TMC is an independent, primarily volunteer organization that relies on ad revenue to cover its operating costs. Please consider whitelisting TMC on your ad blocker or making a Paypal contribution here: paypal.me/SupportTMC

Supercharger Expansion Observation

Discussion in 'North America -' started by supratachophobia, Jan 22, 2016.

  1. supratachophobia

    supratachophobia Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2014
    Messages:
    1,997
    Location:
    Columbus, Ohio
    Probably like most of you, I stalk supercharge.info almost daily. Something I've noticed is that Tesla seems to have 7 independent crews at any given time. Can anyone confirm this is the case? This should mean that the 7th crew is currently traveling to somewhere to start construction. But another thing I've noticed is that permits can slip our notice on supercharge.info, so just because something has a blue dot, doesn't mean it is the next to get built necessarily (often times it does though). Anyone know where that 7th crew is headed?
     
  2. Cyberax

    Cyberax Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2015
    Messages:
    270
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    No, the number of crews varies. They contract the construction jobs to several companies. These companies also do other types of construction, like cell tower building.

    On average it looks like Tesla is doing about 10 concurrent installations.
     
  3. cpa

    cpa Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2014
    Messages:
    941
    Location:
    Central Valley
    ^^^

    That is empirically about right. Also empirically, Tesla likely budgets an amount each fiscal year for new locations and expansions at existing locations. From 2014 into 2015 there was a slow-down in new construction followed by an explosion in the first half of the year. A similar pattern developed towards the tail end of 2015 with fewer permits and construction under way. I would suspect that we will see a similar frenzy across the US (and hopefully in Canada) in the next 8-10 months.

    We have found out through conversations with construction crews that they finished location X, moved onto location Y and then will be going to location Z when Y is complete. But, it is not clear just how many jobs these crews have lined up into the future.

    It is my personal and unconfirmed feeling that Tesla tries to send these jobs out for bids in bunches. I think if a contractor knows that he is bidding on 3,4, or 5 jobs, his overhead will be lower and accordingly Tesla will receive a lower overall price. This may explain this perception of having various crews.

    But I could be 100% wrong.
     
  4. Cottonwood

    Cottonwood Roadster#433, Model S#S37

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2009
    Messages:
    5,062
    Location:
    Colorado
    This is more or less my experience. I have spoken with several crews in many states. Tesla has very detailed construction drawings that are modified to the specific details of each site. These are bid out to many contractors. Some contractors, as they gain experience building Superchargers, put in lower bids and tend to get multiple jobs in a row.
     
  5. supratachophobia

    supratachophobia Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2014
    Messages:
    1,997
    Location:
    Columbus, Ohio
    Interesting, so any crew that knew enough about electricity could build one? I always thought they had a set amount of teams running ops, like Section 1.
     
  6. Cottonwood

    Cottonwood Roadster#433, Model S#S37

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2009
    Messages:
    5,062
    Location:
    Colorado
    The work on a Supercharger is just like most construction projects, using a general contractor with several sub-contractors, including an electrical sub-contractor. Most electrical contractors can do the electrical portion of a Supercharger project, following the drawings. Of course, having experience at large commercial projects, and better yet, another Supercharger, lets an electrical contractor be more efficient and make a lower bid.
     
  7. jimmy_d

    jimmy_d Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2016
    Messages:
    24
    Location:
    Monrovia, CA
    Was looking that the current and "2016" maps on the tesla site and it looks like they plan to roughly double the number of locations in 2016. So say that's 500 new locations this year. That means that worldwide they are opening something like 10 new locations per week. If half of those are in the U.S then they will be averaging several per week. It's going to be a heck of a building boom.
     
  8. Drucifer

    Drucifer Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2014
    Messages:
    1,015
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    Regardless, In North America, 2016 seems really sloooooow so far, unless you are in Cali.
     
  9. jimmy_d

    jimmy_d Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2016
    Messages:
    24
    Location:
    Monrovia, CA
    Yeah, I agree. Just got my Model S a month ago and haven't really been paying attention for long, but the pace has seemed slower than what they need if that 2016 map is going to be for real.

    Maybe the holiday season is slow? In various industries that I've been in Dec and Jan get really slow because coordinating work among various companies with varying holiday schedules and vacation time and whatnot becomes a big problem.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Here's another thing to consider: if Tesla meets their production goals for 2020 then 5 years from now they will need roughly 10x as many chargers as they have now - assuming that chargers scales smoothly with the fleet size.

    When I imagine what a 10x larger charger network looks like I find myself wondering about the split from 10x as many locations, or 10x as many chargers at a location. Will we be seeing SC locations with 100 chargers? Or might we see SC locations every 20 miles instead of every 100 miles along all the major highways?

    I notice that Tesla doesn't have a 2017 map yet, which had me wondering if the strategy changes after 2016. The 2016 map seems to have all the really important stuff built out so you can more or less go anywhere in the U.S., so maybe the strategy changes to to increasing convenience and making the experience of charging more pleasant instead of just making new destinations accessible? Is there a point where a shift happens to put more emphasis on destination charging? That second one seems kind of improbable since superchargers at destinations can end up with the problem of being tempting for locals to camp out at.

    Its going to be really interesting to see how the strategic buildout of the long distance charging network changes as location choice and station size is driven by things other that basic necessity.
     
  10. Drucifer

    Drucifer Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2014
    Messages:
    1,015
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    #10 Drucifer, Feb 2, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2016
    They will be able to scale superchargers more slowly than the fleet due to:

    1. Many locations with 8 chargers that often have 0 or 1 or 2 in concurrent use at most times.
    2. Likely software updates that will schedule supercharger slots and times like the FAA does with airline landing slots.
    3. Queueing theory, which I won't elaborate on but trust me.

    Queueing theory - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  11. RiverBrick

    RiverBrick Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2014
    Messages:
    1,371
    Location:
    Québec
    Unfortunately, the map is not realistic. A sizeable number of the uncompleted "2016" locations were originally on the 2015 or even 2014 maps. To the extent that they get done, other "2016ers" will be delayed until at least 2017. If a random site is on the 2016 map and there's no current sign of construction or permitting, don't count on more than a 50% chance of the work being completed this year. On the flip-side, a few unannounced locations open each year.
     
  12. jimmy_d

    jimmy_d Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2016
    Messages:
    24
    Location:
    Monrovia, CA
    oh I completely agree that scaling will be sublinear due to edge effect amortization and other granularity associated use efficiency improvements. And software scheduling is also inevitable and likely very effective. But the fleet growth is likely to be explosive over the next several years and a substantial multiple of today's chargers will be needed to address peak usage periods.

    So so what does that look like, I wonder?
     
  13. Drucifer

    Drucifer Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2014
    Messages:
    1,015
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    Many of us wonder...but that's why we are here on TMC.
     
  14. HillCountryFun

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2013
    Messages:
    217
    Location:
    Texas Hill Country
    It sure seems like we're experiencing an inflection point right now. I agree that historically there were about 10 construction sites going at any one time in North America but lately it has really dropped off (based on supercharge.info). So, I'm wondering what could be happening.

    Here are some ideas:

    1) They are switching to a new set of crews
    2) The Tesla public has lost it's veraciousness around finding SuperChargers under construction
    3) There's a step change in the equipment and we're waiting for:
    3a) The new equipment to be produced
    3b) New training for the construction crews
    3c) OTA Software release
    3d) Some combination of the items above
    4) Budget change for the beginning of 2016 (although I doubt this one as TM said 2016 would have about 300 new SuperCharger locations)

    Anyone have any other thoughts on what could be holding up SuperCharger activity?
     
  15. cpa

    cpa Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2014
    Messages:
    941
    Location:
    Central Valley
    First off, I do not know beans. (1) is highly unlikely. Personal conversations with crew members reveal that they love working on Superchargers. With probing minds and wandering eyes, members of this forum are not losing any voraciousness in finding new construction sites. (Yes it is possible that right now Interstate 94 is being completed in Bismarck ND and Glendive MT because no one even bothers to look for permits or drives hundreds of miles just to see what is going on in such a remote area.) So, I think (2) is probably not plausible.
    (3a/b/c/d) does have some credibility, if Tesla is going to change to the cooled cables. (4) Is plausible too.

    I will add (5): Tesla is changing suppliers of the charging hardware, and they are depleting current inventory while waiting for their order of X number charging stalls to be manufactured; (5a) Since the X has a 48-amp charger onboard, maybe the charger stacks will change to these 48A chargers instead of the present 40A. This change might allow charging speeds to increase slightly from the 135kW that existing locations have. (If I am wrong from an EE point of view, please be gentle.)
    (6) I stated elsewhere that location selection is going to start to get a little tighter without Tesla having to overbuild in certain locations. Maybe figuring all this out is taking Tesla longer than expected.
     
  16. xrayangiodoc

    xrayangiodoc Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2014
    Messages:
    224
    Location:
    Amherst, NY
    Interesting that the latest referral link that Tesla just sent me offers a new Model S or X purchaser a $1200 credit to install a HPWC. Perhaps a sign that they want new customers to do their share to build up the charger infrastructure?
     
  17. Mark Z

    Mark Z Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2013
    Messages:
    1,334
    Location:
    North Orange County
    IMHO, it could be a scheduling break due to winter weather. I would expect more activity starting in spring.
     
  18. jimmy_d

    jimmy_d Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2016
    Messages:
    24
    Location:
    Monrovia, CA
    I notice that the HR expansion was not forecast on supercharge.info or otherwise mentioned in the forums here. I found out about it by talking to a PGE guy that was working on the new Buttonwillow location, and then when I visited the HR location an hour later I saw that they were already under construction. HR is probably one of the busiest locations anywhere but nobody even noticed that it was undergoing an upgrade. It also seems like Tesla doesn't send out announcements when they expand a location, but they do sent out announcements when they add a new location. I wonder if it's possible that we're more blind to expansion of existing locations than to the opening of new locations. If that's true, and if a significant amount of the current activity is expanding existing locations - which will happen more and more as the network gets built out - then it might just appear that there's less activity than there actually is.
     
  19. Drucifer

    Drucifer Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2014
    Messages:
    1,015
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    But on the East Coast, the only expansion that I am aware of is Newark, DE. Anything else?
     
  20. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2012
    Messages:
    4,502
    Location:
    Maine
    I think the simple answer is that Tesla wants to focus on cash flow, and will hold Supercharger construction until Model X ramps and they have more cash.
     

Share This Page