Tesla Supercharger Expansions and Life After Model 3 Appearance

Apr 27, 2017 | by Iqtidar Ali

Tesla announced earlier this week about their plans on major expansions for the charging network before the end of 2017. The news came amidst concerns by Model 3 reservation holders and existing Tesla owners about the expected congestion after Model 3 deliveries start in July.

Tesla Inc. announced to double the Superchargers worldwide from 5,000 to 10,000 by the end of 2017. Also the destination chargers worldwide will be expanded to 15,000. North American although will get the major piece of this expansion where the growth of the network will be 150% this year.

These numbers might be helpful in combating the ‘Supercharger Apocalypse’ that is expected after thousands of Tesla Model 3 hit the roads in later part of 2017. The Supercharger congestion is already a dilemma for the residents of California where Tesla numbers are higher than any other State but Tesla have announced they will place 1,000 Superchargers in CA alone.

In the below video Ben Sullins have cracked a few numbers for us (originally done at TMC forums)  regarding the number of vehicles per Supercharger stall. California right now has ~105 cars per Supercharger stall and that explains why Tesla Motors is willing to install 1,000 Superchargers in California.

The congestion situation also arises where people keep their vehicles parked at a Supercharger location long after it has been charged. Tesla last year came up with a solution of implementing an Idle Fee after the vehicle has been fully charged, this step helped a bit in diffusing unwanted Supercharger congestion.

Life After Model 3 Goes Full Throttle

So the biggest question here should be “what will Supercharging or even destination charging situation be after Model 3 production goes ablaze?” The simple answer is ‘chaos’ because the production rate Tesla is hoping to achieve is 5,000 units per week in 2017 and 10,000 units per week in 2018. So even if they achieve half of this production target the world will have about a million Tesla vehicles on the roads in about two years time and most of them will be Model 3 for the masses. Last year Tesla had to take action by implementing idle fee and now Supercharging fee per minute to control the situation, this has helped but up to an extent only.

Model 3 like other Tesla vehicles ordered after 15th January 2017  will also be limited to 400 kWh (roughly 1000 miles) of Free Supercharging a year, after that Tesla will charge vehicle owners per minute of Supercharger used. You can view the charges for your specific location by going to Tesla Supercharging page here.

Never forget there has been a mention of Supercharger V3 last year by Elon Musk that would yield more than 500 kW of power that means roughly a 100 kWh battery to 80% will take around 10-15 mins but Model 3 cars most probably will not be equipped to handle the Supercharger V3 power. Also, there is no estimated timeline when the V3 Superchargers will be deployed.

Maybe in a year or two later versions of all 3 Tesla vehicles are equipped with V3 charging capability that might ease the congestion a bit but it seems to be in the distant future not this year at least.

This solution is also helpful in accommodating long-distance travelers and people living in apartments who actually need a station for charging but with Model 3 production reaching from 0.5 to version 3 of Alien Dreadnought or 500,000 vehicles a year production Tesla might need more investment into the Supercharging stations and Destination chargers.

Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Iqtidar Ali
xautoworld@gmail.com

Iqtidar Ali is a long time web developer and now writing for his childhood passion 'cars' further boosted by the advent of electric vehicles especially Tesla.

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