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David's Supercharger location and deployment analysis

Discussion in 'Charging Standards and Infrastructure' started by 4sevens.com, May 22, 2013.

  1. 4sevens.com

    4sevens.com Member

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    #1 4sevens.com, May 22, 2013
    Last edited: May 23, 2013
    Hey everyone - I've had lots of thoughts and ideas for a while about the superchargers and I wanted to put them here for your (and Tesla's - if they're reading) consideration.

    * location strategies
    * deployment strategies

    I. Location strategies
    A) between-cities
    1. ideal for long distance travel, intercity travel
    2. challenges - higher cost per use - used only when traveling between cities. deployment for each "city" will require several locations to cover the city. all the interstates going into any given city would need to have a supercharger for a specific city to be "covered." For example, Atlanta has i85,i75,i20 going through atlanta which means there are 6 interstates going through atlanta - so 6 stations would be needed to "cover" atlanta."
    3. advantages - locals will not likely use the chargers due to distance from city center - mostly those traveling between cities thus freeing up the chargers and reducing congestion
    B) city-centric
    1. maximum use will be seen when traveling within city limits
    2. challenges - more stalls needed due to higher use, more expensive land and energy being that it's closed to city-center, congestion issues due to high usage, more locals using the supercharger for "free" fillups reducing availability for out of town travelers
    3. advantages - fewer sc locations required to consider any particular city "covered" (versus I.A.2.)
    C) hybrid of both
    1. Since there are pros and cons to both strategies it would make sense to roll out both at different times.
    2. If a there is a low density of owners in a city (or a small city) then a city-centric strategy deployed first makes sense
    3. If there is a high density of owners in a city (or a big city) then a between-cities strategy should be deployed first

    II. Deployment strategies
    A) Partnerships - partnerships with a nationalized franchise had huge advantages
    1. win-win for both companies as it'll draw new and "green" customers to the franchise
    2. for tesla, the location is pre-existing, with property, parking spaces, electricity and deployment is much quicker than going "ground up"
    3. it's easy to pick franchises that are along the interstate (i.e. mcdonalds). the bigger the franchise the quicker and easier to deploy
    4. traditional refueling stops are often because of the need for restroom use - a franchise would already have the facilities (this is versus trying to charge at an RV park with poor facilities that is off the beaten path or perhaps at a shopping mall but the chargers are in a remote location - distance between charging stall and bathroom could be far)
    B) Tesla self deployment - imho a big negative - it takes time to research, find and acquire commercial land and then develop. Why reinvent the wheel?

    Anyone want to contribute more ideas? I'll keep editing this first post :)

    -David
     
  2. walla2

    walla2 Member

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    I would love for tesla to start a foundation that could be not for profit aimed at getting tax deductible donatons to promote ev stations (supercharging ones ). Perhaps donations could promote the installation of stations close to donors and would help with the buildout rate.
     
  3. jeff_adams

    jeff_adams Member

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    High end mall managers should be proactive and approach Tesla to offer sites for supercharging. Think about the clientele they will attract to their stores. How about tax incentives? Tesla absorbing the installation costs? Win-win
     
  4. brianstorms

    brianstorms Member

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    Yeah, I keep wondering when Westfield, a major mall operator in the US (and elsewhere I believe... Australia?), announces a program of installing many more chargers. If they started with their UTC mall in San Diego I wouldn't mind that at all. :)
     
  5. RDoc

    RDoc S85D

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    My estimate is that at least 350 - 500 supercharger stations are needed for the US and Eastern Canada to have a minimal credible system. At $300K each, that's about $150M, which sounds like a huge amount, but if $2K were allocated for each car sold to support the Supercharger build out, that's about 75K cars, hopefully less than 4 years production. It would be great if Tesla could front end load that, but since they're probably near production capacity anyway, I'm not sure they have much incentive to do so. I do wish they'd built more Supercharger stations rather than paid all the US government loan, but perhaps we'll be pleasantly surprised when they make their announcement next week.
     
  6. ToddRLockwood

    ToddRLockwood Active Member

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    In addition to geography and population, Tesla has another metric that we don't have: the home addresses of the Model S fleet. I'm sure this must play a role in their decision making. For example, in northern New England there is a growing population of Teslas, but five years from now the majority of Teslas driving on Interstate 89 will likely be from Montreal — the largest metro area north of Boston.
     
  7. Seattle

    Seattle Member

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    Interesting. The city case for superchargers seems far less interesting than cross country. In the city, there are huge numbers of chargers (in mine anyway). I mostly drive the car to work and home and it sits there in between and i can charge both places. I have enough range I have only once bothered to charge elsewhere in the city.

    If you put them in the city, also people will park them there, blocking people who really need them (free charging!). It seems a possible problem even with chargers between cities but its less of a problem.

    I'd ignore in the city, just because j1772 or plugin should be enough, and how much do you drive 200 miles in a city and then need to keep going. I would think that is rare.
     
  8. Larry Chanin

    Larry Chanin Model S Perf Sig 1055

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    David,

    I don't follow your logic.

    If I and lots of other Tesla owners live in a particular city, what good does it do for taking a long trip beyond my car's range to have Superchargers in my city? Presumably I already have a full charge leaving from home in the city. I don't need a Supercharger in my city to top off. What city dwellers need is a Supercharger located between their location and where they are headed. In other words there really should be no difference between your items 2 & 3.

    Owner density at a state level is good for determining in which order states get addressed. Owner density at a city level should have no bearing for locating Superchargers at that high density location. In fact, an argument could be made that locating a Supercharger in a major city center would be counterproductive in forcing the traveler into unnecessary traffic.

    What is more important is to locate Superchargers strategically on major highways, ideally near the intersection of major highways, and to find suitable hosts that have the necessary amenities located nearby those strategic locations. Initially when Superchargers are still scarce it would be better if Supercharger locations were more heavily weighed between major destinations because people are more likely to stop at major destinations and major destinations are more likely to have overnight charging at hotels. Therefore, there is less need for a Supercharger in most major destinations. As the build out progresses it won't really matter whether a Supercharger ends up near a major city as long as it is strategically located and has the necessary amenities. It would still make sense to avoid citing Superchargers in the depths of a major city, but locating a Supercharger on a city bypass or beltway shouldn't present a problem.

    Larry
     
  9. Liz G

    Liz G P03056

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    I would have to disagree a bit with you about locating charging stations near cities. My husband and I drive from St Louis to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. To do so we pass thru Milwaukee. With a Super charger in Bloomington/Normal we will need one just outside of Milwaukee to make our trip in a single day. Remember while most people's travels end at a city, not everyone' s does. Some of us are just passing thru.
     
  10. 4sevens.com

    4sevens.com Member

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    Larry - your point being that regardless of the density of owners the between-cities strategy is the only strategy in your opinion.

    Well remember the superchargers (installation and continuous energy costs) are funded by the purchase of the S'. Obviously if there is very few S' in a particular city or region then there is less funding and justification for superchargers (I said less, not no justification). For a small city or a city with very few S' Tesla will have less $ for superchargers and having ONE city-centric supercharger makes sense versus building out all the corridors first. (remember I didn't say one strategy is better than the other, rather which one should be developed first). Example... a small city like macon, ga compared to atlanta, ga... between-city strategy would require 3 superchargers in macon and 6 superchargers in atlanta. Obviously if there are very few cars in macon it makes sense to build ONE supercharger in macon instead of three while Atlanta having more S's makes sense to build 6.

    Doesn't this make sense?


     
  11. efusco

    efusco Moderator - Model S & X forums

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    #11 efusco, May 23, 2013
    Last edited: May 23, 2013
    I think the idea of city based superchargers is that a city is a destination for many people. I'd like to drive from my house in Nixa, MO the 225 miles to St.Louis non-stop. Arrive at a supercharger, plug in, go have lunch, move the car to a non-supercharger parking space at my hotel or where ever and go enjoy my day. Maybe I'll top up the charge just before heading home again.

    I see that as a much more convenient way to drive than having to stop half-way between the two destinations while I still have almost half a charge, and then stop again on the way home.

    I think having along/between is important too, particularly when the distance b/w cities is more than about 150 miles.
     
  12. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    There would have to be a way to keep people who live within that city from using the Superchargers for normal use. Maybe not make city based Superchargers free to discourage people tying them up who didn't really need them. People who lived there could still use them but would have to decided if the cost was worth it over charging at home. Of course there are some people in apartments that can't charge at home though.
     
  13. efusco

    efusco Moderator - Model S & X forums

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    Maybe...I can completely see your point. I think, maybe, the solution is to put them on/in areas that there is already a fee to park. Airports, parking complexes, etc. That way people who need them have ready access, and a $2.00 fee for the 1 hour of charge isn't onerous, but the city dwellers would avoid them b/c they'd be a)out of their way, or b)not worth the cost compared to just charging at home.
     
  14. RDoc

    RDoc S85D

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    #14 RDoc, May 23, 2013
    Last edited: May 23, 2013
    I agree with Larry. The Supercharger system is a marketing expense, so while they are funded by purchases of cars, the question for Tesla is what Supercharger locations will help sell more cars.

    I'd suggest that people will be more attracted to Teslas if they think they can travel to their accustomed distant destinations easily, not for their normal days' driving where the cars have plenty of range from overnight charging. When evaluating the purchase of a Tesla, I'd think that most people will only take the Supercharger system into consideration for 10% or less of their journeys, and those will be heavily weighted towards medium distance vacation travel. That means looking at where people want to go, not where they live. In addition to heavily traveled routes between nearby cities, I'd think that looking at routes between population centers and vacation destinations would be very useful. My guess is that for most people who can afford a Tesla, business journeys between cities over 200 miles are generally done by plane, not by driving, and using a Supercharger as part of a normal commute isn't very practical. Holidays, weekends, vacations, etc. are a different matter though. I'd expect a larger fraction of such people will drive on such journeys while taking kids, pets and sports equipment. That also means that the destinations in many cases won't be population centers, e.g. national parks, beaches, skiing, so highway locations, often in out of the way location may make a lot of sense.

    Somewhat off topic - At vacation destinations, it would be very good if there were lots of overnight charging stations. Perhaps there could be some kind of cooperation between the electric car manufacturers, power companies, governments and the hospitality industry to get more level 2 stations in place at tourist destinations.
     
  15. Larry Chanin

    Larry Chanin Model S Perf Sig 1055

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    #15 Larry Chanin, May 23, 2013
    Last edited: May 23, 2013
    David my point is it makes more sense to place Superchargers where owners want to go, not where they live, unless your objective is not to support long distance travel, but rather provide free eletricity to locals.

    As I said, "What is more important is to locate Superchargers strategically on major highways, ideally near the intersection of major highways, and to find suitable hosts that have the necessary amenities located nearby those strategic locations." During the initial build out of the network it is less important, and perhaps counterproductive, to place them in major cities regardless of ownership density .

    No, I find your argument unpersuasive. In particular your funding idea doesn't make sense.

    Let me provide an example to demonstrate the fundamental fallacy of your funding argument. As I mentioned earlier, the Supercharger build out should start in states with high ownership density. So on the East Coast Tesla started their build out in the Northeast along I-95. I fully expect that due to the high ownership density in Florida Tesla will soon start the build out in Florida (as was officially announced earlier) in the South probably also along I-95. Now don't you think its Tesla's objective to build out the Supercharger network up and down the East Coast along I-95? However, isn't it also true also that the ownership density along that route in the Carolinas is low? Does that mean that Tesla should forget about connecting the Northern spur with the Southern spur of the network in North and South Carolina simply because there is less funding supplied from the cities in those states? The answer is no, that would not make sense from a network perspective.

    Tesla is ultimately building a nationwide network. Placing Superchargers preferentially in high density ownership cities without regard to other more important factors, such as strategic locations and suitable amenities, would sub-optimize the overall network build out.

    Larry
     
  16. efusco

    efusco Moderator - Model S & X forums

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    I think your final point is the key one. I guess, being in a rural area that is sorely under served for EV charging infrastructure of ANY kind, my sympathies are for those of us out here. Why don't people in my part of the world buy EVs? B/C just about anywhere we want to go is 200+ miles away. For me I have Memphis, Little Rock, Kansas City, Tulsa and St.Louis all at or close to 200 miles out. While I can reach those places, charging can be challenging and time consuming.

    Where are EVs selling well...in areas that already have developed infrastructure. I guess this is a bit of a chicken & egg arguement, but, to some degree, those of us in low EV density areas need some love too, and early, so that Tesla can snatch up this market segment as well and quash some of the nay-sayers. I had a hell of a trip to Little Rock last weekend that took a degree of planning an patience far greater than the average Joe is going to want to deal with. Throw a supercharger somewhere on the outskirts of that town, or even right downtown and you've made the entire state of Arkansas look a LOT more desirable for potential Model S buyers. Likewise here in Missouri, stick a supercharger just South of St.Louis and just East or West of KC and you've opened up travel opportunities for the entire state as well as for Nebraska, Kansas and ILL. The cars will keep selling, with or without superchargers, in Florida and California, but to spur growth outside those centers you're gonna have to appeal to those of us in the middle of nowhere who really most desperately need the support.
     
  17. gregincal

    gregincal Active Member

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    The biggest rule of thumb is that any supercharger within 50 miles of where you live is useless, and one 50-100 miles from where you live is not ideal. So if there are concentrations of Tesla owners, the superchargers should be located away from the concentrations, not in them. By far the largest concentration of Tesla owners is the San Francisco bay area. How many superchargers are there? Zero, that's how many.
     
  18. 4sevens.com

    4sevens.com Member

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    Larry - ok think about this - there are many more small cities than big cities. especially small cities where there are TWO connecting interstates - a city along the route. perhaps that city doesn't even have ANY S owners. it doesn't make sense to put TWO superchargers to each side of the city rather than in that city - especially when that city is midpoint between two larger cites. You cut the cost in half in this case. This is an extreme case but it actually makes sense for cities with three connecting corridors.

    remember I'm NOT arguing which strategy is BEST... i'm making the case that certain strategies should be deployed FIRST before another. it's a balance and a compromise.

    Ok... take a look at macon GA and augusta - it TOTALLY makes sense to take the city-centric strategy FIRST
    for a city like Atlanta it makes sense to take the between-city strategy FIRST.

    here is an example with a map
    Atlanta, GA to Atlanta, GA - Google Maps

    having a city-centric supercharger in macon enables the atlanta-savannah, atlanta-jacksonville, atlanta-tallahasse trip

    having a city-centric supercharger in august enables atlanta-charleston, atlanta-columbia, atlanta-myrtle beach(South carolina coast) trip

    if you insist on between-city superchargers you just doubled the instructure cost

    see what I mean?

     
  19. efusco

    efusco Moderator - Model S & X forums

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    Again, I understand that logic, but you're not taking into account the current and potential future buyers for which SF is a destination. People want to drive to SF and be able to charge while they're there.

    Perhaps you all are right and that the very earliest roll-out should only be the connecting routes, but don't so quickly dismiss those of us who drive to a location and require a charge when we get there.
     
  20. gregincal

    gregincal Active Member

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    In an ideal world, charging when you're there should be at your hotel. Even otherwise, I want to charge on the freeway before going into the city which should provide me with all the range I need to drive around while there. I don't want to have to find some downtown location to charge.
     

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