Tesla’s Supercharger Network Grew By 50% Last Year

Tesla’s already quite impressive Supercharger network of charging stations grew by around 50% in 2015, going by the latest figures from the company. The company’s DC fast-charging network now includes 593 stations and 3439 individual stalls — spread across North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.

Those numbers represent a roughly 48% year-on-year increase in location numbers, and a 71% year-on-year increase in charging plug numbers. The company recently noted that it’ll be increasing plug numbers at many stations, presumably in anticipation of the launch of the Model 3 and rising sales.

Supercharger end of 2015

On that subject Green Car Reports recently had some interesting comments:

Some of those extra plugs may be crucially needed, as demand for Superchargers remains high during peak usage periods. Over the holiday season, increased traffic led to congestion at several Supercharger sites during one of the busiest times for travel of the year.

At the Tejon Ranch Supercharger site in Lebec, California, as many as 15 cars queued up at a time — and drivers waited up to two hours to plug in. Scenarios like this aren’t the norm for Supercharger users, but Tesla will likely have to continue coping increased congestion in the coming years.

A good point, though the Supercharger network is set to continue to grow rapidly over the next few years. (Take a look at the image below, depicting stations expected to be done by the end of the year.) That said, if Tesla does manage to sell half a million cars a year by 2020, then the network will need to grow exponentially before then.

Supercharger 2016

34 thoughts on “Tesla’s Supercharger Network Grew By 50% Last Year

  1. The whole supercharger thing is a teaser scam. The more cars they sell and the more they pretend it’s a good car for longer trips the more demand they will create for supercharger use. But unlike an ICE station it takes 45 minutes to charge. Imagine the back up at your normal gas station if pumping took 45 minutes and then add in the very very limited number of supercharging stations. It is a silly joke that will never work mathematically.

    1. Superchargers are for long journeys. Most Tesla owners use them seldolm to never; your regular charging is done at home.

        1. IIRC that’s about 120 miles or so each way, or several times a typical daily commute. Hardly a short journey.

          Also a journey (just) within the maximum range of an 85/90D, if you start close to 100% SoC.

          In any case, what about the headline? 50% growth in stations this past year proves Tesla are intent on growing the SC network in proportion with the Tesla fleet.

          When there are fewer gaps left to fill, expect to see more upgrades at existing stations. There will be more bays.

          1. Quite honestly it’s rather common drive here for many people. It can be done but creates range anxiety unless you don’t deviate at all from up and back. My issues is the misleading advertising by Tesla and the Tesla fanatics who constantly claim driving long distances is as good as an ICE. It’s complete nonsense because there is one hour of charging for every 3 hours of driving and this assumes there is no line at the SC. It can be done but it’s hardly convenient.

          2. Well, if your daily commute is a 240 mile round trip, a BEV probably isn’t yet for you. Also, consider moving or getting another job, because that sounds like hell in any car.

          3. James many buyers don’t want to buy a 100k car that can’t be used conveniently for occasional weekend trips. Going to LA from San Diego is hardly unusual. The point here is the misleading marketing by Tesla and the media. The S is a overpriced but nice niche commuter car but Musk insists on deceiving the public by claiming its an all around vehicle.

          4. Having to stop for less than an hour after three of driving (or less for a shorter drive) doesn’t seem like an inconvenience to me. You should be doing that anyway for fatigue’s sake.

            So presumably it’s the queues at a demand hotspot that are the problem? Well, that’s not something wrong with the car.

            It seems like building more Superchargers would be a solution. Tesla are doing that already, at the rate of over five new sites a week, so it’s not like they’re doing nothing about increasing demand.

            I doubt local shortages will be permanent. As for Superchargers near me, I’ve only once seen someone queuing to charge – and that was on Christmas Eve, in a shopping centre.

          5. Well then you enjoy wasting time which most people do not. The queues can not be solved by building more unless the sales don’t increase. James you live in a remote location. California is what matters since that is their biggest market.

          6. So, on your account, taking a break I should be taking anyway for my own safety and comfort is “wasting my time.” Also, queueing caused by a shortage of stalls will not be solved by providing more stalls.

            Well, that’s a fascinating perspective.

          7. If you need a break every three hours you are either old or have an medical issue. The problem is that the car is making the decision not the driver. Maybe the best place to stop is 3.5 hours or 4 hours into the drive. This happens all the time on a real trip but with the Tesla it’s every three hours with the only option being stopping sooner. By the way adding more stalls while selling ever greater numbers of cars will not solve the problem. The math is simple and obvious. It just doesn’t work and won’t until the charging time drops under 10-15 minutes.

          8. Actually, the DoT recommendation for drivers of any age is to stop every two hours. Nothing to do with age or medical conditions; the issue is an inevitable drop in concentration.

            You haven’t shown any calculation, nor that there’s anything partucularly special about fifteen minutes.

          9. James you are a clown. I have never met a person that stops every two hours to rest. You must be very weak or elderly.

          10. As I said, that’s the DoT’s advice, not mine.

            You no nothing about me (wrong on both counts btw) – nor, evidently, what is written right in front of you.

          11. On any long trip no one I know ever stops to rest every two-three hours. Do you think truck drivers stop every three hours? Most ICE will drive for 400 -450 miles which is when people generally stop. Mammoth is a 6.5 hour drive from my house. I stop once for gas. You can’t drive there easily in a Tesla which is my point.

          12. So you keep saying, but oddly enough the order books for X remain full for the rest of the year.

            As for fatigue, my experience has been that drivers who claim going all day without any breaks is no problem aren’t doing it right even when they’re fresh.

          13. Order book means little. The X is going to be a failure. Way too complicated, too expensive, and a pretend SUV. People are free to drive as they wish. The vast majority would find forced stopping every three hours a big disadvantage.

          14. If the biggest “sacrifice” we have to make is stopping after three hours instead of four, this is going to be one of the easiest technology transitions ever.

            A full order book means there are tens of thousands of people who don’t agree with your assessment.

            Will they change their minds? Maybe, but today the most common reaction to an electric car is along the lines of “I’ll never buy ICE again” – despite most EVs having far inferior range and charging performance to a Tesla.

          15. James you are being dishonest in your description but even so. tell me what consumer buys a 100k car expecting to make any sacrifices? The SC charging math doesn’t work. It is a scam. This weekend go down to your favorite gas station and count then cars per hour refueling at peak times. For easy calculation lets compare a five car SC and gas station. The gas station can refuel in under 6 minutes so 10 cars per hour or 75 cars every 1.5 hours. The SC can only recharge 10 cars. This a fact and guarantees there is no viable solution to the SC peak hours charging problem. The more cars they sell the worse it’s going to become and Tesla and all their fanatics are fooling themselves to ignore this massive problem. The car is only usable conveniently around town. It’s about time Musk tells the truth because he surely knows the math. The Model 3for from being the solution will quickly expose this huge problem that is unsolvable unless the charging time can be greatly reduced.

          16. Yes, and these are directly comparable on a cars served per hour basis because the ICEv owners are all filling up their fuel tanks at home or work and only use fuel stations for long journeys…

            … or not.

            You finally show some details to your reasoning, and its premise has a hole big enough to drive a supertanker through.

            It’s also a non sequitur. Nobody disputes that a Supercharger stall serves fewer cars per hour than a fuel pump. It does not follow that demand cannot be met by a suitably scaled network, especially when its users have other options for daily topping up overnight or at work.

            Not that faster charging wouldn’t be useful, but Supercharger is already passing grade for the overwhelming majority of people in most markets; the distribution of journey miles per day makes this really obvious.

            The long-term viability of the Supercharger network is an economic modelling question, and there are people more competent to do this than you.

          17. Sorry James that is a BS answer. Long trips using the Sc system will not work and is already failing in CA and other peak areas. See my other postings. SC is a scam to pretend to buyer that EV can be used conveniently for trips when it isn’t remotely true.

          18. Quote Originally Posted by gordo View Post

            I spent the weekend in Reno, NV — as it turns out with about 30,000 bikers all up there for the Street Vibrations festival… Headed up in the ol P85D.

            The outbound route was to leave San Mateo Friday morning, stop in Tiburon for a passenger pickup and head east on 37 around the bay to I-80, stopping at the Roseville Galleria for a quick lunch and supercharge. I noticed about 20 minutes before we arrived, the car NAV re-routed me to Rocklin, but I figured somehow it was messed up, so ignored it and re-routed for Roseville. As it turns out, the car was smarter than me, because when we got to the Galleria Supercharger, it was completely full. I waited for 10 minutes, but with 4 hungry guys and no idea when one was going to leave, I figured we were better off just to go to Rocklin and take our chances there. Rocklin had 2 free slots open fortunately, so wasn’t catastrophic, though fewer eating options.

            I destination charged at the Eldorado Resort in Reno, and despite a pair of Tesla HPWCs as well as another couple generic chargers, I appeared to be the only EV in the whole place all weekend.

            On the way back, we drove straight to Vacaville SuperCharger and got the last spot before 2 more Tesla’s pulled up to wait.

            So… to my point:

            First of all, I understand that Northern California is a unique place when it comes to Teslas and is probably a few years ahead of everywhere else in terms of adoption, but I also see it as a sort of ‘canary in the coal mine’ capacity test for Supercharging infrastructure.

            Some observations:

            * Roseville Galleria is on a temporary lease and Rocklin as is would clearly not be able to handle the *existing* area load itself without significant expansion (i.e. doubling).

            * Vacaville was more than maxed out on a random Sunday afternoon in late September

            * Tesla shows no existing site or new location expansion plans on the radar along the I-80 corridor

            * There’s currently and probably will not be an ability to stop or significantly curtail locals from charging

            * There are only ~50k Tesla’s in California, increasing at a clip of about 2000 additional Model S/Xs each month going forward (assuming 50k cars produced this year, 50% sold in CA and divided by 12)

            Net-net, my anecdotal back of the envelope calculation says the current Supercharger situation looks to be unsustainable (i.e. Supercharging becomes a major hassle and serious customer satisfaction issue for Tesla) by next spring. Model 3? Yikes. Something significant is going to have to happen ahead of any Model 3 launch (like Tesla signs an unprecedented deal to put a pair of stalls at every Chevron station or something). One way or another, something’s gotta happen or we’re going to have a group of pretty angry Tesla owners by next summer.
            From the Tesla Forum this year.

            I had a similar experience today. I needed to go up to the Sacramento area for a quick trip and the superchargers were at capacity. I had to wait at Vacaville (almost 30 minutes just to get hooked up, then the time it took to charge) and Roseville was a wait as well (about 15 minutes to get hooked up).

            It’s not unworkable, but it’s getting pretty close to inconvenient. 45 minutes waiting for Superchargers, another 45 minutes to charge, and that’s in an area that, as you say, is ahead of the curve in Tesla infrastructure. I’m already seriously considering using my F150 for the next trip. Yeah, it only gets 20 mpg, but it has a 36 gallon fuel tank, so I’ll save 90 minutes in exchange for the cost of about 10 gallons of unleaded. If the supercharger network isn’t expanded (both in terms of the number of stations and the number of charging stalls per station) pretty soon, it will make using the Tesla for these trips a poor second choice.

            If your argument is “the science is settled” you don’t understand science & you’re dangerously similar to a religious zealot. I grant an unconditional license for media use of my posts on this forum, whether or not copyright has been claimed, which license extends to all responses to my posts & fair use of other posts to provide context.

          19. As I said the SC scam is being exposed. The math can’t work when it takes 45 minutes to charge. The cost of enough new SCers would ruin the company.

          20. James, forget it. Adding and multiplying a few numbers is obviously too hard or tiring for him.

    2. You have to think that an EV only charge in a supercharger when you are in a trip, more than 90% of the time you charge at home. Therefore is going to be needed around 30% of SC compared to gas stations, because it takes half an hour instead of 10 minutes to charge. The US has 120000 gas stations for 200,000,000 cars, one every 1.700 cars so Tesla is going to need one every 5000 cars, more or less.
      If Tesla is able to make 500,000 a year, they need to add around 100 superchargers a year. less of the ones they add last year, is doable.

      1. That sounds great but it’s not reality. Many owners are using the SC in LA and this is leading to long waits. This is the fault of Tesla who is constantly telling buyers about the availability of the SC.

          1. California is leading the rollout and is a few years ahead of the rest of the nation. Soon enough the problem will be everywhere. The math just doesn’t work when it takes almost an hour to charge.

        1. OK, we are going to assume every Tesla owner is going to drive 50% more miles than the american car owner 18,000 miles instead of 12,000 miles, we are also going to assume any Tesla owner is going to charge at home, they are all going to use the SC network, and we are going to assume they are going to drive 180 miles between charges. So for 18,000 miles each Tesla have to charge 100 times a year. We know there are 100,000 Teslas sold until December 2015, if each one charge 100 times equals 10,000,000 charges per year, divided 3439 stalls, each stall is going to be used 2907 times during the year or 8 times a day.

          The math shows the SC network is going to be enough, Tesla has to start installing more stalls where the demand is growing. It’s a matter of supply and demand.

          1. I can see you didn’t go to the Ivy League because your just exposed yourself as unable to understand peak use. Have you ever tried to get a dinner reservation on Saturday night at 7:30 or a hotel room during X-mas at Vail? Sure you will have no wait at midnight any day of the week but there will be unacceptable waits on every busy weekend during peak travel times. The SC network is a shell game scam that can never work because the math doesn’t work. The more cars they sell the worse it will become. The result will be that most owners will not drive their Tesla on peak times if there is any risk of needing to SC. This is already happening here in SoCal. So 100k for a car you can’t use on the weekends. It just isn’t a practical car except around town and only a fanatic would buy it as their only car. The marketing is completely dishonest.

  2. The quality and scale of the SC network is Tesla’s ace-in-the-hole. The GM Bolt looks to be a worthy competitor to the model 3, except that the CCS quick charge infrastructure is inferior in scale and quality, CCS is an optional extra and worst of all GM have chosen not to invest in the expansion of the DC fast charge network like BMW/Nissan.

    The lack of investment in the DC Fast charge network makes no sense to me, which got me thinking. I wonder if there will be a surprise announcement when the Bolt is released regarding Tesla SC compatibility. All it would take is an adapter. GM may have decided to invest in the SC network rather than the CCS network. Let’s hope so.

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