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Hanging supercharger cable when supercharger still working

I ran into an interesting situation this past Sunday. I was on the way home on a road trip, when I got to the Wytheville, VA, supercharger. There were only two spots available, 1B and 2A. It's a V2 supercharger, so I was going to be sharing current, no matter which spot I chose. I was about to back into the 1B spot when the driver of the car in 1A walked by on the way into the hotel, and waved at me. He pointed out that the cable on 1B was hung up over the supercharger, which is the agreed-upon sign that a stall isn't working. I thanked him and pulled into 2A. Sure enough, I was sharing current and was charging at around 69 kW. (I had a reasonable low SOC in the teens, and had been driving for hours and pre-conditioning.)

About 5 minutes later, the driver in 1A leaves, and so I decide to move over to his spot, so I don't have to share power. Just for run, and because 1A is flush with a fence, I backed into 1B and plug in. It immediately starts charging, and quickly ramps up to 140 kW. So, I stay and finish my charge at the supposedly-broken stall.

I see three possibilities as to how that cable got hung as if the stall was down.
  1. Someone plugged in, but there was a temporary malfunction and they couldn't charge, or were charging slowly. So, they wanted to be nice and hung the cable to warn others.
  2. The person in stall 1A hung the cable of the stall next to him, so he could wave people off and wouldn't have to share power.
  3. Someone who charged earlier in stall 1A the cable of stall 1B, so they could wave people off and wouldn't have to share power. The current 1A charger thought he was being nice to warn me.
I experienced something similar on another road trip earlier this year.I pulled into the Lake Charles, LA, supercharger to find three Teslas, one in every other stall, and two cars waiting. I talked to both of the waiting drivers, and they said the charging drivers had told them the open stalls were not working. I didn't suspect anything, but I asked both of those waiting if they minded if I tried one of the open stalls, because I still had a long way to go to get to my hotel that evening. They both agreed to let me try, and I plugged in beside one of the charging cars. Stall started right up, and I charged for 15 minutes at approximately 70 kW and was on my way.

I hate to be suspicious, but I'm beginning to think that it's always worth trying a hung cable, if it's beside a charging car and there's no other option.
 
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LoudMusic

Active Member
Jul 21, 2020
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1,800
Arkansas
People are selfish buttheads. I think your suspicions are bang-on.

I actually had the exact opposite experience a while back. I was at a V2 location by myself and I parked in 1B, hoping to visibly encourage people to not park in 1A but rather further down and not share power. A guy rolls up and immediately backs into 1A. I caught him as he was getting out of his car and explained the V2 power sharing thing but he was on his phone and ignored me and plugged in. Sure enough, power drops from ~145kw down to ~65kw. I said "Dude?" and motioned at his dash. Another minute went by and he was off the phone and said "I thought they upgraded all of them to the new stuff" and moved his car.

Plenty of other times I've approached a V2 where each stall pair had one car parked. I played roulette and guessed which one was closest to being done and plugged in next to them. Then within a minute or two one of the other cars drives away.

I go back to - Tesla needs to give an on-screen suggestion of which stall to plug in to. They have live data on how much current each stall is delivering and how soon each of the cars will be done. There's no reason to enforce which one you choose, but having information as to best results would be really great. There's hundreds of V2 locations out there and they're all becoming more busy.
 

RTPEV

Active Member
Mar 21, 2016
1,632
2,169
Durham, NC
I've always felt uncomfortable with the whole "hanging cable" thing. I know (some) people are trying to be helpful, but there is just too much that can go wrong: temporary issues that might be addressed remotely; misdiagnosis by inexperienced drivers; and I hadn't even thought that people were selfish enough to abuse it, but there you go.

I know that Tesla is all about minimalism, but sometimes a status indicator is not a bad idea.
 

LoudMusic

Active Member
Jul 21, 2020
1,491
1,800
Arkansas
I've always felt uncomfortable with the whole "hanging cable" thing. I know (some) people are trying to be helpful, but there is just too much that can go wrong: temporary issues that might be addressed remotely; misdiagnosis by inexperienced drivers; and I hadn't even thought that people were selfish enough to abuse it, but there you go.

I know that Tesla is all about minimalism, but sometimes a status indicator is not a bad idea.

And it would be so easy to add that status indicator on the car's screen.
 
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RTPEV

Active Member
Mar 21, 2016
1,632
2,169
Durham, NC
And it would be so easy to add that status indicator on the car's screen.

Yes, although if they are going to add it to the UI, I would like them to take the next logical step as you have described and actually recommend which stall to plug into.

For non-Tesla drivers (in the era of CCS-enabled sites), they would probably need to enable it in the app as well.

Enabling it in the app and/or vehicle does open up a can of worms, however. Since stall status would be queryable over an API that the app/vehicle uses, this may expose availability data that Tesla may not want to be made public. Of course this data may already be available (not sure how accurate it is as it relates to supposedly "down" stalls), and some other networks like EA offer this type of data (although it is laughably inaccurate). But Tesla has gone to lengths in the past to hide stall usage data. I bet they would be even more sensitive to having their stall uptime data being readily available.
 
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LoudMusic

Active Member
Jul 21, 2020
1,491
1,800
Arkansas
Yes, although if they are going to add it to the UI, I would like them to take the next logical step as you have described and actually recommend which stall to plug into.

For non-Tesla drivers (in the era of CCS-enabled sites), they would probably need to enable it in the app as well.

Enabling it in the app and/or vehicle does open up a can of worms, however. Since stall status would be queryable over an API that the app/vehicle uses, this may expose availability data that Tesla may not want to be made public. Of course this data may already be available (not sure how accurate it is as it relates to supposedly "down" stalls), and some other networks like EA offer this type of data (although it is laughably inaccurate). But Tesla has gone to lengths in the past to hide stall usage data. I bet they would be even more sensitive to having their stall uptime data being readily available.

They could make the data only become present when you are within a couple minutes of completing a route to the location using in-car navigation. A perk of owning a Tesla and using Superchargers which non-Teslas wouldn't get, and which Teslas wouldn't get using non-Supercharger DC fast charging.
 

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