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Tesla Urban Charger Network

Discussion in 'Charging and Infrastructure' started by MarkB, Aug 10, 2017.

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  1. MarkB

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    Recent tweet by @elonmusk (link) mentions "Supercharger and Tesla Urban Charger Network". Is that a single network or two?

    Could the new network be essentially renamed Superchargers -- So as these chargers would not be used for the lifetime free supercharging or as part of the 400 kWh annual allotment for those without that add-on?

    If so, brilliant in some ways - owners can still use the Superchargers for road trips. And at the same time, there's an alternative for home/work charging, for those that require it. — hopefully at a reasonable cost.
     
  2. SoFlaModel3

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    It's the same thing/concept, he's just talking about getting them more into urban areas and not necessarily tied to highways.

    The key point behind it is not everyone has a house with a garage and they'll need easy access to fast charging for an EV to be viable.
     
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    • Nikola

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      There will be two separate networks. Supercharging is high speed, intended for long-distance travel. Urban charging will be slower, to allow city dwellers to get a reasonable charge in a few hours while parked overnight or while at work.

      To be effective the Urban network will need to have a lot of outlets in lots of places: malls, parking garages, stadiums, commuter rail parking lots, large condo/apartment complexes ... and other places with a high density of vehicles that park for hours at a time.

      I'm envisioning thousands of individual charge points, ganged in rows of perhaps a few dozen per location. Imagine a downtown parking garage with an entire level that has EV charge points at every parking space. It could happen if someone works out the technology so that it's easy and mostly pre-engineered to install a load-sharing chargepoint network in a parking garage.

      This could (and should!) dwarf the current Blink, Chargepoint, etc networks in terms of overall volume of chargepoints. The Urban charging network doesn't have to be faster, it just has to be smarter in terms of deployment, reliability, density, and technology. If anyone can lead this, it's Tesla .... once again.
       
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      • garsh

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        citation needed.

        And no, Elon's tweet doesn't count. :)
         
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        • SoFlaModel3

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          I don't necessarily agree. I really just think this is about placing super chargers in better locations, not creating long term slow charging for cars.
           
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          • Nikola

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            I think Elon's tweet counts! :) But I'm basing this on logic too. I think Teslarati said it well, giving two good reasons why the networks should be distinctly different (emphasis mine):

            "Unlike Tesla’s existing high-powered Superchargers that are generally located at charging stations off of major freeways and interstates, and spaced roughly 100 mi (160 km) apart, Tesla’s urban charger network will utilize Superchargers with slightly less power as a way to limit stress on the utility grid. Because driving within a city is generally limited by shorter travel distances, it’s also unnecessary to charge beyond what’s needed. Charging 30 minutes on a lower powered Supercharger will provide enough energy for inner city travel."

            Source: https://www.teslarati.com/tesla-expand-supercharger-urban-charger-network-apartment-dwellers-cities/

            To me, this points to a network of lower-power chargers that look like Superchargers but have a different name.

            Why a different name? There is a large base of existing owners with free Supercharging privileges. Tesla has already faced the problem of those owners over-using Superchargers in their home towns. If they open "Superchargers" in the cities, that problem could grow much worse.

            Based on Tesla's history they won't want to encourage local Supercharging by owners who could charge at home. They also won't want to have some urban "Superchargers" which have fees for people who were promised "unlimited free supercharging for life".

            An easy way to solve both problems is to give the Urban network a different branding and charge a fee for it.

            Also based on Tesla's history, it seems likely they'll announce that they don't intend to profit from the Urban charging fees, just cover their expenses (as they've announced regarding existing Supercharger fees and Service Centers).
             
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            • garsh

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              That's fine. I just want to be clear that this hasn't been officially confirmed to be separate from the supercharger network.
               
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              • Nikola

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                Actually, I should revise part of what I said above. Tesla has been signaling this move since April 2017. Instead of what I said ("hours" to charge) it looks like they'll go for a network that provides a "reasonable" charge for urban driving in 30 minutes.

                So the question is, what is "reasonable"? Enough to go 20 miles? If so, that would take less than 10% of the rated output of a traditional Supercharger (13.4 kW versus 150 kW). Knowing Tesla they'll probably go higher than that, but nowhere near the 150kW output of a Supercharger. They'll have to walk the line between what's technically possible and what's feasible to deploy.

                Maybe they'll let the existing customers with free Supercharging privileges use this network for free as well, since it's relatively slow.

                But I still see a separate branding coming for the Urban network. Otherwise, a Supercharger won't always be very super, and that won't play well.
                 
              • garsh

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                I disagree. :)

                Supercharging is slow. Too slow. Sure, it's faster than any other charging method currently available, but it still lags _far_ behind a gasoline pump. This results in congestion. More people want to charge at one location at the same time than there are available superchargers.

                There are two ways to solve this problem: More charging stations, or faster charging stations. Adding more stations requires more real-estate. It also means that each individual user has to remain at the charging station longer - Apartment dwellers aren't going to want to sit at a charging station for two hours at the end of a work day before driving home. And it doesn't reduce load on the grid when you just have more slow stations vs fewer fast stations.
                 
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                • JWardell

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                  We already have two networks: supercharger and destination chargers.
                  City dwellers are definitely going to want high-speed charging as they venture out once a month specifically to "fill up" their car as they do now for gas. Cities can't put in millions of chargers on residential streets where folks parks their cars.

                  Shopping centers and restaurants and hotels can continue to add destination chargers where folks can top off for an hour to two while they shop. Tesla just needs to push this a bit more.
                   
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                  • MarkB

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                    On a go-forward basis, it might be more reasonable. All new construction could have mandated charging solutions. When streets are dug up for other things anyway, ev charging could be part of the plan. Each is way cheaper than a retrofit in a few years time.

                    It's starting to happen slowly wrt mandated solar on new house construction in some locales.

                    There will come a time when it will just make sense. But we're not there yet.
                     
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                    • KennethK

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                      Something else to consider is the maximum supercharging cycles before throttling of charge rate. Hopefully the city superchargers, at a reduced charging rate, will also increase the throttling limit or maybe not be counted toward that limit.
                       
                    • mservice

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                      Expecting my 3 sometime in the first three months of '18, and charging is a concern. I live in a townhouse community in Norther Virginia with no garage; so home charging is a concern. While I should be good with the local charging options I have noticed most chargers are always in use, or non-ev cars are parked in the space. So, yes an increase in charging stations is needed.

                      I agree with Mark, EV charging needs to be considered with new construction of business, high rise condos, town-homes, as well as retro fitting at other business. But, likely harder said then done until EVs become much more common.
                       
                    • SoFlaModel3

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                      Is there any chance of adding a Nema 14-50 at your townhouse?
                       
                    • mservice

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                      It's not the 14-15 that's an issue it's the pull from my house to the car. It's about 35/40 feet from my townhouse. It will cross a sidewalk which becomes a tripping issue.
                       
                    • SoFlaModel3

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                      Ahhh... yeah that's a challenge for sure. :(
                       
                    • MelindaV

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                      So, when you reserved, what was your reasoning then on how you were going to charge? Has your housing situation since changed? Did you expect it to magically to just charge itself?
                       
                    • geoffreak

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                      While I was taking a test drive of a Model S, the salesperson (who seemed quite knowledgeable) claimed that the urban charger network would be additional destination chargers. It sounded like they'd be focusing on partnering with shopping centers and apartment complexes to bring them to reality. It sounded pretty believable and realistic to me.
                       
                    • SoFlaModel3

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                      It's definitely true and there is plenty of public charging as well.

                      I personally would be concerned about it if you drive long distances. If you don't, you'll be fine.
                       
                    • mservice

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                      ha, ha, ha.. that was funny... i will likely use public charging which is getting better, but still needs to increase. but, takin you option would be not to buy one unless you had a house where you can park either in a garage or next to your house. that isn't going to help expand public charging option. until more EVs are on the streets public charging will continue too be an after thought for sometime. now, i do have options, i have been in discussions with Tesla certified electricians, and am currently in discussion with my HOA. i have 5 to 7 months to come up with a home solution, or just use public charging.
                       
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