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My Supercharger Location -- Review & Priorities - What are yours?

Discussion in 'Charging Standards and Infrastructure' started by Owner, Sep 2, 2014.

  1. Owner

    Owner Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2012
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    Location:
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Cross posted from my blog which has the photos.

    Over the course of a year I have managed to visit 67 superchargers around the country. On the Tesla Motors Club Forum is a friendly (and somewhat silly) contest to see who has visited the most superchargers. I am currently in the lead by one. I know the person behind me plans to leave for another trip in September, so I will very soon loose my title.

    After visiting so many superchargers, I feel I have enough experience to review the features at the superchargers. What is quite nice is that each location is unique.

    The following are my favorite features listed in the general order of priority although all the features are in fact quite desirable:

    Easily accessible restrooms
    A variety of restaurant choices preferably non-chain
    Nearby hotels
    Safe neighborhood
    Walkable streets
    A variety of daily shopping choices: grocery stores preferred over outlet malls.
    Free wi-fi
    Clearer stall signage
    Car washing service
    Public charging?
    More locations vs. more stalls

    1. Easily accessible restrooms

    A nice clean and easily accessible restroom is ideal such as in a welcome center. Sometimes it can feel awkward using a restroom in a restaurant when one is not hungry. I try to patronize the businesses nearby the superchargers but I can’t necessarily eat a meal or stay in a hotel every time I charge.

    2. A variety of restaurant choices

    I also found that the more restaurants around a supercharger the better. Tesla owners have a variety of tastes in food and variety is also nice for the individual driver. I strongly prefer local restaurant chains serving locally sourced food. After a while eating at the same chain restaurants gets very old.

    3. Nearby hotels

    For a long road trip it is also nice to charge at your destination. Destination or hotel charging does not need to be a supercharger.

    If you use plugshare.com on the Tesla screen or PlugShare - EV Charging Station Map - Find the nearest location to charge your electric car! elsewhere, you can sort for chargers with the tag “hotel only” that will find hotels with any kind of charging capability. Most chargers except the very slowest can charge your car overnight. I am not sure when this feature will roll into the standard website and the companion Recargo app. Non-tesla electric car drivers may need to use destination charging, and I almost always plan my trip on a computer not in the car.<br>

    Also Tesla itself has recently added to their charging page icons for destination charging. Several businesses have purchased Tesla high powered chargers for their customer’s use. While looking around this new web page, I discovered that a Tesla can now easily go to Yosemite by staying at the Groveland hotel that is on the way from the bay area and has recently installed a Tesla high powered connector for customer use. Even if you choose to sleep elsewhere, you can use this charger for $5.

    4. Safe neighborhood

    Most Tesla superchargers are located in relatively innocuous locations off the main freeway. But safety is of course a concern for everyone. Some Tesla owners are uncomfortable with the location of the current Las Vegas supercharger.

    5. Walkable streets

    Walkable streets is also quite important. Unfortunately these days many suburbs are truly built for driving instead of walking. When I walk in the areas around the superchargers, I rarely see other individuals walking and many cars streaming by. Look at the two pictures below taken near the Roseville supercharger. While walking from the supercharger to Whole Foods and back, I had to cross the street three times instead of just once, because there was no crosswalk! And right near the supercharger there is a section of the road in the mall that simply has no sidewalk.<br><br>
    Even when I started to visit the superchargers, I often wondered about physically challenged people due to long term conditions or temporary injuries. Many of the superchargers are located in the back sections of parking lots and the target destination for spending the time can be significantly far away. California weather is nice enough for walking a vast majority of time, but in many parts of the country long treks in wind and snow from the supercharger are not particularly pleasant.

    6. Shopping

    After visiting the first California superchargers, I began to tire of outlet malls. I began to quickly realize on longer journeys, I preferred supercharging near practical stores like grocery and drug stores. On my recent trip to Oregon, I really liked that I could pick up groceries while supercharging in Roseville instead of stopping later.

    7. Free wi-fi

    I think free wi-fi is a nice amenity, but I found myself either using my smartphone or the car’s wifi. Only a few times I pulled out a laptop and usually did not really need wi-fi.

    8. Clearer shared stall signage

    Most locations now have the stalls marked “1A, 1B, 2A, 2B” etc… But the labels are often difficult to see while in the car. It would be nice if the labels were near the top of the posts.

    9. Car washing service

    As the supercharger use picks up, I would like to see enterprising locals provide a car washing service. I would easily pay for someone to clean with minimum water my car such as the service available here locally in Redwood City. Or an enterprising person could offer to clean the windshields as long as they obey local ordinances. I had one very generous person in South Dakota insist on cleaning my windshield for free.

    10. Public charging?

    I find it interesting that Tesla lists on their web page for each supercharger nearby public charging. I have only encountered a very short wait twice at the superchargers. Perhaps if all the stalls needed service due to some calamity, the owners could charge at the nearby public charger.

    11. More locations vs. more stalls

    I have occasionally been to superchargers when all the chargers are in-use. At some point instead of adding more chargers at a particular location, I’d prefer that Tesla adds a new supercharger locations offsetting the use at the existing stations. With more choice, the traveling options for Tesla owners will be more flexible. I am not very fond of freeways, so if the density of superchargers throughout the country was every 150 miles no matter where you traveled, you could truly take any open road.
     
  2. ZBB

    ZBB Emperor

    Joined:
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    I've now visited 23 Superchargers, including 21 (many of which we visited 2x) on a 3-week road trip from AZ to BC and back this summer. Here's my thoughts on some of these topics:


    • Restroom availability: This is a must. Fortunately, all that we visited had one within walking distance. If the restroom was in a restaurant or Starbucks, we at least purchased a drink.
    • Wifi: Most stops had some sort of Wifi avail; We used that more that just sitting in the car or using our phones...
    • Starbucks: Nearly all Superchargers had one within a couple minute walk. Most had a nice place to sit and enjoy a snack, drink and Wifi
    • Outlet Malls: While I got tired of them, they do serve a purpose in that you can do something a bit different on some stops and just look around. I didn't buy much for myself, but we did get some back-to-school clothes for our daughter on a couple stops on the way back.
    • Nothing-to-do Superchargers: If I had to rank the ones we visited, I'd put Quartzsite, Kingman, Hawthorn and Fremont towards the bottom of the list. Quartzsite and Kingman are both at Carls Jr. restaurants with not much else nearby (Quartzsite has a rock/mineral shop across the street; Kingman has nothing walkable). Hawthorn and Fremont are both at Tesla facilities, and at least Hawthorn has a seating area inside.
    • Grocery stores: Agree that having those nearby is nice. At our last Supercharger stop on the way home (Wickenburg), we hit the grocery store across the street and got a few things to get us through our first day home.
     
  3. tamman34

    tamman34 S19572, X11164

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    My priorites would be

    1. Easily accessible restrooms
    2. Area or entertainment for the kids, I have a 2 and 4 year old. I take them almost everywhere I go.
    3. A variety of restaurant choices preferably non-chain, San Juan Capistrano has a fresh Mexican taco place. YUMMY!!
    4. Safe neighborhood
    5. Walkable streets
    6. A variety of daily shopping choices
    7. Shower so I can run 3-4 miles while charging
    8. Free Wi-Fi
    9. More locations vs. more stalls
    10. Nearby hotels

    9. I am sure Tesla is working on getting more and more SC in, what they are doing now is absolutely amazing and far ahead of any other EV company. I just take that appreciate and dont want to complain until they are done. I do understand the process of getting a permit and installing the SC. Not all property owners and managers agree to install a SC, therefore Tesla must locate another location.
     
  4. Owner

    Owner Active Member

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    Sounds like easy restrooms is consistent. I too try to buy something but if it is a sit down place and one is not hungry...

    I had not thought about the kid factor. I like places where there is at least some lawn and a picnic table (more like a conventional public rest place)

    Love the idea of a shower! sounds a bit unrealistic though. A few times I have gone for walks just to stretch the legs and get some exercise. I did this in Lusk, Wyoming and the locals were so friendly!

    I'm not complaining, I think Tesla is doing a good job in selecting places but perhaps some feedback will help.

    - - - Updated - - -

    I actually liked the Kingman supercharger. I walked over to the route 66 museum. It was not super close but walkable unless you have some disability. Very easy to spend time there.

    Also the Kingman supercharger has an "art gallery" next door. I tried to encourage him to get wi-fi for the Tesla supercharger folks.

    I too was surprised how much I liked the grocery store for the same reason.

     
  5. Chipper

    Chipper Active Member

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    I would very much like to see trash receptacles. Both for the area around the chargers but also for stuff from inside the car.
     
  6. tamman34

    tamman34 S19572, X11164

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    I wish my memory could recall all the superchargers, I will take notes on my way back. I do like the fact that Hawthorn is open until 2am for bathrooms. Of course constructive feedback is awesome and Tesla is very receptive to it, I hope it helps in their future decision making. Regardless I am overly appreciative that I can drive to all my main destination in the US OF A in my Model S. Thus far I have been blown away from the new people and sites Tesla have taken me to. Best place so far I never knew of is Solvan, driven past it many times, but never thought to stop. That Norwegian Buffet was yummmy.
    I know having a shower is far fetched, I take it over wi-fi and a hotel. Wi-Fi is available at many places, LTE works great, and I can tether my phone if I need my laptop. Most laptop work can wait until I get to the hotel or final destination. For hotel, I can sleep almost anywhere. Most time when I travel with my Tesla, I sleep like 5 hours then continue.
     
  7. wycolo

    wycolo Active Member

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    Showers at truckstops costs about $13-US currently. Used to be motels would give you 45 minutes of room use to take a shower (if you stayed off the beds) for a modest charge.

    Bring a basketball for hoops at Lusk. They have a indoor pool for guests, but worth a try.

    Best thing about Superchargers is the variety of locations, the next one usually is in a different setting. Imagine the nightmare of all SCs being at McDonalds for example even if it would have meant there would be 200 of them today. Ok, maybe I could handle that nightmare.
    --
     
  8. tamman34

    tamman34 S19572, X11164

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    I could handle that nightmare, definitely would be eating elsewhere though. Bathrooms, wifi, playground for kids (usually), and trash would be available.
     

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