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Sunday, December 11, 2016

Supercharger Loitering

Elon Musk responded to a tweet complaining that the San Mateo Supercharger was "always full with idiots who leave their Tesla for hours even if already charged."

Musk's response acknowledged the problem and promised, "Will take action." Notably, he does not object to some Tesla owners being referred to as idiots. Is this due to the 140 character limit, or does he think a few bad apples are causing a problem and the name is deserved (for this small population)?

What do you think this "action" will be?

The recent change to the end of unlimited free Supercharging is certainly the first move to reduce unnecessary use of the Superchargers. The new program limits free Supercharging to 400kWh per year. Once a car at a Supercharger is full it is, of course, no longer using Watt-hours, so it is free to loiter and the problem that @loic points out will still be there. What could Tesla do to encourage cars to move along after they are full?

Would they have some fees continue even after the charging is done? If so, would there be a grace period before the fees begin?

Above is a shot of McDonald's loitering policy. Tesla's could read "While Consuming Electrons Only."

Tesla generally tries to put the charging stations near interesting places (shopping, dining...), so it's not surprising that many people enjoy the nearby attractions while charging.

Here are a couple ideas that could help:
  • Give owners contact cards to put in their windshields (too low tech?)
  • Add a feature on the app that lets one owner ping another to let them know they need a spot
  • Have a "queue depth" feature that lets drivers know how many people are waiting 
  • Whenever someone logins as queued (automagically by driving into a full Supercharger area), all owners of full cars at that Supercharger are notified
What are your ideas? Do any of them include the charging snake, self-driving, valets, or tow trucks, or mace? Let me know. 

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