TMC is an independent, primarily volunteer organization that relies on ad revenue to cover its operating costs. Please consider whitelisting TMC on your ad blocker and becoming a Supporting Member. For more info: Support TMC

Idle fee scam?

Discussion in 'Supercharging & Charging Infrastructure' started by Nornagest, Oct 28, 2019.

  1. Nornagest

    Nornagest Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2018
    Messages:
    34
    Location:
    Manassas
    Just a heads up but there seems to be an odd wrinkle with idle fees going on.

    So I was charging two days back at a busy charger and when I arrived, it automatically put my limit at 80%. My need was great so I upped the limit a bit, sat back to let ‘er charge. After a while I noticed that the car was no longer charging, and the 80% limit had been re-imposed. I set it back up and charged a bit longer. After a bit, I left.

    Got a note this morning that I was being assessed idle fees, but because it was my first time they’d wave it. I thought this couldn’t be right so I called Tesla. Sure enough, the fees incurred even though I never left the car nor charged it all the way, but because they reset the charge limit a second time. The car stopped charging long enough to incur fines before I even noticed.

    This seems like an odd situation, and one I’d have thought Tesla would not want to get involved with, resetting charge limits after you’ve already gone past those limits. The guy I talked to seemed to be aware that this could be a problem but seemed reluctant to pass the word up the line. Kinda got the impression Tesla isn’t a hurry to fix this, and it occurred to me that maybe this is a feature and not a bug, yet another way Tesla is encouraging people to not linger at the supercharger. If so it’s a sleazy one.

    So word to the wise. Also be interested to hear if this has happened to anyone else.
     
    • Informative x 1
  2. Zaxxon

    Zaxxon Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2012
    Messages:
    3,820
    Location:
    Colorado
    I have changed my limit from 80% to 100% at high-usage stations several times but have never had it drop back to 80 on me.
     
  3. jmaddr

    jmaddr Member

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2019
    Messages:
    237
    Location:
    Florida
    Same here, so hoping this is not a new thing. Thanks for posting @Nornagest , I’ll keep an eye out.
     
  4. Uncle Paul

    Uncle Paul Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2013
    Messages:
    3,634
    Location:
    Canyon Lake,CA
    Tesla has instituted a 80% max for people at busy chargers. This is intended to keep people from hoging all the spots, for extended times, just to get that last bit of juice.
    Hard to justify one person sitting an extra 20 minutes to get that last couple %, while a guy, with his family, wait in a line to get some juice to get them home.

    I know people pride themselves on doing the 100% work around, but that just makes the experience so much worse for people waiting in line.
     
    • Like x 1
  5. cucubits

    cucubits Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2019
    Messages:
    797
    Location:
    TX
    I can see this becoming a real issue in the near future. I think Tesla is selling cars way faster than extending the supercharger network. At one point things will get too crowded...
     
  6. Puddles

    Puddles Member

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2017
    Messages:
    234
    Location:
    Fresno, CA
    Idle fees assessed when there are spaces available is a flat out cash grab. They claim that supercharging is never to be a profit center, but that’s an indefensible argument if they’re assessed when no one is waiting.

    I am in full support of a policy that discourages bad behavior at superchargers. Heck, make the idle fee a flat $500 if you leave your car full at a 100% occupied charge station. But if there’s no harm, there should be no foul.
     
    • Disagree x 4
    • Like x 2
  7. cpa

    cpa Active Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2014
    Messages:
    2,603
    Location:
    Central Valley
    I'm not convinced that idle fees assessed at a 75% occupied Supercharger are a cash grab. Tesla collects peanuts on these charges yet spends billions each quarter.

    I do not think that waiting has anything to do with this policy. Conventional 150kW Superchargers split the available current between two vehicles, as you already know. I think the intent is to keep the line moving. This will increase the availability of an unpaired stall becoming available thereby reducing charging time for the new arrival. I also think that this is a modest attempt at behavior modification.

    Fifty percent occupancy seems to be a reasonable compromise with which to assess idle fees. We have no way of knowing how many people will be arriving in the next five to thirty minutes. I guess your proposal is to assess idle fees only when the location reaches 100%? What is Tesla to do if during one's procrastination the site suddenly becomes maxed out because three people showed up and two stalls are available?

    In addition, there are many locations with one or more stalls out of service; some of which have been down for months. Tesla does not communicate this information to us, so while a location may appear to have two stalls available, in fact it is full because those stalls are broken.

    The "no harm, no foul" idea is beyond my comprehension. Does it include being inconvenienced? Does it include being late or missing an appointment? Or does it only refer to bodily harm?
     
    • Like x 2
  8. mswlogo

    mswlogo Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2018
    Messages:
    3,685
    Location:
    MA
    Seems perfectly fair to me.

    So to make the Superchargers usable for everyone (including you) there is an 80% limit at some SC's that you bypassed through a loophole and you're mad they considered it idling and you are calling it a scam?
     
  9. mociaf9

    mociaf9 Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2018
    Messages:
    1,523
    Location:
    CA
    But there is harm even when the station is just 50% full. The problem is that people can't tell whether a plugged in car is charging or not. So, at a 10 stall station which is exactly half full, if one of those cars isn't charging but is still plugged in then the next car to show up and pick a random open stall has a 4 out of 5 chance of ending up on a paired one. Therefore 80% of the time they're going to be charging on a stall that can't give the max power rate. This is exactly why the limit is 50% occupancy.

    There's a fair argument to be made that the limit should be relaxed for Urban supercharger stations, and potentially for V3 stations as well, as they do power sharing differently than the traditional V2 style. But, all of this is sorta off topic for this thread.
     
  10. mociaf9

    mociaf9 Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2018
    Messages:
    1,523
    Location:
    CA
    Did you adjust the charge limit in the car on the screen or via your phone? I vaguely seem to recall some people commenting about running into a similar behavior when they try to adjust it on their phones (I think), but I can't recall what threads it was in.
     
  11. Nornagest

    Nornagest Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2018
    Messages:
    34
    Location:
    Manassas
    #11 Nornagest, Oct 30, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2019
    Both times it was on my car, not my phone. I should have also made it clear, there was at least one open space the whole time I was there, even after the second time my limit was re-set to 80%. I kinda needed the extra range but I wasn't gonna keep anyone from charging, so I kept an eye open.

    Edited to add: Come to think of it, I didn't get any warnings on the app about incoming idle fees. I've gotten these before, warnings when the car finished charging when I was away from it. The first inkling I had that I'd incurred fees (albeit waved this time) was an email the next day. I was so sure this was a mistake that I called Tesla.

    Not giving a warning, that kinda adds to my suspicions. I'll be really interested to see if this happens to anyone else.

    It wasn't the first time they put my limit down to 80%, they did it twice. The first time was when I pulled up, and I set it back up to 90. The second time it was reset it happened without drawing my attention. I'll be honest, I wasn't watching too closely, but it still came as a surprise that my car was no longer charging. This only happened after my car was just above 80%, which meant I was now taking up space having 'finished charging'.

    Now I don't know for sure that this is Tesla playing silly buggers but it occurred to me that it might be. I note in passing that this programming 'glitch' (if it is one) benefits Tesla at user's expense, and serves their well-established goal of discouraging extra charging when chargers are busy. If they're doing this on purpose, I'd call that a scam.

    Again, there was at least one stall open the whole time I was there. I wanted the extra miles but I wasn't gonna make anyone wait.

    Odd thing also - my phone app showed that there were no empty stalls. I got out and looked - there were two at that moment. I'm guessing it's a glitch on the app but it made me wonder how Tesla is monitoring these things.
     
  12. jkoya

    jkoya NA2 NSX

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2018
    Messages:
    2,144
    Location:
    Northern CA
    I was at the Corte Madera SC this morning which is a high usage SC and upped my limit to 90%. It charged all the way to 90% without stopping. There was about 2 out of 10 open stalls for the entire 20 minutes I charged. People were upping their limit because of the PG&E power outages in Marin County. Hotel registration in San Francisco said a lot of their guests were from the other side of the Golden Gate bridge because Marin County had no power from PG&E because of the high winds and fire danger....
     
  13. derotam

    derotam Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2018
    Messages:
    625
    Location:
    Oak Hill, VA
    So I may have an explanation. Maybe it's just a theory but should be easy enough for someone to check... So what I think happened was:

    When you pulled in to the supercharger, GPS location triggered 80% setpoint.
    BEFORE you plugged in the car, you changed it to above 80%
    As soon as you plugged in, the system did the reset back to 80%

    This would explain why you didn't notice it I think. You didn't expect it to change because you had already positively changed it so you weren't watching it. This would also explain why you did not get any App alerts...because you never hit the "approaching the end off charging" point for the alert trigger.

    I think this just goes to show that because of the imposition of idle fees and the 80% limit when at a loaded station, one should be a little more observant if they need to charge above the 80% limit.
     
  14. SSedan

    SSedan Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2017
    Messages:
    1,730
    Location:
    Greenville Wisconsin
    Did you have a navigation point set and Tesla thought 80% was enough?

    If you didn't have a navigation point set maybe set one far enough that it gets you the charge you need. "Justifying" the high charge limit.

    Tesla is trying to keep people moving, if you were in line you might be bitching about the other guy staying too long.

    Communication could be down on a stall or two making them think the place was full.
     
  15. Nornagest

    Nornagest Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2018
    Messages:
    34
    Location:
    Manassas
    That's not impossible but one thing - when I noticed I was no longer charging, I'd actually charged just over 80%. The charge limit line definitely had some green on the right side of it. It's possible the display just looks this way and I don't remember the actual number of miles I had charged on at that point but I definitely saw some green overage.

    Had no navigation point set as I was charging up for the next day. My home charger crapped out and the mobile service guys were scheduled to bring me a new one but I had to cover the gap by charing at the supercharger.

    My point exactly but as I mentioned elsewhere, there was definitely at least one charger open the whole time.

    Oddly, I've never had to wait for a charger yet, nor seen anyone waiting. Came close once or twice but people left as I pulled up and there was no problem. I came to the conclusion that people are keeping an eye out for each other and leave when things fill up. I've probably been to 20 locations by now, some quite busy, but there's never been a problem. I mean I've been ICED before but that's a different kettle of fish.
     
  16. dgatwood

    dgatwood Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2017
    Messages:
    509
    Location:
    Sunnyvale, ca
    Only if that extra 10% doesn't mean stopping at the supercharger half as often. If it does, then going from 40% to 80% twice is probably a lot worse than going from 10% to 90% once, because you don't get any of the ultra-fast charging down at the bottom, and you only save a little bit of the ultra-slow charging at the top.
     

Share This Page

  • About Us

    Formed in 2006, Tesla Motors Club (TMC) was the first independent online Tesla community. Today it remains the largest and most dynamic community of Tesla enthusiasts. Learn more.
  • Do you value your experience at TMC? Consider becoming a Supporting Member of Tesla Motors Club. As a thank you for your contribution, you'll get nearly no ads in the Community and Groups sections. Additional perks are available depending on the level of contribution. Please visit the Account Upgrades page for more details.


    SUPPORT TMC