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How to Supercharge a Tesla Semi

This article might have been already posted, but just in case I found it quite interesting:

How to Supercharge a Tesla Semi

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Randy Spencer

Supercharger Hunter
Mar 31, 2016
4,316
4,816
Alameda, CA
@Watts_Up, as I posted in the CyberTruck thread I thought I would repeat here for those that missed it.

I have noticed that some new V3 Superchargers seem to have this island of 8 chargers, 4 back to back, that are set up away from the rest of the chargers. I think this might be for charging Semis until the Megachargers start to open. You could pull your Semi into this parking lot (this is the unopened San Jose Supercharger) and plug in 4 250 kW plugs giving you a Megawatt charger. Don't worry about unhooking the trailer, you are not blocking more chargers than you need.

467bc184-5f97-4392-977b-b2e51bfd8d2d_1_105_c-jpeg.520365


I said in that thread that Elon specified the CyberTruck would allow 250kW+ charging (information on what the + means was not forthcoming) and wondered if this was some similar trick where the 500 mile range cT could plug into two chargers and charge at 500kW. Others nixed my idea, but it would help get the cT back on the road in a timeframe similar to the Model 3. Just like the Semi, each battery pack could be fed by a single supercharger cord...
 
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AMPd

Well-Known Member
Nov 27, 2012
5,005
5,328
Northern California
@Watts_Up, as I posted in the CyberTruck thread I thought I would repeat here for those that missed it.

I have noticed that some new V3 Superchargers seem to have this island of 8 chargers, 4 back to back, that are set up away from the rest of the chargers. I think this might be for charging Semis until the Megachargers start to open. You could pull your Semi into this parking lot (this is the unopened San Jose Supercharger) and plug in 4 250 kW plugs giving you a Megawatt charger. Don't worry about unhooking the trailer, you are not blocking more chargers than you need.

467bc184-5f97-4392-977b-b2e51bfd8d2d_1_105_c-jpeg.520365


I said in that thread that Elon specified the CyberTruck would allow 250kW+ charging (information on what the + means was not forthcoming) and wondered if this was some similar trick where the 500 mile range cT could plug into two chargers and charge at 500kW. Others nixed my idea, but it would help get the cT back on the road in a timeframe similar to the Model 3. Just like the Semi, each battery pack could be fed by a single supercharger cord...
No chance that’s for a semi, you really think the property owners or the store owners would want semis coming through the parking lot blocking cars? Also navigating that with a trailer would be highly risky.
 

EVSteve

110% Solar Powered
Jul 14, 2014
385
436
Davenport, FL
No chance that’s for a semi, you really think the property owners or the store owners would want semis coming through the parking lot blocking cars? Also navigating that with a trailer would be highly risky.
Risky why exactly? The picture hardly shows what the layout is. Are you a truck driver? I am and I can say his theory is very possible. I pull in to small parking lots all the time. Given all the cameras surrounding the cab on the prototypes I see no issue backing in a 53' here from the limited photos.

If anything I would disregard the possibility due to the complexity of plugging multiple cables into the appropriate pairs to create a mega charger. More links create more resistance. If Tesla wanted to make the consumer version of the truck this complicated to charge then why did they not utilize multiple ports in the past? The early gen Model-S with dual onboard chargers for example. They could have upped the L2 output by having a second charge port on the passenger side (Sharing two Chargepoint 6.2 kW posts for example back before superchargers were even an idea).

I don't see Tesla selling the Semi with a 4 cable junction box. If anything a separate pedestal with one plug but tied into the existing array via underground conduit to a junction would be the method. When in use it would be similar to the current shared pair method. 4 car SC plugs would be limited until the semi began to taper or vice versa.
 

AMPd

Well-Known Member
Nov 27, 2012
5,005
5,328
Northern California
Risky why exactly? The picture hardly shows what the layout is. Are you a truck driver? I am and I can say his theory is very possible. I pull in to small parking lots all the time. Given all the cameras surrounding the cab on the prototypes I see no issue backing in a 53' here from the limited photos.

If anything I would disregard the possibility due to the complexity of plugging multiple cables into the appropriate pairs to create a mega charger. More links create more resistance. If Tesla wanted to make the consumer version of the truck this complicated to charge then why did they not utilize multiple ports in the past? The early gen Model-S with dual onboard chargers for example. They could have upped the L2 output by having a second charge port on the passenger side (Sharing two Chargepoint 6.2 kW posts for example back before superchargers were even an idea).

I don't see Tesla selling the Semi with a 4 cable junction box. If anything a separate pedestal with one plug but tied into the existing array via underground conduit to a junction would be the method. When in use it would be similar to the current shared pair method. 4 car SC plugs would be limited until the semi began to taper or vice versa.
Risky because it’s clearly a parking lot designed for cars, do you not see the clearly painted parking spots? It doesn’t take a truck driver to know that maneuvering a 65+ foot vehicle in that lot would be risky.
 
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Randy Spencer

Supercharger Hunter
Mar 31, 2016
4,316
4,816
Alameda, CA
I don't see Tesla selling the Semi with a 4 cable junction box.
I figure when the Semi comes out it's gonna be like when the Roadster came out. Lots of people looking for places to charge. Since there won't be Megachargers on day one (likely anyway) I thought an adapter might be exactly what they come up with, or even multiple places to plug supercharger cables into the semi, but they are pretty short, that's why I thought it would be an adapter to reach 4 V3 chargers to get the Megacharger output. I know there aren't a lot of V3 chargers yet, but they are being built, which is more than I can say for the semi
 

EVSteve

110% Solar Powered
Jul 14, 2014
385
436
Davenport, FL
Risky because it’s clearly a parking lot designed for cars, do you not see the clearly painted parking spots? It doesn’t take a truck driver to know that maneuvering a 65+ foot vehicle in that lot would be risky.

Clearly painted parking spots? That retort alone tells me you've never been in nor driven a Semi. We park along rows all the time doing store deliveries as well as when we visit stores in our rigs. I presume you must be under the impression truckers buy everything they need from truck stops? I see RVs and pickup trucks towing boats do the same thing we do with our rigs. When a driver delivers to a store do you think they always just go straight from the dock to a truck stop? Know anything about federal DOT HOS regulations or E-Logs? I doubt it. A decent driver can fit a 65+ foot truck in any location with the dimensions to fit the vehicle doing a 45, 90, 180, whatever it takes.
 
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AMPd

Well-Known Member
Nov 27, 2012
5,005
5,328
Northern California
Clearly painted parking spots? That retort alone tells me you've never been in nor driven a Semi. We park along rows all the time doing store deliveries as well as when we visit stores in our rigs. I presume you must be under the impression truckers buy everything they need from truck stops? I see RVs and pickup trucks towing boats do the same thing we do with our rigs. When a driver delivers to a store do you think they always just go straight from the dock to a truck stop? Know anything about federal DOT HOS regulations or E-Logs? I doubt it. A decent driver can fit a 65+ foot truck in any location with the dimensions to fit the vehicle. 45, 90, 180, whatever it takes.
I was talking about this specific location, look at the parking lot in the photo, no way you’re pulling up in a semi with a trailer to that.
I know a lot about trucks, I’m a fleet manager at a trucking company. And yes I know about HOS regulations, what does that have to do with the fact that this specific location is not designed for a semi?
 

adiggs

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Sep 25, 2012
5,646
19,838
Portland, OR
I was talking about this specific location, look at the parking lot in the photo, no way you’re pulling up in a semi with a trailer to that.
I know a lot about trucks, I’m a fleet manager at a trucking company. And yes I know about HOS regulations, what does that have to do with the fact that this specific location is not designed for a semi?

I hardly have extensive supercharger charging experience, but I have been on an 1800 mile round trip Oregon to New Mexico, along with using many / most of the superchargers in the vicinity here in Oregon. Say 20 different superchargers? Roughly none of them are usable on anything more than an extreme exception basis, and most aren't usable even in an extreme exception.

An easy example is the Wilsonville supercharger. It's in a parking lot shared by 2 restaurants. A UPS delivery van can get in and out of that lot with some difficulty, with the corners getting a bit tight. Its would block people into their parking spots while the driver is running the package in, but that wouldn't be for long.

If the parking lot was empty, I'm sure a skilled driver could get a tractor trailer in and out of the parking lot. But otherwise you're only getting in and out by running over cars parked in the lot. And over curbs / islands.

And none of that addresses the actual charging at that location. If you had it exclusively to yourself, then yeah - you might get just the right angle between islands and the end of the lot (the chargers are in the back corner of this parking lot, and it's maybe 20 or 30 total spots) and be able to connect two of the chargers. That end of the parking lot will be unusable by any other Teslas to charge, as well as unusable for most of the customers of those two restaurants, as well as chasing many other potential customers off because they don't want their cars dinged / smashed by a tractor trailer trying to get out of a parking lot it clearly wasn't designed to be in (or blocking the semi in while they're sitting down for a meal).


That particular site is particular 'tough' (unusable), but that's hardly the exception. Beyond physically connecting the truck to 2-4 superchargers, you have ingress / egress to the superchargers. You have the problem of existing Teslas occupying chargers in such a way that you can't get to any or enough to get the truck charged. You have the problem of getting hooked up and blocking so many chargers that you create a queue of people waiting to charge when there are unused chargers available - they just can't be used because there's a big vehicle occupying 4-16 slots (thinking of Centralia now - 20ish slots in 2 rows - a semi would take one side or the other, and might also block access / usage of the other side of that lot). I'm sure that a driver would be able to back the trailer out of that lot which they would have to do (and assuming there's enough room to back and turn the trailer - I'm pretty sure there is).

Vancouver, WA would be relatively easy - it's 6 chargers each on 2 sides of a corner of a Fred Meyer lot. One side would be pretty easy to drive into and eat all 6 slots, however many the truck would actually connect. Assuming of course that none of them are in use (even 1 will block the truck out until it's unused). Probably also block 1 or 2 of the slots on the other side, but it'd work. When done charging, relatively easy to back the truck and then run forward as long as nobody had parked in the regular spots near the supercharger. Pretty crazy additional corner to make (180) coming out, but I think that'd be pretty doable by using both sides of the turn and road - seems like people are pretty understanding and helpful.

And even when they are accessible, after all that work getting your truck in, you'll frequently find yourself in the back of a parking lot at a hotel with a 10 minute walk to a neighboring mall for food and bathroom. And in the middle of a night, when it's the best time to make use of these superchargers due to empty parking lots, you'll also run into sites where the bathrooms and food are closed at that time of the day.

And that supercharger photo that started this particular conversation - it doesn't show the rest of the parking lot, but that looks like one of the easier superchargers to use with a tractor-trailer.


Superchargers are hard enough for Model X's pulling a trailer. My own experience with pulling a utility trailer (Vancouver SC again) is that most of the time, most days, the process is to pull into a nearby parking space and drop the trailer, head over to the charger to get charged up, then go back to pick up the trailer. Is that even reasonably doable for a semi and a single person? And something you'd care to repeat every few hours or even twice a day of driving??


The Supercharger network isn't a solution for Semi. It's a hack / temporary solution Tesla is using while they're testing the semi - nothing more. It's not usable by a total installed base of 1's or 10's of trucks, much less regular usage for actual income producing business. If for no other reason, the disruption to other users of the SC plus the businesses that are hosting the SCs.
 

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