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Supercharger network needs work

Discussion in 'Model S: Battery & Charging' started by tnt1971, Aug 22, 2017.

  1. tnt1971

    tnt1971 Member

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    I have had my Model S for nearly a year and a half. I love the car and have put over 25,000 miles on it, which is a lot for me in that time.

    My daughter and I took a 2,800 mile road trip this past week and a half to look at colleges. We drove from NYC area to Tallahassee Florida and back. On the way down, we made numerous stops and only drove an average of 4-5 hours a day. I stayed at hotels with chargers, so I did not hit many superchargers along the way down. We drove back in 2 days, necessitating more supercharger stops. While in Tallahassee, I had the 3rd instance of slow charging, where the charge quickly ramps up to over 110kw, then drops very quickly to the 70kw range while still at 30% charge.

    I called Tesla from the Tallahassee supercharger. The very nice tech told me that Tallahassee was experiencing "reduced service". I gave him the other instances of slow charging and he confirmed them as well as having reduced service. I then asked him about the chargers I was going to hit on the way home and half of them he told me had "reduced service" and proceeded to give me the best stalls at each of them.

    Last night, I stopped at Lumberton, NC as directed at my nav. It was one of the "reduced service" locations, but I only needed 100 miles to get to my final destination, which was a hotel with a supercharger. I ran into about 15 cars that were coming back from the eclipse. Now, I don't expect Tesla to anticipate events like this, but when most cars were only able to charge at 50kw because of reduced service, it cost me 2+ hours on a very long road trip. This morning I put the car on the charger at the hotel in Rocky Mount, NC and again, same situation. I switched to another stall and problem was solved for that charge.

    I am very concerned about this network that seems to be struggling for a relatively few cars when they plan on pushing out 500k cars per year. I love the car, but this is a deal breaker for me when I upgrade if not resolved.
     
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  2. RDoc

    RDoc S85D

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    I agree that surge capacity is a serious issue and don't see how it can be fixed by any reasonable buildout of fixed supercharger stations.

    Perhaps Tesla needs something like mobile supercharger stations consisting of a truck loaded with batteries that they can move around to areas with predictable high demand. They could be treated as not part of the normal Supercharging service and require a fee, similar to the old battery swapping fee. Drivers could either wait in line for free supercharging or pay for immediate access to the truck supercharging.
     
  3. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    While Tesla clearly knew about the eclipse, it's obviously not possible to size a nationwide charging network to handle rare nationwide events of that magnitude. Multiple rural gas stations in Oregon (where I was) ran out of gas last weekend. I'm sure that happened in other states as well.

    When a Supercharger location is heavily used and the weather is warm the chargers tend to lower their output to avoid damage to the Supercharger equipment. Hopefully in the future Tesla can improve Supercharger cooling capacity.

    For the time being has the best high speed nationwide DC charging network by far. Oh wait, there aren't any other high speed DC charging networks...
     
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  4. azred

    azred Member

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    If you think performance of the Superchargers is poor now, consider a few years from now when many of them will get old at the same time. Just another reason to buy big battery cars to permit skipping Superchargers. The much touted concept of arriving at a Supercharger with a nearly dead battery has never made sense to me and this is a major reason why.
     
  5. AmpedRealtor

    AmpedRealtor Well-Known Member

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    Given Musk's statements that 100 kWh is the "sweet spot" for battery capacity, I wouldn't hold my breath for those longer range vehicles coming from Tesla. I additionally suspect one of the justifications for not increasing the battery capacity is the SC network and the lack of need for longer range. However, in my opinion that's a failing argument because people don't like being inconvenienced by waiting to charge. The SC network is only as strong as the weakest link.
     
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  6. Boatguy

    Boatguy Member

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    Not exactly true, depending on where you draw the line for "high speed". On a recent road trip to Canada, I frequently used CHAdeMO chargers. Yes, they are only 50kW, but the average output of an SC during a charge cycle is more like 70kW than 110kw so it's not as big a difference as it might seem at first, and 7x more power than a typical Level 2 charger, including a most of Tesla's destination chargers.

    The point is that CHAdeMO is a second high speed network we can use today. Over the next 3-5yrs I expect to see a lot of CCS chargers added as this is what the German cars will use, and then we'll need a CCS>Tesla adapter.
     
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  7. tnt1971

    tnt1971 Member

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    If there is problems at the chargers and they are slow, people will spend more time there, exacerbating the problem. The buildout is a long term solution. The best short term option is to get the chargers working at capacity.

    I agree with Boatguy, the Chademo was not much different in speed than what I was getting.
     
  8. sorka

    sorka Active Member

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    Were the condenser louvers on the sides of the front opening up? Mine failed causing *exactly* the same symptoms you describe. I had assumed it was supercharger issues when in fact I had a car issue.

    Just for kicks, run out to the car, turn off range mode(if on), and turn the AC on to max. By the time the condenser fans start blowing hard, the louvers should already be open.
     
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  9. jeffro01

    jeffro01 Active Member

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    There are two problems that are separate but related... Problem number one is lack of capacity so the equipment that does exist gets used so frequently it accelerates wear and tear. Problem number two, which IMHO is much more serious, the current design of the supercharger pedestal, cable, connector, and back end cabinet need a complete redesign from the ground up in order to incorporate better thermal management. What's become painfully obvious is ambient air cooling isn't even close to sufficient and the entire system from utility to car charging port needs to be liquid cooled. Until that happens, if it ever happens, the only hope is that Tesla builds so many superchargers that no single one is overloaded/overused so it lasts longer at a higher performance...

    Jeff
     
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  10. Skotty

    Skotty 2014 Model S P85

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    Chademo still suffers from localized support with no national/international planning. In most places, you get clusters of them around cities and nothing in between, so they often don't support long range travel needs. Also, I suspect most sites still only have maybe 1 or 2 plugs, as compared to Tesla sites often providing 8 or more.
     
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  11. Electric700

    Electric700 Active Member

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    Perhaps liquid cooling is coming with the next generation 350+ kW Supercharger V3. I asked Tesla about this recently, but they didn't have a timeline as to the availability. It also makes sense that with more than twice the power output, you'd probably need liquid cooling.
     
  12. Max*

    Max* Banned

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    Did you ask someone at Tesla engineering?

    From my experience and reading other people's experience here, the sales staff (owner advisors and repair folks) don't know what'll happen and go by what they hear/see from Elon's tweets, from people talking to them, etc.

    Not a direct line of communication for what the company will actually do.
     
  13. Tripple_T

    Tripple_T Cincinnati Member

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    I too experienced some significant SuperCharging issue on my last trip. I spent 3 weeks away from home and completely relied on SuperChargers and destination chargers. I had one location that caused me to wait two hours while the car chartered from 10% - 90%. My trip proved to me that you "can" travel anywhere with the SC network. It also proved that the network needs more work and we are not at the point where it is convenient to do so.

    I hate saying that but it is true. I'm at 127,000 miles and a lot of them have been on road trips. I'm able to go places I couldn't 2 years ago, but I'm still waiting to do so with minimal inconvenience.

    My personal opinion is that every hotel needs level 2 charging. One location I was at didn't have local charging at all. I had to drive 20 miles to a SC to fill up for the week/day. Every hotel survey I get that is a recommendation I make. I encourage others to do the same. SuperChargers are great for getting from point to point...but they are not so good for local travel.

    Tucker
     
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  14. immolated

    immolated Member

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    OP, please email your story to [email protected] and [email protected] . Everyone else should do this too. The only way we are going to get this fixed is if lots of different people are making them aware of the problem.
     
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  15. supratachophobia

    supratachophobia Active Member

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    North Carolina was limited to 46kw so consider yourself lucky. But you are right, it seems while the network has grown, I am finding more reduced supercharging everywhere I go in the Midwest.
     
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  16. Electric700

    Electric700 Active Member

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    No, it was someone from their support group. Here's an article I found about the next generation Superchargers:

    Elon Musk teases new ‘Tesla Supercharger V3’ with over 350 kW power output and off-grid solar + Powerpacks
     
  17. scaesare

    scaesare Well-Known Member

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    An interesting thought... Although the couple of times I've experienced this I've remedied by moving to a different supercharger stall, not changing anything on the car...
     
  18. scaesare

    scaesare Well-Known Member

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    The supercharger cabinets ARE liquid cooled. What they aren't are actively chilled via refrigerant.

    I'm not entirely convinced that would be necessary however. There's lots of high power equipment that's passively or liquid cooled without refrigeration.
     
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  19. No2DinosaurFuel

    No2DinosaurFuel Active Member

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    In hot climate it is best to move between stalls. I did it 4x all on the same charging bank and each time I start out high again before leaving off aroujnd 40KW at which I moved to the stall eight beside it. It beats staying on the same stall and suffering through the slow supercharging.

    Given this data I believe it has to do with the charging stalls itself. It can't be the charger and it can't be my car because each time I move, I get the full speed again.

    I think tesla should liquid cool everything, the charger, charger stalls, the cables, connectors, and maybe even the the cables running from the charge poet to the battery inside the car.
     
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  20. Naonak

    Naonak Member

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    Once the novelty of road tripping in a Tesla wears off, it's pretty tedious stopping every ~100 miles or so for 15 - 40 minutes. Especially since they place most Superchargers in the worst possible places with nothing to do.

    Why place Superchargers at a hotel? I don't need it at a hotel. I can use L2 charging at a hotel. Put the Supercharger at a theater, mall, shopping center, arcade, or... I don't know, a FRIGGING COFFEE SHOP!
     
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