Supercharger Anxiety

Supercharger Anxiety

We've just received our Pearl White P85 last week and already we have 700 miles on it. :) Don't miss my E550 at all :) Next week we are planning a drive to Durham, NC and noticed that a Supercharger has been established in Burlington, NC. Since this is about 110 miles from our home we are now out of what I call our "mileage safety region". In other words, if we can't recharge at Burlington, we are really "up the creek"! My question is: Has anyone ever experienced travelling out of their mileage safety region and counted on using a Sujpercharger only to find it is not in operation for whatever reason ... and if so, what did you do about it?

tes-s | 13 août 2014

Never seen a report of someone stranded due to a supercharger issue. Of course, you could be the first.

I don't think many (any?) have generator backup, so is there is no power from the grid you will be stuck. Power outages do happen. Sometimes gas stations have no gas, or no power to pump gas.

On I-95 in CT (Milford, Darien) there are large generators at the service areas where the superchargers are. I believe these are to ensure they can supply gas even if there is a power outage. Not sure if the superchargers are connected to the generator, but at 240kW continuous load I sort of doubt it.

iTesla | 13 août 2014

You have a HPWC backup at the Raleigh service center near the airport.

J.T. | 13 août 2014

@tes-s Of course, you could be the first. Aren't you a f**king ray of sunshine!! :-)

hamer | 13 août 2014

I live in Chapel Hill, NC (where are you?). With a P85, if you don't drive like a maniac, you should be able to go well over 200 miles easily. If you drive from wherever you are, keeping it on cruise control, at under 70 MPH, you actual mileage ought to be very close to the rated miles you see. You can keep an eye on the projected range in the energy display (make sure it is on "average"), and slow down if your projected range gets to be much less than the rated range displayed. I, too, have never heard of an entire Supercharger being down.

The Burlington Supercharger has 8 bays, and I've never seen more than one other MS there (except for the ribbon cutting). My house is on Plugshare, and in the vanishingly small probability that the entire Supercharger is down, you can charge at my house. (Plugshare is a good thing to become familiar with.) The Raleigh Service Center is only about 20 miles farther on.

I just got back yesterday from a trip from here to Boston and back, on Superchargers. No problem.

minervo.florida | 13 août 2014

I keep a box of 18650 batteries in my trunk, for back up, works great.

Just kidding.

Bighorn | 13 août 2014

I've not kept track of total SC visits, but I've been to 40 different stations so far, with multiple visits to most, and I never think about "what if?" anymore. No anxiety.

sbeggs | 13 août 2014

haha, @minervo!

David Trushin | 13 août 2014

I have had the gut wrench of plugging in to an sc and have it stop charging with an error message. But replugging tends to work. They have a number to call if something isn't working right. 110 miles should not put you up the creek,though. You should easily get 260 or more. However it is always pays to scope out alternatives, like stores and service centers and chargepoint chargers.

Bighorn | 13 août 2014

Occasionally an individual charger won't work. Someone in Newark, DE parked in the wrong spot and yanked the cable so hard that it started to pull out of the base and that charger stopped working right. Do you part and report that stuff so TM can get it fixed.

tes-s | 13 août 2014

Other than a blackout or feed (transformer) problem outside Tesla's control, there is redundancy at most supercharger locations. There are a few, like Bethesda, where there is one charger/2 bays. Even Milford has two superchargers, though you have to drive a couple of miles to get from one to the other.

AlMc | 13 août 2014

Remember you can also use Chargepoint in a pinch. Easy to sign up for and they can even unlock them remotely by calling the number on the chargepoint charger you arrive at......

Plugshare also available.

Lots of options.

PV_Dave @US-PA | 13 août 2014

+1 Plugshare.

I keep a whole collection of EV charging network cards in the car on road trips (Chargepoint, Blink, SemaConnect, GreenLots), as "just in case" backup. Never used one of them yet.

Panoz | 13 août 2014

I would have this same anxiety. What would be neato...a webcam at each SC you could get to using the car's browser. Or an app that lists the SC's and the webcams.

PV_Dave @US-PA | 13 août 2014

Hopefully at some point the cars will be able to "see" the status of different Superchargers across the network. So you'd be able to confirm that the site did indeed have power, tell if any SC stalls were out of service, and even know how many cars were recently charging there.

In the mean time, there's no need to be anxious. The SC network works. Your worst case should be an annoying delay, and you can't rule that out anyway when dealing with traffic. A jackknifed tractor trailer closing the interstate is probably as much of a risk as the SC being unavailable.

Be prepared for the unexpected, but don't obsess about it. There are lots of places to get electricity. It's not like you're driving a hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicle...

Rocky_H | 13 août 2014

For those of us who have a Model S with no Superchargers within 400 miles or so, this seems like a rather odd thing to fear. Appreciate what you have.

Grinnin'.VA | 13 août 2014

@Panoz | AUGUST 13, 2014

"What would be neato...a webcam at each SC you could get to using the car's browser. Or an app that lists the SC's and the webcams."

Sounds like a good idea.
I wonder, is there anything not obvious that would make this impractical?

Ron :)

SUN 2 DRV | 13 août 2014

"There are lots of places to get electricity. It's not like you're driving a hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicle..."

DoP: Excellent point! Electrical outlets are everywhere.

To the OP: Definitely get the PlugShare app. You can set it to specifically show "Model S" charging locations and that will typically include Tesla's Showrooms, Service centers as well as businesses and even home owner's HPWC that are available for public use. At least in California there are WAY more of them available than you might think. And they will charge significantly faster than the ChargePoint alternative, which is also good to have as a back up plan.

tes-s | 13 août 2014

Challenge with webcam is video - currently browser is restricted to no video. What are you looking for in a webcam? I think a simple status would tell you what you need to know: SOC for bays in use.

erici | 13 août 2014

What's the deal with the 2-bay superchargers in Europe (France and England for example)? Are they waiting until their new even-faster technology is soon available before expanding them? Sort of like... no point expanding them until the demand for them catches up... and if you believe you are not far off a major upgrade to supercharger hardware then there is no point to waste dollars now that will be obsolete soon.

Panoz | 13 août 2014

It wouldn't have to be live video, if that's a problem. You can set webcams to post a still image every few minutes (e.g., every 10 minutes would be great). A photo would show if a spot was ICEd, too...

PV_Dave @US-PA | 13 août 2014

@erici: Not sure specifically what's up with the European 2-bays. Are they on a pedestal, or permanently in the ground?

The Bethesda, MD Supercharger is temporary, because the mall only had enough electrical capacity while their new wing hasn't been completed. So they put a 2 bay temporary charger in, where they can pick the whole thing up and move it later, when there isn't enough juice to feed it.

If Tesla was having trouble negotiating with property owners, it might make sense for them to do a few temporary 2 bays on a shorter term contract, with the idea that once the property owners see the business it brings in, they'd be more open to favorable terms for a larger, more permanent installation. If it didn't work out, they'd pick it up and put it somewhere else instead. I have no specific knowledge to support this... just one possibility which could potentially explain the 2-bays.

Or, with their rapid European build-out, they might have opted to throw temps in to expand the network footprint more quickly, to be followed up by construction crews building the permanent units once they prioritize the temp unit conversions by looking at actual use.

Would be interesting to know the real story...

romainiacWV | 13 août 2014

It would have to take an act of God to not make it home 110 miles. I mean even if godzilla eats the SC station and GM buys out Tesla tomorrow and closes the SC in Raliegh you'd still have all the local owners. Lets assume these people shun you too. You still have enough range on the car (assuming its an 85kwh) to charge at home and do the round trip with no stop to charge at all. Its only 220 miles. Go slow, 65-70 probably even will do. I have made it from Burlington to West Virginia 242 miles in a single charge and that's over Appalachians.

Give it time, your mileage "safety region" will grow.

mclary | 13 août 2014

Call Tesla service vs posting on the forum!

hfcolvin | 13 août 2014

Don't sweat it. Always have a back up plan. There are plenty of level 2 chargers in Durham. BTW I live 120 miles north of the Burlington Supercharger and made plenty of trips to Durham and back home before the supercharger was there.

SCCRENDO | 13 août 2014

@McClary. Still a bundle of joy in helping newbies overcome their anxieties.

mrrjm | 13 août 2014

Don't forget campgrounds. Most have nema 14-50.

Brian H | 14 août 2014

Elon's Zombie Apocalypse Back-up Plan is solar feeding battery banks feeding the SCs. But it won't happen 'soon'. ;) Except at Tejon.

wcalvin | 16 août 2014

Then, of course, you can just slow down from the beginning. A 10mph reduction buys you an extra 50 miles range.

DLebryk | 16 août 2014

Phil - relax it will work just fine. You won't have a problem.

Oh David reminded me of a stop in Glenwood Springs, CO. There were cones in front of all but two chargers. I backed into stall one, plugged in, and went to the hotel to hang out. Checked the app and the car had stopped charging. Something wrong with the charger. Back outside I tried number two and it worked.

There was that moment when I gulped hard - what if number 2 didn't work and all the other were broken?

Then I found out cones are sometimes put in front of chargers to prevent ICEs from parking there. I understand we are allowed to move them.

sklancha | 16 août 2014

@Phil. I understand your newbie range anxiety. I got my Tesla this May. My solution- to clearing myself of range anxiety, was to go on a 4,000 mile road trip up and down the east coast this July! I had two charging incidents worth noting; the first incident was on the first day! Our quick stops at Port Orange and St. Augustine went without a hitch. Since we were planning on camping just inside the Georgia boarder, we didn't bother charging any longer than necessary in St. Augustine. The [unanticipated] problem: the limited 50 amp RV campsites all had RV tenants AND the car would not charge at any of the RV 50 amp outlets that we were able to sweet talk campers into sacrificing!!! To make matters worse, it was the 4th of July and the closest Tesla service station (Macon, GA) was closed for the holiday. The Tesla guys in California were great and tried their hardest to trouble shoot the problem, and somebody from the Macon Center called us within an hour of our 'SOS' call, and were able to provide us with the closest charging station available in the wild. -If any of you are interested: the problem was the poor quality electricity coming out of the RV outlets. The camp host took us to a brand new never used set up, and it worked like a charm)
The second challenge was in Rhode Island. The Tesla Supercharger Station is in a shopping center near a Walgreens... and it was ICED. Fortunately, an older model Mustang pulled out while we were still pondering what to do. Sadly, none of the other spots opened up during the entire time we were there. Another Tesla pulled up while we were charging and had to wait for ME, so they could charge. On the way back down the east coast, the Rhode Island charging station was full of ICE again (though 2 spots were open).

I would like to point out another potential problem that we discovered- some non Tesla public charging stations are not easy to 'discover.' I ran in to this problem in Lake City Florida and Savannah Georgia. Savannah was a little more of an interesting conundrum. It has a Tesla Supercharger at the northern end of town, but since we stayed an extra day in the area, we were looking for a nearby place to charge it back up while we enjoyed the sites. checking my apps, it appeared like the only public charging available was Tesla and at the Nissan dealer, but that is not the case. I was able to find one right across the street from my hotel (at the electric company), down the street on Armstrong State University campus AND within walking distance of the Pirates House. NONE of these show up on the apps.

Brian H | 17 août 2014

Did you add them?

sklancha | 17 août 2014

@Brian H.
No I didn't- I'm not sure how.
If anyone is so inclined to post (or tell me how), I learned that Savannah GA has a Clipper Creek charger at both of their electric company sites. One of them is in the downtown area, and the other one is near the Savannah mall, on Abercorn St. Armstrong (the University) also has brand new charging spots, but I did not use them so I am not sure what kind they have.

Bighorn | 17 août 2014

Did you raise any ruckus in RI or is it not obvious whom to talk to? I'll be charging there this month, so I'm curious if I should add my voice to the unhappy should I find a similar situation.

NKYTA | 17 août 2014

No anxiety that an SC would be without power, but it certainly could happen.

My anxiety these days, with more MS' and more folks taking trips - then pulling into an SC only to get 30kW to start. ;-)

EVTripPlanner | 17 août 2014

I only had one problem - it was a software glitch on an early 2013 update that prevented supercharging. Also, for planning out a trip and seeing how much cushion you have, try - the Route Energy Planner helps you route through superchargers and find conventional chargers along your route. We've gotten a lot of positive feedback from many among our thousands of users!

hamer | 17 août 2014

I charged at the East Greenwich RI Supercharger around noon on Saturday, August 9. This supercharger is located around the side of a Walgreen's in a strip mall. The signage does not say that these are reserved for electric cars only and there is no penalty for parking there. Parking for the Walgreen's in front of the store is more convenient but some cars choose to park there. When I got there there were ICE cars in about 2 of the 8 spaces. It does not help that some of the spaces on either side of them are not Tesla spaces.

tes-s | 17 août 2014

@sklancha - how many charging spots were ICEd in Rhode Island, and when were you there? I have been there 5 times and never seen more than one spot ICEd.

tes-s | 17 août 2014

Here are a couple of pics of my car charging at East Greenwich. All alone (have never seen another MS there), and no spots ICEd.

In the future, if you are ICEd out of a supercharger, it would be great to snap a pic with your phone, and send to Tesla. I think it would help them in their "discussions" with the property owner.

sklancha | 17 août 2014

I was there twice in July (once on the way up the coast and again on the way down). We took pictures on both times - I can post when I get home. On the second round, I did go and talk to the manager at Walgreens- and it was only because one c of the ICE owners came out while I was taking pics... he said he was told by Walgreens management that they could park there and if he got a ticket he could just rip it up and nobody would do anything about it! This irritated me to no end. The manager emphatically denied this, then ( while we were still talking) THREE of Walgreens employees admitted that the too were parked there. He had them move there vehicles and had them join us in the conversation. He said Walgreens had no jurisdiction over those spots, but he would do what he could if he noticed persistent ICING. From what Tes - said, it sounds like I just hit an unusual couple incidents, and I hope he is right.

Bighorn | 17 août 2014

Thanks, angel--I'll try to report back if this thread doesn't get too buried. I've been to hotels where desk staff have been encouraging guests to park at chargers and we pioneers need to educate gently to change that behavior.

tes-s | 17 août 2014

Or, could be you came before me and the problem got resolved, or I came before you and the problem has developed.

Best thing is let Tesla know...and a picture tells a nice story!

sklancha | 17 août 2014

Hopefully, the problem got resolved and you came AFTER the problem got out of hand.

I found one of the pics, but don't know how to download/attach the picture... if any of you can enlighten me...

When we got there (both times) only one spot was open, and we took it. There are two (out of 8) empty spots in this picture- one of the empty spots was left from the guy in a Camaro that told me he was told he could park there, and the other was emptied by a Walgreens employee while we were trying to take the pics.

Our first round through Greenwhich RI- another Tesla showed up and waited for US to move so they could charge! We took those pics with my daughters phone, and I will see if we can get those from her tomorrow.


vgarbutt | 17 août 2014

If ICEing gets to be too big, maybe they can put spikes or a bar that drops flush to the road for EVs.

tes-s | 17 août 2014

Definitely email them to Tesla, with date and time noted.

Sudre_ | 17 août 2014

If no one has mentioned it before.... I keep bookmark on my S browser. It has most all campgrounds with ratings and can be searched by location. An RV campground is much faster than 90% of the public chargers. Typically I have found there is an RV campground about every 80 miles on most highways. Just remember to take your charge cord with you.

Brian H | 18 août 2014

Any and all of the TIPS threads contain pic-posting instructions. Short form: host them somewhere, rt-click the full image and Copy Image Location, paste the URL in <img src="URL" width="600"> .

Gill | 18 août 2014

Whats the longest miles anyone has gotten on a MS85? I will be traveling to NC from Chicago and have planned my route. The longest gap is about 200 miles. Any input?

hamer | 18 août 2014

@Gill: You will not have a problem if it is not winter and if you keep your speed down.

tes-s | 18 août 2014

200 miles? As long as the temperature is above 0 degrees F and you keep it under 90, should not be a problem with a range charge.

jordanrichard | 18 août 2014

Of the 8 spots in RI, 4 of them are labeled "30 minute general parking". I too have been there of late, on my way to and from Cape Cod. I was there on Aug 3/4 and Aug 9/10. I only saw 1 ICE in one of the spots and at this point I don't remember if it was one of the General Parking ones. All 4 times there was a gray Nissan Altima parked in the same spot that looks like a SC spot, but in fact it isn't. Oddly the first parking spot is not a SC spot. Spots 2-9 are SC spots.

People generally going into a Walgreens are in and out, so a spot should open up relatively quickly.

Bighorn, just to further info you or anyone else that hasn't been to this spot before, there are 3 places to eat. Outback, Panera Bread and McDonalds. They are across the parking lot and it's about a 5 minute walk from the chargers.