Podcast ep. 09 – Tesla Supercharger network is the most reliable (report)

Today I bring you a report about public charging and the Tesla Supercharger network, which is not something new but worth mentioning.

According to J.D. Power’s most recent E-Vision Intelligence Report, the Tesla Supercharger network is the most reliable. And I’ll add… by far…

EV drivers go to a charging station and hopefully, they use it but other times something goes wrong and they have to search for another.

During Q1 2023, in the Tesla Supercharger network, that happened to 3.9 percent of EV owners. They tried to use it and it didn’t work.

Sounds bad?

Well, on non-Tesla changing stations, that figure goes up to 21.6 percent.

Tesla drivers rated their overall satisfaction with the DC fast-charging options at 734 (on a 1000-point scale).

That’s considerably above the industry average of 558.

It’s great to know a report like this because it is based on statistics, not on a single person’s experience.

I can also add an important piece of information; the Tesla Impact Report which was released a few months ago said that Tesla’s chargers had an uptime of 99,9% since 2018.

Well, let me tell you about my experience…

Many times I hear praise for the Tesla Supercharger network, sometimes with testimonials with complaints on issues with non-Tesla chargers.

The truth is that public charging still has to evolve and improvements are coming but at the moment there are still obstacles.

And that’s a reason why a lot of people want to get an EV but don’t feel confident to do it yet.

If you have access to the Tesla Supercharger network, whether you drive a Tesla or not, then it’s a whole different story.

Take Portugal’s example. We have 8 active Superchargers, it’s easy to know where each of them is.

Some of them only have 8 stalls. That still means that 8 cars can charge simultaneously. Generally, those are located in areas with less demand.

Some other SuC stations in the country have 10, 14, or even 20 stalls. Not all of them have 8.

What about the usual number of chargers on Portugal’s highways? What I see on the highways is that many times they have 2 with the same speed as the V2 Superchargers… or about a third of that.

Let’s say you’re on a trip and you’re running low on battery and you’re heading to a charging station. Do you prefer to have one with a 50kW and a 160kW charger or…. 8 150kW chargers?

Easy to choose, right?

Now bear in mind that most of the Tesla cars here are Models 3 and Y, they take about half an hour to charge. Now, when the station is full there’s some power sharing so …. If there are 10 stalls, I’m guessing you’ll see a car leaving every 5-10 minutes, let’s say 10 minutes, and I think I’m not being optimistic.

There’s another aspect that is pure gold. Can you imagine how many times I’ve had issues with Tesla Superchargers?

I’ll tell you. One. Just a single time.

What happened?

I plugged the car in and I was expecting to get 250kW… I got only 30kW. Almost 10 times less.

It was a hot summer day and all 10 stalls were in use and they had been for quite a while, I was checking that on the car even before arriving there.

Did I think that I was going to have to wait for long? No, not really.

A few seconds later I stopped the charging and another car was getting ready to move.

I took its place and guess what… after plugging in again, the charging speed started ramping up and it hit 250kW. Which is the peak speed for my car.

Let me just be clear; this was the worse experience I had with a Supercharging station.

The solution was just a matter of moving to another stall which luckily took just a few seconds on a day with very high demand.

I didn’t have to search for the nearest charger a few kms away and drive there.

I wish this was the worse experience every EV driver ever had with charging stations.

I also want to add that this was the only time I found all stalls taken. My most frequent “bad” scenario for me is finding between them 25% and 50% taken. But that was in the peak of the summer and in the Algarve, a summer destination, and that makes demand go up.

I’ve had a few situations that my car was the only one charging, although that’s a rare sight these days.

Tesla Models 3 and Y are just selling like crazy and… back to the topic… Tesla drivers know where charging works better: it’s on a Tesla Supercharger.

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Thank you for watching and I’ll talk to you soon