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A Suggested Reform of Free Supercharging

SageBrush

REJECT Fascism
May 7, 2015
13,275
18,039
New Mexico
I accept that Tesla uses free Supercharging to goose sales although I often worry about the secondary negative effects on the network that incentivizing poor behavior entails -- specifically squatting, that leads to congestion.

My thought is to limit the free charging to under 70% SoC. Or perhaps 50% SoC if more than half of the stations are occupied. Some version that tells people to only charge ~ what they require to reach a destination and then to vacate the spot.
 
I accept that Tesla uses free Supercharging to goose sales although I often worry about the secondary negative effects on the network that incentivizing poor behavior entails -- specifically squatting, that leads to congestion.

My thought is to limit the free charging to under 70% SoC. Or perhaps 50% SoC if more than half of the stations are occupied. Some version that tells people to only charge ~ what they require to reach a destination and then to vacate the spot.
Are you actually having a problem with this in New Mexico? When I have been through there, no problem with even worrying about it. Plus, when I am on a road trip, 70% usually doesn't cut it. Why don't you think that the 80% warning for a busy station is adequate? While I agree that New Mexico needs more superchargers, that is exactly the reason why we need more charge to get to the next while we are road tripping.
 
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cpa

Active Member
May 17, 2014
3,410
4,788
Central Valley
I agree squatting at SC sucks. It is not clear to me that assessing fees once X% is attained will discourage more than a handful of people. It very well may be that the backlash would result in negative PR for Tesla. The idle fees controversy have seemed to died down, but it is not known if people just bite the bullet and pay the $7.50 for overstaying, slide their charge level to 100%, or actually move their cars, which was the intent behind idle fees.

Would Tesla just utilize its customary pay structure of ~30 cents/kWh (or the per-minute equivalent)? This seems hardly a deterrent if a person adds another 12kWh to reach, say 85% from the cutoff of 70%.

Tesla has exacerbated the problem by reducing charging speeds on many of its older models too. My Supercharging times have increased by around 25% as the charge rate starts at a slower speed and tapers from there, not staying constant. Others have had capacity capped, so that a 100% charge is 220 rated miles instead of their previous 248 miles. I believe that the reason for this is that the cells have had their voltage reduced from 4.2v to 4.1v.

There are still many roads throughout the west that would require a higher charge before departing due not only to distance but also to inclement weather.

It is a thorny issue; I just do not know if monetary penalties would accomplish much.

On the other hand, bribes sometimes work well. If a station gets congested, the owner receives a text message if his car is >70% encouraging him to move his car. If his car moves within 5 minutes, he gets some modest pecuniary benefit like a small discount in the Tesla online store.
 

jboy210

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Dec 2, 2016
6,569
4,470
Northern California
I accept that Tesla uses free Supercharging to goose sales although I often worry about the secondary negative effects on the network that incentivizing poor behavior entails -- specifically squatting, that leads to congestion.

My thought is to limit the free charging to under 70% SoC. Or perhaps 50% SoC if more than half of the stations are occupied. Some version that tells people to only charge ~ what they require to reach a destination and then to vacate the spot.

Making the busy charger autocut-off at 80% non overridable would help. If someone really needed more they could pull out of the stall and go to the back of the line. Also, really enforcing the $1/min idle fee for being connected and not actively charging would help.
 

MorrisonHiker

Well-Known Member
Moderator
Mar 8, 2015
10,553
10,590
Colorado
I accept that Tesla uses free Supercharging to goose sales although I often worry about the secondary negative effects on the network that incentivizing poor behavior entails -- specifically squatting, that leads to congestion.

My thought is to limit the free charging to under 70% SoC. Or perhaps 50% SoC if more than half of the stations are occupied. Some version that tells people to only charge ~ what they require to reach a destination and then to vacate the spot.
When traveling out west and in the Plains states, off the Supercharging network or in bad weather, I often need to charge over 90% to get to my destination so I don't like this idea of charging if one goes over 70%. Also this method would penalize those with smaller battery capacities.

I think a better solution would've been to charge for Supercharging within 75 miles of home as I never use those Superchargers. This would help to reduce Supercharging by locals who don't really need it and ride-share drivers would no longer have a "free ride". While it wouldn't penalize those with smaller battery capacities, those without home charging might complain.
 
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SageBrush

REJECT Fascism
May 7, 2015
13,275
18,039
New Mexico
When traveling out west and in the Plains states, off the Supercharging network or in bad weather, I often need to charge over 90% to get to my destination so I don't like this idea of charging if one goes over 70%. Also this method would penalize those with smaller battery capacities.

I think a better solution would've been to charge for Supercharging within 75 miles of home as I never use those Superchargers. This would help to reduce Supercharging by locals who don't really need it and ride-share drivers would no longer have a "free ride". While it wouldn't penalize those with smaller battery capacities, those without home charging might complain.
I'm happy to incur occasional charges if my benefit is improved Supercharger availability.

That said, perhaps Tesla could be a little more granular and only apply squatting fees to areas where Superchargers have a density of more than one location every ~ 150 miles. It sort of makes sense since those areas are not Tesla dense in the first place for the most part, and it does not penalize people travelling in rural areas or in cars with small batteries.
 
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cpa

Active Member
May 17, 2014
3,410
4,788
Central Valley
I'm happy to incur occasional charges if my benefit is improved Supercharger availability.

That said, perhaps Tesla could be a little more granular and only apply squatting fees to areas where Superchargers have a density of more than one location every ~ 150 miles. It sort of makes sense since those areas are not Tesla dense in the first place for the most part, and it does not penalize people travelling in rural areas or in cars with small batteries.

So, under this theory of granularity, since the Mammoth Lakes Supercharger is a mere 76 miles away from the Fresno Supercharger according to the touchscreen, these two Superchargers would be considered in a dense location. Yet, Teslas cannot fly. This big rock between Fresno and Mammoth requires a 6-hour drive in summer, and about 7 hours in winter.

My question is sincere: If we assume that a day's drive will encompass multiple stops to Supercharge, does it make a significant difference if one stops at Location B to have lunch and fill up to 90% only to be able to skip Location C, or perhaps necessitate a 10-minute bathroom break there before pressing on? It would seem that one way or another, a stall will be occupied. Perhaps the overall time charging would be slightly less due to the slower charging rates as the battery fills, but it may not be material. Then again, perhaps Location B is not that busy most of the time while Location C experiences steady usage upwards of 80%, so the slower rate at B is not much different from the sloppy seconds one receives at a paired stall, or the zero rate if one has to wait in line.

Your point is valid; at this time I cannot think of a sensible method to encourage vacating a spot by a certain SOC with Tesla's current ways of doing business. Factor in that many locations have broken hardware or other malfunctions, I know I would take the bird in the hand and stay as long as I felt was necessary to resume my day's journey with a minimum of hassle down the road, as it were.
 
Or to give a rather extreme example, I charge to 90% twice a week, and run it down to around 10%, and sometimes even lower, with a little bit of topping up at home (110V only, and a power-limited neighborhood that wouldn't allow me to put in 220V charging even if I wanted to). If I were actually limited to 80%, I would have to charge four times per week from about 40% to 80%, and because I would never actually reach the low state of charge where I would be charging at the fastest speeds, I seem to recall doing the math at one point and determining that I would actually end up spending more time charging.

It's one of those situations where second-guessing customer needs will lead to wrong calculations and make things worse (not to mention more annoying), for no good reason.

Besides, if we're really having to worry about the difference between 80% and 90% — 60 minutes and 70 minutes at a V2 supercharger, assuming you don't get lucky and find an open pair — then we have much bigger problems. After all, even if you could reliably reduce everyone's usage that much, that only buys you maybe a few months of additional car sales before we're right back where you started.

The right fix is for Tesla to start upgrading their busiest V2 superchargers to V3 as quickly as possible. That's really the only sane solution to the problem. And while they're at it, they should negotiate to add more stalls at each of those locations. Ideally, they should start by adding one bank of 8 or 12 V3 stalls, then tear down the old stalls in groups of either 8 or 12 and replace them with V3 stalls. That way, they never have less capacity than they had before, and when they're done, everything is shiny and new. :)
 
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