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Help with charger contention

Discussion in 'Model S: Battery & Charging' started by bob_p, Aug 15, 2017.

  1. bob_p

    bob_p Active Member

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    As the number of Tesla vehicles starts increasing significantly over the next year, we'll likely see more public charger contention - at both the destination chargers and superchargers.

    Tesla could help considerably in managing this through new features added to the Tesla smartphone app (and the console display?).

    Based on location, Tesla knows that a vehicle is currently charging and at the specific charging location. While they may not be able to tell a specific station or charger, they have enough data to know that the vehicle is connected to and currently using one of the chargers located there.

    With destination chargers, the location may have a combination of HPWC, J1772 and/or 14-50 charging spots. Superchargers have multiple chargers and A/B charging spots.

    When a driver approaches a charging location and discovers all usable chargers are currently being used by Tesla vehicles, they could bring up the app, indicate they need charging and ask to be notified when a charger becomes available.

    When someone is waiting, and one of the vehicles currently charging at the location is finished, that owner would then be notified via smartphone that their charging session has finished and that someone is waiting to use a charger, recommending they move their vehicle to free up their charging spot.

    And when one of the vehicles that was charging is disconnected and moved, anyone waiting at that location would then be notified a charging spot may be available.

    This would have helped us considerably last weekend. We selected a hotel on our trip specifically because they had two Tesla-capable charging spots (HPWC and J1772). When we arrived at the hotel late, with less than 20% of charge, we found that both spots were taken by Tesla cars. We had assumed we'd be able to fully recharge overnight - which didn't appear likely because there wasn't any way to notify the drivers/owners of those two cars that someone was waiting for their chargers. In the morning, both of those cars were fully charged, and I was able to disconnect the J1772 adapter from one of the cars and get an hour's worth of charging (20 miles) before we had to leave the hotel.

    If Tesla had provided some support with the app or smartphone, and notified both of the drivers/owners of the cars that were charging - that someone was waiting for the charger, it's possible one of those drivers might have disconnected earlier - and allowed us to get more of a charge.

    This is going to happen more frequently - and Tesla could help considerably by adding this small feature to their smartphone app, and possibly also into the car's charging app.

    We're planning to visit the same hotel next weekend on another road trip, and we'll plan to stay longer at the last supercharger to have enough charge to ensure we can reach the next supercharger, even if we can't recharge at the hotel overnight. Though if we're doing that, it someone defeats the entire reason for staying at a destination charger hotel!

    Can Tesla help us and other Tesla owners by adding this feature???
     
    • Like x 1
  2. Rluebke

    Rluebke New Member

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    Nice post - I very much agree. We recently took a 1,300 mile round trip from Oregon to California in our Model S, alternating between Superchargers during the trip and hotel destination chargers in the evenings. To your point our trips were planned on being able to charge at these locations, and if there are issues with the chargers being ICE'd, out of service, or taken by other EV's then that makes trip planning difficult.

    We decided to Supercharge with enough margin that if the hotel did not have working or available chargers, we could still make it to the next Supercharger on the remaining charge. It turns out we didn't need to worry about that on this trip, but better be safe...

    We did stay at a major brand name hotel for 3 nights in Silicon Valley - we chose it because it had a Tesla destination charger and a ClipperCreek J1772 on property. Given how much contention occurs in that area at the Superchargers I was hoping to be able to charge at the hotel but was worried about the contention at the hotel too. The hotel's attitude was as long as you access the parking lot with your room key that gets you access to the chargers, with no other overt policing policies. It worked out that we were the only Tesla those days using the Tesla connection, but a series of other EV's used the J1772 adjacent. I assumed there would be other Tesla's so monitored my charge sessions with the App and promptly moved the car at the end of the session.

    I foresee a repeat of what happened to hotels with Wifi in the early 2000's. Travelers began arriving asking for WiFi in their rooms. The forward thinking hotels installed Wifi and began to get increased occupancies. Hotels that began losing occupancy, and who figured out why, also added Wifi until by around 2005-6 WiFi became ubiquitous. I think EV chargers will follow a similar route.

    Just like WiFi, hotels will want to make sure EV chargers are being used by their patrons, so like with WiFi, they will want to use an App where you enter your name and room number to activate the charger. In the future that capability could be linked to your reservation, assigning you a charger, and notify you to please move your vehicle when charging finishes so another patron can use the charger.

    Tesla could help hotels enable this for their joint customers big time through their destination charging network. Your Tesla knows when it connects to an HPWC, can use GPS to know where you are, and that could integrate with the hotel property management software to do all the things you identified. All this is possible - I'm hoping Tesla is thinking about it and working with the hotels on it as part of their destination charging program.
     
  3. KJD

    KJD Supporting Member

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    bob, did you talk to the Hotel front desk about the problem? I have read in other threads that Tesla has in the past provided up to 3 HPWC's to locations willing to install them . Maybe if the question were posed in the right tone you could get that hotel to expand the number of destination chargers available. Just a thought for when you go back next time.

     
  4. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Well-Known Member

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    Initial contention at Superchargers might increase, but more cars should in fact mean _less_ contention.

    More sales
    => more funding.
    => more chargers
    => more complete coverage
    => focus shifts from coverage to capacity
    => more appropriate capacity

    Also note that Model 3 owners will not get free-at-point-of-use so charging will become more appropriate overall.
     
  5. Electric700

    Electric700 Active Member

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    Very good suggestions Bob_p. You might want to contact [email protected] about them.
     
  6. sorka

    sorka Active Member

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    There have been numerous discussions in the past on how Tesla can use big data to manage usage of the SC network. Factoring in current tesla locations, destination, route, weather, historical trends(holidays, special events, etc), to know each site utilization in advance hours, days, or even weeks in advance. Combined with real time notifications from the nav, such as estimated waits, which stalls to avoid if some are not working right, to alternate routes when another path would be faster than waiting in line 20 minutes at that SC that's really crowded. Better app notifications, virtual lines, etc so you don't have to actually wait in a line. i.e. you have a 30 minute wait, but you can park and you'll get a 5 minute notice when you're spot is going to open up.
     
  7. cpa

    cpa Active Member

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    This might be a tough nut to crack to keep us all happy and informed. Tesla is increasing density along heavily-traveled routes. Let's consider Interstate 5 from Los Angeles north.

    Tejon Ranch (10); Bakersfield (10); Buttonwillow (10); Harris Ranch (13--is this correct?); Gustine (12); plus Kettleman City (40) coming on line in the next 4-6 months (guessing here) for a total of 95 charging stations over an approximate 250-mile stretch of highway. Then you factor in departure or destination. Finally, battery sizes from the Model S 60 up to the M3 Long-Range vary in available distance from ~190 miles (factoring in degradation) to ~300. And Ohmman towing his trailer with his Model X likely only has about 120 miles of range available (!).

    I live 3 1/2 miles from the Fresno Supercharger. I drive by a few times per week. I do not stop.

    I just think that there are too many variables that might skew the data that is reported to drivers to determine where and when to stop.

    Now, estimated waits and notifications for those waiting are grand ideas. Stalls to avoid due to limited power is a good thing too. Heavy usage tendencies are worthy. But to try to analyze driving habits and such to me is something that is nearly insoluble.

    And we know how well Tesla performs when it comes to writing novel software applications. The trip planning and the navigation routing have not been fixed to my knowledge--they are still rather primitive and ineffective.
     
  8. Missile Toad

    Missile Toad Member

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    For now contention is improbable (YMMV). Certainly a problem that can grow, and might be acute during special events and holidays. Probably, until a technology solution comes along, some human steps are possible.
    1. Call ahead to the hotel to indicate your late arrival;
    2. Encourage hotel to deploy traffic cones... maybe that will get Tesla early arrivals to indicate to the front desk that the cone was replaced with 1 of 3 Tesla's expected that night;
    3. Get receptionist to urge the early birds to make way at some time (after 4 hours charging)... as a courtesy to an expected late arriving Tesla.​

    As always, those who are most experienced can establish habits/norms for the recent purchasers. I can do better myself... and will leave some kind of placard in the front window.
    "Will make way for other EVs after 8:30PM but before 10:40PM. Text me if you need some juice."​

    Incidentally, has anyone tried the iPhone Tesla App to unlock the charging port from a distance? This is a beauty of a feature, that makes it possible to grant cable access once you are in your pajamas, and your hair is in curlers.
     
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  9. gsteele

    gsteele Member

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    As a matter of courtesy, I always leave a note on my dash with my cell phone number on it when I'm charging at a hotel's destination charger. It says to call me if you need the charger. So far nobody has called.
     
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  10. bob_p

    bob_p Active Member

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    I checked the license plates on the two Tesla cars that were parked at the hotel charging overnight - and both were registered to out of town owners, so they were most likely hotel guests, and we just had the bad luck of being at the hotel when two other guests also brought Tesla cars. The hotel already has parking cones and signs to help keep the spaces open - and since the cars were used by guests, there's nothing the hotel could have done at that point to help us. Though I will let them know about the issue, so if it happens often, they should consider adding more charging.

    The smartphone app feature shouldn't be too difficult for Tesla to implement - since they already have all of the data.

    I suspect this is going to happen more often as the number of Model 3's on the road increases. Statistically, you'll have periods of peak loads at all chargers, when there will be people waiting - either at superchargers or destination chargers. And, having the smartphone app help to remind people to move their cars when there is someone waiting would be a very useful service, and then notifying the waiting owners that a charger may be available.
     

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