Tesla Supercharger Map: An Explanation of the Meaning of Those Mysterious Gray Dots

4 years ago by Eric Loveday 12

Gray Dots Are Everywhere...But What the Heck Do They Represent?

Gray Dots Are Everywhere…But What the Heck Do They Represent?

Lately, there’s been far too much confusion over the meaning of something as simple as gray dots.

No Gray Dots Here

No Gray Dots Here

More specifically, lost in translation has been the meaning of the gray dots on Tesla’s Supercharger map.

We understand why this could be a confusing matter and most of the blame should be put directly on Tesla for not precisely explaining what the gray dots mean, but this spreading of falsities that’s been going on lately is not right either.

Simply asking Tesla the meaning of the gray dots will result in an answer that’s as definitive as can be.

First, in dispelling the false myths out there, the gray dots do not represent newly deployed chargers, nor do they stand for planned or promised chargers.

The gray dots mean only this: site expected to be under construction during time frame listed.

So, if we gaze upon that map and see say 50 gray dots for Fall 2013, then we should expect all 50 of those sites to be somewhere in the construction process by the end of Fall 2013.

Now, “under construction” does not necessarily mean it’s being physically built.  The construction process here includes permitting and other ordinance related issues, some of which can take a lot of time to iron out.

Then there’s that “expected” mention there.  Tesla is saying simply that it expects (but can’t promise, especially since most of this permitting/building schedule, etc. is beyond Tesla’s control) to be at the construction stage of a particular Supercharger site by the time set forth on the map.

Why the map and why those gray dots then?

They aren’t meaningless and Tesla isn’t trying to deceive.

The gray dots represent a Supercharger site that’s coming (unless something beyond Tesla’s control prevents construction), so the dots can be a tool for potential Model S buyers and current owners to see where future free electricity will likely be and to gauge whether or not Supercharged road trips are likely to be a possibility in a particular area soon.

In closing, if you’ve been led to believe that the gray dots mean something other than what we’ve explained here, then you’ve been deceived, but not by Tesla, because Tesla never defined the meaning of those gray dots.

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12 responses to "Tesla Supercharger Map: An Explanation of the Meaning of Those Mysterious Gray Dots"

  1. Brian says:

    I didn’t know they were so mysterious. It seemed pretty obvious to me, especially since they turn red in the following time period.

    1. Eric Loveday says:

      Not all of them necessarily turn red though.

      1. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

        I’m pretty sure that there’s only some left in 2015, and that’s because they don’t have 2016.

        1. Eric Loveday says:

          Right, but the point is that none of them have to turn red and even if they all turn red according to the map (say by 2015) that doesn’t mean Tesla is promising they’ll be online. It’s a projection…Tesla is guessing.

  2. David Murray says:

    I know these superchargers are placed between large cities for purposes of travel. But I wonder how Tesla is going to address the issue of people that are lucky enough to live in the small city using the supercharger as their daily power source? Not that this is a huge problem except if an out-of-town person comes through and all of the superchargers are hogged by in-town people? I don’t expect this to be a problem for a few more years, but it is inevitable.

    1. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

      The dot meaning was pretty obvious to me as well.

      As for Supercharger-hoggers, Tesla has promised free forever, but they haven’t promised not to start applying fair use. I think that’s part of the reason why they’re trying to put them between cities on transit routes, rather than in cities.

      In some locations they have some spots marked with maximum parking times.

    2. Brian H says:

      It will gradually dawn on even the dimmest that using SCs for fuelling trivial local mileage is a very low return way to spend time. An hour or two travelling and charging, for maybe $5?

  3. Anderlan says:

    The area made accessible by grey-dot chargers minus the area made accessible by red-dot chargers should be a slightly different color (greyer, lower transparency?). Just like you can ‘kind of’ plan on a grey charger eventually popping up, you can only ‘kind of’ plan on the area enabled by a grey charger being supercharger drive-able.

  4. Anthony says:


    The grey dots are the new stations compared to the previous map (e.g. the ones they added during that time frame). They are a bit out of whack now because Tesla didn’t get some done by the end of Summer, but they got other ones added are just red.

  5. Ron Solberg says:

    Three gray dots on I 90 across South Dakota included one at Sioux Falls, SD. More recently I saw a map with one dot at Mitchell, SD and the Sioux Falls dot moved across the border into Minnesota near Worthington or Jackson MN. In my opinion Sioux Falls is not very EV friendly and the MN sites have wind farms nearby.

  6. MarkR says:

    Lots like an awful lot of grey dots need to turn red if Elon Musk is going to take his planned cross-country trip this winter.

  7. Brian H says:

    One contractor, involved with 4 sites, hoped to get more contracts, and was even planning to get MXes etc to do more of them for all clients, in a wider radius, than he could normally afford to bid on because of transportation costs.