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Supercharger congestion - a modest proposal

Discussion in 'Model S: Battery & Charging' started by Haddock, Apr 6, 2016.

  1. Haddock

    Haddock Member

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    When I get my Model 3, I'd like to know that there will be a free slot at a supercharger when I need one for a long journey.

    Here's a modest proposal to make sure superchargers are free for those doing long distance travel.

    You can't charge up to more than 2x the distance between the supercharger and your home.

    You can pay to charge more than that, but it's no cheaper than charging at home.
     
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  2. cgiGuy

    cgiGuy Member

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    I like the idea. "Home" is a place anyone can change though..
     
  3. deonb

    deonb Active Member

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    Over what period of time?
     
  4. FlasherZ

    FlasherZ Sig Model S + Sig Model X + Model 3 Resv

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    Tesla has also said that Superchargers can be used locally where it is not possible to charge at home; this is especially needed in countries other than the US, but also includes those who have purchased a Tesla yet live in an apartment complex or a condo without the direct ability to install charging.

    I've said it in other threads, but I don't believe that charging-at-scale will be exclusively Tesla. So while Tesla may suffer from charging congestion in Superchargers, there may/will be other entrants who offer charging at a nominal fee to cover the electricity. These entrants would be kept in check by Tesla's "free but congested" service; take your choice, wait in line or pay $5 for less congestion.

    If I were an executive at a California energy company and/or some type of a chain of restaurants, given the Model 3 demand I'd be looking to have a conversation with Tesla about complementary (not complimentary) Supercharger charging networks.

    Of course, Tesla could always double-down on its commitment to Supercharging, but quality will have to be increased exponentially -- for example, the St. Charles, MO supercharger has been dying for nearly 6 months now. It's a critical charging stop along I-70, yet Tesla just marks it out of commission in the cars and leaves you to figure out your own path. There will be continued pressure from stockholders (not that it really matters with the ownership profile) to manage the Supercharger asset a bit better.
     
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  5. kort677

    kort677 Active Member

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    imposing conditions and rules are a slippery slope
     
  6. Haddock

    Haddock Member

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    At any time. If you are 20 miles from home and you have more than 40 miles of charge in the battery, you can't charge for free.
     
  7. Haddock

    Haddock Member

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    I would not be happy with a choice between free congested superchargers and third party non-free non-congested chargers. Superchargers have some big advantages for long distance travel that I don't think third parties will be able to match:
    * Very fast charging - no other car can take this much power per minute
    * No nonsense, cross-border charging - I don't need any RFID tag or membership to charge at a supercharger

    As a Model 3 owner I will likely have to pay by the kWh anyway, which is fine, but if the Superchargers are congested that makes them (and thus the car) a lot less attractive.
     
  8. deonb

    deonb Active Member

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    So you mean in the lifetime of the Supercharger, if you've ever charged for more than 40 miles it will forever and always after be off limits to you after that time until you buy a new Model S?
     
  9. cgiGuy

    cgiGuy Member

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    I think his point is, if you're able to make it home on your current charge (with a 2x the distance to your home "buffer") then it will not allow you to charge at a supercharger near your home. It would be telling you "go home.. you're good."
     
  10. FlasherZ

    FlasherZ Sig Model S + Sig Model X + Model 3 Resv

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    I'm not talking today's charging networks. I agree with you there.

    I'm talking about another supercharging network owned and operated by a third party rather than Tesla. That creatively gets around some of the conversations about Tesla saying Model S & X supercharging is "free forever" or whatever legal language they use to support it, and - let's face it - there are a lot of companies that are much better at managing operational scale than Tesla.

    I've always believed that Tesla's Supercharger network was merely there to get refueling off the ground and when we saw much larger penetration that we would get the equivalent of the "gas station" for electricity that came at a cost. Unlike past charging station networks that tried charging $5/kWh on a level 2, Tesla's free stations would continue to exist and provide a balance (but the price you'd pay is time vs. a nominal fee). Most likely is a progressive energy company that owns infrastructure, but a large retail or restaurant chain with good business presence might be the dark horse in the battle.
     
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  11. FlasherZ

    FlasherZ Sig Model S + Sig Model X + Model 3 Resv

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    My Tesla account would be moving to a P.O. Box in northern Montana with a subscription mail forwarding service in that case.

    That one's easy to get around.
     
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  12. SmartElectric

    SmartElectric Active Member

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    Restricting local use and dedicating supercharging for road trips seems obvious, till you have the scenario I had earlier this winter.

    We travelled to a city 150 km from our house and stayed in a hotel.
    Two days later, I needed to round trip 300 km in -15C temperatures in a 4 hour period to go home, attend to chores, and get back to the hotel later that evening.

    If the rule would say "no supercharging when you are near your house and have enough charge to get home", then the trip would not have been possible in our only long distance car (my other is a Smart ED) as our garage has a 24A plug, which would require an all-night charge to get the range needed to round trip.

    So, no rules can be easily gleaned that would prevent congestion and yet allow spur of the moment (or planned in my case) long distance travel.

    We paid $2000 for the privilege of supercharging, and for a few dozen times a year we need it, we use it, no restrictions accepted.
     
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  13. Panu

    Panu Member

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    Rules should never prevent charging because there are always special cases. But rules could make you pay for local supercharging.
     
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  14. Haddock

    Haddock Member

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    I think actually Tesla has a pretty good idea where you live.
     
  15. FlasherZ

    FlasherZ Sig Model S + Sig Model X + Model 3 Resv

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    Sure - they *could* collect data on where the car is regularly and try to make a good educated guess. But it will be just that, an educated guess, and using that for the basis of a rule wouldn't be proper.
     
  16. sorka

    sorka Active Member

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    What if you're not going home but you're on your way out after leaving work for a long weekend at a destination far away????

    It's unlikely Tesla will continue the free for life policy for future Model S's eventually. Even more likely that the 3 won't come with unlimited lifetime. Elon said it "comes with supercharging" but that doesn't mean free unlimited. It could very will not be free at all (unlikely), or free for a certain period or a certain number of kWh. It could also be that it won't be free for local charging around home but if you're truly on a long distance trip out of the area then it is free.

    To the OP, the rule could be applied if you actually go home but charge more than you need but if you ended up not going home and straight on a long trip, then you wouldn't be charged for charging locally.

    This would most likely completely elevate the congestion in SoCal as I'm certain 95% of the charging are repeated local chargers who either can't charge at home or don't want to to save money.
     
  17. SmartElectric

    SmartElectric Active Member

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    Hmm, $2000 per Tesla S pays for a lot of infrastructure and electricity. The whole point of the higher margin Model S/X is to pay for the infrastructure to support the lower margin cars they intend to sell, that includes battery factory, paint shop and supercharging.
     
  18. ohmman

    ohmman Maximum Plaid Member

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    I was with you in this thread until this post. I know you respect the efficacy of models, based on reading your posts around here. Surely you think they could develop a solid model and use that as their basis. I mean, they know where you live. Where do you charge your vehicles overnight most regularly? There are exceptions, and no models are right, but surely this one would be pretty accurate.

    Not that I agree with the proposal. I don't. I think Tesla has flexibility in what they do. They're holding their cards close because they don't know what's on them. Don't make any promises, give away free Supercharging for the first year (or more, or less) of rollout, and see how things look. Then decide. I think if indeed there is dramatic congestion, pay to charge will be helpful. I don't know how helpful.
     
  19. CHG-ON

    CHG-ON Still in love after all these miles

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    #19 CHG-ON, Apr 6, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2016
    I know that what I am going to say is terribly selfish and most likely unpopular. But I'll say it anyway.

    After paying 121K for my car, which included a 2K fee for supercharging, I would be pissed if the M3 had the same access to SCs as I do. I do expect that this will happen. But buying the car for so much, taking such a huge risk on new tech and an unproven company due to my belief in their mission, and then not being able to charge because the sites are clogged with tons of cars, I would feel completely ripped off.

    I absolutely do think that M3s should be able to charge at SCs. However, based on the low price of the car, compared with we early adopters, I would hope that Tesla would create a program where it might not be as attractive to an M3 as it is to an MS or MX.

    Yes. I know that this is a VERY slippery slope and I do not envy Tesla in trying to figure this out because M3 drivers also deserve excellent access to charging. Just as much as the "fancier" cars. I do not know the answer to this issue and I hope they can figure it out. The real solution is to have charging be as ubiquitous as gas stations. I can't even fathom the cost for them to reach that saturation. Perhaps if other automakers and energy companies open their eyes to the future, this issue can be solved in a relatively short period of time. I can't imagine that Tesla can afford to build a large enough SC network to support 500K of their own cars being produced annually. I don't have a lot of optimism here...

    I am not a local charger. I charge at home 90% of the time.

    I apologize for sounding like a snob and a pessimist.
     
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  20. David99

    David99 Active Member

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    Well, so far Tesla has been able to keep up with demand pretty well. Existing stations can be upgraded easily. Telsa knows how many cars they sell and build more stations accordingly. It has worked so far and I don't see any reason why they wouldn't continue the same way in the near future. Only the mega metro areas like Los Angeles see some congestion here and there. The problem isn't as big as some people think it is.
     
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