Join The Community

Superchargers should be for long distance travelers ONLY

I have seen quite a few people make comments here and there on these forums that they hope a supercharger gets installed near them so they can charge from it routinely. I think this is a bad attitude, it is rude and inconsiderate. Especially now and for the next two years of supercharger build out, supercharger bays are at a premium. There isn't a lot of extra spaces just sitting there idle. In another thread, a long distance traveller had to wait 2 hours for one of 4 slots to come open - four cars were just sitting there idle connected and obviously already fully charged. The one person to come back (shouldn't pick on him because he was slightly better than than other people just parking) was at a movie. Really? Supercharger bays are not parking spots. They are meant for people to charge in hopefully one hour or less.

Like it or not, we are all pioneers in this electric car revolution. Being a pioneer means doing your part to help the community. And at a minimum that means having the ability to charge at your house and to use that house charger, and not try to game the system by sucking free charging out of Tesla. I know some people have challenging situations, but come on, work a bit harder. Yeah dealing with the condo association is difficult, but your work will pay off for the others that follow. Finding the facilities person at your office building, and inviting them for a test drive lunch isn't that hard and it may get you an EV parking spot.

Helping to build out the world's EV charging infrastructure is cool. Hogging supercharger spots to save $5 is not.

shop: I agree with your part about people being inconsiderate and leaving their cars plugged in when fully charged AND that people who are local to the superchargers should not take up a spot IF there is a long distance traveler waiting to charge. Also, if a local charger is in a spot and all the other spots are full that they should give up their spot for a long distance traveler.

However, I feel that any Tesla owner should be able to use an open charging spot in any other circumstance whether they are local or long distance in instances where there are open spots/no waiting.

You can take out your wrath on me if you like. I live local to the Delaware charger and go over periodically to charge there. It gives me an opportunity to talk to interested people about the car and meet other Tesla owners. I have/will never take up a spot if someone is waiting.

This whole issue comes down to common courtesy.

Completely agree about not leaving cars in superchargers longer then necessary, have stated my opinion before that I think any car left an hour after a full charge should have the flow reversed to discharge their battery and leave them with enough range to reach their next nearest charge station, effective and only requires a software change at the superchargers and no policing/towing costs. However I completely disagree about use of local superchargers, superchargers have always been about closing the experience gap between ICE cars and EVs, if locals wish to charge their car at them they have paid their share of the infrastructure costs as well as anyone else and should be able to make use of them. Is it good etiquette and courtesy to offer a supercharger up to another if they are in greater need then you? Absolutely, and that goes for long distance travellers who have enough to get to the next supercharger too. However should that be in any way compulsory? No. I completely disagree that people should be ale to charge at home "as a minimum" for EV ownership. If people have access to workplace charging and the odd supercharge and can make that work why limit potential sales and owners? That rule right there rules most of the population of manhattan out of ownership. You want to know the most powerful signal to encourage infrastructure build out? Utilisation rates. If we want more superchargers and charging infrastructure in general the worst thing we can do is tell people not to use public charging infrastructure, if we want faster rollout we want to aim for 100% utilisation.

@admjr +1
I am local to Gilroy...
- I need 25 miles to go home. I arrive with 10 miles left and now I can not charge because I am local ???
- sometimes I go from Carmel to Petaluma the same day... Now I am a long distance traveler and can not charge because I am considered local ( if I charge at home then I can not travel to Petaluma the same day )

I think this broadband local bashing has to stop. Doesn't make any sense and is not justified.

Docrob | 7. Juli 2013
any car left an hour after a full charge should have the flow reversed to discharge their battery [...] and only requires a software change at the superchargers

I thought SC's are not designed/capable of drawing current.
Have you any evidence that a software upgrade would change that?

It is an electrical device with a grid interconnect, there is no fundamental reason power can't flow both ways, I have no proof that absolutely no hardware modification would be necessary however it would almost certainly be minor in nature, I am certain less then the cost of paying for parking enforcement officers or the cost of any scheme which requires billing infrastructure to be implemented.

"paid their share of the infrastructure costs" shows fundamental misunderstanding of the purpose of the stations. They are there to remove a physical and mental barrier to long distance travel. Any other use is theft.

The most mileage you can save is the distance to home: 25 miles. You are disadvantaged in living so close. My sympathies.

So, Brian H. I am a thief?

BrianH care to supply a quote from Elon or Tesla that the have rolled this infrastructure only for the use of long distance travellers to support your outrageous accusation that anything else is theft? It may be your opinion that is what they are for, your opinion holds no more weight then anyone else's opinion and when it comes to how one may use the superchargers it incompletely irrelevant, only the opinion of the owners of the superchargers is relevant and I have never seen Tesla place any such restriction, even as a suggestion let alone a firm rule, on supercharger use.

Brian - you and I figured out long time ago that it doesn't pay for me to suck up some free electrons at Gilroy just for the fun of it... 2+ hrs invested to save $10 - no way.
I live 19.7 miles from Gilroy... coming from the south below 25 miles rated range is my must charge point... there is nothing else before or after Gilroy. Coming from the north my last escape is TM headquarters... there I need 40 miles rated range to make it home safely. I never plan to use my escape points but you could have an unforseen event and be stuck on the highway for an accident or so and run lower then planned.

I have not had the opportunity to use superchargers yet but when I travel I would hate to wait 2 hrs for a supercharger because of a bunch of selfish jerks. If you are local and need an emergency charge go for it but frankly if you are 15 miles short, charge up. But do you truly need more than 50 miles (I am being generous here), which should take under 10 mins to get home. I reckon locals should be restricted somehow if this is becoming an issue. Perhaps no more than 10 mins occasionally to get home and if it becomes a habit and an abuse send them a warning letter and then perhaps suspend their privileges at superchargers for awhile.

Unless you are close by and monitoring the car's status, you are running the risk of being rude. Really, we should just use a supercharger when it is necessary to get to our destination.

Pretty sure common courtesy and "don't be a dickhead" are going to cover 99% of Supercharger congestion issues.

Brian H is right. The SC were developed and deployed to enable long distance travel. Period. THEY WERE NOT DEPLOYED TO ALLOW LOCALS TO USE AS A REGULAR PLACE TO CHARGE. I agree with shop on this, locals should not use SC unless they are going on or returning from a long distance trip (which means they are no longer locals but rather long distance travelers). Otherwise it very disrespectful of long distance travelers, especially when are others waiting.

Yes. The issue should be common courtesy.

Not sure that anyone is more or less courteous if they are a local or long distance driver.

This whole thread seems to be based on the premise that local folks are selfish long distance travelers are angels, which seems a bit tenuous. "Selfish jerks" as @SCCRENDO calls them are going to act that way regardless of whether they are close to home or on the road. If you cannot charge because someone is camped out in an SC bay, what difference does it make where they live?


So, there are many times at my local SC station in Delaware (has 4 charging stations) that there are no cars or 1 car when I go over to grab a cup of coffee, get some electrons and talk up the car/company or discuss problems I have encountered and/or solutions to problems with other Tesla owners.

Who am I injuring/being discourteous to if I take some electrons when there are still open spots?

@SCCRENDO - first and only time in needed to charge in Gilroy ( +50 miles on my way way to Petaluma ) I was the second car and it charged at 56 miles per hour. The first car ( master car) sucked all the electrons... so that would take me (slave car) about an hour. If the master car leaves, then the slave car has to dicsonnect and reconnect in order to become the master car (and charge faster).
Lots of little improvements TM can make here...

Exactly Omar. If people merely plug in, grab their 200 miles and leave after a half hour, problem mostly solved. If everyone follows that model and yet we are still experiencing needless delays at the SC charging stations, then it's time for TM to step up and add more SC bays.

@admjr, of course you aren't harming anyone in your situation, as long as you keep in view of your car. If are around a corner, you have zero way of knowing if four people just pulled up or not. You just don't know. So, unless you are keeping an eye on your car, which no one would do if they are local and don't need the juice, then, yes, you are being a jerk.

@Kleist, come on, cut me some slack. Of course if you are low on charge, using the supercharger is fine even if you live close by. I was just saying that leaving the house every morning with like 50 miles in the battery expecting to charge up every night at the supercharger is being inconsiderate since you have the ability to charge at home.

The overall gist of what I was saying is that superchargers are a scarce resource. Don't plan on using them if you can reasonably avoid them (like by charging at home, office or hotel).

It's not all that complicated:

Always try to charge at home or wherever you are overnight and start the day with a fully charged car (if possible).
Only use the superchargers when really needed and only as long as really needed!

trying to make it home is of course a special case. But as you say, anyone routinely using SC to save money is working for 3rd world wages.

Supercharging for daily short-distance use reminds me of the iconic housewife who drives 5 miles checking 5 stores to save 50¢ on a purchase. She usually knows she's not really saving, she just wants to "win", and score the lowest price.

the only problem I have is locals are bad, long distance is good. Many threads unfortunately simplify that way.

I've learned my lesson early on - brand new car test SC in Gilroy Sunday 3:30 pm... great no car - plug it in, get out of the sun into the shade ( can't see the SC)... 10 min later check - 9 cars. Shock and I left quietly.

@Kleist if that's the case then accommodations should be made. As many have stated jerks are jerks and they are the ones that need to addressed. Perhaps you could answer my other question though. Leaving on Friday for Healdsburg. If I use my Tesla will hopefully get a max charge at Gilroy if all the locals are not out there shopping. What are my best options to make it back to Gilroy. Based in Healdsburg at a B and B and unlikely to even get 110v there. My wife needs to get me down to Guernville for the start of the half-ironman with some driving around. Returning Monday. Don't have many hours to hang around campgrounds. Will I make back to Gilroy. From there I am actually pretty confident the supercharger network will get me back to OC. Or should I just ICE it.

Shop: Your assumption is that I do not keep an eye on my car when it is charging. Incorrect. Since you are unfamiliar with the Delaware SC station it is at a large rest stop on I95 right next to the bus parking. The food/coffee is within view of the SC spots.

Your assumption is also that all locals leave their cars unattended. Again, common courtesy says you should be aware of your vehicle when you are in a position where you are sharing a potentially scare commodity.

Make no assumptions about people you do not know or generalize 'locals' or 'long distance travelers'. we are all Tesla owners.

I stand by my initial assertion: This is not a matter of whether people are locals or long distance travelers. It is about common courtesy when it comes to sharing a scarce commodity/service.

If Kleist wants to 'fill up' when he is 25 minutes from home and he is not blocking someone else's ability to charge what is the harm and where is the lack of courtesy?

I've got a mental picture now of Roy Scheider in Jaws. We're gonna need more Superchargers.


There is a difference. Anyone on a long distance trip is eager to get to their destination ASAP and therefore are much less like to linger than a local.

But this brings up a related issue that most are not recognizing: a max range charge (which is much more likely done by a long distance traveller) can take over two hours when sharing the juice. This is the real problem of waiting lines at SC, not locals or people shopping/lingering after the car is charged. The only solution is faster and more SC, both of which are in the works.

I'm with you guys on these issues. It seems like some people are using the spaces as preferred parking and not even charging. I'm not sure how you would go about stopping this.

Maybe you could put an hour restriction on the spot, like downtown parking if you will. From there, if a car is reported, it will be towed at the owners expense.

mdemetri...Agreed. That will help solve the problem.

Issues/Decisions for Tesla: Ramp up production of S; push for getting the 'X' and 'Gen III' out; expand the number and capabilities of the SCs. Hope they can do this all at the same time.

For those who are unaware, the new SuperChargers at Arastradero and Buelton that just opened have eight (8) charging stalls. That's really good news, except that it may bring even more Model S owners to Gilroy.

I expect Gilroy will eventually (soon?) have additional chargers, maybe in the other parking lot on the other side of the main road.

At Menlo Park today, the Tesla rep. said they were aware (from the usage logs) that "Some locals are only charging at the SuperChargers, and never charging at home." He didn't indicate how many, but I got the feeling they were not pleased to discover this.

I believe such behavior may explain why SuperCharger congestion at some locations is higher than Tesla had anticipated. They assumed that most people would charge at home, not at a SuperCharger, even if they lived nearby.

I live 20 miles North of the Gilroy SuperCharger, but I have never used it even once. Once I wanted to, for only 10 minutes, because I wanted to be certain that I could make a side trip to San Jose Airport and then back home after getting a standard charge at Harris Ranch, but Gilroy was all full on a Sunday afternoon last April, so I just got back on the freeway and went for it, and I made it OK, with 40 miles of range remaining when I got home. Love the 85!

Lucky me, I won't ever need to charge at Gilroy, unless there's a massive extended power outage at home.