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Supersized Supercharger Network - 2016 Tesla Model X Long-Term Road Test

Edmunds.comEdmunds.com Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 10,130
edited April 2016 in Tesla
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Supersized Supercharger Network - 2016 Tesla Model X Long-Term Road Test

Tesla's Supercharger network was still a work in progress when we owned our 2013 Tesla Model S, but now our 2016 Tesla Model X can go almost anyplace.

Read the full story here


Comments

  • throwbackthrowback Member Posts: 445
    This is Tesla's ace in the hole. I can imagine Tesla becoming an energy company. Why not lease access to the network to other car companies for their EVs? That would make for a nice little side income and allow Tesla to continue to offer free access to their customers and continue to build out the network.
  • ebeaudoinebeaudoin NE IllinoisMember Posts: 509
    throwback said:

    This is Tesla's ace in the hole. I can imagine Tesla becoming an energy company. Why not lease access to the network to other car companies for their EVs? That would make for a nice little side income and allow Tesla to continue to offer free access to their customers and continue to build out the network.

    I was just about to post this! Imagine how much cash Musk could get if he made these stations compatible with other makes. As much as I dislike stroking his ego, he really is changing the way electric cars operate in this country. If it were open season on chargers the EV movement would expand like crazy.
  • mercedesfanmercedesfan Member Posts: 365
    @throwback,

    Unfortunately Elon's arrogance has made that more difficult than it needed to be. All Tesla's use a proprietary charging plug that is not compatible with every other EV currently on the market or planned for the future. The traditional automakers always follow the standards set by the SAE to ensure widespread compliance. As a result, every other EV uses the standardized SAE J1772 plug that enables them to be charged at any charging station across the country. Tesla provides an adapter that allows owners like myself to leverage those stations, too, but no other EV comes with an adapter to use superchargers (and some EVs can't handle the high-rate charging anyway). Obviously this should be an easy fix, but it is one additional step that makes it less likely that would happen anytime soon.
  • handbrakehandbrake Member Posts: 99
    While the number of supercharger stations has increased significantly since your test in 2014, so has the number of Teslas on the road. I've owned a Tesla since about the time of your original test (P85, and now a P85D) and while it's easier to find a station now, it's a lot harder to charge. Why? Because there are now lines at many of the stations.

    In 2014, I never had to wait for a spot at a Supercharger station. Today, it's more likely than not that I have to wait (I'm in the Bay Area and often travel to Sacramento and points north, and I also drive to LA about once a month) and the waits can be 1/2 hour or more.

    Also, when you have more cars charging, the charge rate drops (I think it has to do with whether your charger is paired with another charger in use, but I'm no charging expert so the explanation may be much more complicated than that).

    So it used to be a matter of pulling straight up to the charger, waiting about 20-30 minutes to get the needed charge and go on your way. Now, it's often a case of wait 30 minutes for a spot to open, then spend 40 or more minutes to get the needed charge.

    A 20 minute charging stop is tolerable. An hour+ charging stop is not. And if and when the Model 3 hits the roads, the situation will get much worse.

  • 5vzfe5vzfe Member Posts: 161
    handbrake said:

    While the number of supercharger stations has increased significantly since your test in 2014, so has the number of Teslas on the road. I've owned a Tesla since about the time of your original test (P85, and now a P85D) and while it's easier to find a station now, it's a lot harder to charge. Why? Because there are now lines at many of the stations...

    ...A 20 minute charging stop is tolerable. An hour+ charging stop is not. And if and when the Model 3 hits the roads, the situation will get much worse.

    This is why I'm curious as to why more people didn't go for the whole battery swapping thing Tesla was showing off. It took less time to swap the battery than to fill a conventional gas tank. I wonder if this will be reintroduced as an option or if Tesla will just increase the number of plugs at it's stations.
  • bankerdannybankerdanny Member Posts: 1,021
    And so we see why head-to-head the Model 3, once released, crushes the Bolt. GM's offering appears well done, but without a truly high speed community based charging system, its usefulness is severely compromised.
  • handbrakehandbrake Member Posts: 99
    5vzfe said:

    handbrake said:

    While the number of supercharger stations has increased significantly since your test in 2014, so has the number of Teslas on the road. I've owned a Tesla since about the time of your original test (P85, and now a P85D) and while it's easier to find a station now, it's a lot harder to charge. Why? Because there are now lines at many of the stations...

    ...A 20 minute charging stop is tolerable. An hour+ charging stop is not. And if and when the Model 3 hits the roads, the situation will get much worse.

    This is why I'm curious as to why more people didn't go for the whole battery swapping thing Tesla was showing off. It took less time to swap the battery than to fill a conventional gas tank. I wonder if this will be reintroduced as an option or if Tesla will just increase the number of plugs at it's stations.
    It's sort of a simple explanation. The battery swaps were going to cost drivers about $80 each. Supercharging is generally no additional cost.
  • actualsizeactualsize Santa Ana, CaliforniaMember Posts: 451
    handbrake said:

    Also, when you have more cars charging, the charge rate drops (I think it has to do with whether your charger is paired with another charger in use, but I'm no charging expert so the explanation may be much more complicated than that).

    That's basically true. Two parking spots share one supercharger: 1A with 1B, 2A with 2B, etc. Leave a space between you and the next car and that should put you on separate chargers.
    handbrake said:

    A 20 minute charging stop is tolerable. An hour+ charging stop is not. And if and when the Model 3 hits the roads, the situation will get much worse.

    The mooch culture is one thing I hate about electric vehicles. Install a station at home, use that and pay for your electricity. Save the Superchargers for trips out of town and journeys out toward the edge of your range. The less-expensive Model 3 will make the Supercharger situation a lot worse because it's going to be purchased by a higher percentage of renters that will not be able to install a charger and be self-sufficient at home.

    Twitter: @Edmunds_Test

  • handbrakehandbrake Member Posts: 99

    handbrake said:

    Also, when you have more cars charging, the charge rate drops (I think it has to do with whether your charger is paired with another charger in use, but I'm no charging expert so the explanation may be much more complicated than that).

    That's basically true. Two parking spots share one supercharger: 1A with 1B, 2A with 2B, etc. Leave a space between you and the next car and that should put you on separate chargers.
    handbrake said:

    A 20 minute charging stop is tolerable. An hour+ charging stop is not. And if and when the Model 3 hits the roads, the situation will get much worse.

    The mooch culture is one thing I hate about electric vehicles. Install a station at home, use that and pay for your electricity. Save the Superchargers for trips out of town and journeys out toward the edge of your range. The less-expensive Model 3 will make the Supercharger situation a lot worse because it's going to be purchased by a higher percentage of renters that will not be able to install a charger and be self-sufficient at home.
    Mooch culture???? First of all, I have a NEMA 14-50 at home. Second, had you read my post you would have noticed that I said I live in the Bay Area and frequently travel to Sacramento and beyond as well as LA. No one said ANYTHING about using Superchargers in lieu of home charging. Third, I won't even get into the deceptive marketing that was used to imply that with Superchargers, you'd never have to pay for the electricity the car uses. It's a bit more clear that there is a preference that people not use Superchargers for local charging, but that's totally off topic since my post was about travel farther from home.

    But I'm glad you agree that the success of the Model 3 will make Supercharging a complete disaster.
  • kyolmlkyolml Member Posts: 37
    it's
    handbrake said:

    5vzfe said:

    handbrake said:

    While the number of supercharger stations has increased significantly since your test in 2014, so has the number of Teslas on the road. I've owned a Tesla since about the time of your original test (P85, and now a P85D) and while it's easier to find a station now, it's a lot harder to charge. Why? Because there are now lines at many of the stations...

    ...A 20 minute charging stop is tolerable. An hour+ charging stop is not. And if and when the Model 3 hits the roads, the situation will get much worse.

    This is why I'm curious as to why more people didn't go for the whole battery swapping thing Tesla was showing off. It took less time to swap the battery than to fill a conventional gas tank. I wonder if this will be reintroduced as an option or if Tesla will just increase the number of plugs at it's stations.
    It's sort of a simple explanation. The battery swaps were going to cost drivers about $80 each. Supercharging is generally no additional cost.
    Battery swap? I guess people already forgot it was the biggest scam in Tesla history! no one mention it since last year when the CARB credit expired and Tesla shelled the swap project at the same time. A lot of reports said it was a scam to earn CARB credit for quick fueling clean energy vehicle and Tesla is using the loophole to get that $295 million. Tesla said they sent out invitations to a few hundred owners and no one was using it, while on the forum pretty much every owners said they want to do it but no invitation and the swap station was not open even they desperately want to try and call Tesla out for it. Just search Tesla battery swap scam on google and you will see all the information.

    I wouldn't mind paying $80 to swap the battery so i don't have to wait in line for an hour, and that's what most of the forum owners also said.


    As for why Tesla is not pursuing it, I guess it is really technically not feasible or possible in public environment in a quick manner that is comparable to refueling a ICE vehicle as Musk promised. Elon Musk put on a show back in 2013 on how fast it could be and even battery swap live. In reality, I guess it will be more like an oil change in quick lube station since Musk said there is coolant and all that physical connections to the battery. And in my opinion, the Model S is never designed to have the battery to swap out in a quick manner in the beginning. Just look at the bottom, you see how much stuff (shield, plastic guards, etc.) you need to move around to get to the battery. And getting a robot that can do all that in swap station surely will be way more expensive than building another few superchargers.


  • allthingshondaallthingshonda Member Posts: 878
    The battery swapping is not a scam. All Tesla are designed and built to be able to have the battery quickly removed from the car. Think about it. When this car was being tested and engineered it would be much quicker to swap the batteries than to wait for a full charge to keep the tests going. Although battery swapping was done manually during testing Musk probably thought he could completely automate the process and left the battery swapping capability as part of the production design for the future.

    The Kevlar shielding was added to the Model S later after several batteries were punctured by road debris and caught on fire. Before the bottom of the car was the exposed battery. I would think the Kevlar shielding is now part of the battery's outer shell on newer models.
  • longtimelurkerlongtimelurker Member Posts: 455
    handbrake said:

    handbrake said:

    Also, when you have more cars charging, the charge rate drops (I think it has to do with whether your charger is paired with another charger in use, but I'm no charging expert so the explanation may be much more complicated than that).

    That's basically true. Two parking spots share one supercharger: 1A with 1B, 2A with 2B, etc. Leave a space between you and the next car and that should put you on separate chargers.
    handbrake said:

    A 20 minute charging stop is tolerable. An hour+ charging stop is not. And if and when the Model 3 hits the roads, the situation will get much worse.

    The mooch culture is one thing I hate about electric vehicles. Install a station at home, use that and pay for your electricity. Save the Superchargers for trips out of town and journeys out toward the edge of your range. The less-expensive Model 3 will make the Supercharger situation a lot worse because it's going to be purchased by a higher percentage of renters that will not be able to install a charger and be self-sufficient at home.
    Mooch culture???? First of all, I have a NEMA 14-50 at home. Second, had you read my post you would have noticed that I said I live in the Bay Area and frequently travel to Sacramento and beyond as well as LA. No one said ANYTHING about using Superchargers in lieu of home charging. Third, I won't even get into the deceptive marketing that was used to imply that with Superchargers, you'd never have to pay for the electricity the car uses. It's a bit more clear that there is a preference that people not use Superchargers for local charging, but that's totally off topic since my post was about travel farther from home.

    But I'm glad you agree that the success of the Model 3 will make Supercharging a complete disaster.
    I don't think he was calling you a mooch - he was saying that the mooch culture is WHY when you travel, you have to wait to charge at a Supercharger. And many of us predicted long ago that this would happen. Anyone who witnessed the mooch culture in music and movies, practiced by those who had no trouble buying $5,000-$15,000 sound systems and home entertainment systems, would have no trouble predicting this.
  • actualsizeactualsize Santa Ana, CaliforniaMember Posts: 451
    handbrake said:

    Mooch culture???? First of all, I have a NEMA 14-50 at home. Second, had you read my post you would have noticed that I said I live in the Bay Area and frequently travel to Sacramento and beyond as well as LA. No one said ANYTHING about using Superchargers in lieu of home charging.

    I wasn't referring to you. As you well know, there are those people (a small number, I think/hope) that have bought EVs with no provision for home charging. I have seen a Tesla version of this at at least two of my local Superchargers that are constantly clogged up by commuters, not tourists road-tripping on the network. I've seen regular EV owners have a friend follow them to the free chargers at my local mall so they can leave their car there all day and come back hours later after not patronizing the mall. The 120V outlets in my local parking garage were locked up by building management because of scavenger plug-ins. I'm sure you've seen this sort of thing.

    My point is that Model 3 demographics may include more renters and fewer homeowner-types who can set up a Level 2 or NEMA 14-50 charge point at home. It seems to me that more of them may rely on the Supercharger as their only charger. Will this change be significant? I don't know. But even if my theory is 100% bogus, the mere fact of a coming 10x increase in the number of Teslas is going to require a lot of furious Supercharger construction on the part of Musk and Company just to maintain the status quo. If my theory is correct, they're going to have to build even more.

    Twitter: @Edmunds_Test

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