Experience at Gilroy Supercharging station

Experience at Gilroy Supercharging station


I posted this awhile ago but I can't seem to find it. So here goes again.

We stopped at the Gilroy Supercharger station on a Monday mid afternoon. There are four
stations there. Two stations were occupied, one by a blue P85 and one by an unmarked blue model S.
Our charge took about one half hour. The unfortunate thing was that the other two cars had not moved.
Since this is an unattended facility we would hope that the honor system would be enough. Yet these
two drivers decided to use the spots as if they were merely parking places and spend their time leisurely
shopping at the outlet stores.

After I left there were still two stations available so there was really no harm done, but I think people
should be informed that these are not parking spaces. As these cars become more popular I'm afraid conflicts
will arise.

Your thoughts?

bigbit | June 30, 2013

We should just put a banana in their tailpipe...

PorfirioR | June 30, 2013

I think, short of doing something more kinetic (i.e. towing, etc.), at least part of the answer is in the smartphone app. It could address a couple of issues: "nudging" the person charging, and tracking the "next in line".

Of course, before people start pointing out the flaws of this plan, the only perfect plan would be to charge at home.

Here is how it could work:
- When "Person 1" shows up to charge, the car "knows" which supercharger it is using (there could be various ways of doing this, such as GPS if direct communication with charger not possible).
- The car also persumably "knows" who its owner is, right? in order to communicate with the smartphone app.
- Person 1 begins charging and tracking via the smartphone app.
- Person 2 shows up to queue up to charge.
- Person 2 uses smartphone app, and enters supercharger identifier.
- Person 1 receives an alert via smartphone app that Person 2 is waiting.
- At this point, some "penalty" could be introduced. It could be something minor like the smartphone app being locked for 24 hours if the user does not disconnect from the supercharger after 45 minutes from an alert.
- If there is never a Person 2, and Person 1 never receives an alert, Person 1 has the right to park as long as they want.
- If a "Person 3" comes in while Person 2 is still waiting and Person 3 "enters the queue" in their smartphone, they are notified that there is one person ahead of them and Person 1 gets another "nudge" saying that there are X number of people waiting.

This could all be done via the app, no tow trucks involved, no notes left (or not left) on the dashboard, no phone numbers exchanged, and no additional intervension from anyone other than the drivers involved.

I know, I know, this will not work for users who do not use the smartphone app; but the potential solution that I am describing could be implemented very easily.

PorfirioR | June 30, 2013

Sorry about my spelling: "intervension" should read "intervention"

tes-s | June 30, 2013

I understand the gps has the locations of the supercharging stations. Perhaps it could also show the status - free bays?

joshuawrosenberg | June 30, 2013

@PorfirioR -

I like most of what you propose except that I think if the charge has been completed the owner/driver should be informed that he should move his car. No reason to have Person 2 send him a message and then have to wait. The message should be send automatically.

Brian H | June 30, 2013

Maybe because "helding" is not a word? The correct word would have been "holding". >:P

PorfirioR | June 30, 2013

Person 2 is not sending Person 1 a message. He/she is simply staking a place in line at the supercharger. The app is what sends Person 1 a message saying someone is waiting. Each user only talks to their app. Of course the app will also automatically tell Person 1 that the charge is done and the car can be moved. However, if nobody is waiting, there should be no need to rush.

justineet | June 30, 2013

@Porfirio...I think it's workable and the application can also be adapted for SMS messaging to make it universal for all phones -- smartphone/non-smartphone.

satyrias | June 30, 2013

Those who are saying, “ I've been alone “at a SC, or everybody is courteous or make new friends at SC, so on are all short sighted.

Mind you, as of now you have been driving like a King and Queen on the highway and everybody has been looking at you. That will change once people start to buy EVs and the number of Telsa on the road increases to jam Tesla stations.

You will see arguments or fist fight or even shooting at SC when this Tesla cars are populated on the road, If they don’t implement strict guidelines. All those phone app warnings are not a fool proof to move the car away physically, once it is charged. There is no time for anyone to wait for the guy to come from the toilet in the shopping center or whatever he is doing. Not all people carry phones in their pocket either.

Even now with only a few Tesla S on the road, look at the frustrations below:

“making notes on their dashboard”,

“arm ourselves with chalk and write notes behind their cars on the pavement”,

“keying the paint”,

“if I had to wait for someone to return from their shopping trip before I could charge my car - with my two infant children inside - I would lose my mind”,

“We should just put a banana in their tailpipe.”

and other various ways of releasing their frustrations. These are just the signs of what is to come down the road.

A very simple fool proof solution, tow the car to next parking spots. Let him/her deal with that mean looking tattoo-wielding Tow trick driver. No fist fights there.

jp158 | June 30, 2013

Supercharging stations should be on highways/freeways not located in shopping centers. So that Tesla owers can stop visit a rest room get a coffee/soda and some food and continue with their trip.

Let's face it they are going to be a certain amount of people to take advantage of any situation.

mcx-sea | June 30, 2013

Towing far too aggressive. Potential for damage and lawsuits.

Phone messages presume every driver has a cell phone, has not left it in his car, etc.

How about a bright, flashing orange "gumball" size light atop each charger when charging is finished, but only if/when others are waiting. TM would also be notified and could send an automated message warning that charging privileges could be temporarily suspended for repeated violations and/or for not releasing the charger within a reasonable time.

Joel N. Weber II | June 30, 2013

My understanding is that with the exception of the very first Superchargers (such as the original Harris Ranch Supercharger), Tesla has been building the charging stations to share two cables between a single set of charger modules, with the full charging rate not available when both cables are providing power to both cars. The only way this design makes sense is if Tesla expects that there are going to be times when a car will be parked and connected to one of the two cables but not charging; if Tesla wanted people to move the moment their car stopped charging, they would have skipped the expense for the second cable and the switching equipment.

It seems that the 2:1 ratio probably isn't quite right at shopping malls, but it also seems that installing more charging cables and switching equipment on the existing charger modules might not be any more expensive than the towing approach some are suggesting (and towing would indeed be terrible PR which would destory much of the value of Tesla's investment in the Superchargers).

If major holidays end up causing more demand than non-holiday weekends, Tesla should also consider stationing 2-3 valet employees at each Supercharger location during the times of peak Supercharger demand, who can offer to move cars for customers who might end up spending a long time shopping. This might only be needed a half dozen to a dozen weekends a year, possibly primarily at shopping mall locations and not so much the highway rest areas. That staffing might be cheaper than building bigger charging stations to deal with those peaks.

Given that Amtrak finds Thanksgiving to have vastly higher demand than other times of year, I think Tesla might be well served by planning to station valet employees at every Supercharger station over Thanksgiving weekend, especially on the Wednesday afternoon/evening the day before Thanksgiving, and probably also the Sunday afternoon/evening after Thanksgiving, and maybe also Sunday morning and Friday and Saturday.

Brian H | June 30, 2013

You seem to be under the impression you are smarter than the planners at TM, and Elon in particular. This is obviously false. Their solution will center around making sure there is adequate capacity for peak use.

justineet | June 30, 2013 about a smarter Keyfob which buzzes u or alerts u with a sound alarm like a cell phone when ur car is finished charging???

Docrob | June 30, 2013

I still think superdischarging is the simplest and most effective penalty for overstaying, if you stay longer then 1 hour post a full charge then the supercharger begins feeding your power back to the grid and locks you out of using the supercharger for a period, say three hours so you cant simply unplug and plug back in. You could set each supercharger so that the amount it leaves you with is not less then the distance to the nearest non supercharger. This requires no enforcement, no billing infrastructure just a software change and a sign notifying users. Cheap, effective and a net gain for Tesla who can profit from the returned electricity.

negarholger | June 30, 2013

When I watch this discussion for sure we'll have fist fights in the future. It is just that the policing supportes want someone else do the dirty work for them.
It goes both ways... I had a very unpleasant encounter with Mr. AntsinthePants - after telling him I needed only 20-30 miles he was very persistent trying to convince me I had enough to finish my trip and I should clear out now. I have no problem to deal with these type of unpleasant folks, but I would not like my wife to run into this kind of situation on her own... she could be intimidated and left her stranded in a much more undesirable place. So she is under the instruction always to say she needs a full charge and leave the area.
Overall my encounters at the SC have been pleasant, except this one case.

jonlivesay | June 30, 2013

Charged Friday afternoon at Gilroy heading into Monterey for the weekend, charged leaving Monterey again at Gilroy. Both times we had an open spot, one other car on Friday and two on Saturday. Both times took a while because we did range charges, I watch the charge on my iPhone and return at appropriate time. Usually gives me a few minutes to talk to other owners or answer questions from potential owners. Easy and pleasant to charge, easy to monitor your state of charge.

Docrob | June 30, 2013

Absolutely Kleist, everyone has the right to a full charge and a grace period after that, if you leave earlier it is a nice gesture but never expected. The main issue is with people who feel these are parking spaces where they can leave their car whilst they spend their day running errands, leaving their car occupying a supercharger for hours after receiving a full charge.

negarholger | June 30, 2013

Docrob - thanks. However the discussion sounds more like "Waterworld" after a nuclear holocaust.

Gilrory is a prime example
- the only charging outlet for about a third of the MS population wanting south, but only 2+2 outlets.
- during the week fully adequate, weekends are the problem
But there a interesting solutions
(a) regular parking spots in Gilroy are just hot as hell in summer, cover with Solar covers and make them the most desirable parking spots while creating lots of electricity for business and charging
(b) expand SC to 12 spots and leave uncovered (= undesirable )
(c) swapping station for folks on a rush. And swap your 60 for a 85 for your trip and get your 60 back on return.
Elon said Gilroy is a problem... let's see TMs solution before we form the SuperCharger GeStaPo.

Schlermie | June 30, 2013

It looks like another SC station is planned near Salinas by the end of Fall 2013. That should help offload 101 travelers from the Gilroy location.

satyrias | July 1, 2013


" I had a very unpleasant encounter with Mr. AntsinthePants - after telling him I needed only 20-30 miles he was very persistent trying to convince me I had enough to finish my trip and I should clear out now. "

That guy has no right to tell you to move. But I understand his frustration too. It can develop into another level of confrontation.

This kind of problem is what I have been expecting in the future at a Tesla Station. Right now, everybody is happy with SC since only a few Teslas are on the road. That will change soon and will hear more confrontations.

Kleist: I have questions for you for a research purpose . . .

Was that guy smaller or bigger than you physically?

Was he your same race?

Was he alone in the car?

Were you alone in the car?

Oliver.femont | July 1, 2013

Would it be interesting to have a screen fixed to the SC station that states how lo,g the cars will stay there to fill up their battery? If all spaces are uesd and you know how long the shortest is going to take you might be able to go for a drink instead of getting frustrated of waiting in your car in front of the station??

Oliver.femont | July 1, 2013

perhabs the screen could show the phonenumber of the ocupant after it's filled up so you could ask him yourself (friendly) to make way?

satyrias | July 1, 2013

"..perhabs the screen could show the phonenumber of the ocupant after it's filled up so you could ask him yourself (friendly) to make way?"

Never display the phone number or name of a customer. It is a safety issue as well as a privacy issue.

See, you are thinking in a narrow stream. You are subconsciously assuming that only men drive Tesla.

What if the owner is a lady? It is giving away her personal information to some lunatic to stalk her later.

Oliver.femont | July 1, 2013

@satyrias: who's thinking in a narrow stream? could be a transfer number of the SC. Call the number shown on the screen and get transferred to the person driving the car without knowing his/HER real number. Or by the push on a button a machine could call the occupant. The fact that you think so narrowly and not think further suggests you just read these blogs to comment rather than be creative.

satyrias | July 1, 2013

You said this, " show the phonenumber of the ocupant after it's filled up so you could ask him yourself "

What does it mean?

I responded to this comment, then you changed the tune..

negarholger | July 1, 2013

- about same size
- same race
- both with our girls, but mine had already escaped to a shaded area and was not in the picture

As I said I had no problem dealing with the situation I am only concerened if the situation had been imbalanced. I was trying to be nice and only charge to to minimum for the trip and free up the charging space. However I learned my lesson - this weekend on almost the exact same trip... stuck on the highway for 2 1/2 hrs because of an accident we used an extra 12 kWh ( about 40 miles extra rated range ) - no more Mr Niceguy... it is now needed miles plus 50 miles for unforeseen events.

sia | July 1, 2013

+1 @Docrob: "I still think superdischarging is the simplest and most effective penalty for overstaying"

That is brilliant! If someone knows overstaying won't do them any good, they will get right back to their car.

All the other suggestions I have seen require large expenses for Tesla, or voluntary measures by owners. This one is inexpensive and effective!

I hope Tesla folks are reading this forum, and take not of suggestions like this.

sia | July 1, 2013

Oops, I wanted to say:

... and take note of suggestions like this. | July 1, 2013

Adding hardware to the supercharger is not something likely to happen, although perhaps there is a simple free way to accomplish 90% of what is desired:

If you are a Tesla owner with a FOB (but not the owner of the car) push the button on the charge cable. This would cause the inside instrument display come on and show the charge (as it does currently for the owner), for 30 seconds. You can get a quick idea how long it may take until the car is charged, and expect the owner to return.

For someone who is really concerned about privacy (I can't think why) this option might have a control setting to allow/disallow, but I think that would not be necessary.

A plus would send the owner a SMS or the app a note that someone checked the time left, presumably because they are waiting.

I went ahead and added this idea to the desired features list. You can vote on it at:

sia | July 1, 2013

@TeslaTap: "Adding hardware to the supercharger is not something likely to happen"

I may be wrong, but I would think the superchargers are software controlled and
can be re-programmed to implement @Docrob's discharging idea.

hillcountryfun | July 1, 2013

Interesting thread. Certainly some functionality added to the phone apps will help a lot. I also think the discharging idea is interesting but my $0.02 worth would be to take advantage of the fact that folks will be adding a credit card for the swap feature. If the owner doesn't return in a reasonable amount of time a fee/minute could be charged to the on file credit card. | July 1, 2013

I do not think this is a smart idea to discharge a car so they have to wait even longer to get charged again and take another slot or an L2 charger someone else could use.

Tesla has previously stated the car cannot power something externally through the charger port. That means they can't discharge the battery by taking the power back out. They might be able to command the car to discharge, but where would the energy go? The motor's not running, which is the only large consumer of power.

I'd let this idea die as both undesirable and impractical.

For all these ideas of some physical harm (discharge, tow, etc.), there could be a very legitimate reason someone is at the charger longer than they should be. What if they had a sick child, accident, or something else that has a reasonable higher priority? Who becomes the judge and jury in each case? All I see is a huge can of worms and possible legal liabilities.

While it's not going to work every time, I'd rather look for a more educational and general awareness approach. My experience with other Tesla owners has always be exceptionally positive. We really are a good group!

sia | July 1, 2013

+1 @hillcountryfun: "If the owner doesn't return in a reasonable amount of time a fee/minute could be charged to the on file credit card."
I think that is also a very good idea.

Just to be clear, waiting for people to fully charge their cars is absolutely reasonable. It is like waiting in traffic.
Enhancements that communicate the current waiting times (cell phone apps, displays at SC's, etc) will make the experience of waiting more pleasant and predictable, but don’t fix the issue of dealing with abusers. I am against towing and other physical harm. Discharge back to the original battery level is not a physical harm.

joshuawrosenberg | July 1, 2013

Shouldn't we be able to tell the difference between a parked and finished charging MS and a charging MS? The charge port will glow green when the charge is complete.

sxross | July 1, 2013

FWIW: When I've spoken to reps in the Tesla store and on the phone about charging at SCs, they said, (paraphrasing) "just leave your car plugged in and get a nice lunch or shop. Just before you finish, turn on cabin A/C if it's hot."

That makes sense when you consider that charging is not the 5-10 minute gas stop. It also overcomes the objection that you have to kill more time waiting for a charge than topping off a gas tank. So, some level of "over parking," if you will, would not be completely unexpected.

Certainly, a push notification in the app would be welcome, but cut these guys some slack. Who knows whether they came back a minute or 3 hours after you (OP) left. The etiquette will evolve as SC stations become more heavily utilized. This is a good datapoint. Unfortunately, one datapoint does not allow extrapolation to a pattern of behavior.

Let's all watch the forums to see if the issue crops up more often.

Just my $.02

Brian H | July 1, 2013

I expect pushing your FOB button near someone else's car would have exactly zero effect.