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Are Superchargers on I95 busy?

Due to Covid we havent been to the USA since 2019. We go from Toronto to Florida for Christmas break, hitting the I95 near Charleston.

In the past the only time we have had to wait for a charger is the airport in Savannah. Since then there are so many more model 3's and Y's on the road I was wondering if the charging network has kept up with the demand?

I do see that most of the chargers that A Better Route Planner sends us to are new 250KW, 12 stall chargers. That looks great!

We are going mid week before christmas, but leaving New Years day.

Thanks
 

RTPEV

Active Member
Mar 21, 2016
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Durham, NC
I will be able to give you a trip report in about a week as I will be traveling to Jacksonville this coming weekend (obviously the week before Christmas may be a bit busier).

The nice thing about ABRP is that you will be able to easily see the upcoming Supercharger utilization front-and-center in the app/website (you can see this on the Tesla nav map too, just not as convenient). This should help with decision making while en route to decide what Superchargers to stop at and which to skip.

My previous experience with I-95 is from Petersburg, VA to points north and even during holiday weekends it hasn't been an issue.
 
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LoudMusic

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Jul 21, 2020
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This is another example of publicizing the information that I'd like to see Tesla do. Give us "busy-ness" data on the Supercharger locations.

You can get the info passively just by looking at where they are building/permitting/planning additional sites. But actual numbers for time-of-day usage would be great.
 

cypho

Member
Dec 20, 2018
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USA
This is another example of publicizing the information that I'd like to see Tesla do. Give us "busy-ness" data on the Supercharger locations.

As helpful as this would be, I don't think Tesla would want to share this data.

If the data shows that superchargers are busy, then the headlines will be "don't buy a Tesla, the chargers are always super busy" and if the data shows that they are underutilized the headlines will be "Tesla is wasting millions on superchargers that few people use"
 

LoudMusic

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Jul 21, 2020
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Arkansas
As helpful as this would be, I don't think Tesla would want to share this data.

If the data shows that superchargers are busy, then the headlines will be "don't buy a Tesla, the chargers are always super busy" and if the data shows that they are underutilized the headlines will be "Tesla is wasting millions on superchargers that few people use"

You're probably right. Journalism ruins a lot of things. The headline should be "It's easier to find an EV charging spot because available plugs are mapped and charted - fuel pumps you'll end up waiting in line"
 
This is another example of publicizing the information that I'd like to see Tesla do. Give us "busy-ness" data on the Supercharger locations.
Availability is shown on the Tesla nav. This is more or less real time, not "usually busy between x and Y hours".
Also, you should check the supercharger map. Tesla has opened more SC on the I-95 corridor since 2019.
 

qdeathstar

Completely Serious
May 17, 2019
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VB
I think they will be busy, in that you may have to share a charging station with someone else (so you both get a little slower charge rate) but I doubt you will have to sit and wait somewhere, though Tesla’s are becoming way more popular now so it’s hard to compare last year to this year.

If it was just me on the road, I’d roll the dice. If it was my wife and (future 🤞) kids I probably wouldn’t risk it just to avoid the head ache.
 

RTPEV

Active Member
Mar 21, 2016
1,517
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Durham, NC
I think they will be busy, in that you may have to share a charging station with someone else (so you both get a little slower charge rate) but I doubt you will have to sit and wait somewhere, though Tesla’s are becoming way more popular now so it’s hard to compare last year to this year.

If it was just me on the road, I’d roll the dice. If it was my wife and (future 🤞) kids I probably wouldn’t risk it just to avoid the head ache.
This statement seems to ignore the actual geography of the OP's question. From the junction of I-26 and I-95 (which appears to be what they are talking about when they say they join I-95 near Charleston), here are the Superchargers along the route to the south. I've highlighted all the new V3 installations that have been put in since the OP's previous trip in 2019 and required the stop in Savannah (an inconvenient stop in an airport parking garage, even without factoring in delays!)

St. George, SC - V3 - 12 stalls
Yemassee, SC - V3 - 8 stalls
Hardeeville, SC - V3 - 8 stalls

Pooler, GA - V3 - 8 stalls*
Savannah, GA - V1 - 8 stalls
Brunswick, GA - V3 - 24 stalls
Kingsland, GA - V2 - 8 stalls
Yulee, FL - V3 - 8 stalls

* Pooler, GA is not yet open, but construction photos indicate that it is practically fully built out with transformer on site, so I would expect this site to be operational if not in the next week or two, certainly by late December.

The distance between the St. George and Yulee Superchargers is 200 miles, so you have your choice of 6 V3 Superchargers along that route where charge sharing would not be a problem, vs. 2 V2 or pre-V2 Superchargers from the last time the trip was attempted.

The OP didn't mention how far south in Florida they were traveling, but the story continues along I-95 in FL with many new V3 sites having been added in the past year or so.

Obviously no one can guarantee that the network won't be busy during that time, but I stand behind my recommendation of using ABRP (or the Tesla nav map) to monitor utilization en route and perhaps making a selection of which of those sites to stop at based on utilization, stopping at a Supercharger earlier than necessary if it looks like the later Supercharger might be full.

My own travel plan is to stop at St. George & Brunswick on the way down on St. George on the way back, so obviously I won't be visiting all of those (and my plans my change anyway).

I would further advise checking out checkins on Plugshare if you still have concerns. You will also get some handy tips about amenities in the area (for example, stopping at Brunswick, GA after hours may not have restroom facilities).
 

Snerruc

Unqualified Doofus
Apr 16, 2016
1,109
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Palm Bay
I drive Palm Bay to Richmond often. The only ones to try to avoid are Rocky Mount and Hardeeville. Even they aren’t much of a problem. Santee is a good stop as chargers are an the lot of a big inn with an excellent restaurant and another hotel across the street. The car is absolutely real time on charger availability. On south towards Miami there are so many locations it’s absolutely not a problem.
 
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qdeathstar

Completely Serious
May 17, 2019
4,391
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VB
This statement seems to ignore the actual geography of the OP's question. From the junction of I-26 and I-95 (which appears to be what they are talking about when they say they join I-95 near Charleston), here are the Superchargers along the route to the south. I've highlighted all the new V3 installations that have been put in since the OP's previous trip in 2019 and required the stop in Savannah (an inconvenient stop in an airport parking garage, even without factoring in delays!)

St. George, SC - V3 - 12 stalls
Yemassee, SC - V3 - 8 stalls
Hardeeville, SC - V3 - 8 stalls

Pooler, GA - V3 - 8 stalls*
Savannah, GA - V1 - 8 stalls
Brunswick, GA - V3 - 24 stalls
Kingsland, GA - V2 - 8 stalls
Yulee, FL - V3 - 8 stalls

* Pooler, GA is not yet open, but construction photos indicate that it is practically fully built out with transformer on site, so I would expect this site to be operational if not in the next week or two, certainly by late December.

The distance between the St. George and Yulee Superchargers is 200 miles, so you have your choice of 6 V3 Superchargers along that route where charge sharing would not be a problem, vs. 2 V2 or pre-V2 Superchargers from the last time the trip was attempted.

The OP didn't mention how far south in Florida they were traveling, but the story continues along I-95 in FL with many new V3 sites having been added in the past year or so.

Obviously no one can guarantee that the network won't be busy during that time, but I stand behind my recommendation of using ABRP (or the Tesla nav map) to monitor utilization en route and perhaps making a selection of which of those sites to stop at based on utilization, stopping at a Supercharger earlier than necessary if it looks like the later Supercharger might be full.

My own travel plan is to stop at St. George & Brunswick on the way down on St. George on the way back, so obviously I won't be visiting all of those (and my plans my change anyway).

I would further advise checking out checkins on Plugshare if you still have concerns. You will also get some handy tips about amenities in the area (for example, stopping at Brunswick, GA after hours may not have restroom facilities).
Yep, I was generalize because presumably OP won’t be the only person to peruse this topic.
 

RTPEV

Active Member
Mar 21, 2016
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Durham, NC
This is the kind of thing I'm talking about - Tesla could just share that info.
FWIW (and it's not worth much in this case), there is a project, based in Germany, that attempts to provide this kind of data.


It works (I think) by having Tesla owners install a Teslalogger device in their cars that monitor nearby Supercharger utilization (because the cars are able to retrieve utilization for nearby stations). The device pings the car which pings the nearby Superchargers and builds up a utilization history graph so you can determine if there are any trends (or just simply see if there is high or low utilization overall). Obviously it only works where there are actual vehicles in the vicinity of the Superchargers in question, and for this particular route, that is not the case (if you were in Europe where the project is based out of, the story would be different).

ABRP somehow gets this same live data, I suspect through some kind of deal with Tesla (there was a previous effort to get this directly from the Tesla API, but it was shut down at the request of Tesla, presumably because yes, they do guard this data). Whether or not they store historical data, I cannot say, but I do seem to recall that maybe the "busy" indicator in ABRP is actually a prediction based on historical usage for the time/day of week:

1635863250080.png


However, I don't really know if that's actually the case or not. The Charger Availability setting in ABRP does indicate that it can use "realtime charger availability and forecast in planning".

Of course holiday travel times are notoriously unpredictable, so whether any of this helps this particular case is questionable. But in general, there are some tools out there to help provide a better level of predictability to road trips.
 
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LoudMusic

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Jul 21, 2020
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FWIW (and it's not worth much in this case), there is a project, based in Germany, that attempts to provide this kind of data.


It works (I think) by having Tesla owners install a Teslalogger device in their cars that monitor nearby Supercharger utilization (because the cars are able to retrieve utilization for nearby stations). The device pings the car which pings the nearby Superchargers and builds up a utilization history graph so you can determine if there are any trends (or just simply see if there is high or low utilization overall). Obviously it only works where there are actual vehicles in the vicinity of the Superchargers in question, and for this particular route, that is not the case (if you were in Europe where the project is based out of, the story would be different).

ABRP somehow gets this same live data, I suspect through some kind of deal with Tesla (there was a previous effort to get this directly from the Tesla API, but it was shut down at the request of Tesla, presumably because yes, they do guard this data). Whether or not they store historical data, I cannot say, but I do seem to recall that maybe the "busy" indicator in ABRP is actually a prediction based on historical usage for the time/day of week:

View attachment 728468

However, I don't really know if that's actually the case or not. The Charger Availability setting in ABRP does indicate that it can use "realtime charger availability and forecast in planning".

Of course holiday travel times are notoriously unpredictable, so whether any of this helps this particular case is questionable. But in general, there are some tools out there to help provide a better level of predictability to road trips.

That doesn't surprise me that a German group are taking on the challenge. I visited Hamburg many years ago and wanted to visit the Miniatur Wunderland model train place. They have a chart of the busy times of the day. For a model train display. Germans!

 
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jboy210

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Dec 2, 2016
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Holiday congestion is usually worst between 11:30 and 3:00. This is when most seem to be pulling in to get a charge.
Same time as gas stations and fast food at highway locations. When we used to take the kids to the grandparents this is a reason we used to throw the kids in the car in the pajamas and let them wake up a 9 AM many miles from home. I usually tried to make my last gas stop at 12-ish PM and quit for the day by 3 PM.
 

RTPEV

Active Member
Mar 21, 2016
1,517
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Durham, NC
SC & GA I-95 Supercharger visits trip report (before I forget):

In general, I was a bit disappointed with the Superchargers I stopped at (as compared to the ones I've visited to the north of NC). The locations/amenities were just not that convenient.

However, from a utilization and reliability point of view, no problem at all.

On the way down my plan was to hit St. George, SC, but the temps that morning were pretty cold and I would have been pushing it (although probably would have made it). I stopped in Santee, which is just north of where I think the OP joins I-95. It's an 8-stall V2 site that looked to have at least 2 stalls occupied the entire time I approached, but never more than 4. The site is tucked behind what appears to be a classic motel/restaurant combination (brought back some memories of a similar place in my hometown that has since been torn down). Probably could get a nice meal there, but it wouldn't be quick. There are a few other venues nearby, but probably a 2-3 minute walk. There is what looks like a convenience store with a sign that says "Hot Bar" so probably has food, but I didn't go in there. Instead I went to the Wendy's across the main road and was quite disappointed with the service there.

I did hit Brunswick, GA next. This is a huge (24 stall) V3 site. During that leg there were usually only 2 cars plugged in. The most it ever got up to was 1/4 full (6 cars). It's in a bowling center parking lot and the owner is very welcoming to Teslas. There should be no issue coming in and using the restroom during business hours, and they do have a snack bar, but it wasn't staffed when I was there, and it didn't look like that had a huge selection. But better than nothing. I walked a little bit further to a gas station/convenience center to grab a snack. Looks like there is a BBQ restaurant in the area as well. I had no cell signal in this area though (T-Mobile).

On the way back north I stopped in Hardeeville, SC (8-stall V3). This was probably the busiest stop. Varied between 1/2 and 3/4 full. Kind of difficult to find (very quick turn after coming off the interstate), but it's attached to a fairly nice convenience store. Not a ton of other food options though.

I then stopped at St. George, SC (12-stall V3). This is a very interesting site with all the stalls in diagonal parking spots arranged as pull-forward stalls. This may sound great, but in practice it wasn't. With the various bollards and tight spots, it was actually awkward to plug in the vehicle (I had seen such reports on the forum, and yes, it's true!) This site was probably between 1/4 and 1/2 full on that leg. Most of the good food options are on the other side of the main street. This is located in the parking lot of a grocery store. There are restrooms available and you can certainly grab snack food, sandwiches and drinks there, so it's not horrible. There is a humongous pothole on the way in though. Unfortunately I hit it hard!

Closer to the holidays it's fair to assume the utilization will be higher, but this weekend (Friday and Monday were my travel days), utilization was generally around 1/4 to 1/2. Of course those 8-stall sites could fill up quickly. Pooler, GA (8-stall V3) is now open though, and the Brunswick site with 24 stalls should be able to handle quite a lot of traffic.
 
You're probably right. Journalism ruins a lot of things. The headline should be "It's easier to find an EV charging spot because available plugs are mapped and charted - fuel pumps you'll end up waiting in line"

l like the way the press is blamed for something that hasn't even happened yet. If you are planning a trip way in advance, you can check the current status of the chargers at the time of day and day of week you expect to be there. There aren't very many always busy chargers. Each has it's ebb and flow. So even the mighty Tesla would have a hard time providing useful info. I suppose they could let you download a spread sheet of the number of stalls in use at 15 minute increments.

What's more important is that the chargers exist. I95 has seen a lot of new installations in the Maryland/Virginia area. I travel that way a lot and only once do I recall not being able to just pull into an empty slow. That was at Glen Allen, VA just north of Richmond and they have at least doubled the number of stalls there and added other charging stations not far away. Two have 250 kW V3 chargers. There are 12 V3 chargers in Halifax. With nothing around they are all just for I95 travelers. I think it's going to be an easy trip.
 
I think they will be busy, in that you may have to share a charging station with someone else (so you both get a little slower charge rate) but I doubt you will have to sit and wait somewhere, though Tesla’s are becoming way more popular now so it’s hard to compare last year to this year.

If it was just me on the road, I’d roll the dice. If it was my wife and (future 🤞) kids I probably wouldn’t risk it just to avoid the head ache.

Just to make a note, when you share a charger, the first to connect gets whatever it requires. The second gets what is left over with the divisions in blocks of 36 kW I think. As the first car's rate drops the second car's rate picks up. The second car will always get at least 36 kW, so I suppose the first car can be cut to 108 kW if it's charging faster.

Urban Superchargers are 72 kW with each car never getting more than half the total 144 kW available. That seems like a pretty lame idea to me. I've never seen it work better than the standard charger and I've been inconvenienced several times by them.
 

jboy210

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Dec 2, 2016
6,716
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Northern California
Just to make a note, when you share a charger, the first to connect gets whatever it requires. The second gets what is left over with the divisions in blocks of 36 kW I think. As the first car's rate drops the second car's rate picks up. The second car will always get at least 36 kW, so I suppose the first car can be cut to 108 kW if it's charging faster.

Urban Superchargers are 72 kW with each car never getting more than half the total 144 kW available. That seems like a pretty lame idea to me. I've never seen it work better than the standard charger and I've been inconvenienced several times by them.
Here on the West Coast I use Urban chargers from time to time and find them pretty useful. They locate them in places like malls and other shopping centers or with places with multiple food offerings. And sometimes in large numbers (example. 20). So by the time you finish your shopping or eating your car is ready to go. And you are not rushing to finish to avoid the idle penalty charges for tying up a stall.
 
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