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Dumb question about Superchargers

Discussion in 'Model S: Battery & Charging' started by Boatguy, Mar 20, 2016.

  1. Boatguy

    Boatguy Member

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    I'm contemplating a purchase and getting up the learning curve on the Tesla. From the photos I see, it looks like there is one supercharger for each two parking stalls, with only one cable per charger post. Is that correct, or is it just difficult to see two cables on the post in the photos?

    So bottom line, if there are 5 posts and 10 stalls, how many cars can charge concurrently?
     
  2. mikeash

    mikeash Active Member

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    There is one pedestal per parking stall, and one cable per parking stall. All cars in Supercharger parking spaces can plug in and charge simultaneously. There isn't a case where there are 10 spots and only 5 pedestals; perhaps you missed some detail in whatever you've seen.

    If you've been reading the forums you may have seen mention of Supercharger pairing. While each parking space has its own pedestal, the back-end charging equipment is shared by each pair of pedestals. The back-end equipment can put out 90-135kW of power (depending on the equipment, newer installations are more powerful) and the first car to plug in gets what it wants. If a second car plugs in to that pair, it gets the remains.

    If you pull up to a Supercharger with several open spaces then you want to avoid ones which are paired to ones in use. The pedestals are typically numbered 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, etc., and the A/Bs for each number are paired. However, you will still be able to charge, it just affects your speed. And even then, it only affects your speed until the other guy tapers off or leaves.
     
  3. HankLloydRight

    HankLloydRight Fluxing

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    That's just an optical illusion. The SC stalls themselves are "off center" of the parking spaces. If a SC location has 6 stalls, 6 cars can charge at the same time (6 parking spots). Each SC stall has only one cable which charges the car directly to the left parking spot (looking at the stalls).
     
  4. wraithnot

    wraithnot Model S VIN #5785

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    #4 wraithnot, Mar 20, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2016
    image.jpg image.jpg
    Each parking spot has it's own plug and all cars that are plugged in can charge simultaneously. The only complicated thing is how much power each car gets.

    The top photo is the Cheyenne Wyoming supercharger in early 2015- the pedestals don't really do anything other than hold the plug when not in use. All the actually charging hardware is behind the wooden enclosure in the upper right of the photo (some locations have the hardware in a more visible location).

    From a New York Times interview we know that the originally version of the hardware had a stack of twelve 10 kW chargers identical to the onboard 10 kW chargers in the car. This stack of chargers is shared between two different plugs (e.g. Plug 2A and plug 2B) and up to 9 of these chargers could be connected to one plug (for up to 90 kW). The other plug would only get connected to 3 of the 12 chargers and thus max out at 30 kW until the first car either unplugs or its battery fills up enough that it would request less than full power. The supercharging hardware automatically figures out which individual 10 kW chargers to connect to which of the two plugs. The first of the two cars to plug in gets as much power as it requests and the second car gets the remainder of the chargers.

    The second photo is of the Barstow station in 2013. They have since added more charging stalls, a canopy with solar panels, and stationary batteries. Each plug can also now put out up to 120 kW. If you plug into stall 2A while a car in stall 2B is pulling 120 kW then you only get 15 kW until the first car either unplugs or starts drawing less power.
     
  5. Boatguy

    Boatguy Member

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    Sounds like the answer is half way in between. Yes, there are 10 cables for 10 cars, but there is not full power for 10 cars, so choose your stall carefully (except in Barstow and probably some other updated SCs).

    So is there anyway to know if you are sharing or not? Did they renumber those stalls in Barstow so they were sequential rather than 1a/1b, 2a/2b, ... ?
     
  6. wraithnot

    wraithnot Model S VIN #5785

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    Almost all the Supercharger locations I've visited have the stalls labeled. 1A is paired with 1B, 2A is paired with 2B, 3A is paired with 3B, etc. Even the newest locations can't give full power simultaneously to both stalls sharing a charger stack so pairing is important. A few locations have an odd number of stalls with one stall that is unpaired. If the supercharger is completely empty then all stalls are equivalent. If there is only one empty stall then obviously you should take that one. If there are other cars charging and multiple empty stalls then look at the labels and pick one that is paired with an empty stall. If all the empty stalls are paired with full stalls then you can 1) plug into each empty stall, observe the max power you get, and go back to the highest powered stall that hasn't been snapped up by another car while you were moving about, 2) pull into a stall and ask any other owners near their cars if the know which car has been there the longest and pick the stall paired with the car that has been there the longest, or 3) plug into the first open stall you see and go to lunch while the supercharging hardware sorts things out.

    One thing that is very useful is to monitor the amps and/or power you are getting to make sure that things are working properly. You can do this both through the displays in the car and through the smartphone app. I wish our i3 did this.
     

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