just charging on superchargers

just charging on superchargers

I live in an apartment, I have a supercharger 5miles away from where I live. Can I get by from just charging at the supercharger once or twice a week?

negarholger | 4 augustus 2014

Depends on how much you drive...

Zarkov | 4 augustus 2014

Think about it as if you had a gas car and a single, very slow, fuel pump 5 miles away.

WillEric | 4 augustus 2014

I only charge on a supercharger, which I know is weird, but for now I don't have much choice. I live in an apartment building in Manhattan, and the garage provides no charging possibilities. I happen to work in White Plains, NY, which is not too far from the Merritt Parkway (Greenwich, CT) superchargers. So, that's what I've been doing: All of my charging has been done at the Merritt supercharger, with the exception of the occasional weekend ride out to the JFK supercharger.

It doesn't bother me. I see it as something of a challenge, i.e., to drive as efficiently as I can to maximize mileage. And then, when I know that I'll be going to a supercharger soon, I'll "let 'er rip" and not worry about gobbling up mileage, as I know I'll make it to the SC to "fill up."

Here's another oddity: I enjoy charging at a SC station. I love the fact that I'm "filling up" without paying a penny, and without using fossil fuels. And I use the time at the SC productively, i.e., checking emails, doing work, etc.

The fact that you live only five miles from a supercharger is fantastic! That's really close, as far as I'm concerned, and only minimally inconvenient.

So the answer do your question is: Yes, absolutely, you can totally "get by." You'll have to think things through a little bit more, plan ahead more than with a gas car, but that's part of the fun.

acegreat1 | 4 augustus 2014

I drive 40miles a day.

johncrab | 4 augustus 2014

That's not what Superchargers are designed to be. They're out there to facilitate long-distance travel, but in an emergency, of course. The idea is to charge at home from anything available, even 110v so the car can "fill up" in your down time and be ready to go, giving you back all of that time spent searching for fuel. It will work this way but you'll be spending an hour a week there and it won't be all that good for the battery, long term.

acegreat1 | 4 augustus 2014

Willeric thank you, have you ever been iced when you needed a charge? If so how long was the wait til one became free

acegreat1 | 4 augustus 2014

Also do you fully charge? And how low do you let the batt go before you charge? And any issues with battery degradation

David Trushin | 4 augustus 2014

Let me give a contrary opinion to johncrab. Until someone comes up with a better alternative for apartment dwellers, this is exactly what you should use the sc for. I assume that you also don't have access to a 110 outlet at home. Once a week if you have an 85 or every 3 or 4 days is manageable.

Personally, i think this is where battery swap would make a lot of sense.

negarholger | 4 augustus 2014

Here would be my first rough estimate...
40 miles city needs about 15 kWh a day. Don't use the top 15 kWh ( takes too long ) and leave 10 kWh buffer at the bottom
S85 - usable 85-15-10= 60 kWh - you are good for 4 days
S60 - usable 35 kWh - you are good for 2 days

tes-s | 4 augustus 2014

The superchargers are intended primarily for distance travel, but there is absolutely no restriction from using it as your primary charging - other than the inconvenience.

WillEric | 4 augustus 2014

Johncrab, I also have to disagree with you, based on my own experience. First of all, electrical charging stations do not have "intentions" or "ideas." Charging stations charge. That's about it. They don't care if you're there for an emergency, for leisure, for work, etc. And I'm not aware of any evidence that using only SC's is bad for the battery. In any event, the warranty on the battery is 8 years, unlimited mileage.

So the issue boils down to the individual needs and circumstances of each owner. I have ONLY used a supercharger. Nothing else. If you live in NYC, you'll see that you don't have much choice.

Ace, I typically drive 50 to 60 miles a day. Once or twice a week, I'll swing by the Merritt Parkway SC, either during a lunch break, or on my way back home. It's just not that big a deal. And on the weekends, if I have to, I'll drive 15 miles out to the JFK SC. Yes, you have to hang out at the SC station. Johncrab has a point there. But again, you simply need to plan ahead. Have lunch once or twice a week at the SC station, and bring work with you. I do that all the time (in fact, that's all I have ever done with the Tesla) and it really hasn't interfered with my life.

I do not fully charge my battery except for long trips. I try not to let the battery go below 25% charge. There are a ton of threads on these points on this site and elsewhere, so you should consult them for more expertise. My takeaway is that the occasional "full charge" is probably not that big a deal, especially if you immediately drive some distance after a full charge.

I'm not sure what you're asking re: "ever been iced . . ." I rarely have waited for a stall to be open, if that's what you're asking. When the stalls are filled up, it's almost always because non-Tesla cars are parked there. In those cases, I simply ask around and ask the owner if they could move their car. Never been a problem so far.

Captain_Zap | 4 augustus 2014

@ WillEric

It sounds like you figured out a way to fit Tesla in your life. Good for you.

When thee is a non-EV car in a charging spot that is called ICEing.
The spot was taken by an Internal Combustion Engine vehicle. That is illegal where we live.

Hopefully the message will get out that the charging spots are designated for that purpose by the property owner.

SCCRENDO | 4 augustus 2014

One needs to do what one needs to do. Just be considerate. Superchargers are meant for people on the road. If all the spots are taken by people within the area this is inconsiderate. If there are open spots go for it but please be considerate to people on long distance travel who have to hang around 40-60 mins while you top up your car. This is what @johncrab meant by suggesting that you shouldn't rely on superchargers as your primary charging source and try use alternatives if possible. Don't live in Manhatten so perhaps don't appreciate the full picture. Just my 2c worth.

ride525 | 4 augustus 2014

"Superchargers are meant for people on the road. If they are all taken by people within the area this is inconsiderate.

Says who? Tesla? Nope.

But Tesla has, I'm sure taken this into account, that Superchargers would be used by locals, as well by folks traveling long distances.

Jolinar | 5 augustus 2014

While charging at home is much more convinient, even at the slow charging at 3.3kW (Europe) or 1.6kW (US), there is no restriction from using SuperChargers. When charging 85kWh battery by 120kW it is only 1.41C max so not even that bad for long term battery health (compared to higher rates for 60kWh cars where it's at 1.75C).

Anthony J. Parisio | 5 augustus 2014

If one has to charge only at superchargers in order to make a Tesla fit their life so be it. It still means one more ice car off the road. Isn't that the mission?

drax7 | 5 augustus 2014

Tesla was inconsiderate in selling you the car, so you can repay the inconsideration
In kind. If that rationalization works, peace. Frankly nobody cares.

Olof | 5 augustus 2014

@WillEric: Good for you that the superchargers work out so well. If you ask around you will find that most garages in Manhattan (I live here too, and tried a few garages) will let you stay plugged in during the night so that you are charged every morning. I have been with the same garage on the UES for a year now, has worked out pretty well.

Olof | 5 augustus 2014

…sorry, I should say many, not most, garages let me stay plugged in. I met a fair share of resistance from some | 5 augustus 2014


Please provide a link to support your claim that supercharging hurts the battery.


johncrab | 5 augustus 2014

@omarsultan. I never said anything of the kind. What I said was in line with the MS manual which says it is best to leave the car plugged in so it can manage the battery as needed. Charging once a week at a SC contradicts this instruction from Tesla.

P.Mac | 5 augustus 2014

This seems like a good example of a problem the entire Tesla "family" will need to solve. I see no problem with the OP using the SC to resolve the apartment charging issue. A few "early adapters" using the SC system in this manner is ok. It seems like a reasonable courtesy to extend a fellow pioneer. And that is what we all are. Maybe less so than the first buyers, but in situations such as this, "pioneer" still works.

But what happens when there are many model 3 users who need the same apartment charging solution? And suppose the SC system is expanded to provide chargers in or near cities to power visitors to those cities? Local users could easily crowd out travelers in this future scenario. I do not have an easy solution. Maybe Tesla will need to identify new users who do not have home charging ability and request an additional Super Charger access fee. This fee is simply a capital contribution for the buildout of the network.

Or maybe some other simple solution from an organization that has had the genius to invent a vehicle and charging network that creates such a cool problem for us and the world.

tes-s | 5 augustus 2014

This has been discussed many times before. The first planned use of superchargers was for distance travel. You will notice they are pretty inconvenient for people that live in cities - for the most part they are located outside the cities.

The challenge of home charging in cities was not unnoticed by Tesla, and they have talked about some city chargers. I would like them to do this in a couple of cities just to see how it works out.

To me, home charging is an important convenience for most people, so my opinion is supercharging in cities will be used as an interim, by cheap/retired/unemployed/others with plenty of time, and for specialty (taxi/livery/fleet) uses. Home charging in cities (garages, street) will need to be solved for EV adoption, and I think it will be - it will just take some time.

WillEric | 5 augustus 2014

Captain Zap, thank you for explaining "ice'ing" to me.

Olof, thanks for the tip on NYC garage chargers. I actually found a garage fairly close to me that has a chargepoint charger, and one of these days I'll probably use it. The thing is, the Merritt Parkway SC is so close to my office, that I just swing by there and charge up. And it's not a waste of time, because I plan ahead and work while waiting.

Johncrab is right about the manual recommending that the car be left plugged in when not in use, but this recommendation (page 88) has to be read in context. The manual says that leaving the car plugged in "is particularly important if you are not planning to drive Model S for several weeks." I've never had that situation, not even close. Also, the manual says that the battery will discharge at the rate of 1% per day.

The manual goes on to say:

"Situations can arise in which you must leave Model S unplugged for an extended period of time (for example, at an airport when traveling). In these situations, keep the 1% in mind to ensure that you leave the Battery with a sufficient charge level. For example, over a two week period (14 days), the Battery discharges by approximately 14%."

So going a week, maybe even two weeks, between charges is really not that big a deal, provided you do not run the battery down close to zero, which would be a huge mistake. And again, keep in mind the unlimited mileage, 8 year warranty.

BTW, as a precautionary measure, I toggle between the energy read outs (5, 15 and 30 mile readouts) and the "rated range" indicator, and make sure that I charge when the lowest of these readouts is in the 40 to 50 mile range area.

Grinnin'.VA | 5 augustus 2014

@P.Mac | AUGUST 5, 2014

"Maybe Tesla will need to identify new users who do not have home charging ability and request an additional Super Charger access fee. This fee is simply a capital contribution for the buildout of the network."

These Tesla owners have already paid their using the SC network just like you and me. And now you want Tesla to charge them another SC fee for using SCs? They already paid that fee. Tesla owes them the SC service that was promised in exchange for the SC fee.

Ron :)

nisigns | 5 augustus 2014

@acegreat1 this is exacly what i'm going to be doing when i finally (sigh) get my 85, i have a SC on my way home, and why not use it, that is what it's intended to do, charge your car. We brought the car for many reasons and one of them is the cost of fuel, why not utilise the available resources and charge for free, rather than increasing our electricity bill at home.
I will be doing about 65 miles round trip, so every 3rd day (ish) i will give the young girl a squirt of go juice. Yes i will be 30 minutes later getting home, but the wife will have a latte that i bring her (forgot about the cup holders), and emails etc sorted. i do have a home charger and it will be used from time to time especially when the snow and ice gets here to ensure the batteries are warm before i set off for work at stupid o'clock in the morning, and i do have solar panels so when it's sunny the car will be plugged in.
I'm with the OP on this one.

tes-s | 5 augustus 2014

The only reason not to stop is spending 30 minutes to get $5 of electricity. Personal choice. | 5 augustus 2014

Prime example of ICEing:

DTsea | 5 augustus 2014

Well let's do a bit of math.

30 minutes on the way home. Assume 6 cars between 4 and 7, 4 more in the morning. Every three days means with perfect use, for the OPs use case we need a supercharger stall for every thirty cars that don't charge at home.

So far, tesla has built about 150 stations for 50000 cars.... assuming 5 stalls each on average, that is 750 stalls or one stall for about every 65 cars.

The OP uses the supercharger, then, at least twice as intensively as someone who charges at home.

That's why people who can't charge at home shouldn't count on Tesla perpetually providing enough infrastructure for them.... The superchargers close to large cities will be overwhelmed. This free ride won't last forever.... meaning it won't be a thirty minute stop...

Neech | 5 augustus 2014

I can't believe how negative some folks are on this. Tesla may have initially considered the SCs for long distance driving, but I know after talking with staff in a Chicago store that Tesla finally realized that big cities are important too. In time more apartments and garage buildings will have to put in charging options, but until then the OP has every right to use the SCs. We were not given restrictions on how much charging is allowed and plenty of people do not have easy access to a plug at home. Some folks have driven cross-country and used many SCs where I have mainly used the ones in my state. I'm not keeping tabs on those drivers to make sure they only get their ration of juice.

mgboyes | 5 augustus 2014

At the UK launch event in June Elon was very clear that
* people can and should supercharge as much as they like (including for 100% of their charging) without fear of hurting their batteries
* Tesla plan to install inner city superchargers in London because so many residents do not have off street parking so can't charge at home. The first supercharger in the UK is of this type - it's not in a location that would be useful for "road trips".

If you can make the Model S work for you just by using the supercharger 5 miles from your home then go for it!

DTsea | 5 augustus 2014

Didn't see he didn't have the right. My point is that prime commute time will become congested and it won't be a thirty minute stop.

SCCRENDO | 5 augustus 2014

Just because you have the right to do something does not always mean you should. While I cannot foresee Tesla limiting who can or cannot charge the initial intent was for intercity travel. That is the reason that most superchargers are not placed inside major cities. The intent was to charge at home, Use superchargers en route and find your own charging at your destination. With expansion we now have more superchargers within cities. If a charger is available go for it however to utilize this as your primary source of charging and in the process cause people on road trips to wait for you to finish, if all chargers are being used, is just plain inconsiderate. That being said I personally have never had to wait to charge but there are posts from time to time of people being ICED out or superchargers being filled up such as Barstow, San Juan Capistrano and Hawthorne where people have had long waits. I would put this in the same category as the report early on from Gilroy where all chargers were being used and one guy arrived back after 2 hours because he was watching a movie. Did he have a right to be there? Yes. Should be have blocked a supercharger for over 2 hours? You be the judge.

tes-s | 5 augustus 2014

Initial intent travel.

Expanded to some cities for non-travel "regular" charging.

Tesla will learn a lot over the next year or two, and be well positioned to know how to deal with supercharging and the Model 3 when it comes out.

Olof | 5 augustus 2014

You are not confined to only Chargepoint Stations or Superchargers as an apartment dweller. Garages in NYC have 120V outlets that you can use for a monthly fee. That's what I'm always plugged in to and rarely need to think about charging.

kenj | 5 augustus 2014

... NYC actually has a requirement for garages to build in EV charging infrastructure in parking garages. New construction. There are some incentives to have charging station installed and as on OP stated for an additional fee.

Went to the theatre in NYC -- parked in the lot with a Chargepoint -- I did not need it. But there was another S charging.

There is a DOE workplace challenge EV charging initiative to get more companies like the OP to install charging stations -- L2 for the Leaf's/ Prius / Volt etc.

dbh | 5 augustus 2014

I was curious about this too, possibly as a retirement-cost calculation and cost of living benefit in the future. If you were to retire somewhere near a supercharger, free fuel locally and road trips as long as the car lasts, that can't hurt. There is a supercharger going in at Truckee, CA, for example, 8 minutes from Lake Tahoe...if one was retired there that couldn't hurt as a benefit.

SCCRENDO | 5 augustus 2014

@dbh. When you retire pay a few hundred bucks for a Nema 14-50 plug in your retirement condo and pay the 50c a day for the electricity to charge your car for your 10 mile commute rather than clog a charging spot for someone who needs it. Seriously guys. Just because you have the right to be a jerk is not a reason to be one.

ride525 | 5 augustus 2014

"Seriously guys. Just because you have the right to be a jerk is not a reason to be one."

What makes you think you are more entitled to charging stations than folks that are retired?

Why do you call folks jerks? They paid for charging, just like you. They should be able to use it.

Use it everyday if you want to. Too far away to do this. Move if you want.

Tesla has no restrictions on use of it's SuuperCharging stations for cars that are equipped to charge there. I don't see why you you think you are more entitled to charge at stations than folks that live nearby them.

dbh | 5 augustus 2014

Doesn't seem like too much a jerk move to charge once or twice a week at the Safeway while getting groceries to me. Especially if at times when there seems to be empty stalls (you'd probably figure out good times eventually).

It's not a big cost savings necessarily (and a 14-50 is easy to install of course), but having a SC available near home seems pretty cool.

DLebryk | 5 augustus 2014

The weird thing I'm not understanding - for the person traveling from city to city versus the local charing his car - why is either of their time more valuable than the other? Why is a person on a trip supposed to be given priority over somebody local? No there are no signs anywhere that say Superchargers are for people on trips. The SCs are just there to charge cars. You all might have interpreted that they were intended for that purpose, but it isn't stated anywhere.

If the chargers are full, wait in line, like everybody else. It is just as likely that the local person might have to wait in line for charging as the person on a trip. How is the person on a trip more entitled to a charger and anybody else?

In the scenario you all describe against using an SC for local charging - charge at home or charge locally, don't use the supercharger. So the person that has to charge locally now has to wait around their car at a slow charger? Spend more time waiting for his charge - maybe make a trip to the charging station, take a cab someplace else, then a cab back when charging is finished? How is that right?

You all think electrical outlets are freely available everywhere people park their car. They might not be, in fact there are two people posting here (and I know of one with a Ford Focus Electric) that do not have the ability to charge where they park. So give the city to city traveler priority at the supercharger?

You are inconveniencing those people without home chargers by telling them to not use the superchargers. That's being an awful lot rude and inconsiderate.

tes-s | 6 augustus 2014

There is nothing wrong with charging locally. Tesla has, so far, positioned them so they are generally not all the convenient for local charging for many people, but there is nothing wrong with it.

However, if you don't "need" a charge, or are not in a hurry (whether charging locally or on a trip), wouldn't it be nice to defer to someone else when the chargers are busy?

Olof | 6 augustus 2014

@kenj: do you have any reference/link to the NYC requirement for EV charging in new development? Would be interesting to read.

7thGate | 6 augustus 2014

I suspect that this is going to be one of those problems that kind of solves itself. Most people are not going to want to have to regularly fill up at a supercharger given the amount of time it takes, which will limit adoption among people who don't have other charging options. Although there will be some, I doubt that the number of people willing to do two half hour fillups per week, plus possibly extra travel time to get to a supercharger in the first place will be sufficient to significantly increase congestion.

The more likely case will be low demand among people with no charging infrastructure in place. As the number of electric cars grows due to people that do have charging infrastructure, parking garages and apartment complexes will install charging infrastructure because they won't want to lose access to the portion of the populace that drives electric. You need to get a critical mass of electric cars such that it becomes a bad business decision to not cater to them, and the switch will drive itself. Fortunately, I think that there are probably enough people that have at home charging infrastructure to get to that point, so you avoid a chicken and egg problem.

BrassGuy | 6 augustus 2014

I am not against local use of supercharging. So far, there hasn't really been any SC crowding around here that I've seen.

I do feel it is discourteous to a traveler waiting for a bay however. Not that a traveler's time is more valuable, but if you are a "local" you have options to give value to your time - grocery shop, play with the kids, mow the lawn, clean the basement, etc. If you are traveling, you do not have those options and are pretty much doomed to discard that time waiting an open bay before you can continue your day.

I know that if I were traveling and got to a SC full of local charging, I'd gladly offer the $.50 (maybe $2.50) to one of them to top off at home instead so I could keep that hour or so.

achilles992000 | 6 augustus 2014

I am in same boat as the New York City guy. i live in an apartment complex in Washington DC. There's no way to charge in the complex if i got a Tesla. I would be forced to go Bethesda about 20 miles away to use the supercharger. i thought about getting a Tesla.
but it seemed like to big of a hassle.

I hope Tesla can figure out a good solution for apartment dwellers.

nisigns | 6 augustus 2014

Just had a email from Tesla, inviting me to the opening of their new supercharger at Birmingham UK. and in the email it states

" It is the first of several Superchargers that we plan to open soon in the UK to support long distance travel and convenience charging free, for life."

So Tesla do not have a issue with locals charging from them, why should anybody else!

slr_pwrd | 6 augustus 2014

I drive ~40 miles a day in MS60. A SC is 10 minutes drive from work. I have been using it for last 2-3 months exclusively (almost 100% of miles driven). Like others, I use charging time to check emails and read news. Life is good. :)

Grinnin'.VA | 6 augustus 2014

@BrassGuy | AUGUST 6, 2014

"I do feel it is discourteous to a traveler waiting for a bay however. Not that a traveler's time is more valuable, but if you are a "local" you have options to give value to your time - grocery shop, play with the kids, mow the lawn, clean the basement, etc."

You have no way of knowing the circumstances in a local SC user's situation. So it's inappropriate for you to assert anything about a local user's options.

BTW, how would you expect a Tesla owner to "grocery shop" while their car was plugged into a charger at home? For most of us, it's not practical to walk to and from grocery stores.

Ron :)

cquail | 6 augustus 2014

Super charging options for Tesla to consider:

1). Allow Tesla owner to enter minimum charge needed before plugging in. Allow any other Tesla owner to query the plugged in Tesla via a smart phone to see how much time is left before minimum charge requested is reached. Charging courtesy would allow any Tesla that has reached the minimum needed to be unplugged for use by another Tesla needing to be charged. If there was no other Tesla waiting, charging would continue for the first Tesla.

2) When the minimum charge needed has been reached the Tesla owner would be notified via a message to his smart phone. He would also be told if another Tesla was waiting or if his Tesla has been unplugged.

Can you think of other options you would like?