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Why Do Tesla Drivers Park In Every Other Space At Superchargers?


Why don’t you want to park next to me?

Maybe you have seen it, maybe not, but for Tesla drivers, there is an unspoken code in effect at Tesla Superchargers. Most drivers back into the spots … because that’s the only way the charging cable will reach, but it still looks a bit elitist, doesn’t it? It does to me, and that’s my grey Tesla in the picture.

After my road trip, backing into parking spaces just felt natural, as I hit something like 2 dozen Superchargers along my journey. But why the “every other space” thing? Our buddy Nick J Howe, author of “Owning Model S, 2nd Edition,” which I reviewed a few weeks back, shared on the Tesla Motors forums a very detailed explanation using a typical 8-bay Supercharging setup:

“The eight bay setup takes a 12kV, 750kVA feed from the utility, steps it down to 480V three phase on site, pushes that into 2000A switchgear which feeds four (one for each pair of bays) SuperCharger units at 480V/200A. Each unit contains 12 [Model S] 10kW rectifiers for 120kW.

For safety reasons the ‘pod’ that the car plugs into is not energized until the cable has done a handshake, so if something accidentally flattens a pod or the cable is cut there is no danger.

Each unit is 120kW and will load balance between two bays – if two cars are at the same SOC they’ll each get 60kW, whereas if one is empty and one is close to full it will split it 90/30. So…if you come into an SC station and there are several empty bays DO NOT park next to an existing car unless you first check the label on the SC – each one should be labeled 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, etc. Avoid taking the same number if you can so you get the full 120kW.

Strictly speaking all old SCs are only 90kW, but are being upgraded. All new SCs are 120kW but will only push 90kW right now because the cars require a firmware update to take 120kW, and a tweak is needed at the SC station. No date on when the change is going to happen.”

So there you have it. Mystery: solved. No more excuses for getting all up in your neighbor’s business and parking in the spot next to her at the Supercharger … unless there are no other open spots, that is. 🙂 Charge on!

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Written By

I'm a tech geek passionately in search of actionable ways to reduce the negative impact my life has on the planet, save money and reduce stress. Live intentionally, make conscious decisions, love more, act responsibly, play. The more you know, the less you need. As an activist investor, Kyle owns long term holdings in Tesla, Lightning eMotors, Arcimoto, and SolarEdge.


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