Posted on May 12, 2018 by Charles Morris
Whenever a new technology begins to spread, it doesn’t take long for people to realize that its use or misuse can be extremely annoying to other people, and eventually some sort of code of etiquette needs to be developed.
Above: Model S backs in at a Tesla Supercharger stall (Instagram: dennis_horn87)
In cases in which peoples’ lives or sanity is at stake, such as texting while driving or talking on the phone on a plane, governments or companies sometimes have to step in and ban certain behaviors outright. In other cases, users are able to develop an unwritten set of rules that succeeds in keeping things cordial (most of the time).
Tesla’s Supercharger network is expanding rapidly around the world. However, in certain EV-heavy areas, the stations can get quite crowded, and this situation is sure to worsen as more Model 3s hit the road. Tesla drivers are developing some tacit rules (or “best practices” if you prefer) to preserve the harmony of the electric community.
Norwegian Tesla enthusiast Bjørn Nyland, a prolific producer of videos featuring all kinds of practical (and impractical, but fun) tips for Tesla owners, has come up with a list of 10 points of etiquette for Supercharger users (via InsideEVs). These rules are not written down anywhere or set by Tesla,” says Bjørn. “I made this list based on my own experience and what other people are talking about on social media.”
Above: Bjørn’s ten supercharger tips that will make life easier for yourself and others who charge there (Youtube: Bjørn Nyland)
Some of Bjørn’s rules apply to any place where humans are doing things together: don’t litter, and keep the volume of your stereo at a reasonable level. Other rules are common-sense ones that apply to all situations where people have to wait in line: Move your car when you’re done charging, and pay attention while you’re waiting.
Some of these suggestions, however, have to do with fine points of the Supercharging process, which not everyone may be aware of. If you have a choice, don’t take a stall next to a car that’s already charging. At most Supercharger sites, adjacent stalls share a circuit, and if cars are plugged into both, the charging rate may be reduced for one or both vehicles.
Don’t charge all the way to 100%. The way DC fast chargers work, the charging rate drops dramatically after the 90-95% mark - getting that last 10% could double your charging time. Trying to get all the way up to 100% is like trying to squeeze the last drops of toothpaste out of a tube - it’s not an efficient use of your time, especially if others are waiting for the sink.
Above: Let Model X owners take the nose-in stall at Tesla Supercharger stations (Instagram: teslaif)
Don’t forget Model X’s towing capability. If you have a choice, don’t take a nose-in stall, because a Model X driver with a trailer may wish to use it. And if you’re the Model X driver, and you’re forced to block several stalls in order to charge without unhooking your trailer, be prepared to move.
Finally, do not use a Supercharger as your daily energy source. Tesla built the Supercharger network in order to enable long-distance travel, and if everybody who lives near a Supercharger tried to save a few cents’ worth of electricity by using it for everyday charging, this valuable service could be ruined for everybody. This is the one point of etiquette on which Tesla has spoken out, but beyond sending “friendly reminders” to offenders, there’s little the company can do to stop this selfish behavior.
If concern for the common good doesn’t motivate you, consider that regular Supercharging is a false economy that could shorten your battery life. EV batteries aren’t designed to receive a DC fast charge on a regular basis - the elevated temperatures will degrade a battery’s capacity if repeated too often. As many Tesla drivers can attest, Supercharging is perfectly safe if it’s done on an occasional basis as intended, but Tesla has warned that indulging in it too frequently may eventually reduce range.