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The Uber of SuperCharging ..of sorts

aija SigX 649

Winged Lion
Sep 4, 2015
324
74
PA/NJ
I propose each charger identify it's availability through a Mobile App. The Uber of SuperChargers of sorts. Maybe even provide the ability to reserve a time-slot for a nominal fee (that is forfeited if not used within a 5min window of reserved start-time ..or so) - I'd pay for that. Patent Pending :biggrin: Any investors out there?
 
Last edited:

David99

Active Member
Jan 31, 2014
4,850
7,024
Brea, Orange County
This idea has been brought up many times. It would only work if everyone would participate 100%. Otherwise there is no way to know if it's available or not. The reason it doesn't help the problem at all, though is that is doesn't address the root of the problem. If there are more car that want to charge than there are charging stations, no app, no reservation system or similar would change that. It would just tell people, sorry you are out of luck. And then what? It's not like you have alternatives. If you're on a road trip, Superchargers are placed so far apart that you can't randomly skip one. Only in a few cases you could, but you would have to make that call hours ahead of time when you charge at the previous one.

The only way to deal with Supercharger crowding is more Superchargers.
 

ecarfan

Well-Known Member
Sep 21, 2013
19,220
13,868
West Vancouver, British Columbia
This idea has been brought up many times. It would only work if everyone would participate 100%. Otherwise there is no way to know if it's available or not.
Yes this issue has been intensively discussed in several threads over the past few years. The solution has to come from Tesla (of course the necessary data is available to them) and new software sent to every car so that in a few days there would be 100% participation. And as the density of the Supercharger network increases there will be charging choices in many regions (in Europe in several countries the charging network is already dense enough to offer choices).
I expect we will see this capability appear in our cars in the next year or two.
 

roblab

Active Member
Jul 15, 2008
3,440
2,498
Angwin (Napa Valley) CA
Yes this issue has been intensively discussed in several threads over the past few years. The solution has to come from Tesla (of course the necessary data is available to them) and new software sent to every car so that in a few days there would be 100% participation. And as the density of the Supercharger network increases there will be charging choices in many regions (in Europe in several countries the charging network is already dense enough to offer choices).
I expect we will see this capability appear in our cars in the next year or two.

My concern over being told that a supercharger station is full, is that within a few minutes, cars get charged and leave. It's not like waiting hours at a Level II J-plug charger where everyone will be sitting for several hours. Huge difference. A couple minute wait is obviously not a big deal, as people plug in, wander off, go eat, go shop, and they never care that they are paired with a car that is taking the lion's share and parceling out a low percentage to car #2. No one is really in that much of a hurry.

I would be far more concerned about some noob driving in and thinking they have to spend an extra hour charging up to 100% in the same time 3 other cars could charge enough to drive on down the road.

Stress will kill you.
 

aija SigX 649

Winged Lion
Sep 4, 2015
324
74
PA/NJ
Didn't mean to be pretentious. I haven't come across the topic personally but glad it's been discussed. Tesla enthusiasts are a bright bunch to be sure! Anyway ..if the SuperChargers had the intelligence to broadcast their availability, and TM able to collect usage data, then there would very useful info on regional demand that could feed into new SuperCharger buildout/expansion plans. I agree that more = better; but where to build more = more better :wink: Its highly likely that this is probably already in the works.
 

vandacca

ReActive Member
Oct 13, 2014
3,371
2,202
Hamilton
Forgive me if I'm wrong, but wasn't supercharger status part of Elon's range-anxiety-busting solution? I thought the trip planner was supposed to know supercharger status (charging, broken, free, etc.) and re-route you accordingly. Or has that not fully rolled out yet?
 

apacheguy

S Sig #255
Oct 21, 2012
5,082
1,243
So Cal
Forgive me if I'm wrong, but wasn't supercharger status part of Elon's range-anxiety-busting solution? I thought the trip planner was supposed to know supercharger status (charging, broken, free, etc.) and re-route you accordingly. Or has that not fully rolled out yet?

Yes, it was. It has not been rolled out in the current trip planner.
 

David99

Active Member
Jan 31, 2014
4,850
7,024
Brea, Orange County
Even if the software was built into the car, it wouldn't help. Many people don't use navigation so how would the car know you are heading for a Supercharger? And then it's even more complicated. Even if you have all cars connected, how would the software know how much you want to charge. A driver could charge just the bare minimum to make it to the next charger, another one might be on the exact same way, but wants to have plenty of buffer because they plan a detour. So there i no way to predict how long a car will charge at a station, thus no prediction can be made about the availability to the next few cars coming in.
But as I said before, even if the system would work perfectly, all it would be able to do is tell you in advance, 'sorry you will have to wait 20 min before you can charge there'. Only more stations will solve the root of the problem.
 

vandacca

ReActive Member
Oct 13, 2014
3,371
2,202
Hamilton
Even if the software was built into the car, it wouldn't help. Many people don't use navigation so how would the car know you are heading for a Supercharger? And then it's even more complicated. Even if you have all cars connected, how would the software know how much you want to charge. A driver could charge just the bare minimum to make it to the next charger, another one might be on the exact same way, but wants to have plenty of buffer because they plan a detour. So there i no way to predict how long a car will charge at a station, thus no prediction can be made about the availability to the next few cars coming in.
But as I said before, even if the system would work perfectly, all it would be able to do is tell you in advance, 'sorry you will have to wait 20 min before you can charge there'. Only more stations will solve the root of the problem.

You can still do some very useful planning without knowing how long someone is going to spend charging. Knowing how many free charging ports there are at each SuperCharger, one can decide which SuperCharger to stop at. This is in itself very useful. Obviously, in an area with few SuperChargers, you don't have any choice and have to stop at the next available SuperCharger, regardless of how busy it is.
 

apacheguy

S Sig #255
Oct 21, 2012
5,082
1,243
So Cal
Even if the software was built into the car, it wouldn't help. Many people don't use navigation so how would the car know you are heading for a Supercharger? And then it's even more complicated. Even if you have all cars connected, how would the software know how much you want to charge. A driver could charge just the bare minimum to make it to the next charger, another one might be on the exact same way, but wants to have plenty of buffer because they plan a detour. So there i no way to predict how long a car will charge at a station, thus no prediction can be made about the availability to the next few cars coming in.
But as I said before, even if the system would work perfectly, all it would be able to do is tell you in advance, 'sorry you will have to wait 20 min before you can charge there'. Only more stations will solve the root of the problem.

You're right. The way you make it out to be is very complicated and unlikely to work.

But the answer is really very simple. Provide historical usage data and project wait times. Swiss train schedules all carry an indicator to show projected occupancy and this allows folks with flexibility to plan around trains with anticipated high occupancy. Follow the Swiss model. Simple.
 

MichFin

Member
May 8, 2015
303
61
Detroit, MI
Out here in the Midwest I've never seen more 4 cars at a supercharger. That being said we need them spaced closer together and integrate with 3rd parties that also offer fast charging (Chademo) if you enable it in navigation. Also, a simple count of how many stalls there are with how many are currently being used.

Any decision to skip a charging station is likely made within minutes of arriving at that station.
 

electracity

Active Member
Jun 8, 2015
4,028
2,531
60606
.........

But the answer is really very simple. Provide historical usage data and project wait times. Swiss train schedules all carry an indicator to show projected occupancy and this allows folks with flexibility to plan around trains with anticipated high occupancy. Follow the Swiss model. Simple.

Perhaps negative news stories is the reason Tesla has not released this information. This information is a benefit to owners, but potentially a detriment to sales.
 

ChrisC

see signature
Apr 27, 2009
880
630
Atlanta, GA
Forgive me if I'm wrong, but wasn't supercharger status part of Elon's range-anxiety-busting solution? I thought the trip planner was supposed to know supercharger status (charging, broken, free, etc.) and re-route you accordingly. Or has that not fully rolled out yet?

Yes, it was. It has not been rolled out in the current trip planner.

And mark my words, when they do roll it out, it will include guidance on which pedestal/stall to park in, to get the fastest charge. I bet they will even blink the lit-up Tesla logo on the designated pedestal as you approach within 100 feet or so.
 

kf93

Member
Jun 16, 2015
127
1
Monterey area, CA
The long-term solution could eventually incorporate the tesla metal snake charger and autopilot to manage the cars inside the charging corral. You drop off the car at the entrance, the autopilot takes over and goes to an open stall, then when charging is complete it drives the car to a holding lot for you to pick it up. That would reduce the blockage of supercharger stalls by cars that are done but the owners are still shopping/eating nearby. Would be hard to implement in older sites but new construction superchargers could be a person-free zone inside the perimeter.
 

Sasmania

Member
Aug 22, 2014
349
406
Scottsdale & Flagstaff AZ
Agree this won't really help road trippers. You need to charge when you get there.

However, let's be honest.

Most of the SC's that are overcrowded are in CA and are being used by locals or livery cars to top off etc. I could see having a status of "8 of 8 Full & 4 Waiting" that would discourage those that don't really need it to skip it. Or if it's wide open, go for it. It could save people driving 5 or 10 miles out of their way to check, which ultimately saves wasted energy.
 
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EchoDelta

Supporting Member
Mar 5, 2012
1,224
626
RootedNW.org, Seattle, Planet Earth
Even if the software was built into the car, it wouldn't help. Many people don't use navigation so how would the car know you are heading for a Supercharger? And then it's even more complicated. Even if you have all cars connected, how would the software know how much you want to charge. A driver could charge just the bare minimum to make it to the next charger, another one might be on the exact same way, but wants to have plenty of buffer because they plan a detour. So there i no way to predict how long a car will charge at a station, thus no prediction can be made about the availability to the next few cars coming in.
But as I said before, even if the system would work perfectly, all it would be able to do is tell you in advance, 'sorry you will have to wait 20 min before you can charge there'. Only more stations will solve the root of the problem.

Not really, that is akin to saying waze shouldn't provide an ETA because the car in front of you may explode anytime. I think you can do a lot with just info about the cars charging and their SOC and cars on the lot and SOC. Guesstimate information , not guarantees, adds a lot of efficiency into the systems.
Pretending guesses are guarantees is what tends to make things complicated. My 0.02.
 

aija SigX 649

Winged Lion
Sep 4, 2015
324
74
PA/NJ
Not really, that is akin to saying waze shouldn't provide an ETA because the car in front of you may explode anytime. I think you can do a lot with just info about the cars charging and their SOC and cars on the lot and SOC. Guesstimate information , not guarantees, adds a lot of efficiency into the systems.
Pretending guesses are guarantees is what tends to make things complicated. My 0.02.

Thanks for reviving this post. I'm a huge believer in data collection - mining it will always yield something useful! I'm fairly certain one can figure out how to use the data to make the SC experience more efficient and less frustrating. Also, I suspect that there may come a time when TM may choose to monetize the SC network, building in more intelligence will only make it that much more profitable - someone at TM is probably already on it :wink:
 

David99

Active Member
Jan 31, 2014
4,850
7,024
Brea, Orange County
Not really, that is akin to saying waze shouldn't provide an ETA because the car in front of you may explode anytime.

OK I see you point. And I agree, a general idea how busy a Supercharger is might discourage some drivers who only want to top off without actually needing it. But what people suggested and want is a system that can't possibly work. The problem is you can collect and share as much super accurate data as you want, it doesn't let you predict if there will be a free spot in 5 min or not. Some people charge more, some less. No data, no method can predict how long a car will occupy a stall. A reservation system (as some have suggested) would keep stalls empty waiting for the person to arrive. It might be just minutes, but just add those minutes up over the day and multiply them by the number of stalls. In the end it would decrease usage and cause more waiting.

An estimate how busy a station is might help a little as it might discourage people who don't really need to charge to skip it. But then, the locals know these busy times already and avoid them. I have 5 Superchargers within 35 miles. I have charged there twice in the past 6 months when I wasn't on a long trip. Why? Because I can't be bothered wasting time when I can charge at home for 10 ct.

Ultimately I believe Tesla will never make this kind of data available. It would just cause fear and frustration. The whole idea of a Supercharger is to charge as fast as possible. Any delay or wait time defeats the idea entirely and would cause negative press and perception. "Look how Tesla's charging network is getting busy'. They will rather build more stalls and more stations.

BTW I would totally be fine if Tesla introduces a free for local Supercharging to prevent locals from abusing it too much. You get 3 hours free each month, anything beyond you pay $20 per hour (or whatever).
 

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