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Charging exclusively with superchargers - practical?

odyssey

New Member
Aug 30, 2015
1
0
Toronto, ON
I love the idea of the Tesla. What I'm concerned about is the practicality of it, particularly as someone who lives in a condo building.. I don't have anywhere to charge it while at home.
Now, the nearest (and only!) supercharger station in Toronto is only about a 10 minute drive away.

So what I'm wondering is.. is it practical or feasible to only charge your Tesla at supercharger stations? Does anyone do this? Or am I nuts for even considering it?
 

mwulff

Member
Jan 15, 2015
348
25
Danmark
I suspect you could if you live close enough to one (less than say 10 miles) and you have the time. If you don't drive much you could charge every 2-3 days and be fine. But be aware that Tesla sort of discourages local supercharging (see the letter thread for more info) so you may find yourself with a local charger at some point. Are there any other chargers available to you, to charge overnight perhaps?
 

TaoJones

Beyond Driven
Nov 10, 2014
3,064
3,028
The Americas
As one of the non-garaged, I asked Tesla directly about this prior to ordering, and was welcomed with open arms to use SCs as my primary source. I've done just that for 8 months and have no plans to stop. My next garaged dwelling will be in a country that ironically just committed to national EV readiness - however, no sign of Tesla there, and the effort is being underwritten in large measure by the Chinese. Anyway, I used to wait in line at the Costco for gas. Now I make a few calls or catnap while supercharging every week or so. Once any range anxiety subsides, you'll find that charging weekly is just fine unless you drive a lot. I met one fellow recently who has over 90,000 miles driven. He SCs daily to get home, *and* has solar for a full charge in the morning. Pay NO attention to the Handwringing Busybody Contingent that would dissuade you from your purchase. Trust, but verify - get it in writing. And enjoy your pending Model S - it'll be the best *driving* experience there is. The rest, well, time will tell.

Caveats:

I live in an area in which Tesla committed to DENSITY as well as distance shortly after I was told it would be fine to use SCs. Your area may vary, and the rate at which SCs are opening has... not increased.

Also, given the sophomoric ambiguity in one of the latest examples of poor communication from Tesla (the now-infamous Letter), were I you, I would not only call to ask the same question I did, but to require the clear answer thereto in writing before committing to your order.

I would not and will not buy another Tesla without that promise being reaffirmed in writing prior to purchase. Unfortunately, by not clarifying the letter, Tesla now has an emerging credibility problem. At best, either they're still deciding what to do and when, or there is a disconnect. As an owner, I'm not happy about that. As an investor, I will take this into account during the next periodic adjustment of my portfolio. While I would prefer to continue to own both product and equity, this may turn into one of those situations where it will be one or the other or neither.
 

Troy

Active Member
Aug 24, 2015
1,966
6,690
Check out this news article: Tesla Sends Out Supercharger Abuse Emails - Model S Owners Not Impressed

Don't trust what the store staff says. They don't always give correct information. You won't be able to get it in writing that this type usage is allowed. It has been a short time since the letter went out. It is unknown what Tesla's next step will be. They might do nothing or they might send out more letters or they might reduce supercharging speeds for locals. The car is connected to Tesla at all times. They have all the data.
 

pgiralt

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Jun 16, 2013
1,520
155
Cary, NC
To be honest, I don't think I would own a Model S if I couldn't charge it at home. The ability to never have to "stop for fuel" with the exception of road trips is what makes owning an Ev awesome. I would think that having to sit around and supercharge every couple of days would get old really quick unless the supercharger was located somewhere that I wanted to be all the time anyway.
 

Chipper

Active Member
Sep 23, 2013
1,183
23
Chattanooga, TN
To be honest, I don't think I would own a Model S if I couldn't charge it at home. The ability to never have to "stop for fuel" with the exception of road trips is what makes owning an Ev awesome. I would think that having to sit around and supercharge every couple of days would get old really quick unless the supercharger was located somewhere that I wanted to be all the time anyway.
And I feel exactly the opposite! This car is so awesome if I had to charge ONLY at Superchargers it would definitely be worth owning this car rather than an ICE.
 

ecarfan

Well-Known Member
Sep 21, 2013
19,410
14,422
West Vancouver, British Columbia
How many miles a week do you drive on average in the Toronto area? Then calculate how much time a week you are going to need to sit at the Supercharger to charge up, keeping in mind that in the winter your kWh/m will increase significantly. Then decide if you are willing to spend that much time every week charging. Only you can decide. As you have seen so far already in this thread, some people are willing to do it, but others are not.
Note: can you at least plug into a 110V power source every night to gain a few miles and avoid losing the small number of kWh the car uses every night while unplugged? And what about plugging in to 110V at work? That would help.
I don't have anywhere to charge it while at home. Now, the nearest (and only!) supercharger station in Toronto is only about a 10 minute drive away...So what I'm wondering is.. is it practical or feasible to only charge your Tesla at supercharger stations? Does anyone do this? Or am I nuts for even considering it?
 

mknox

Well-Known Member
Aug 7, 2012
10,103
1,894
Toronto, ON
I love the idea of the Tesla. What I'm concerned about is the practicality of it, particularly as someone who lives in a condo building.. I don't have anywhere to charge it while at home.
Now, the nearest (and only!) supercharger station in Toronto is only about a 10 minute drive away.

So what I'm wondering is.. is it practical or feasible to only charge your Tesla at supercharger stations? Does anyone do this? Or am I nuts for even considering it?

I know of several people in Toronto who are in the same boat. In fact, one was actually waiting for the Toronto Supercharger before ordering, but is now having second thoughts. Many condo boards simply won't allow EV charging infrastructure, and we have no by-laws or regulations requiring it.

I feel it would indeed be feasible, but with Tesla's recent stand against "local Supercharging", I'm not sure how to advise you. Toronto has a large number of hi-rise condo buildings, and, I believe has one of the highest rates of new construction in the world right now. This is going to be a problem for EV adoption in general and Tesla specifically.
 

ItsNotAboutTheMoney

Well-Known Member
Jul 12, 2012
10,909
8,600
Maine
I know of several people in Toronto who are in the same boat. In fact, one was actually waiting for the Toronto Supercharger before ordering, but is now having second thoughts. Many condo boards simply won't allow EV charging infrastructure, and we have no by-laws or regulations requiring it.

I feel it would indeed be feasible, but with Tesla's recent stand against "local Supercharging", I'm not sure how to advise you. Toronto has a large number of hi-rise condo buildings, and, I believe has one of the highest rates of new construction in the world right now. This is going to be a problem for EV adoption in general and Tesla specifically.

To be honest, I'd say go for it. The Letter was not about people with no place to charge, it was about people who are doing it to save money.

Just
- Don't depend on it financially.
- Don't stay at a Supercharger longer than you need to.
- Charge off peak when possible.
- Be ready to pay for installation and power in your home lot should the market shift after Model 3 or a rush of German PHEVs and the condo changes their attitude.

For Model 3, I could see Tesla insisting on home charging, but for now, I see no problem.
 

Nicoletta

Member
Mar 15, 2014
108
13
Chicago
"I feel it would indeed be feasible, but with Tesla's recent stand against "local Supercharging", I'm not sure how to advise you. Toronto has a large number of hi-rise condo buildings, and, I believe has one of the highest rates of new construction in the world right now. This is going to be a problem for EV adoption in general and Tesla specifically."

Yes, I've said it before and I'll say it again, the big challenge to the widespread adoption of EVs is figuring out how to conveniently charge for condo and apartment dwellers. We have the same problems here in Chicago that you have in Toronto. My condo board refused to even consider getting a Level 2 charger, they even obstinately did not let me plug into a 120v. At the moment everyone is on their own having to fight with their condo boards. Luckily, I solved my problem when the apartment building next door let me use their charger. I really, really hope Tesla is working on a solution to this before they start selling Model 3.

To odyssey, welcome to the forum, for the first few months of ownership, until I got permission to use the charger next door, I was exclusively using the local Supercharger. I have to admit that it got tedious, especially in the winter, part of it was that I had just bought the car and had range anxiety. I think if I was in that situation now, I would be charging at the SC probably once a week ( I don't drive that much on a daily basis).
 

RDoc

S85D
Aug 24, 2012
2,755
1,706
Boston North Shore
As others have said, look at how much you drive normally, if it's the typical 30 miles or so, mostly at speeds below 50, you'll wind up charging about once a week for around 30-40 minutes, more in the winter or in rainy weather. If you can access a 120V outlet at night or at work, you'll probably make up almost all the energy you'll need.

As for Tesla not liking local Supercharging, unless they explicitly say you can't use it, I don't see how they can restrict it without exposing themselves to serious lawsuits, although that won't stop them from sending you nastygrams.
 

tstafford

Active Member
Jul 4, 2015
1,039
257
Nashville, TN
I'd be kind of uncomfortable doing this after the recent e-mail.

Prior to buying mine I had planned to go to the local SC periodically and eat at nearby restaurants, visit the Tesla Store, meet other owners etc - while getting some juice. I've not done that for fear of running afoul of Tesla and other owners who see that as inappropriate.
 

TaoJones

Beyond Driven
Nov 10, 2014
3,064
3,028
The Americas
Check out this news article: Tesla Sends Out Supercharger Abuse Emails - Model S Owners Not Impressed

Don't trust what the store staff says. They don't always give correct information. You won't be able to get it in writing that this type usage is allowed. ...

Agreed, agreed, and not exactly agreed.

My interactions with Tesla were solely with Corporate/Sales before creating my order. I had no interaction with a store until it occurred to me a few days after creating the order that maybe I should go test drive one of these fine creations. While the store staff was uniformly excellent, it would never have occurred to me to ask them about the non-garaged thing. That's a corporate issue all day long, and was answered expeditiously at that level, which is what led me to place the order in the first place.
 

mspohr

Well-Known Member
Jul 27, 2014
10,059
12,639
California
While I think that you "could" charge at SC exclusively, it's not a very good use of time.
If you think of the time to drive to the SC, wait for the charge then drive home (probably at least an hour for most people) and the value of the electricity ($5 to $10), you are essentially working for minimum wage.
I can understand doing this if you don't have any options for home charging but even 120 v home charging is more convenient than hanging out at the SC which will get old quickly.
 

mknox

Well-Known Member
Aug 7, 2012
10,103
1,894
Toronto, ON
While I think that you "could" charge at SC exclusively, it's not a very good use of time.
If you think of the time to drive to the SC, wait for the charge then drive home (probably at least an hour for most people) and the value of the electricity ($5 to $10), you are essentially working for minimum wage.
I can understand doing this if you don't have any options for home charging but even 120 v home charging is more convenient than hanging out at the SC which will get old quickly.

Yes, but the OP does not have any charging options at home. Some condo boards can be really harsh in this regard. I caught crap at my mother's condo for simply plugging in a charger to boost the dead 12v battery in her ICE. (She's 86 and often leaves her car parked for weeks). I now use a portable booster pack if I have to jump her car.
 

dsm363

Roadster + Sig Model S
May 17, 2009
18,279
160
Nevada
I don't see the problem with it. The superchargers are free to use for life.

If no one is using them when you get there. That's the issue with depending only on Superchargers. If you run down to near empty you could be waiting a long time.
 

dsm363

Roadster + Sig Model S
May 17, 2009
18,279
160
Nevada
I love the idea of the Tesla. What I'm concerned about is the practicality of it, particularly as someone who lives in a condo building.. I don't have anywhere to charge it while at home.
Now, the nearest (and only!) supercharger station in Toronto is only about a 10 minute drive away.

So what I'm wondering is.. is it practical or feasible to only charge your Tesla at supercharger stations? Does anyone do this? Or am I nuts for even considering it?

I'd lean towards trying to get at least get 120V outlet installed. If you pay for the installation of a level 2 charger or outlet and pay for the electricity will they allow you or is that not possible or financially feasible?
 

stopcrazypp

Well-Known Member
Dec 8, 2007
10,973
6,078
If the charger is along the way of a common trip you make or there are places you frequently visit nearby, then that is okay, but if not, then I'm pretty sure it will get old pretty quickly.

As for those claiming Tesla has no legal way to restrict usage, I think that is completely false. Tesla has never given anyone in writing a contract that says they can use the superchargers with no restrictions whatsoever. There may be sales people who might imply that, but we all know that they are not the best informed about these matters and when pushed to get it in writing, I'm pretty sure no one has ever been successful. In terms of advertising, Tesla clearly promised free, so they can't start charging money for usage, but that does not mean they can't restrict usage. Again, people need to keep in mind the difference between "free" and "free+unlimited". They are not the same thing.

Ironically, in the OP's situation, it advantages him more actually if Tesla offered a paid supercharger station (rebranded under a different name to get around the advertising commitment). That's why my suggestion has been something along those lines installed in cities.
 

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