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Giving up on buying a Tesla because of the Supercharger situation?

WFU03

Member
May 24, 2021
10
22
Hilton Head, SC
I've had a deposit for a LR RWD Model Y for a while now. At the time I made the reservation, I was sure that Tesla would finally build a Supercharger on I-26 to plug a huge gap in the network. Having seen lots of Supercharger sites go up during this time and no news at all about I-26, I'm starting to think that perhaps doesn't even know there's an issue.

I live in Hilton Head and I routinely travel to Hendersonville, NC. If I plug the route in A Better Route Planner looking at a Tesla vs the competition, I'm losing at least 30-45 minutes if I use a Tesla. The Superchargers are all inconvenient to travel on I-26 and you end up backtracking significantly. In contrast, there is a beautiful CCS plug DC Fast Charger in Irmo, SC that would be perfect to use in any other EV.

At this point, I've basically decided to abandon my Tesla reservation and get a Mach E.

Am I crazy or just reaching a logical conclusion based on what I'm seeing?
 

finman100

Member
Feb 4, 2016
80
91
Albany, OR
plugshare

seems to work a lot more than other EA chargers, per the rating and check-ins. i would worry a bit with the 3rd party fast charging in the non-Tesla world. too few are reliable.

Supercharger network is not perfect for all, so you may have to weigh things differently.

I vote for the Tesla of course and then sending some words out to the Tesla Supercharging team to work on filling in some "awkward" spots.
 

RTPEV

Active Member
Mar 21, 2016
1,030
1,198
Durham, NC
I'm not quite seeing the same results you are. In the Model Y I get a travel time of 5:38, and the Mach-E (Extended Range RWD) of 5:18, so only 20 minutes difference. The DC fast charger is certainly right en route, but the Supercharger stop in Columbia is not "horrible" (although I suppose at certain times of the day it may be worse than others).

It does come down to your personal situation though, your tolerance levels, and your expectations for the future.

I will say this: in 2011 I bought a Nissan LEAF with a CHAdeMO fast charge port and it was over a year before there was even a single CHAdeMO station in all of North Carolina! But eventually they came.

The same can be said about Superchargers. It's not like they aren't continuing to expand the network. There may not be adequate coverage today, but I really wouldn't expect it to stay that way.

Also, is this the only trip you take? Have you benchmarked the Model Y against the Mach-E on other trips? Usually it doesn't work out quite as nicely in favor of non-Tesla vehicles. Of course if this is the only trip you take, then you should highly weigh that. But I would plug in a few other routes in there to help with your decision that you will end up having to live with for several years. My big trip I take somewhat regularly (although still only once or twice a year), the Model Y can make in 15:09 vs. the Mach-E at 16:52, an 11% penalty.

And is 20 extra (or even 40 if we go with your numbers) minutes going to big a big deal for you? Maybe...if you are making this trip once a week and regularly do it practically non-stop, it might be a deal breaker for you.

And finally, I would take reliability and redundancy into consideration as well. Of course Electrify America (and other network providers) will certainly expand over time, but right now that nice juicy CCS charger is a 4-stall site. EA sites are getting better, but it's not uncommon for a unit or two to be out of order. And with only 4 stalls, as more EVs hit the roads, how long until that is saturated, and how quickly will EA be to increase capacity?

These are all things to consider. I'm certainly not trying to talk you into a Model Y or out of a Mach-E, but I would recommend that you take a somewhat bigger picture view of the current and future situation.
 

WFU03

Member
May 24, 2021
10
22
Hilton Head, SC
Do you really think Tesla would build a SC just for your situation. You do know that you can plug a Tesla in at any charger....right.
Of course not. But I'm not the only person traveling that route. In fact, lots of people in Florida go to the NC mountains (or vice versa) via this exact route and would face the same problem I'm describing. I-26 is the main interstate that connects SC with western NC.

And is there a reliable Tesla CCS adaptor? The one mentioned earlier seems to be very hit or miss from the reviews I've seen.
 

RTPEV

Active Member
Mar 21, 2016
1,030
1,198
Durham, NC
plugshare

seems to work a lot more than other EA chargers, per the rating and check-ins. i would worry a bit with the 3rd party fast charging in the non-Tesla world. too few are reliable.

This has been my (somewhat limited) experience. I have had excellent experience with Superchargers, only occasionally finding a stall out of order, or perhaps a bit sluggish, and knock on wood, but never had a site completely full (although I was the 8th out of 8 stalls to pull into a site in March).

My experience with EA sites has been a bit different. Two weeks ago at a 6-stall site in Raleigh, 2 of the chargers did not work. And this past week we stopped at a 4 stall site in Rocky Mount. We had no problem on the way out, although a guy pulled up in a Taycan and had to switch stations (not sure why though). On the way back through we plugged into the exact same charging station and the thing crashed just as we plugged in our vehicle:
1621893485042.png


That basically took that station offline--it went to a Windows logo screen where it sat until we left about 15 minutes later (we had no problem moving over to another stall, but at that point the site was down to 2 usable stalls!)

Hopefully that system sends log files to the EA team to debug. Why the thing didn't automatically reboot, I have no idea. Seems like a very poor design. Hopefully they can get that straightened out.
 

WFU03

Member
May 24, 2021
10
22
Hilton Head, SC
I'm not quite seeing the same results you are. In the Model Y I get a travel time of 5:38, and the Mach-E (Extended Range RWD) of 5:18, so only 20 minutes difference. The DC fast charger is certainly right en route, but the Supercharger stop in Columbia is not "horrible" (although I suppose at certain times of the day it may be worse than others).

It does come down to your personal situation though, your tolerance levels, and your expectations for the future.

I will say this: in 2011 I bought a Nissan LEAF with a CHAdeMO fast charge port and it was over a year before there was even a single CHAdeMO station in all of North Carolina! But eventually they came.

The same can be said about Superchargers. It's not like they aren't continuing to expand the network. There may not be adequate coverage today, but I really wouldn't expect it to stay that way.

Also, is this the only trip you take? Have you benchmarked the Model Y against the Mach-E on other trips? Usually it doesn't work out quite as nicely in favor of non-Tesla vehicles. Of course if this is the only trip you take, then you should highly weigh that. But I would plug in a few other routes in there to help with your decision that you will end up having to live with for several years. My big trip I take somewhat regularly (although still only once or twice a year), the Model Y can make in 15:09 vs. the Mach-E at 16:52, an 11% penalty.

And is 20 extra (or even 40 if we go with your numbers) minutes going to big a big deal for you? Maybe...if you are making this trip once a week and regularly do it practically non-stop, it might be a deal breaker for you.

And finally, I would take reliability and redundancy into consideration as well. Of course Electrify America (and other network providers) will certainly expand over time, but right now that nice juicy CCS charger is a 4-stall site. EA sites are getting better, but it's not uncommon for a unit or two to be out of order. And with only 4 stalls, as more EVs hit the roads, how long until that is saturated, and how quickly will EA be to increase capacity?

These are all things to consider. I'm certainly not trying to talk you into a Model Y or out of a Mach-E, but I would recommend that you take a somewhat bigger picture view of the current and future situation.

Thanks. The time difference might have been due to the settings I selected (higher % needed on arrival) or using the exact addresses.

You make good points though. This is a trip I will routinely take several times a year because we use a vacation home in the mountains, but it will definitely not be weekly.

In general, if I drive to Atlanta (west on I-16), the Supercharger route network is fine or a slight advantage. If I drive north or south on I-95, it's a similar story. Unfortunately, the most common road trip I take is to the mountains along I-26.

I agree on redundancy, but your guess is as good as mine whether EA will expand the number of stalls or Tesla will add a more convenient supercharging location first. Both will likely happen given a long enough time horizon. And Tesla's superchargers that are out of the way for the route don't have a ton of stalls either sadly. The Columbia one only has 8, the Santee one 6, and the Greenville one 8.

Essentially, I'm not thrilled with any of my options.

I wish the Mach E had slightly more cargo capacity and charged slightly faster.
I wish the Model Y I want (RWD) would actually be produced and Tesla would plop a supercharger in Irmo or Clinton.
 

jsight

Member
Apr 5, 2018
793
594
Charleston
This has been my (somewhat limited) experience. I have had excellent experience with Superchargers, only occasionally finding a stall out of order, or perhaps a bit sluggish, and knock on wood, but never had a site completely full (although I was the 8th out of 8 stalls to pull into a site in March).

My experience with EA sites has been a bit different. Two weeks ago at a 6-stall site in Raleigh, 2 of the chargers did not work. And this past week we stopped at a 4 stall site in Rocky Mount. We had no problem on the way out, although a guy pulled up in a Taycan and had to switch stations (not sure why though). On the way back through we plugged into the exact same charging station and the thing crashed just as we plugged in our vehicle:
View attachment 665753

That basically took that station offline--it went to a Windows logo screen where it sat until we left about 15 minutes later (we had no problem moving over to another stall, but at that point the site was down to 2 usable stalls!)

Hopefully that system sends log files to the EA team to debug. Why the thing didn't automatically reboot, I have no idea. Seems like a very poor design. Hopefully they can get that straightened out.
I really want to insult Windows here. Sadly, my last experience with a broken EA charger was with it clearly showing a Linux boot error. I actually called support, and they told me the station was fine. Once I described the error, he attempted a reboot and that didn't work either.

I've had no issues with the one on Harbison, though.
 

jsight

Member
Apr 5, 2018
793
594
Charleston
I've had a deposit for a LR RWD Model Y for a while now. At the time I made the reservation, I was sure that Tesla would finally build a Supercharger on I-26 to plug a huge gap in the network. Having seen lots of Supercharger sites go up during this time and no news at all about I-26, I'm starting to think that perhaps doesn't even know there's an issue.

I live in Hilton Head and I routinely travel to Hendersonville, NC. If I plug the route in A Better Route Planner looking at a Tesla vs the competition, I'm losing at least 30-45 minutes if I use a Tesla. The Superchargers are all inconvenient to travel on I-26 and you end up backtracking significantly. In contrast, there is a beautiful CCS plug DC Fast Charger in Irmo, SC that would be perfect to use in any other EV.

At this point, I've basically decided to abandon my Tesla reservation and get a Mach E.

Am I crazy or just reaching a logical conclusion based on what I'm seeing?
I don't blame you at all. The I26 hole is famous and frustrating. I'm sure the rest of our I26 hole complainers will be by soon to echo that, lol.

Having said that, you have good news coming, I think! Walterboro and St. George are coming soon. In particular, St. George is almost certain to get built this year. Also, as others have pointed out, the CHAdeMO is a great option. Its 2/3rds slower than typical Supercharger speeds, but don't discount that. You will likely still get what you need in less than 30 minutes. Its almost always going to be faster than the detour to Farrow Rd. to hit the supercharger, and there's even another CHAdeMO nearby when the Electrify America station starts to act all EA-like (rare for that station, in my experience).

I'd also add that I'm sure Tesla knows how many of us routinely whine about this and I'm sure they are looking into it. I'd be shocked if this is still an issue 18 months from now.

But you know what? If you can wait, that won't hurt either.
 

WFU03

Member
May 24, 2021
10
22
Hilton Head, SC
I don't blame you at all. The I26 hole is famous and frustrating. I'm sure the rest of our I26 hole complainers will be by soon to echo that, lol.

Having said that, you have good news coming, I think! Walterboro and St. George are coming soon. In particular, St. George is almost certain to get built this year. Also, as others have pointed out, the CHAdeMO is a great option. Its 2/3rds slower than typical Supercharger speeds, but don't discount that. You will likely still get what you need in less than 30 minutes. Its almost always going to be faster than the detour to Farrow Rd. to hit the supercharger, and there's even another CHAdeMO nearby when the Electrify America station starts to act all EA-like (rare for that station, in my experience).

I'd also add that I'm sure Tesla knows how many of us routinely whine about this and I'm sure they are looking into it. I'd be shocked if this is still an issue 18 months from now.

But you know what? If you can wait, that won't hurt either.

I'm glad to know that I'm part of a vibrant I26 hole complainer community!

CHAdeMO seems ok, but, as you mentioned, the Irmo facility only has one stall for CHAdeMO. Considering the error rate, it seems like a recipe for divorce to bank on that.

Walterboro or St. George could be great for the trip back from the mountains, but something on the other side of Columbia would be ideal. Clinton or Newberry would be perfect to get topped up before you head to an area with really poor charging infrastructure.

I don't need a new vehicle right now, but I'm getting antsy. If I saw a Mach E for sale on a dealer's lot, I would probably jump on it at this point. However, Ford seems to be suffering from the same production delays as everyone else, so there are none to be had unless you order and wait.
 
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jsight

Member
Apr 5, 2018
793
594
Charleston
I'm glad to know that I'm part of a vibrant I26 hole complainer community!

CHAdeMO seems ok, but, as you mentioned, the Irmo facility only has one stall for CHAdeMO. Considering the error rate, it seems like a recipe for divorce to bank on that.
There is an EVGo at a spinx station that is a short drive from there too. It is more expensive, but a good backup.

Walterboro or St. George could be great for the trip back from the mountains, but something on the other side of Columbia would be ideal. Clinton or Newberry would be perfect to get topped up before you head to an area with really poor charging infrastructure.
Exactly. I would love for them to add a site in Clinton. It'd be perfect for my use cases too.

I don't need a new vehicle right now, but I'm getting antsy. If I saw a Mach E for sale on a dealer's lot, I would probably jump on it at this point. However, Ford seems to be suffering from the same production delays as everyone else, so there are none to be had unless you order and wait.
I know what you mean. I think they are both pretty great vehicles, IMO. I still prefer the Y, but its really close.
 

Uncle Paul

Well-Known Member
Nov 1, 2013
6,299
7,596
Canyon Lake,CA
San Diego owners used to face a similar issue. There were few options to charge for taking a road trip here, and the few Superchargers (QualComm) were often clogged with a local EV taxi service.

Now there are many Supercharger stations, all over the County that owners can choose from. They rarely are full and provide a great service for visitors and locals as well.

Imagine that the Tesla Supercharger team is well aware of un served routes still in the States and is working hard to roll out more Supercharging stations.
 

MorrisonHiker

Well-Known Member
Mar 8, 2015
10,245
9,971
Colorado
I don't get this. The driving distance is 280 miles. With conservative driving you could make this with NO STOPS. Also, there IS a supercharger 1/2 of the way on your trip in Columbia, SC. I detect some FUD here.
I checked the map and couldn't find any "huge gaps" in South Carolina. If one looks at the western US, you can find many areas with huge gaps larger than the entire state of South Carolina.

I was able to drive over 250 miles without Supercharging in my S90D from Custer, SD to southwestern Nebraska.

For the OP's route, making a quick detour to Santee would only add 11 minutes to the trip. Charging in Columbia could be faster since the battery would be at a lower SoC. Actually, I ran the numbers again and it looks like either Santee or Columbia would both take the same amount of time. ABRP shows that skipping both is possible with reduced speed and a stop in Greenville but that would add another 36 minutes to the trip due to reduced speeds. At least there are alternatives here. Out West, there aren't a lot of other choices but we've still been able to travel all over in our Teslas.

Anyhow, the Supercharger network continues to get better and there are CCS adapters available that allow Teslas to charge at CCS charging stations. Hopefully Tesla will release their own CCS adapter eventually.

A year or so back, we crunched the numbers comparing various Teslas to the Mach-E and at the time, the Mach-E would've cost 3 to 4 times as much for us to do a road trip from Colorado to California. The rates have changed since then but it's still twice the cost to drive a Mach-E on routes we've checked vs. driving a Model Y.
 
Last edited:

CoastalMikey

Member
Jun 15, 2020
30
15
Hilton Head Island, SC
I don't get this. The driving distance is 280 miles. With conservative driving you could make this with NO STOPS. Also, there IS a supercharger 1/2 of the way on your trip in Columbia, SC. I detect some FUD here.
That is not possible with elevation changes with no intermediate stop from HHI. Last time I drove up to Asheville, it was a stop in Santee then Greenville. The supercharger in Columbia is also detour on I77 and it is always full.
 

finman100

Member
Feb 4, 2016
80
91
Albany, OR
always full? that sounds a little hard to believe. like 24/7/365 full or just once in awhile?

The CCS adapters so far have been...hot, to say the least. no thanks using something that fire-y on my Tesla.

Chademo (using the Tesla approved adapter) is woefully slow and i've been down that road for "fast" charging (2014 Leaf). not even close to reliable to count on the few Chademo outlets.

Yes, the Supercharger network currently isn't absolutely perfect. and the EA network even further from perfect. fast charging will get there. There's no way I'd even consider other than a Tesla for long distance EV travel. But i don't drive I-26 either, haha. My "out west" Superchargers are filling out nicely. Too slow a roll-out but it IS happening. Sometimes 12-20 stalls at a time! Most 250kW chargers are installed 8 at a time since more thruput (cars charge for 15 min and go) is expected as more Teslas get on the EV road trip.

It's all good. my opinion. YOMV (your opinion may vary)
 

WFU03

Member
May 24, 2021
10
22
Hilton Head, SC
I don't get this. The driving distance is 280 miles. With conservative driving you could make this with NO STOPS. Also, there IS a supercharger 1/2 of the way on your trip in Columbia, SC. I detect some FUD here.

What CoastalMikey said. Driving from the coast (at sea level) to the mountains makes this impossible.

Also, what is FUD?
 
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