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President's Day Weekend - Superchargers on 101 Maxxed Out

We just drove the SFO - Santa Barbara route again today and just.... wow. I thought the supercharger lines were bad last November. They have gotten much much worse, with Atascadero, San Luis Obispo and even Buellton (which I haven't ever had to wait at) sporting 45 minute lines by the afternoon. SLO had a concierge helping organize the line. Some unahppy looking Tesla owners. SLO also had one station out of service and one that was acting up so it kept showing "1" available even when there was a huge line. Sure wish we could electronically queue.

As a Tesla fan, I'm conflicted. They can't build a network that can always handle the peak days, but they also can't keep Tesla owners waiting 45 minutes to charge and then another 40+ mins to charge. This corridor desperately needs more options. People were generally friendly, but I don't think this is sustainable long term. Tesla has to figure this out.
 

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out of curiosity how long were the lines? (how many cars waiting on average).

an inherent problem unfortunately of electric vehicles until battery technology allows charging to become faster and chargers become more omnipresent i don't buy into this 'take a tesla on a road trip you enjoy it more because it takes 30% longer' thing.
 

Eno Deb

Active Member
Aug 17, 2018
2,641
3,401
SF Bay Area
Tesla just needs to build more stations to accommodate drivers.
In addition to that they could also release a CCS adapter to leverage 3rd party chargers and give Tesla drivers more alternatives. There are several EVGo and Chargepoint CCS chargers on that route, and an Electrify America site in Pismo Beach under construction (and more to follow in phase 2).
 

ItsNotAboutTheMoney

Well-Known Member
Jul 12, 2012
11,658
9,754
Maine
It should be a signal for Tesla to add more along that route.

In particular, they need King City, CA. Splitting 110 mile gap between Atascadero, CA and Salinas, CA will help a lot. Larger gaps force more drivers to stop at particular Superchargers and that creates a bottleneck.

If you look at what's happening on the densely populated Interstates, you can see shrinking gaps, so Tesla is aware of it.
 
In addition to it being a holiday weekend, I bet reports of wintry conditions on the I-5 Grapevine steered additional traffic towards the 101. My understanding is the Grapevine was shut down until sometime later that morning due to weather.

I was going south from Paso Robles back to OC. By the time I hit Santa Barbara at around 11:00 or so, the northbound side of 101 was getting gridlocked. That continued off and on all the way through Ventura and into the San Fernando Valley.
 
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Yes I think the weather on I-5 definitely impacted it. To answer questions above, the wait in Atascadero was 5 cars when we pulled up and it was a strange queue. Last time I came through here the queue was in the parking lot of the bank and you just waited in line. Now you queue by backing into designated "waiting spaces" which means to me that this location is often overloaded. Our favorite burger place was closed and SLO was showing a (phantom) stall free, so we left and went to SLO.

Arriving at SLO, we saw that the one available was out of service, and there was a line for the working SC's. Re lines at SLO, they had two temporary pedestals set up, both in use, and both didn't look very temporary to me, ha ha. When I arrived there were 4 cars ahead of me and we waited about 10 minutes, which I felt was fine. After we came back from a quick lunch, however, there were cars all over the place -- maybe 8 or 10 total -- and there was zero turnover. We returned as we "almost" had enough charge and had to wait in the car about 5 minutes, and I felt lots of eyes throwing daggers at me "ARE YOU DONE YET??" and finally we hit our charge (not anywhere near 80%) and got out of there.

I hopped in the car and got out of the space as fast as I could, not even putting on my seat belt until I was out of the SC space.

FULLY AGREE we need a SC at King City to break it up. Leaving Santa Barbara Friday I'm hoping to have enough charge to get all the way to Salinas. My husband sort of rolls his eyes at the Tesla and is very happy with his ICE. Yesterday's experience didn't do anything to win him over, that's for sure.
 
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We just did Bay Area to LA/SD and back over the weekend too, but took I5 each way. Plenty of charging available along that route, though we noticed on the display that 101 SCs had higher utilization. We did Harris Ranch, Tejon Ranch and San Bernardino southbound, and Downey, Bakersfield and Gustine northbound (stops and stop duration partially determined by toddler). A couple of minutes wait at Gustine, but otherwise every stop had stalls open and gave us peak or close to peak charging rates right away.
 
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In addition to it being a holiday weekend, I bet reports of wintry conditions on the I-5 Grapevine steered additional traffic towards the 101. My understanding is the Grapevine was shut down until sometime later that morning due to weather.
Yes there was snow at the summit of the Grapevine and traffic went at a crawl northbound on Monday mid morning. I don't know if it was shut down ; it showed as red, but both the nav and Waze routed us through it anyway.
 
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Yes there was snow at the summit of the Grapevine and traffic went at a crawl northbound on Monday mid morning. I don't know if it was shut down ; it showed as red, but both the nav and Waze routed us through it anyway.

The lighted highway signs on 101 said CHP was escorting vehicles over the Grapevine and “many spin outs” as I recall.
 

ibdb

Any excuse for a road trip
Apr 29, 2015
435
258
Puyallup, WA
Several others have mentioned it here, but this seems like less of a holiday weekend issue and more of a poor road conditions on I-5 sent heavier than usual traffic to the 101 issue. Had the 5 handled the traffic it would normally have handled, I don't think the issues on the 101 would have been as bad as was reported. The system was designed with balance between those two alternatives in mind, and the conditions prevented that planned load balancing from happening.

We were in Southern California for the first part of the weekend, driving up the 101 to SLO on Sunday morning. We'd flown down for a quick weekend getaway and to visit our son at Cal Poly, so we were in a hybrid rental and not a pure EV. We didn't experience the delays first hand, but we did hear and see some of the news reports and warnings about road conditions.
 
Is there a way Tesla owners can send real-time alerts for congestion at superchargers or do you just rely on what is shown in the car and on the app ?

Supercharger congestion is not an issue here in the Midwest, but could be handy in certain weather situations.

Be nice to have something like seeing the wait times at ski lift lines at the big resorts.
 

Tam

Well-Known Member
Nov 25, 2012
10,754
9,798
Visalia, CA
...Is there a way Tesla owners can send real-time alerts for congestion at superchargers...

No. Someone needs to write up that program.

...or do you just rely on what is shown in the car and on the app ?...

Yes. Drivers currently rely on Supercharger Status displayed on navigation or an app

rVL1pRd.jpg


But it doesn't tell which charging bays are out of order or how many cars waiting in line.

I guess for a line count, you'll need to install a camera equipped with AI to report the wait line.
 
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Eno Deb

Active Member
Aug 17, 2018
2,641
3,401
SF Bay Area
Is there a way Tesla owners can send real-time alerts for congestion at superchargers or do you just rely on what is shown in the car and on the app ?
You could check in on Plugshare and write a comment. I see a check-in on Monday in SLO stating that there was a line. Would be nice if Tesla had an option to automatically check in cars arriving at the chager based on geolocation and then provide an estimate of the depth of the line if all chargers are occupied ...
 
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My guess is that this will become the norm as more Teslas are hitting the road during a 3-day weekend. I'm wondering if similar SC congestion will happen if I attend my cousin's graduating at ASU (lots of relatives from SoCal). Perhaps my old 700 mile range VW Golf TDI isn't completely obsolete. Last weekend was the first time I drove it in 2019 since getting the Tesla. I can't believe Tesla's taken 6 days to check my coolant level and rear defroster...it literally sat in the same spot for 4 days without ever being looked at but I digress.
 
My guess is that this will become the norm as more Teslas are hitting the road during a 3-day weekend. I'm wondering if similar SC congestion will happen if I attend my cousin's graduating at ASU (lots of relatives from SoCal). Perhaps my old 700 mile range VW Golf TDI isn't completely obsolete. Last weekend was the first time I drove it in 2019 since getting the Tesla. I can't believe Tesla's taken 6 days to check my coolant level and rear defroster...it literally sat in the same spot for 4 days without ever being looked at but I digress.

Agreed. The Quartzsite Supercharger on I-10 will probably get slammed just as it did over the holidays this year. It's not big enough; only 8 stalls.

I probably should have mentioned that I didn't drive my Tesla up and down the 101 this past holiday weekend precisely because I predicted the Buellton supercharger (mandatory stop for me) would be congested. That's exactly what happened. We took our ICE instead. Zero delays, which is important when trying to make the best use of precious time on a 3-day weekend. Literally the only situation where I prefer ICE over my own car. Alas, growing pains with EVs. Let's hope Tesla (and others) continue to prioritize the expansion of our charging infrastructure.
 

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