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Supercharger queuing system

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E90alex

Active Member
Mar 20, 2022
3,454
5,698
Seattle, WA

Why doesn’t Tesla implement a queuing system when the Superchargers are full? It would prevent people from cutting the line and tensions/possible fights arising. Common courtesy only goes so far when plenty of people are selfish and not courteous.

Require the cars to “check in” on the infotainment screen as they arrive so they can add themselves to the list. The car and/or charger would prevent charging if it’s not your turn in line. They could even implement a fine for trying to cut. The system can show how many cars are ahead of them and estimated wait time.

That would also allow like a “staging lot” for people to park and wait their turn without losing their spot in line so there’s not a long line of cars blocking other parking spots or backing up onto roadways.

One it’s their turn it can give them 2-3 minutes to move their car and start charging or else they get bumped back and the next person in line can go.

If someone changes their mind they can leave the line on their screen or the system can automatically remove them once they are outside of the geolocation.
 
...Why...
For years, Chargepoint has had a "Waitlist" option for station owners to implement if they want to. Tesla is still behind on this "Waitlist" technology.

Only Tesla knows why. Maybe they think people can manually do it better than a machine-generated "waitlist". Maybe it's additional work to write program lines in Tesla App. Maybe Tesla doesn't think it's a problem...


Sometimes Tesla is lagging behind others like it took a long time to get built-in coat hooks for a Tesla. They even made an add-on coat hook for $30 so people would stop complaining about it:

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It should not be too difficult to implement since you have rideshare drivers using a similar queue system at airports, where they wait in a designated area for their turn, inside an area that is geofenced for the purpose.

That being said, here's how I would do it: a driver's route would be sent to Tesla, and the driver would be placed in line. The system would then call up the driver who has been waiting the longest if that driver is in the geofenced area, to charge long enough to get to the next charger along the route plus a margin. If a driver is first in the queue but has not yet reached the geofenced area, that driver remains first in line upon arrival but the next driver in the queue would be sent to a charging stall.
 
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It should not be too difficult to implement since you have rideshare drivers using a similar queue system at airports, where they wait in a designated area for their turn, inside an area that is geofenced for the purpose.

That being said, here's how I would do it: a driver's route would be sent to Tesla, and the driver would be placed in line. The system would then call up the driver who has been waiting the longest if that driver is in the geofenced area, to charge long enough to get to the next charger along the route plus a margin. If a driver is first in the queue but has not yet reached the geofenced area, that driver remains first in line upon arrival but the next driver in the queue would be sent to a charging stall.
Yeah there’s a lot of nuance in how to properly prioritize charging. I think people passing through/road tripping should be given priority over a local resident, etc.

But the fact remains they need *some* type of system as Teslas have exploded in popularity in the last 2-3 years and Superchargers in popular locations can get backed up, especially if a location has some malfunctioning chargers or during big holiday travel weekends.
 
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That’s not always an option. If you watch the video, the other local Superchargers were also full. And if your charge is low you can’t just simply go to the next station because you won’t have the range to.
You are limiting yourself to Superchargers.

There are plenty of other fast chargers.

Electrify America alone has 9 locations in Las Vegas.
 
You are limiting yourself to Superchargers.

There are plenty of other fast chargers.

Electrify America alone has 9 locations in Las Vegas.
Looks like Electrify America has a total of about 44 stalls in Vegas with CCS at those 9 sites, compared to a total of 54 Supercharger stalls. Having access to CCS would increase the number of >70 kW stalls available by 80% overnight. Another good example of why the CCS adapter is important...
 
I wrote an article on this a few years ago, and passed the request on to insiders at Tesla. But nothing has come of it

The key factors
  1. Yes, Tesla could manage a virtual line, including being in the line as you drive to the charger since most people "navigate to supercharger" to precondition and it knows when every vehicle will get there
  2. Even better than just a line, cars should be able to leave charging stations once somebody unplugs them and move on their own to a parking spot across the way (easier than smart summon) and also vice versa
  3. Who plugs them in and unplugs them? The other people going to and from the superchargers. If you are waiting you are very willing to unplug somebody to move things along, or even plug somebody else in, but you would also do it to pay it forward to the next guy who plugs your car in so you can be eating or shopping while in virtual line. When anybody arrives/leaves their car screen and app display some plug/unplug tasks they can do, possibly to earn points if people won't just do it as a favour to other Tesla drivers.
  4. No idle fees in a situation like this. (Except for plugging in out of turn or stopping your vehicle from leaving the spot.)
  5. It also allocates you to the best charger in paired chargers, knowing which one has a car that's mostly done compared to the one where a Model X just plugged in and you will get only 30kw for a while.
  6. If somebody tries to plug in out of turn they get no juice and an idle fee until they clear the spot.
This would be really useful, and should be higher priority than FSD. Driving in a mapped parking lot is something that can be done today.
In addition, since smart summon/smart park style features are currently only in FSD, Tesla would get to realize a lot more of the FSD money (and sell a lot more of them) if it included "automatic repositioning at supercharger when it's your turn and when you are done." Even if you only might use such a feature a few times a year -- lines are not that common at most chargers.

The process is like this:
  1. You navigate-to-charger. If the charger will have a line it encourages you to pick other chargers if possible, but otherwise you are entered in the line based on your expected arrival time and also when you made the request, as well as that of other cars and how much charge everybody needs.
  2. When you arrive at the charger, you park in an empty spot near the charger. Your car and app tell you a list of stalls where you are requested to unplug or plug in the cars in those stalls.
  3. Stand clear and unplugged cars leave their stall and move to an empty parking spot. You might give them a hint about which direction to go to find the most empty spots, but they can do this on their own. There may be a dedicated spot or two opposite each charger stall just for this at some stations.
  4. Other cars ahead of you move into emptied stalls if ready. You can plug them in, or you don't need to wait for them -- go eat or shop.
  5. If it is your car's turn and nobody is there to do the necessary plug/unplug, and nobody else is likely to be at the charger to do that for you, you will get an alert and can go and do the unplug/plug for your car to get its stall. But usually somebody else will be arriving/leaving and do that. Keep eating.
  6. When your car is done charging, you get another alert, but again, if still eating, somebody else arriving or leaving will unplug your car and your car will move to an empty parking spot
  7. When ready to drive again, the app guides you to where your car parked. Look on the app as well for other cars that need plug/unplug and do it for them to earn points or to be nice. Go to your car and drive away.
  8. If the line went away while you were charging, no idle fees for you because if a new car arrives he can just unplug you and your car will move.
 
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Sounds like a lot of potential process I personally have zero interest in. If there's a line, I'll wait. Same as when I get gas, or am looking for parking. If somebody is going to cut, well, that sucks but it happens.

The problem I have is when there isn't actually a line, and that's what I assume this thread is attempting to address. I've been at a full supercharger and multiple Teslas were parked nearby, no clue who is waiting and who has filled up and gone shopping.
 
Well even though it rarely happens (I've only been to a full Supercharger once, just as a car was leaving), I would certainly appreciate such a system to manage the flow. Of course it should be seamless and transparent (which I think it can be) so that it hardly becomes a question about whether you "have interest in it" or not, it's just the way it works.

And I suspect one's interest in such a system would increase each time they are at a V2 supercharger (not full) and a newbie pulls up and plugs into your shared stall, cutting back your charge speed unnecessarily. Wouldn't it be nice if that driver was instructed which stall to plug into when they arrived rather than just let them randomly pick and slow down your charge rate because they don't know how V2 chargers work?
 
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Tesla has an advantage of controlling their charging experience from top to bottom. I’d love for my car to reserve my charging stall as I am navigating to it and take care of managing queuing and congestion automatically. It would give me some additional peace of mind on long trips to know that we have a reservation. If there’s a queue at a location, then a real-time standby list similar to what the airlines use would give me some reassurance of my turn coming up.

The alternative is to build more and more charging stalls as areas require them.
 
Tesla has an advantage of controlling their charging experience from top to bottom. I’d love for my car to reserve my charging stall as I am navigating to it and take care of managing queuing and congestion automatically. It would give me some additional peace of mind on long trips to know that we have a reservation. If there’s a queue at a location, then a real-time standby list similar to what the airlines use would give me some reassurance of my turn coming up.

The alternative is to build more and more charging stalls as areas require them.
Well, let's look at this for a minute. The irony is from your last statement. Implementing a reservation system, by definition, results in stalls being held idle, waiting for the "right" person to get to it to use it, therefore causing worse utilization rates than just the next person jumping right in. So it is actually what would cause the need "to build more and more charging stalls as areas require them".

That's just the nature of a reservation system. A next in line kind of model is always the most efficient utilization of the resource. But the customers like a reservation system because it is more predictable FOR THEM.
 
Well, let's look at this for a minute. The irony is from your last statement. Implementing a reservation system, by definition, results in stalls being held idle, waiting for the "right" person to get to it to use it, therefore causing worse utilization rates than just the next person jumping right in. So it is actually what would cause the need "to build more and more charging stalls as areas require them".

That's just the nature of a reservation system. A next in line kind of model is always the most efficient utilization of the resource. But the customers like a reservation system because it is more predictable FOR THEM.

I very much dislike the idea of a reservation for that reason. There would need to be some deterrent to prevent people from scheduling for the supercharger and then getting distracted, like idle fees. How do you deal with people who accidentally told the car to navigate to a charger? If you want people to tell you they can't make it then you have to build a system for that: Tesla would have to build even more UI to let you dork around with that reservation, and it's UI you probably need to use while driving, and Tesla isn't good at this stuff anyhow.

I think it would be much better for them put you into the line only once you pull in at the station.
 
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Well, let's look at this for a minute. The irony is from your last statement. Implementing a reservation system, by definition, results in stalls being held idle, waiting for the "right" person to get to it to use it, therefore causing worse utilization rates than just the next person jumping right in.
Why is this necessarily the case if the queuing system is mandatory (albeit automatic, so you rarely even ever see it) and dynamically adjusted with arrival time as the vehicle is en route to the Supercharger? So in other words, if car A is #1 in the queue and car B is #2, but car A is delayed in getting to the charging station relative to car B which shows up early, the queuing system would give them the #1 slot, and car A would then get #2.
 
Why is this necessarily the case if the queuing system is mandatory (albeit automatic, so you rarely even ever see it) and dynamically adjusted with arrival time as the vehicle is en route to the Supercharger? So in other words, if car A is #1 in the queue and car B is #2, but car A is delayed in getting to the charging station relative to car B which shows up early, the queuing system would give them the #1 slot, and car A would then get #2.
People seem to forget that these are two separate and different things.

Reservation system is not a queueing system.

Reservations are what has the problems I mentioned: stalls being unused with all of that little churn of minutes waiting for the person to get there or the person to leave, etc. That is the bad one, which introduces inefficiency.

An automated queueing system is just putting some structure to the next-in-line efficient use of Superchargers. That one is fine.

You can see the difference picturing it with like cashiers at checkout stands in a store. If people scheduled a checkout time, that cashier might be standing there waiting for 2 or 3 minutes, not helping anyone, while you are walking through the store to get up there. That's wasting time. But the automated queueing is like the "Take a number" at the deli, or where they have 3 or 4 checkout lanes, but one serpentine line of people waiting in order, so whenever a lane opens up, the person at the front of the line goes to it. That's good structure.