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Availability of Superchargers

We don't expect to use the Supercharging network much, but before we plan any trips we wanted to know how often there is an issue with Superchargers not being available without a wait? Does that happen frequently? (Most concerned about the west coast and I-5 corridor). What is it like with holidays? Are there any times that you would hesitate to travel based on concerns of supercharger availability?
 
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We just drove from Sacramento to Seattle and back. We never had to wait for spot but the supercharge in Grant's Pass was almost full. No doubt, that's because it is the only one between Mt. Shasta and Springfield/Eugene, OR. A new SC is not yet online in Medford but it looks like it is under construction and should help. Once you pass Portland and into Seattle no problem - although the SC's there are popular there are many more to choose from. That being said, the present circumstances are by no means normal. I expect we'll run into some waiting during regular holiday periods. Some SC on 101 were particularly impacted last Thanksgiving and evidently Tesla brought in some temporary chargers to the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo. In general however, there are plenty of superchargers on I5 south, with the one in Kettleman City being one of the better ones. We have a M3 SR+ and frankly we had no issues with charging. We broke the trip into two days and stayed at hotels with destination chargers - that really made the trip easy and enjoyable.
 
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acarney

Active Member
Jul 9, 2019
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Richland, WA
We don't expect to use the Supercharging network much, but before we plan any trips we wanted to know how often there is an issue with Superchargers not being available without a wait? Does that happen frequently? (Most concerned about the west coast and I-5 corridor). What is it like with holidays? Are there any times that you would hesitate to travel based on concerns of supercharger availability?

WA has really had a decent surge with build out this last year and a half. I-5 down to Portland is covered really well now and heading south of Portland is being expanded right now. I think you're going to be in a pretty good position, especially with a long range vehicle. Heading East across the state should be pretty dang easy now too!
 

frankvb

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Supporting Member
Feb 29, 2020
930
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San Diego, CA
Not on your route, but as a popular holiday destination, the one in St. George (UT) was very busy back in May (in the middle of the Pandemic...). It's only got 8 stalls, one was out, and nearest other locations are Las Vegas (124 miles) and Beaver (UT) 104 miles. Would be good to have some more options in that area. California is pretty well covered.

I think Utah can be problematic in normal times, in particular during peak holiday season.
 

mark95476

Active Member
Jun 21, 2020
1,979
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Bay Area CA
You'll encounter the same thing in your ICE vehicle if you travel during peak vacation times like Thanksgiving. Lots of traffic, slow downs and jams, full gas stations ...etc... Heading down I5 to LA last Christmas was awful: snow closed the LA Grapevine so everyone took 101 and it was a 20++ mile long parking lot.

Lets say you were flying around Thanksgiving before Covid: you would expect full airports, long lines, full lounges, delays, cancelled flghts ...etc...

Personally, I *try* to travel off season and stay put during heavy travel days. Less grief and I save money as a bonus.


We don't expect to use the Supercharging network much, but before we plan any trips we wanted to know how often there is an issue with Superchargers not being available without a wait? Does that happen frequently? (Most concerned about the west coast and I-5 corridor). What is it like with holidays? Are there any times that you would hesitate to travel based on concerns of supercharger availability?
 
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acarney

Active Member
Jul 9, 2019
2,849
1,839
Richland, WA
You'll encounter the same thing in your ICE vehicle if you travel during peak vacation times like Thanksgiving. Lots of traffic, slow downs and jams, full gas stations ...etc... Heading down I5 to LA last Christmas was awful: snow closed the LA Grapevine so everyone took 101 and it was a 20++ mile long parking lot.

Lets say you were flying around Thanksgiving before Covid: you would expect full airports, long lines, full lounges, delays, cancelled flghts ...etc...

Personally, I *try* to travel off season and stay put during heavy travel days. Less grief and I save money as a bonus.

This is all true, but the delays might not seem as bad when you're used to 5 minutes or less for gas. I'll admit, and I'm a HUGE Tesla fan, I think I would be rather annoyed if I had to wait 10 to 15 minutes before connecting to a supercharger to than have to wait another 20+ minutes to charge. That take a "short" 20 minute session and makes it feel long...
 
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mark95476

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Jun 21, 2020
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Bay Area CA
Doesn't everyone stock up on boxes of Depends (adult diapers) when they go on vacation? What sort of person would waste their valuable vacation time by using a restroom or maybe taking a break from driving? o_O

It's not a real vacations unless everyone is VERY uncomfortable on travel days--No bathroom breaks allowed! :eek:

AH! The mythical "5 minute fill up" makes a return appearance! :D
 

acarney

Active Member
Jul 9, 2019
2,849
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Richland, WA
Doesn't everyone stock up on boxes of Depends (adult diapers) when they go on vacation? What sort of person would waste their valuable vacation time by using a restroom or maybe taking a break from driving? o_O

It's not a real vacations unless everyone is VERY uncomfortable on travel days--No bathroom breaks allowed! :eek:

Trust me, supercharging is almost an afterthought for me. I don't mind it. However, there are some times where the superchargers aren't really close to where you want to eat, or restrooms, or the business isn't open on a Sunday or something so you need to use a restroom somewhere else. It's rare, thankfully, but it does exist out there. The thing is, you don't have the OPTION to quickly charge and then move on line you do with a gas car. I personally don't mind it and often the supercharging is done before I'm ready to move on. However, I don't have a spouse or kids and I don't tend to travel on busy holiday times. If i had a little kid or two and we didn't want to stop at the supercharger location for dinner or something (maybe you have to walk half a block and you don't want to do that in December weather with little kids, etc) having to wait 10+ minutes (and some people claim wait times have been as high as an hour) and THEN charge for 20+ minutes, and maybe 30 or 40 minutes if you need a full charge.... that would be killer.

I'm a huge Tesla fan and my only car is a Tesla, so I make it work and I don't really mind the supercharger stops. But it could actually be something to think about if you're a family or tend to travel only on peak times. It shouldn't stop you from buying the car, but maybe shift your vacation plans a day or two in one direction or the other or at least plan the route a little in advance to double up on meals and charging or pack a meal for kids or something to have while you're charging.

I also would personally feel horrible if I had to charge fully and there were people waiting. Every minute I was connected I would be thinking "oh gosh, can I make it on this charge? Could I drive a little slower and make it? I really need to unplug because they've been waiting so long..."
 
I think we are fine with a 30-50 minute charge, if that is what it takes. As long as there is some caffeine within walking distance anyway;) I was mostly wondering how often there is a wait outside of the actual charging time, or if chargers are poorly maintained and out of service very often, and if travel near Thanksgiving or Christmas might be really bad. We usually pick days and/or times that we think will be less crowded, but sometimes it doesn't work out quite the way you hoped for.
 

Rice&Curry

Member
May 9, 2018
475
236
San Jose
The only time we had a problem was on the long weekend where a long line has built up and the police had to be called as it was blocking the entrance to the Restaurant . But it got sorted out soon enough as people moved their cars so as not to obstruct the patrons coming to the restaurant.
 

Rocky_H

Well-Known Member
Feb 19, 2015
7,083
8,705
Boise, ID
I was mostly wondering how often there is a wait outside of the actual charging time, or if chargers are poorly maintained and out of service very often,
This question is almost entirely location dependent. I have used over 60 different Supercharger sites in a couple dozen states in the 6 and a half years I've had the car and never had to wait for a stall. Never. But I have also never tried to use a Supercharger in California, which is mainly where the capacity problems are showing.
 

jsight

Member
Apr 5, 2018
842
654
Charleston
Trust me, supercharging is almost an afterthought for me. I don't mind it. However, there are some times where the superchargers aren't really close to where you want to eat, or restrooms, or the business isn't open on a Sunday or something so you need to use a restroom somewhere else. It's rare, thankfully, but it does exist out there. The thing is, you don't have the OPTION to quickly charge and then move on line you do with a gas car. I personally don't mind it and often the supercharging is done before I'm ready to move on.

IMO, this is the real biggest weakness for electric cars right now. I really hope they add a lot more destination/urban chargers at some point to alleviate the issues. It'd be a _lot_ easier if you could consistently leave the car in a restaurant parking lot and charge while eating on trips. Even 50-70kw service could make a big difference.
 
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mark95476

Active Member
Jun 21, 2020
1,979
1,524
Bay Area CA
How you value your time is personal, but if I needed to get somewhere fast, then I'd be flying. Driving any meaningful distance takes hours more so this "I can't spare more than 5 minutes to gas-up" is mostly FUD, IMHO.

Tesla owners have been Supercharging for years and understand sometimes there are waits during the usual congested times. I forgot when Tesla added the $1/min idle fee to remind people to move their car after they were finished charging. I'm in the Bay Area (essentially Tesla-central) and I've never had to wait for a Supercharger in over 3 months of ownership. Tesla's nav system makes it super easy to see which Superchargers are full or not.

Personally, I think there are much better things to do than being stuck in traffic so I avoid rush hours and get in and out of the office early for example. This means I get a covered parking spot and a charger, if needed. When car traveling, I've always encouraged my passenger(s) to jump out and get in line for food and snag a table while I refuel.

If you need to go to the restroom, there's nothing stopping you for using one at any travel center or a McDonalds or a friendly hotel...etc...
 
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acarney

Active Member
Jul 9, 2019
2,849
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Richland, WA
If you need to go to the restroom, there's nothing stopping you for using one at any travel center or a McDonalds or a friendly hotel...etc...

If they're open. I've actually ran across a couple locations where they either aren't open on site, or you've got to walk a little ways to get to one. Not ideal on a Sunday at 10pm or something, but in those cases I usually hit a McDonalds to use the restroom before I hit the supercharger... I feel like a total dick just going in to use the restroom and not buying anything, but as a vegetarian I'm not really too keen on what McDonalds has to offer and usually don't need to grab a soda. Oh well, world is changing, businesses just need to deal with this stuff until someone gives and builds out these charging locations more like a gas station.
 

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