Tesla just announced on Twitter that it has reached a milestone: “20,000 Superchargers and counting.” One of the critical components to Tesla’s success is one of the least talked about — its Supercharger network. This is a feat that many probably would have thought was impossible — especially considering that Tesla has rolled it out so widely in the US and around the world. At this point, Tesla’s Supercharger network has enabled many Tesla owners to experience the joys of countless Tesla road trips. Hotels with destination chargers also add to that experience.
8 years ago we built the very first Supercharger in front of the Design Studio. We’ve come a long way in a very short time
— Javier Verdura (@JVerdura) November 8, 2020
One of the setbacks for many when considering an electric vehicle is range × charging. The fear of running out of juice in the middle of a trip and being stranded is prevalent (and I can sympathize because that idea is pretty scary), so Tesla’s charging network is a definite way to ensure that doesn’t happen. The more Superchargers, the lower the chance of you not making it to one in time.
As a way to celebrate Tesla’s latest achievement, I asked Tesla owners on Twitter to share their experiences with Supercharging with me. Steven Peeters drove 8,700 km on a road trip last year with his family and told me that he would have never done that with his gasoline car. He pointed out that the software is limited for him, so there are no super high charging speeds, but he’s hardly ever had to wait for the car — it’s usually waiting for them during pitstops and lunch breaks. He shared a video of his road trip with Roadrunner, the name of his Tesla.
Nikola Pro, who specializes in making custom Tesla accessories, shared his thoughts with me:
“Tesla’s Supercharger Network has made business travel the most enjoyable experience I’ve had. It typically goes like this:
1) merge onto the freeway
2) relax for 2-3 hours on autopilot
3) stop for a quick 20 minute supercharge to eat/stretch
Before I purchased my Model 3 I would typically do the whole drive in one shot or stop for gas but get right back on the road without thinking about relaxing for a bit.
The 15–20 minute break really makes me a more attentive driver (along with the help of Autopilot). Longer trips (400+ miles), such as my recent one to a buddy’s in Scottsdale, AZ really highlight the advantage of the faster V3 supercharger stations. We only needed to stop twice for 15 minutes each time, which was actually less time than we needed to walk to the food places and back. This meant we were able to leave with extra charge and made it to our destination at the same time it would have taken an ICE vehicle. Another bonus was being able to leave the climate control on in Arizona’s 120-degree heat while supercharging, so when we came back to the car it was nice and cool. Good luck trying that at a gas station.”
I’ve racked up 50,000 miles in less than 2 years, more than any ICE vehicle I’ve owned. Enough said!
— Nikola Pro 🔋 (@thenikolapro) November 8, 2020
Zack, BLKMDL3 on Twitter, who kindly allowed me to use his image as the featured image of this article, highlighted how helpful Tesla’s Supercharger Network is:
Such a helpful tool! Road trips are so easy and convenient since I plan them around food stops!! Never buying a gas car again. pic.twitter.com/fyd6iAy125
— Zack (@BLKMDL3) November 8, 2020
Tesla MotherFrunker shared how excited he was when he first went on a Tesla road trip. His first charging experience was easy and simple.
“I got my Tesla May 30th, 2018, and was super excited to go on a road trip. The first Supercharger I stopped at was completely empty. I plugged in and went to go get food. My car was charged more than enough by the time I finished eating. Everything about the whole process was super easy and simple.”
“I went on the same road trip a year later. This time my Supercharging experience was different. For starters, there were a ton of Teslas. I was no longer the only car charging. Tesla also upgraded the Supercharger V2 to 145 kW. This increase is noticeable. I was no longer able to finish my meal while charging. I had to stop mid-way through to move my car. I noticed there is a massive increase in Teslas charging in my normal spots. So it only makes sense to have them charge faster to service as many cars as possible. After trying Superchargers V3, I think we are getting closer to a ‘stop, charge, and stretch’ vs the time I once had when I bought my car.“
Tesmanian‘s editor, Smoky Shorts, has a Model 3 SR+ and he said that Supercharging has enabled him and his wife to have a smooth-sailing driving experience. He has to take his wife for a serious medical procedure every so often, which is about an hour away from them, and while she’s in the procedure, he can de-stress using Tesla’s infotainment system.
Ashley Hill noted that it was great but shared a recommendation:
“It’s great, just wish that on arrival car recommends a stall based on the others there already and who’s finishing first (with a ‘Stall Blocked’ and ‘Stall Broken’ button on screen). Makes more efficient and not have someone turning up who doesn’t know about A/B pairs impact you.”
I’ll expand on this. I’ve heard a few issues from local friends who have experienced broken stalls at Superchargers. Having an easy way to let Tesla know that there’s a broken stall would surely help Tesla provide better and faster service.
Another piece of advice for improvements comes from Twitter user I Like Teslas. “Put cameras so we can see who leaves their trash behind. My biggest pet peeve with the chargers or I should say Tesla owners.”
This, in my opinion, is a great idea. One of Tesla’s underlying goals is sustainability, and helping this planet by not polluting — littering is definitely a slap in the face of that goal.
I went to Norway in August and covered nearly 3000 miles during 10 days. The Superchargers were how I charged during the trip. pic.twitter.com/6X6BRTYfcv
— CLIVE FLINT (@CliveFlint) November 8, 2020
Mark, aka CodingMark, shared that it has been amazing overall. It even inspired several emojis.
Overall, AMAZING experience 👏 All you have to do is PLUG IN. It opens the port for you, charges your 💳, tells you the progress all automatically 🤠🌈
It would be nice if all stalls could be shaded w/ solar ☀️, chargers could be touchless 🐍, and to add nice walking paths 🌱
— Mark (@CodingMark) November 8, 2020
In the video above, Nash, aka Tesla in the Gong, shared his review of the Tesla Supercharger in Berry, New South Wales. “Easily the most beautiful location for any Supercharger in Australia is situated in Silos Estate, a winery just outside of the sleepy town of Berry in New South Wales (NSW) Australia. This is perched on high grounds and overlooks Silos Estate vineyard, arguably the most beautiful location amongst all other Supercharger locations in Australia. Definitely more beautiful than the Port Macquaire Supercharger, which is also in a vineyard.”
He noted that the few Superchargers in Australia are strategically placed along the interstate and V3 will make the network better. Nash also had a special request. “We want a Tesla Cafe!!!!!!!!! Hope Elon Santa rewards our good behavior — by making the V3 Supercharger just like Kettleman City.”
I must add Berry SC overlooks a gorgeous vineyard. So does Port Macquarie SC
Goulburn is in city centre and Sunday markets are superb for local produce.
Gundagai is adjoining a massive eco food 🍲 place (slurp!)
— Tesla in the Gong 🇦🇺 #FSDBetaOz# 🦘🤖🚕 (@TeslaGong) November 8, 2020
In his reply to my tweet, Scott Wainner, who had one of the original Roadsters, shared, “It fundamentally changed the EV experience from clunky and anxiety provoking to simple and confidence inspiring. Super long trips (>700 mi each way) still add trip time to charge vs ICE, but the overall experience is far better with Tesla and 250kW and 4680’s will equalize.”
It fundamentally changed the EV experience from clunky and anxiety provoking to simple and confidence inspiring. Super long trips (>700 mi each way) still add trip time to charge vs ICE, but the overall experience is far better with Tesla and 250kW and 4680’s will equalize.
— Scott Wainner (@scottwww) November 8, 2020
TeslaInVernon shared that Tesla’s Superchargers made it possible for him to easily travel from British Columbia (BC) to California. He also travels from Vernon, BC, to Vancouver regularly and the thing he loves about Superchargers is that while charging he often gets to meet and converse with other Tesla owners.
The thing I also love about Superchargers is that while charging I often end up in a conversation with other Tesla owners who are charging. Have met many interesting folks this way.
— teslainvernon (@teslainvernon) November 8, 2020
Brock Roberts spoke of the expansion in Canada. “The expansion across Canada has been awesome. Roadtripping has never been easier. Just waiting on them to connect Newfoundland on the TransCanada Hwy, then we can go coast-to-coast.” The majority of the replies I received were from happy Tesla owners who loved the experience of Supercharging. Todd Gunter said that Supercharging “has absolutely made it possible to buy a battery-only car,” and Joe Rader pointed out the benefits of stopping and chilling every 100–200 miles for 10–20 minutes. He did have a few suggestions.
Time to stop and chill every 100-200 miles for 10-20 minutes and never breathing in toxic fumes from gasoline or exhaust.
It would be cool if they put a deluxe portajohn at locations without a 24/7 business nearby and also things like garbages and windshield washer.
— Joe Rader 🔋⚡🤖🚗🚀🛰️ (@raderje) November 8, 2020
Tesla’s Progress Continues
As Tesla is celebrating its milestone, the network continues to progress. Just last month, it was announced that Tesla joined forces with Fastned to create Germany’s largest fast-charging station. Ihr Bäcker Schürer’s Roland Schüren invited both Fastned and Tesla to build the large charging station by the intersection of two major highways in the Rhine-Ruhr area — a region made up of 13 million people. The joint charging park with 28 chargers is what many have been longing for.
The Straits Times reported that Tesla has plans to bring its Supercharging network to Singapore. This information comes from a new job opening posted on Tesla’s website that is for a charging manager for charging infrastructure in Singapore. The successful candidate will be responsible for strategic planning, execution, and management of Tesla charging networks across Singapore.
By creating the Supercharging network, Tesla has created a path toward not just its own success, but the success of electric vehicles more generally and the movement toward sustainability. Congratulations to Elon Musk and team Tesla for reaching your 20,000th Supercharger. Here’s to the next milestone: 50,000.
Featured image by Zack @BLKMDL3 on Twitter, used with permission.