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Speculation: Tesla's Plan for Supercharger Congestion

Discussion in 'Charging Standards and Infrastructure' started by wdolson, Apr 11, 2016.

  1. wdolson

    wdolson Active Member

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    Just looking at the pieces of technology already in place, I think Tesla has a cunning plan for supercharger use. Some superchargers get very congested especially during peak travel times. As the fleet grows, Tesla will have to expand the network, but I think they have a plan to help maximize use of the existing superchargers when things get crowded.

    Tesla previewed the auto plug in robot a year or so back. They also got summon to work with recent releases of the code. I think the cunning plan is to use the technology in auto-park and summon for a more practical use. With theses technologies, Tesla's cars will be able to be parked in line for a supercharger, the owner can go off and do something and the car will do the following:
    1) When it's the car's turn, it will pull itself into a supercharger spot
    2) The robotic arm will plug the car in automatically
    3) If the car has awareness of how many cars are in line, it may just charge enough to get to the next supercharger with some reserve, or it may charge up as high as the owner wanted it to charge.
    4) When done, the car will unplug itself and move to a non-supercharger parking place nearby and wait for its owner to return.

    This will maximize throughput on crowded superchargers and the owners don't have to be there to move the car. Auto-park is becoming common on a lot of cars, so that technology isn't all the far out there, but summon is pretty unique to Tesla and I thought it was kind of an odd add on on top of autopilot. But it makes perfect sense if it will be used with the next generation of superchargers.

    I could be wrong, but Tesla has all the pieces to make this happen. I'm surprised I haven't seen anyone else suggest it as a possibility before now (though someone may have and I missed it).
     
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  2. Boatguy

    Boatguy Member

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    That's an interest idea, but the layout of the various superchargers would make that quite a challenge as many do not have supplementary parking for the queue of waiting cars, or to store charged cars.

    More importantly, it does nothing for the drivers who want to get in/out as quickly as possible. I'm personally more interested in eliminating congestion than in automating it.
     
  3. cpa

    cpa Member

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    And then there are those of us (maybe ~50,000) that purchased our Tesla before all the autopilot and summon jazz was even available.

    It is beyond my pay grade to figure out an equitable solution. Personally, I think it would be in poor taste if I show up an instant before someone with a new car, and he can park and leave while I wait patiently for my opening. How would the computer program know that I am ahead of the other driver?

    If a SC is at capacity and there are 4 Teslas parked away from the stalls, are they done charging and awaiting the owners to return from their errands, or are they waiting their turn in line?

    For the nonce, extended waits at Superchargers are still isolated situations. It will be another 3-4 years before the volume of Teslas on the road begins to make potential waits more common. I think by then that there will be a reasonable solution for local and/or Model 3 charging. At least that is my hope . . . . .
     
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  4. Saghost

    Saghost Active Member

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    All good questions. I think possibly the rollout would start with one or two automated stalls at a site, with the rest staying manual - then folks with newer cars can choose to wait for a traditional cord or walk away and possibly be later in the cycle.

    Honestly, I think Tesla will put more focus on demand management - integrating the Navigation closer with the Superchargers and creating a loading map/prediction for the sites, then trying to route cars to less loaded ones.

    And, of course, adding more capacity in heavily used portions of the net. They've got probably 80% of the coverage they want in the US, so a lot of the focus in the next couple years can be on expanding the heavily used parts to relieve congestion. You've already seen that happening, both in California and here in Delaware. In the grand scheme of things, Supercharger sites aren't that expensive - and Tesla's clever re-use of parts probably makes them cheaper than any other DCFC installation, watt for watt (possibly even stall for stall, despite having more power.)
    Walter
     
  5. CSFTN

    CSFTN Member

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    I agree that this should be the future. The area where it would work best is in a large, open lot where cars can queue, like maybe a truck stop(?) As seen in south Texas, truck stop charging stations are just starting to appear. Maybe there was a reason why none of the first 300 stations were at truck stops, to save those facilities for AutoSuperCharging? Seriously, even for those without Autopilot, the idea that you can pull up to a queue, be signaled or automatically move to an appropriate and available charging station, have the snake auto plug you in, and your computer tell you that its going to take X number of minutes until you have enough (+15% extra) to make it to your destination, Y minutes to make it to 90% full, and Z minutes to 98% full would be f*ing awesome. And its almost certainly the future. At least on the busiest routes on interstates.
     
  6. Fiver

    Fiver Member

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    I think people just need to accept that the fairytale is over and chargers are going to be a zoo from now on. Especially in California.
     
  7. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    Tesla will continue building out the Supercharger network to support the increasing number of Teslas on the road. Your gloom and doom scenario will not happen.
     
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  8. Fiver

    Fiver Member

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    Tesla will say they will continue to build out the network, but they can't possibly build it out to support 400,000-500,000 additional new Tesla's on the road EVERY YEAR forever. It's impossible. They can barely build them fast enough now and there's only 150,000 cars total.
     
  9. Chuq

    Chuq Member

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    Why not? I would think the network they have now would have been deemed impossible three years ago. And if they are selling 400k cars a year that's a hell of a lot of extra revenue.

    And it won't be forever, for two reasons:
    - Range keeps on increasing every year. Let's say in five years the P130D is released - drivers will only have to stop at every third supercharger, not every second. They will be able to get from Los Angeles to San Francisco without stopping - no doubt a huge drop in usage on that route.
    - Faster charging speeds: When 135kW SCs are replaced with (for example) 170kW SCs, then cars can move through faster, and that will increase the capacity of the network by 25%.
     
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  10. Fiver

    Fiver Member

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    #10 Fiver, May 5, 2016
    Last edited: May 5, 2016
    Just because newer cars are released, doesn't mean older cars disappear. Tesla's are built to last (supposedly) so they will continue to add up.

    More importantly, you can have an Apple sized cash warchest, it won't make the bureaucracy of permitting and entrenched electrical utilities work any faster. It takes forever to get a permit approved, and longer then that often to get the local utility to lay a transformer down so you can power it up.

    Add to that places like here in Utah where the local utility (Rocky Mountain Power) is about to roll out it's own high speed charging network, that will be pay for use. They will drag their feet hooking up a competitor.

    Finally it's not going to be crowded everywhere, but I'm sure as sh*t glad I don't live in California.

    I will concede that faster charging can help, maybe the 3 will have it's own super fast charging setup different from superchargers.
     
  11. AnOutsider

    AnOutsider S532 # XS27

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    I've seen gas stations become a zoo, and they're not only ubiquitous, but each car typically needs 5 minutes or less at the stall. I'm not calling for doom and gloom, but at the same time, I think we need to be realistic. Hopefully charging at home and other charging solutions pop up to ease congestion.
     
  12. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    It's been discussed before. Before the snake was even demo'd.
     
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  13. wdolson

    wdolson Active Member

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    OK, I'm not surprised.

    I just noticed this was your 15,000th post.
     
  14. Ibrido

    Ibrido Member

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    Yes, it makes sense ! VW -
     
  15. wdolson

    wdolson Active Member

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    The problem is inductive charging is very wasteful of energy, much more loss than plugging in. Additionally to fast charge a Tesla via inductive charging would require a heck of a strong electromagnetic field that might actually be harmful to people to be around.
     
  16. Saghost

    Saghost Active Member

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    For all of which, Plugless Power says they're building an inductive system for Tesla cars - I think it's going to be a 6.6 kW system if I remember right (compared to the 3.3 kW for the current Volt and Leaf systems.)
     
  17. RubberToe

    RubberToe Supporting the greater good

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    Under no circumstances would I ever live anywhere else ;)
     
  18. KJD

    KJD Member

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    First I have heard of that one. Source please.
     
  19. Fiver

    Fiver Member

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    Utah Senate Bill 115. There are many things bad in this bill, but the one specific to your comment is that it would allow Rocky Mountain Power to use up to ten million dollars collected from customers to fund a electric vehicle recharging network across the state. (This network will not be free, you will have to pay for it.)

    Link to the bill: Utah State Legislature

    Here's some commentary on it.

    Utah Passes a Major Clean Energy Bill That Elicits ‘Mixed Feelings’
     
  20. TaoJones

    TaoJones Beyond Driven

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    Oh, the FUD is strong with this one, and it's not even May the 4th.

    This may help dispel the handwringing:

    1. Tesla has committed to DENSITY as well as to DISTANCE for almost 2 years now.
    2. Dr. Straubel himself has been quoted as saying that the SC model is fine for the first 1,000,000 vehicles, at which point they may, and I emphasize may, need to revisit the model.
    3. Just last month, another member of senior management said at a talk in Ireland that free supercharging is absolutely sustainable, and he was speaking globally.
    4. Within the US, 2/3 of homes have garages. Put another way, there are 400 garages for every 1 gas station. Most owners today (90%) do NOT use SCs. Most Model 3 owners (I predict 67%) will not either.

    Further, the target of 500,000 cars per year is a global number. In fact, less than half will be made for the US. Call it half for the sake of round numbers. As it stands today, 97% of SCs have ZERO congestion concerns. So that number goes to 90% - big deal. Ignored in the kvetching is that there will also be improvements in range, charging time, and charging *methods* - see, for example, inductive charging in road surfaces currently in pilot phase in the UK.

    As one who is at ground zero in California, I can tell you that there is rarely a problem even at the SCs people kvetch about the most. And in fact, the problems at SJC were and are exacerbated more by questionable management of the Southwestern Region buildout in general rather than by any other reason. Specifically, Orange County has more Tesla owners than any other county in America, yet until recently had just 1 SC while LA County has 4. Now the OC has almost 3 SCs, and there will STILL be a problem at SJC unless and until they build San Diego County's SECOND SC up in North County somewhere. However, all one need do is to have a look at supercharge.info (g'head - I'll wait) and see that on balance, Tesla is building all over the continent - both filling in gaps for neglected distance routes (see one glaring omission - that being the I-10 supercharger wasteland from Tucson to San Antonio) *and* supporting density at the same time.

    The point is that these are solvable problems, and Tesla has proven already that they can stay abreast of DENSITY while still committing to DISTANCE. As soon as whoever it is running the Southwestern Region show realizes that putting SCs in mall parking lots is just a bad idea, we'll be much better off, but one thing at a time.
     
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