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When fast supercharging charging is not a good thing.......

When fast supercharging charging is not a good thing.......

So as everyone knows, the next generation of superchargers are to enable faster charging which everyone is quick to embrace. It is also as some articles have pointed out is going to be the predominate selling point between EVs from competing OEMs. Ok, but there is downside to that, at least for Teslas.

This dawned on me recently when I stopped for lunch and a charge at a newly opened supercharger. I plugged in and by the time I got into the restaurant, got seated and got a menu, I checked my app and my car had only 30 mins before it would be done and I hadn't even placed my order yet. So, to buy myself some time, I bumped the SOC to 90 form 80%, which gave me 10 more minutes.

I felt like I was in a rush to get my food and eat it, so that I could get to my car before it finished charging or face stiff "idling fees". So while fast charging seems great, this in my opinion is one of those "careful what you wish scenarios". Perhaps over the years I have grown accustom (spoiled) to being able to take my times getting something to eat and use the rest room while on a roadtrip. Before anyone says, "....well you could move the car when it was done". Not very practical/feasible when you are traveling on your own and you have a half eaten meal at your table getting cold while you run out to the car, move it and come back in.

Also related to faster charging, I recently learned that it is not just our cars that get updates to improve efficiency, but so do the superchargers. I have notice of late that the charging rate seems a bit faster at chargers I have used in the past. This was confirmed by a Tesla employee. As time has gone by and Tesla learns what these battery packs can handle, they have been little by little "loosening the screws" on the speed at which the SC charges.

TranzNDance | February 5, 2019

Is it the case that the idle fees only get charged if there are more than half the stalls occupied? Faster charging could mean cars come and go quickly enough so that the occupancy rate is lower. With faster charging, people might target a lower percent since it's less of a hassle to charge, accelerating departures from the station.

jordanrichard | February 5, 2019

Yes, the idle fees only kick in if 50% or more stalls are taken, but you won't know that sitting at your table in a restaurant out of sight of the supercharger.

Again perhaps I have just come accustom to not having to do a two step process when it came to stopping at a rest area to get fuel and eat/use the bathroom. By that I mean, pull off the highway, find parking. Go inside to eat/use bathroom, come out get in the car and go over the gas pumps to get gas.

With our cars, you have/had time to leave your car while it charged and upon return, you left to continue your journey. With really fast charging, you leave your car charging, then come back when it's done, to move it to another spot, return to your meal, then go back to the car to then continue your journey.

Until you have stopped doing this "two step" that we all have been accustom to with ICE cars, you don't realize how much of a hassle it is.

Now if you are at a SC that has 8 stalls and with your car, only 3 stalls are taken up, you won't get a warning about idle fees. However, I don't know that if after your car is done charging and you get the "charging is complete" message, if upon 2 more cars show up that you get another alert saying that you have to move or risk getting idle fees.

TeslaTap.com | February 5, 2019

I can think of many approaches to getting a longer Supercharger stay without idle fees:

1) Leave home with less than charge so that you arrive at the Supercharger with 20% or so.
2) Pick a stall with another car in the A/B pair so you get less power.
3) Select Superchargers that are further apart (within reason) so you need more charge when you arrive.
4) Travel off times so that the Supercharger has no idle fees (my preferred method)
5) Set the charge level to 90-95%

I often go to Harris ranch where lunch/dinner always takes about a hour. I've always been able to get out before idle fees hit.

One reason Superchargers have gotten faster in the last 1-2 years is Tesla has replaced most (all?) 120 kW SCs with 135 kW SCs. This means when two cars are charging on the same SC, an extra 15 kW is available. If they replace the SC with a 240 kW unit, it would mean two cars on the same SC would charge at the maximum rate. Vehicles such as the 2020 roadster might take more than 120 kW, so A/B may still be an issue depending how power is allocated.

SamO | February 5, 2019

Self-driving will allow present and future Teslas to unplug and park without driver intervention.

Problem solved.

reed_lewis | February 5, 2019

I doubt that Tesla will slow down charging to let anyone finish their meal. As TeslaTap points out, the mission is to get you out of the spot as quickly as possible.

Earl and Nagin ... | February 5, 2019

I often have to wolf down food while Supercharging.
There are times for Superchargers and there are times for Destination Chargers.
At roadside, full service restaurants, I think the ideal is a few of both. You pull into a Supercharger, order your food, go out and move your car to a 70 amp destination charger, you eat your food. By the time you've finished eating, you're nearly full. When you left the Supercharger, your charging rate had tapered down to where the 20 kW charging from the Destination Charger was sufficient.
The only place I know where you can do this is at the Nebraska Barn and Grill, in Gothenburg, NE.
With 48 amp (~10 kW) destination chargers or Model 3's, the destination charging is a bit slower but works too.

SCCRENDO | February 5, 2019

The whole idea is not to clog chargers. Charge and go. Why should you hold up someone else 10-30 mins so you can finish your meal. It's the same as people leaving their cars parked at a supercharger while enjoying a movie. Park, charge and if not done with your meal move your car and get back to your meal.

Yodrak. | February 5, 2019

"Is it the case that the idle fees only get charged if there are more than half the stalls occupied?"
"Yes, the idle fees only kick in if 50% or more stalls are taken,"

That's what the Tesla web site says, but a few weeks ago when my wife was shopping and was plugged into a supercharger, 1 of 2 cars at a 10-stall charging station, she later got an e-mail (or text, I can't remember which) from Tesla saying that she had incurred a 30-minute idle fee, but the fee would be waved because this was her first offense.

No way was that charging station half or more full while she was there, and she isn't going to overstay again to find out if she would actually get charged for an overstay when less than half the stalls are in use.

SCCRENDO | February 5, 2019

Don't overstay because you do not know when it will fill up. I personally am low on sympathy for those charged idle fees. Charge and move your car.

Uncle Paul | February 5, 2019

Have noticed the same thing. Sometimes the Superchargers are just TOO FAST!

Not sure the Superchargers need to be 1/2 full any more. I get notices frequently to move my car to avoid idling charges. Happens when only a few stalls are in use.

I carry a little folding electric scooter in my Trunk. Have use it to zip back to the car to move it, and then get back to the restaurant to finish my meal.

Solution is either faster or slower chargers : >)

Still love my Tesla.

TeslaTap.com | February 5, 2019

There are often L2 chargers nearby that one can use if Superchargers are just too fast for you :)

TranzNDance | February 5, 2019

Hopefully, these fast chargers can also retract the plug so that the car can move itself.

kcheng | February 5, 2019

Try choosing a charger that you can share, so that charging is at a slower rate, giving you more time. If you're traveling by yourself, I rarely wait to get seated for a meal. Too risky, as you can't control your time. Just take something fast. Of course, if you're with someone, you can always leave and move the car.

jordanrichard | February 5, 2019

Ok, I wasn’t looking for advice on how to remedy this. I was just making an observation and illustrating the down side of increased charging speeds.

BTW, the “meal” in question that I was having, was just a small pizza and a coke. No appetizers/salad/dessert, just a pizza.

kenj | February 5, 2019

You can look at the app to determine the number of chargers and the number being used. So you will know if idle fees will be charged.

BTW - you could always move your car and go back to enjoy your meal.

TranzNDance | February 6, 2019

Unless you tell someone, how would people know you're coming back? Sometimes, it's hard enough to find someone available to get service, let alone telling them you're leaving your food at the table for a few minutes and will come back.

DanFoster1 | February 6, 2019

There is absolutely no pleasing people.

SCCRENDO | February 6, 2019

@TranzNDance. I have a recommendation. Work it out. Superchargers are primarily there to allow people to charge and move on as quickly as possible and not to ensure that you get your pizza nice warm and toasty. I have been with Tesla for 6 years and more the last year plus have owned 2 Teslas and am ICE free. Driving a Tesla is a big step up from ICE. The one disadvantage is the time to charge. At home it is great because you do not need to get to gas stations but it definitely prolongs long distance travel. The superchargers are there to assist this. It has made long distance travel very convenient without missing a beat. But it is still not quite there. We still need to get to the same number of chargers as gas pumps and to shorten the charging time. Elon is trying to set it up that there are no further delays such as you waiting for your optimal pizza, finishing up your shopping or your movie. So think of your fellow travelers and only charge at full chargers if you need to, put in as much as you need as quickly as possible and move on.

sschaem | February 6, 2019

This will change. We already see that Tesla pair stall. In the future, its very likely that Tesla will have more advanced load balancing to dramatically increase stall count for very cheap.

I expect Tesla in the future to update charging location using a reservation and charge time.

Another upgrade Tesla can then do is add battery buffers to optimize the delivery.

Tesla can more then quadruple supercharging stall without changing its grid requirements, for very little investment.
But rome wasn't built in a day...

jimglas | February 6, 2019

SC at 485 mph (120 kw) this morning, fastest I have ever seen. Did the power get increased recently?

jordanrichard | February 6, 2019

jimglas, I am guessing you have a Model 3. One of our club members (Tesla Owners-Connecticut) recently was getting 500 in his Model 3. In my Model S85, I have seen, albeit momentarily, 400 MRH before settling down to 389. This was at a charger that I was familiar with and had never seen such a fast charging rate before.

I may have mentioned above, if not in another thread, that I recently learned form a Tesla employee that the superchargers get software updates and that Tesla is incrementally loosening the screws. Over the ensuing years they are learning what these packs can really handle. They have been very conservative about fast charging and any related damage to the packs.

jimglas | February 6, 2019

yes, this was my model 3 and this is a SC I use weekly. As I remember, last week the speed was about 350 mph in the same stall. I hope you are correct, it only took me 20 minutes to top off for my drive home!

Patrick | February 6, 2019

We see high 400s regularly with our 3D.

billtphotoman | February 10, 2019

Hopefully road side restaurants will start offering DC charging either as an add on to a meal or included with a meal. Even the 65kW offered by Urban SCs is plenty to add lots of range while you enjoy a meal.

SCCRENDO | February 10, 2019

Just saw an example of how inconsiderate people are. We are at the village lodge at Mammoth lakes. I arrived Friday in a snowstorm with 42 miles left and 20 degree temp. There are 3 Tesla chargers plus one that consists of a Tesla charger and J1772. One of the Tesla chargers were ICED and another had a plugged in Tesla that was plugged in but was obviously fully charged. I plugged overnight and charged to 90% and then moved my car in the morning. 24 hours later the plugged in Tesla is still there, 2 spots are ICED with only the dual use one open. Us owners need to begin by setting good examples before we even tackle ICE holes.

Uncle Paul | February 10, 2019

I imagine that sometime in the future Tesla will develop a Summon based system where a Tesla can arrive at a full Supercharger and park itself in any open parking space. When an slot opens up in the Supercharger it will pull into that spot and using something like the snakeplug or ground linked charging begin to charge.
When it is charged up to the specified amount it will simply pull back out and find itself an open parking spot.

All along the owner will be notified as each of these steps are in progress.

Earl and Nagin ... | February 11, 2019

@Uncle Paul,
That could happen or it may end up being cheaper to just install more Supercharger ports so that it is OK to just leave plugged in.
It isn't clear whether a complex, possibly maintenance-intensive charger that automatically unplugs and plugs would be cheaper than several simple chargers.
Let's be careful of $10 solutions to $2 problems.

TM21 | February 11, 2019

What a great problem to have!
Would be a big plus for restaurants near the chargers, and a big minus for those that take a 5 to 10 min walk one way.
Get fast enough, and people won't even think about leaving the car to charge while eating - goes too fast.