013

On the fence about restricting SC use... would be nice if people would only use an SC if they need to or it's the wee hours of the morning and there's no chance you're going to make someones road trip longer but.... that's not going to happen.

I do think trying to place SCs in areas they are least likely to be "abused" is the best route... and it appears to be the one Tesla has chosen. NO SCs planned for Portland, Denver, San Francisco, Chicago etc, etc...

And... Telsa should be handing out HPWCs like candy to anyone willing to make them available for public use.