Supercharger Waiting Room - 2013 Tesla Model S Long-Term Road Test

2013 Tesla Model S Long-Term Road Test

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2013 Tesla Model S: Supercharger Waiting Room

January 9, 2014

2013 Tesla Model S

This photo was taken at Harris Ranch on the return leg of my 2,000-mile road trip in our long-term 2013 Tesla Model S.

As you can see, the next Tesla to pull up to this bank of Superchargers is pretty much boned. All of the chargers are taken, and none of the other vehicle owners are in sight. They're off snoozing or eating or playing jai-alai somewhere, apparently oblivious to the plight befalling the next Tesla driver seeking a juice fix.

When I drove up, two chargers of the five were available. Halfway through my (partial) charge, another car took the sole remaining charger. At no point during my charge were the other three chargers vacated.

This wait-so-you-can-wait-more situation is likely to become more commonplace as more Teslas hit the streets, though additional Superchargers along popular routes will help.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor


  • dunning15 dunning15 Posts:

    I guess a pertinent question would be at any time did you see a car waiting for a spot? If you left and the three spots were still taken that means your spot was open for the next car. What day of the week was it and what time? I wouldn't think of heading up the 5 on a three day weekend and trying to Supercharge. Same with my ICE, however. You couldn't pay me to head from SoCal to NorCal on Memorial Day weekend. I agree that with more Teslas this will bring more headaches but stories of actually waiting for a charger to open aren't that prominent at the moment.

  • nicad nicad Posts:

    Thanksgiving weekend will be interesting. I predict the Rich will have some poor folks holding place in line for them…maybe a Leaf driver.

  • goaterguy goaterguy Posts:

    Maybe the station can automatically text the owner when the battery is fully charged (or at 97%) and start charging a dollar a minute after 5-10 minutes of waiting. Obviously only if the station senses other cars waiting for a charge.

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    "You couldn't pay me to head from SoCal to NorCal on Memorial Day weekend." So you'd take a commercial flight (the Greyhound bus with wings) instead, because hey - THAT won't be crowded! With an ICE, you at least have your choice of routes to take, depending upon traffic reports. With the Tesla, you're stuck taking the road that has superchargers. That is just a great photo, though - you pay $10k for the latest Paris original, then you show up at the cotillion and half the women there are wearing the same fashion accessory. And none of you can leave...grrrr.

  • dunning15 dunning15 Posts:

    Cotillion, Paris, fashion accessories, commercial flights? What the heck are you talking about Fordson? Who would IMAGINE that there would be other Teslas just like yours at the Tesla SuperCharger? Inconceivable! Just like you head over to the Ferrari show and what do you see? A bunch of expensive Ferraris JUST LIKE YOURS!!! I've said it before and I'll say it again - I'm not much of a road trip guy. I love my P85+ because it goes from zero to sixty fast. Very fast. And I don't have to give up seating for an additional three people to get it like I would in a 911. The fact that it uses electricity is a bonus to me. The fact that it has tons of storage space is a bonus to me. The fact that it is "green" is a bonus to me. No I'm not hopping on a plane to head to Northern California on Labor Day weekend either. You also won't find me at Disneyland on any Saturday during Christmas break or during Spring break. It's just the way I am, old Fordster. If you don't want to be "stuck" taking the road that has SuperChargers then by all means drive your ICE vehicle. Then instead of taking the shortest possible path between Northern and Southern California - the 5 freeway, you can take the beautiul scenic drive along the 101 in your ICE. Oh wait, they have SuperChargers there as well! Ok, you can head up the 5 to the 99, then maybe off to the scenic towns of Buttonwillow or Pixlie or some other beautiful desert town in your Ford F350. And I hate cotillion. I never know what fork to use if there is more than one available.

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    I would not only predict that there would be a lot of other Teslas just like yours at the Supercharger, I would predict that that would become a problem eventually. And I did. And it is. Finding that you unexpectedly have to allot an extra hour for refueling, over and above the hour you already allotted, is more than a pain.

  • gslippy gslippy Posts:

    That photo contains as many Model Ss as I've seen - ever. The California market is a lot different from the rest of the world.

  • dunning15 dunning15 Posts:

    I haven't waited yet. Of course I haven't SuperCharged yet either.

  • quadricycle quadricycle Posts:

    @dunning15: I can't tell if you are actually being serious or not, have you really not used a Supercharger yet? This is like the time you said the longest trip you had taken in your Model S was 90 miles each way. That completely took me off guard since I

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    quadricycle, he seems serious and he loves his car, so it works for him. $100k for a car that accelerates 0-60 fast but never goes more than 90 miles in any one direction sounds like a damned expensive one-trick pony to me, but it takes all kinds to make a world, thankfully. EV subcompacts like a Leaf make sense to me, because they don't do long trips well, but frankly neither do ICE subcompacts, so it's not that bad a hit. The Tesla competes with ICE lux-performance sedans that EXCEL at long trips, so that seems like a problem to me.

  • karlhungus1 karlhungus1 Posts:

    Nothing wrong with being a fan of Tesla Motors, but refusing to acknowledge drawbacks makes them seem like irrational cult members.

  • gslippy gslippy Posts:

    I like goaterguy's idea to start accruing charges to the customer after so much waiting. This is a behavior problem, worsened by the long charge times - people don't typically camp out at gas stations - and there should be some motivation to get people to move on. The original idea of people enjoying dinner while their car charges may not be compatible with quick 30-minute (or less) charging times.


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