Dozens of Tesla drivers in California were forced to wait in an extensive line after what should’ve been a quick stop at a Supercharger station turned into an hours-long ordeal.
Shanon Stellini was travelling through Kettleman City on November 30 when she stumbled across a backlog of around 50 of the electric cars waiting to recharge in a half-mile line outside of at a station near Interstate 5.
‘Bet they wish they had gas’, quipped Stellini’s partner in a video she captured of the chaos – but for the drivers stranded in the stagnant line the issue was certainly no laughing matter.
The Kettleman City Supercharger station – located halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco – is already immensely popular, but even with 40 charging stalls on-site the facility was still overrun by the overwhelming demand that one of the year’s busiest travel times brings.
Shanon Stellini was travelling through Kettleman City on November 30 when she stumbled across around 50 of the electric cars waiting in line for a recharge in a procession believed to span back more than half-a-mile, just off Interstate 5. It’s unclear how long the Tesla drivers were forced to wait, however, one disgruntled commuter tweeted that he’d been waiting in the line for 40 minutes but only appeared to be ‘half way there’
Kettleman City’s Supercharger station, which sits halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, is already an immensely popular charge point, but considering Thanksgiving is one of the year’s busiest travel periods, the facility’s 40 charging stalls were insufficient to meet the overwhelming demand
To make matters worse, simultaneous re-charging slows down the speed of charging for everyone – encumbering a process that can already take up to as long as 75 minutes.
It’s unclear how long the Tesla drivers were forced to wait, however, one disgruntled commuter tweeted that he’d been waiting in the line for 40 minutes but only appeared to be ‘half way there’.
With Tesla’s Model 3 now being produced in mass, there are currently thought to be more than 400,000 Teslas on the roads of America.
But the surge in popularity has exposed a series of flaws in the Supercharger network’s operations this holiday season, which is sure to give the Elon Musk-owned company food for thought as the fallout seen in Kettleman City was not an isolated incident.
A day earlier, a video titled ‘Tesla Energy Crisis’ revealed a sizeable line of 15 Teslas waiting for their turn at a Supercharger station in San Luis Obispo around 4.45pm on Thanksgiving day
Teslas could be seen wrapping around the outer edge of the Madonna Inn as families waited inside the running cars for a chance to refuel.
For a Model S Tesla at a Supercharger station, it will take about 20 minutes to charge 50 percent and 40 minutes to charge 80 percent.
Tesla’s website says that drivers will have enough to finish their trip on 80 percent, but owners can reach 100 percent fueled in 75 minutes.
The video’s owners called the moment ‘Tesla Energy Crisis’ as the row of cars wrapped along the edge of the Madonna Inn
Tesla’s Supercharger stations are described as the ‘world’s fastest charging network’ on the company’s website.
‘Supercharger stations are conveniently located near desirable amenities like restaurants, shops and WiFi hotspots. Each station contains multiple Superchargers to get you back on the road quickly,’ the company said.
It’s unclear how long the car owners waited to reach a Supercharger, but the video’s owner said the station was just given new equipment to help with the influx of holiday travelers.
‘The previous day, Tesla brought a Megapack that is said to be good for charging [approximately] 100 Teslas,’ the video post said.
Social media users shared photos of the Supercharger stations accompanied with Megapack chargers arriving to San Luis Obispo on Wednesday morning.
‘Megapack,’ a new massive energy storage product, was launched by Tesla in July and is being used in portable Supercharger stations to help bolster the company’s charging infrastructure.
Pictured: a photo showing around half of the Teslas waiting to reach a Supercharger unit on Thanksgiving
Pictured: Globally, there are 14,497 Superchargers contained in 1,636 Supercharger Stations
Megapack will also be used in installations like the Moss Landing project in California with PG&E, which is a part of a new cost-effective energy storage project announced in June.
‘To match global demand for massive battery storage projects like Hornsdale, Tesla designed and engineered a new battery product specifically for utility-scale projects: Megapack,’ the company said in a blog.
During instances when Tesla drivers are expected to make long trips, like the holiday season, the tech company can roll out Mobile Supercharger units powered by Megapacks to several locations.
The US, parts of Asia, Europe and the Middle East have a combined total of 1,636 Supercharger Stations with 14,497 Superchargers.