Supercharger Etiquette

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Gavyne

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#1
There have been similar discussions about charging etiquette. But with so many new Model 3 owners out there, I thought to go ahead and bump this up here. Every time I go to a Supercharger station these days, I've had to explain to someone new about waiting in line, and how the Superchargers work. So basic Tesla Supercharger etiquette are as follows:

1. When pulling up to supercharger stations, look for Tesla owners parked next to the superchargers. Popular supercharger stations usually have a waiting line. It's a honor system, and people do keep track of the order based on the orders they arrived. So park next to them, and kindly ask one of them for the order. Most Tesla owners are super nice so don't be shy. You want to know the order because someone coming after you may ask you for it.

Every once in awhile you'll find someone try to jump the line. They are often either new owners unaware of this honor system, or they are truly rude. When someone tries to jump the line, step out and wave them down. Give them the benefit of the doubt first and assume they're just new Tesla owners, and explain the system to them. Be nice to them because charging at a supercharger is new to a lot of people.

To deal with rude people, the more people speak up the better. Strength in numbers tend to work just fine. I haven't seen any violent confrontations other than people driving off in anger and flipping the finger or yelling expletive. So if you see someone about to get taken advantage of, whether you're charging already or just waiting, step out and help. A rude individual may not care if 1 person tries to explain that they're next. But once more people speak up, they usually back off.

2. If you see a bunch of Tesla owners waiting, and there's an open stall just sitting there. This is usually because that stall is broken. Don't bother sneaking in there in a hurry because everyone will just laugh at you.

3. When there are plenty of stalls available, try to pick a stall # that isn't already being charged. So if a car is charging at 1A, and you could chose 1B or 2A, pick 2A. Because 1A and 1B will share power, just as 2A and 2B will share power. You will charge faster by not parking at a stall # that's already being charged. Urban superchargers do not share power so this doesn't apply to urban superchargers.

4. Please don't idle. Even if you're shopping, move your car out of the stall into a regular parking spot when charging is done.

Charging at superchargers is an unique experience. For many new to EV's, working your life and travel plans around superchargers may seem strange at first. But it really isn't bad once you get used to it. Even for the busiest superchargers, there are usually slow times where you can pull up to empty stalls. For an example the supercharger station near me is one of the busiest around. But I know I can pull in to empty stalls early in the mornings and late in the afternoons on weekdays.

Also just because many people are waiting in line, don't assume it'll take forever. A lot of people stop by superchargers for a quick charge just enough to get to their destination. It's not uncommon to see 3-4 cars move out within 10 minutes.

Your charging rate will slow down after about 50% state of charge. Sometimes it's worth it to use fast charging up to 50-60%, then drive off to your destination where you can supercharge using the fast charging rate again. As long as you'll have access to a supercharger again before you run out, it will be much faster than sitting and waiting for 80%+ charge.

Please feel free to add anything I neglect to mention. Congrats on your new Model 3's :)
 

ADK46

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#3
Thank you for this. All makes sense.

No etiquette seems go be required in upstate New York - yet. I stopped at the only Supercharger on the popular Taconic Parkway last Sunday afternoon, nobody but me. That was my first SC experience - I was driving home from Mt. Kisco with my new car. I've never seen more than one car at the SC nearest me.

I will only need to stop at SCs while on a trip, but I can imagine there are a lot of apartment dwellers in SoCal without good home charging ability. This must be something that travelers in SoCal must take into account.
 

ER1C8

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#4
I never knew it was this involved. There is never anyone at any of the superchargers I have been too. Usually just me and one or two other cars. I don't supercharger that often and Tesla's are not super popular around me, last I hear there are only about fifty registered in my state. I am taking a road trip soon so thanks for sharing the process. I'm sure I'll need it for the trip.
 

Nikola

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#6
I never knew it was this involved. ... I am taking a road trip soon so thanks for sharing the process. I'm sure I'll need it for the trip.
Unless your trip is exclusively California, you may not encounter any of what @Gavyne mentioned. We've hit about 35 Superchargers from coast to coast and only in California have we seen lines of people waiting to charge. (Although the Phoenix Biltmore Supercharger gets close sometimes.)

Mostly the lines appear to be the result of locals taking advantage of free Supercharging instead of charging at home. No wonder Elon said it wasn't a sustainable business model.

It's so bad at some places in California that valets have to be stationed to manage the lines, like in San Diego at the Qualcomm charger, and San Juan Capistrano. We had to plan our stops carefully when visiting SoCal because of the possibility we might hit a 30 minute wait in line.

@MelindaV 's list above is one everyone should take to heart. I honestly don't understand why people whose time is worth $50-500 per hour would prefer to wait in a Supercharger line rather than conveniently charging at home overnight (other than those who physically can't access a plug at home).
 

Gavyne

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#8
One thing I have to stress is to not get into this locals vs travelers debate. Every Tesla owner paid for the supercharging premium, Tesla themselves use it as a carrot/demand lever to sell more cars. The Supercharger network is what convinced many ICE drivers to switch in the first place.

For many it's their only source of charging, myself included. For many, superchargers are simply more convenient and faster. It's better to not treat someone different just because they're a local charging at a local supercharger.

The Superchargers are crowded in California mainly because there are simply more Tesla owners in California than anywhere else. And that's a good thing, because we need more EV drivers on the road. So it's best to wait in line, and be nice to fellow Tesla owners. Overwhelming majority of the Tesla owners I've encountered here in southern california are wonderful people.
 

PatrickM

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#9
Of the roughly 20 times that I've stopped at Superchargers in Wyoming, Montana and northern Colorado, there's only been one time I've seen a Tesla charging.
 

ADK46

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#10
One thing I have to stress is to not get into this locals vs travelers debate. Every Tesla owner paid for the supercharging premium, Tesla themselves use it as a carrot/demand lever to sell more cars. The Supercharger network is what convinced many ICE drivers to switch in the first place.
From what I've read over many years, the Supercharging network was developed so Tesla S owners could go on trips, as they might with regular cars. It was necessary to sell cars. Very expensive cars, to customers who had garages.

An explosion is in progress that will put Teslas into the hands of apartment dwellers. Seems like California would be ahead of the game, but no. It's going to get much worse. Californians may not be able to go on long trips in their Teslas - unless locals give them a break.
 

kort677

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#12
Of the roughly 20 times that I've stopped at Superchargers in Wyoming, Montana and northern Colorado, there's only been one time I've seen a Tesla charging.
considering that where you are is some of the least populated places in the US what you seen isn't really shocking. try sampling superchargers in CA, and other more populated places like between DC and boston or south FLA.
 
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#13
3. When there are plenty of stalls available, try to pick a stall # that isn't already being charged. So if a car is charging at 1A, and you could chose 1B or 2A, pick 2A. Because 1A and 1B will share power, just as 2A and 2B will share power. You will charge faster by not parking at a stall # that's already being charged. Urban superchargers do not share power so this doesn't apply to urban superchargers.
I've wondered about this. How do I distinguish "urban chargers" from "non-urban chargers?"
 

Gavyne

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#17
Yes those are regular 120kW Superchargers, and they share power. You'll see a # and A or B at the bottom of each stall. That's how you can tell which ones are sharing. Since there are 4 stalls there, they'll be labeled 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B.
 

garsh

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#18
For example, these at Iron Point Road in Folsom, CA. Are they A/B ? How would you tell?
Yes those are regular 120kW Superchargers, and they share power. You'll see a # and A or B at the bottom of each stall. That's how you can tell which ones are sharing. Since there are 4 stalls there, they'll be labeled 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B.
Here's a photo of Iron Point Road Superchargers from another angle, showing the labels.



Source: Plugshare, https://www.plugshare.com/location/10978
 

Tombolian

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#19
Yes those are regular 120kW Superchargers, and they share power. You'll see a # and A or B at the bottom of each stall. That's how you can tell which ones are sharing. Since there are 4 stalls there, they'll be labeled 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B.
How can one see the evidence of said sharing? I have accumulated data about charging speeds at my local SC and can find little rhyme or reason for the ultimate charge speed encountered on different visits. Understanding that the SOC at the beginning of the charge cycle can determine the starting charge speed, and that charging slows as the battery gets 'fuller', I'm getting wildly different charging speeds on different days even though I charge under very similar circumstances (5AM, same stall, nobody charging on the 'other' neighboring stall, similar outside temperature, charging at the end of a 40 mile drive up to 80%). Further evidence is when somebody else plugs into the adjacent stall and my charge speed doesn't seem to be affected (charging doesn't slow any more noticeably). Finally, my car usually charges between 200-300MPH, but I've seen it go as high as 460MPH when it was apparently able to utilize the full 119KW of power, and having started from a lower SOC, but at the end of that charge to 80% it was still charging at 336MPH. Can anybody make any sense of this for me, or suggest a test that would explain the seemingly random behavior?
 

Kizzy

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#20
How can one see the evidence of said sharing? I have accumulated data about charging speeds at my local SC and can find little rhyme or reason for the ultimate charge speed encountered on different visits. Understanding that the SOC at the beginning of the charge cycle can determine the starting charge speed, and that charging slows as the battery gets 'fuller', I'm getting wildly different charging speeds on different days even though I charge under very similar circumstances (5AM, same stall, nobody charging on the 'other' neighboring stall, similar outside temperature, charging at the end of a 40 mile drive up to 80%). Further evidence is when somebody else plugs into the adjacent stall and my charge speed doesn't seem to be affected (charging doesn't slow any more noticeably). Finally, my car usually charges between 200-300MPH, but I've seen it go as high as 460MPH when it was apparently able to utilize the full 119KW of power, and having started from a lower SOC, but at the end of that charge to 80% it was still charging at 336MPH. Can anybody make any sense of this for me, or suggest a test that would explain the seemingly random behavior?
Do you need to account for the state of the electrical grid (power availability, etc.)?