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Improved Supercharger Information

Discussion in 'Model S: Battery & Charging' started by bob_p, Jun 21, 2016.

  1. bob_p

    bob_p Member

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    The Trip Planner software is a good first step on helping to plan trips using the supercharger network.

    Tesla can and should do much more to help drivers use the supercharger network and minimize anxiety and surprises while on trips.

    Some specific suggestions:
    • The Tesla website should provide usage information on each supercharger - such as the current status (how many charging stations are being used) and historical data on the periods (by week day and hour) when the supercharger is busy or at capacity. This information would help owners in properly setting expectations when planning a trip - before they start driving.
    • The on-board software should also provide this information, plus provide more accurate projections for the superchargers on the route. Tesla should be able to provide not only the current status of each supercharger, but also the projected status of the charger when the car reaches the station (Tesla knows what cars are at the SC or are approaching the SC on trips, and can use that to predict likely usage). Plus, if it looks like a supercharger will be busy or there will be a wait, the Trip Planner could adjust the projected charging time.
    Providing the website information allows drivers to plan their trips, and could adjust their departure times to avoid periods when superchargers are likely to be busy.

    The on-board software can help to minimize anxiety drivers have about availability of charging on their route ahead - and if there is a potential problem, the sooner drivers are aware of that - they may be able to take corrective action to minimize the impact of the problems (such as driving slower/faster or charging more at the previous supercharger).
     
  2. Max*

    Max* Autopilot != Autonomous

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    Fairly easy to do.
    Much much much harder to do.
     
  3. Max*

    Max* Autopilot != Autonomous

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    Not everyone uses the built-in nav. And for those that do, not everyone will be going to every supercharger they drive by. I often skip SpCs if for example I start with a 100% SOC, or my kids take too long to eat/whatever, and my car hits 90+% at the SpC instead of the 50% I need to make it to the next one, etc.

    This is probably why the never implemented the current status (easy to do, not very useful) or prediction (more useful to know, but really, in most cases there's nothing you can do. It's also harder to implement this) status.
     
  4. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    I agree with your idea in general -- and this has been extensively discussed on TMC in the past -- but some of what you are asking is very challenging for Tesla to implement. I think in the future the center display navigation will provide more information on the SCs the nav selects for the route you enter, based on what other Tesla drivers routes are showing for SC stops. But there are limitations as to how accurate SC predictions can be. For example, some drivers may plan to use an SC without entering a route into their navigation (a route they drive often and feel they know where and how much to charge so don't need nav advice) so Tesla won't know their plans. There are a number of such scenarios one can imagine.
     
  5. Saghost

    Saghost Active Member

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    We've been hearing that 7.2 may contain near real time SpC status on the center console, actually.

    For the rest of it, you're suggesting something I've proposed several times in various threads over the last several months - a central server analysis of future SpC utilization and Navigation adjustments to level load them.

    I think it is fairly inevitable that Tesla will adopt something similar by the time they have Model 3 on the road - the cost is small, and if decently implemented it can greatly increase the utility of SpC sites that are somewhat overlapping.
     
  6. johnnyS

    johnnyS Member

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    Last month while in Custer South Dakota when we chose the Lusk Wyoming supercharger in the Navigation, it came up red with a warning that it was off line. In that part of the country there are no alternative superchagers--the alternative is an RV park. Fortunately it was working when we passed thru.
     
  7. kort677

    kort677 Active Member

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    IMHO while knowing if a SpC is down and not usable is important, how busy the SpC is isn't.
    maybe in places with many SpC options, like SoCal, it might be useful in order to be able to divert to a less busy SpC however on my road trips where you have a choice of one SpC I'm stopping for my charge regardless of how crowded it may be. I have never had to wait to charge or have never seen more than one or two other cars charging (other than Newark DE. before the expansion and Syosset NY).
    Knowing how busy the SpC is when you're 20 minutes out really isn't pertinent info to me because most people usually do not spend much time charging and by the time you arrive at that SpC the info is dated.
    in the time it takes you to arrive at that SpC people have come and gone and what was real time could be inaccurate when you show up. to sum up I think the only important thing that should be focused on is displaying in the car or an app is if a SpC is not operating.
     
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  8. HyperMiler

    HyperMiler Member

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    Some of the highly frequented sightseeing locations around the world show statistical info on date, weekday and time of day user
    statistics of previous years to indicate likelihood of crowding
    short of real time measurements that are surprisingly accurate predictors of things to come. Even figuring in a correction factor for vehicles sold, this could quite be doable?
     
  9. cpa

    cpa Member

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    Perhaps the best thing for Tesla to do would be to have an image appear on the touchscreen that is activated by the driver when we approach a Supercharger. The image would show the stalls in use, stalls available, and recommended stall to select for the maximum initial charge rate. That could save newbies and experienced drivers the frustration from guessing which stall offers the fastest initial rate. It would also allow those who want to have a one-hour lunch break to select a slower station and let the faster one be available to someone else who wants to leave as soon as possible.
     
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  10. bob_p

    bob_p Member

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    Many people aren't using the Tesla navigation software - because of missing features - and instead mount their smartphones or a nav device and use those smaller screens - which really is silly, considering we have a 17" console and the dashboard display available for navigation.

    Tesla needs to fix their navigation software - because it should always have the best information on the car, and able to help the driver managing charge level and needed charging stops.

    Tesla has a lot of data available to it on their servers. It may not all be in one place, so they'd have to do some integration to get it all in one place. They should know the status of each supercharger in real-time. Unless they install monitoring equipment, they won't know if individual stations are unusable (because an ICE or some other vehicle is blocking the station).

    They should know the location of every Tesla car and the direction they are heading. Even if drivers aren't using Tesla's navigation software, Tesla should be able to make some reasonable predictions on how many cars will likely stop at each SC - and how long they might be there (if not using the navigation software, they could assume the driver will charge to 80 to 90%, for example).

    Tesla could and should do much more with their on-board software. The navigation software could do much more than it does today - and they could do much more with the real-time traffic data and the data they have on car movement & supercharger status.

    With the autopilot software & hardware, Tesla is on a path to having the cars provide more assistance to the actual driving of the car. And they should be doing the same with the navigation/trip planner software - and have the software provide more information and help in planning routes - and while on the trip.
     
  11. FakeStewartAlsop

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    As a hacker, and part time evil genius, I need to come up with some kind of fake "Elon Musk public Service announcement". I would transmit a (falsely) live video feed from an ersatz Elon Musk to the cars sitting at the Supercharger 5 minutes up the road. The public service announcement would go like this:
    "Hey loyal Tesla owners. I got some bad news for you. An X-class solar flare is heading for your town of Normal, Illinois. Unfortunately, this will create a surge in the Supercharger that will fry the electronics of all cars connected to, or near the chargers. I suggest you clear out immediately. Thanks. Oh, and I almost forgot. The new Tesla/Solar-city roof panels are impervious to solar flares, so go out and buy some today."​

    The same video feed would go to the owner's phones that control charging. Problem solved (at least for me).
     
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  12. DrManhattan

    DrManhattan Member

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    Some kind of geofencing location updating where Tesla can sense how many cars are waiting, charging, etc would be awesome. I would think a simple algorithm could be created for remote Superchargers, but ones in dense population areas could make it more complicated.
     
  13. bob_p

    bob_p Member

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    It seems inevitable that Tesla will have to impose some restrictions for owners relying on superchargers for daily charging. If they don't installing superchargers in urban areas will always be a problem - because local charging may consume so much of the capacity that people travelling - who need those chargers won't have easy access - when they have no other alternatives for charging.

    We're planning a trip soon to the Denver area - and access to the Park Meadows supercharger in the evenings was a concern. Fortunately, we were able to find a destination charger at a nearby hotel (that isn't on Tesla's Destination Charger list) and that should make it so we can avoid the Park Meadows supercharger completely.

    If Tesla does restrict local owners from frequent use of the superchargers in urban areas, and they fix the navigation software so that more owners are using the navigation software - that combination would help considerably in predicting SC usage.

    And for SC's that are located on the highways between cities, even without owners using the navigation software, Tesla should be able to predict today how busy each SC will be in the next hour or two.

    If only someone at Tesla had trip planning as their top priority - and was in a position to implement features that would improve the navigation & trip planner software...
     
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  14. bevguy

    bevguy Member

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    No doubt Tesla is aware of the potential for improvements. But they have a lot on their plate now and limited resources. I would prefer to see them use these resources to install more SC in the huge gaps in the present grid. For instance none within 200 miles of the 24th largest cit in the US, Memphis TN.
    2016 is half over and they will have to really hustle to come close to filling the 2016 map.
     
  15. Boatguy

    Boatguy Member

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    Yes. A car that can drive 250 miles without a decent navigation system is an incomplete solution.
     
  16. bob_p

    bob_p Member

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    When I purchased my P85 in early 2013, it was understandable Tesla's software had a number of holes and that they were focusing their limited software resources on getting "sleep mode" working during that first year, rather than making improvements to the initial software apps. And it was easy to forgive the bugs present in the released software - and the start/stop, seemingly random, software update process.

    But that was years ago, Tesla has 130K+ cars on the road - and 400K pre-orders for the Model 3.

    The excuse for Tesla focusing on a limited number of improvements doesn't work any more. Tesla should be able to allocate a portion of their software team to making improvements and fixing bugs in the core apps.

    Really - no playlists? And we still have the USB music auto-playing when the car resumes from sleep mode?

    And does anyone really think the Frankenstein's monster of Navigon's navigation software & maps glued to Tesla's console navigation software and Google maps is really acceptable???

    Yes, Tesla needs to continue expanding the SC network - and quickly, otherwise they risk having the network overrun by the Model 3's when they go into production.

    Yes, Tesla needs to continue making improvements to AutoPilot and any other software that is actually controlling the driving of the car.

    But, they also need to invest in the already released software. Isn't about time that they upgrade the Android app so that it's no longer in "beta". Same with the Trip Planner - can't they add the missing functionality, so it's no longer in "beta". And can't we get the other features that we now see in other cars (better smartphone integration, media player with playlists, navigation software with waypoints & other very useful features)?

    Other companies have figured this out - and if Tesla still can't multi-task on both new software & continuing to fix & improve existing software - then they should bring in some new software management than can do this...
     
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  17. dgpcolorado

    dgpcolorado Member

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    While I guess I can see people using other nav devices in local travel I can't imagine not using the Tesla nav for long Supercharger trips. The critical tool for me is the energy plot and that requires using nav to get to the next Supercharger (or destination) so that it can project and track energy needed/used. That tool has saved me several times when I hit energy-sapping strong headwinds or crosswinds and needed to slow way down. It is easy to adjust speed with the energy plot; it would be hard to do without it, especially when going up and down steep hills at the same time. Just driving 310 Wh/mile or 290 Wh/mile or whatever isn't an option in the terrain I drive:

    [​IMG]

    I agree that it would be nice if Tesla would fix the bugs in the Nav and I would really like info on the Supercharger Stations before I get there. But I won't be holding my breath while waiting for those changes; it seems to be a low priority at TM.
     
  18. TaoJones

    TaoJones Beyond Driven

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    The only locals in areas of density who might partake in "daily charging" are livery. Hardly worth persecuting.

    Plenty of "locals" in the 10% of the network deemed areas of density have commutes of 100 miles or more per day. And the vast majority leave home every day with a full charge, courtesy of their garage. Tesla is more than capable of staying ahead of demand from the non-garaged until municipalities and the private sector catch up.

    So after leaving the 2nd annual Sound of Silence Tesla rally last year, I ended up at Silverthorne, CO with zero power at the SC. The entire town had been without power for hours. It would have been helpful for Tesla to have told me this when I called them from Cheyenne to report half the SCs being down there, but they didn't. Had they, I could have charged at Denver and bypassed Silverthorne completely or at least charged more at Cheyenne with which I could have gotten to an L2 at a Costco further down the road. But they didn't, and kindly offered to send a flatbed instead to get me to Glenwood Springs. Fortunately the power came back just as we were about to winch the car onto the flatbed in the 37F drizzle, so no tow was necessary.

    Broadcasting when SCs are down or half down would be helpful.

    Showing interim SCs when a range charge is necessary to get to whichever one TP deems doable would also be helpful. A lot of people don't think to tap "remove all charging stops" to see alternatives along the way.

    But most of all, and to alleviate FUD, I would rather see Tesla first address, through every means available, the current problem which will only get worse - that being ICEing by our own. If people don't exit the stall immediately upon their charge being complete, waits increase cumulatively and it's just plain wasteful.

    If anything, while I remain 100% opposed to ppu for the foreseeable future at least on this continent, I wouldn't mind some kind of mechanism to discourage ICEing by our own. In another thread I suggested several solutions. We'll see what Tesla comes up with. At this juncture, even a simple quarterly newsletter extolling the virtues of the above and the details concerning pairing would go a long way toward reducing the clueless(ness).
     
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