Tesla launched its Supercharger DC fast-charging in 2012, and since then it has worked sincerely on increasing the number of stations around the world. Even though the company has grown the network, it is not able to meet demand due to high concentrations of Model S sedans running on U.S. streets.
Problem to get worse with launch of Model 3
Some of the Tesla Supercharger sites are facing significant congestion due to the recent holiday season, which has brought increased traffic with it, according to reports from analysts and Tesla owners. According to the Tesla Motors Club forum, the day after Christmas was very bad at the Tejon Ranch Supercharger site in Lebec, Calif., where around 15 cars were in the queue at a time, and drivers had to wait up to two hours for a charge. There are 37 Supercharger sites in operation in California, the highest for any state.
An increase in sales will lead to the worsening of congestion, says a report from Seeking Alpha, which also noted that the launch of the mass-market Model 3 electric car will further add to the problem.
How Tesla has been tackling it so far
Though the magnitude of congestion that took place at Tejon Ranch is unusual, it seems as if Tesla is concerned that it might become a recurring problem in the future. Previously, the company sent a letter to its vehicle owners, requesting that they make less use of Supercharger for local driving so that the stations are easily accessible to drivers on longer trips. This suggestion was not received well by owners.
Prior to this, Tesla also launched a navigation update which included a “Range Assurance” feature to address the range anxiety issue. This feature keeps track of the charge remaining in the vehicle and checks whether it is sufficient or not to reach the destination. The update also included a trip planner that selects a route that has charging stations.
At that time, Tesla CEO Elon Musk believed that these features would end range anxiety issue, “although their real-world impact is likely somewhat less definitive,” says Green Car Reports. The company has also been adding slower Level 2 AC stations or “destination chargers” at places like parking garages and hotels. Despite the efforts, it appears that the company will have to do more to keep up with demand.