Autocar Tests Europe’s Tesla Supercharger Network

MAR 16 2015 BY MARK KANE 12

Tesla's Supercharging Plans For Europe By The End of 2015 (click to enlarge)

Tesla’s Supercharging Plans For Europe By The End of 2015 (click to enlarge)

Autocar recently tested the Tesla Supercharger Network en route from London to Amsterdam and back (650 miles total) in a fully charged Model S P85+.

“The brief for the trip was simple. Tesla’s growing network of Supercharger points (which allow you to replenish a battery pack to about 80 per cent in 40 minutes) and the introduction of a new one just off the M20 near Maidstone, Kent, suggested that driving through Europe in a Model S might now be perfectly viable; we wanted to find out if it would be. “

The article begins with some drama, but in fact it wasn’t bad until Autocar missed a Supercharger that was supposed to be part of the test:

“Sixty miles remaining. That’s what the Tesla Model S is telling me. It’s pouring with rain. The heater is off to preserve charge. The windows are steaming up and it’s freezing in the car.

I wouldn’t mind if we weren’t also restraining ourselves to a truck-flustering 50mph on a 75mph stretch of road. Fifty-nine miles.

Mind you, the last thing I want to do is end up at the side of the road, battery discharged and immobile. We’ve got just 15 miles to go to get to the Eurotunnel on the French side. The problem is that the next Supercharger point is 35 miles from the Folkstone exit. Either way, it’s going to be close. Fifty-eight.

A brief recollection of Apollo 13 flashes through my mind. I shut off the wipers and dipped beams – the weather is clearing a little – in an effort to save every amp. I temper my frustrations, while tearing my eyes off the now amber-lit range indicator, knowing I’ve really only got myself 
to blame. Fifty-seven.”

In short, the trip to the Amsterdam went as planned, but other day plans changed and the team missed a “checkpoint“. The conclusion from the trip is that long-distance travel is possible until you deviate from the plan and miss a charging points. If a surprise awaits you, range may not be sufficient.

“The return journey poses fewer questions, given that we’ve already proved that the route works. But then a downfall of electric motoring strikes. We have to deviate from our route due to photography and scheduling constraints, bypassing a charging point and leaving us exposed to the crippling anxiety that a decreasing battery level can generate.

The Tesla soldiers on, though, its range indicator remaining seemingly truthful. We hit the Eurotunnel with 45 miles on the gauge, drive the 35 to Maidstone and have an indicated 10 miles left. The sense of relief, as the charging begins and another £3.30 is spent on coffee, is palpable.

Sure, you can do long-distance trips between planned points in electric cars, but it’ll be a while before the batteries have sufficient capacity to endure angst-free travel and guaranteed levels of performance for the duration. More charging points aren’t necessarily the answer, especially given how busy some of them are, the charging times and the logistics of getting to them. Battery swapping stations might help, but they don’t exist yet.

In five or 10 years, however, I suspect that the technology will have advanced so that most motorists won’t have to think twice about picking up the keys to an electric car. Based on how gratifying and easy they can be to drive, and how viable they are if your journey is a known quantity, I look forward to that day”

Source: Autocar

Categories: Charging, Tesla

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12 Comments on "Autocar Tests Europe’s Tesla Supercharger Network"

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When will this overhyped, manufactured range anxiety limitation of EVs narrative end? People have confused the differences between ICE and EV fill up times with being stranded.

“But then a downfall of electric motoring strikes. We have to deviate from our route due to photography and scheduling constraints, bypassing a charging point and leaving us exposed to the crippling anxiety that a decreasing battery level can generate.”

The same could be said if you were road tripping in a Camaro Z28 or Corvette Z06. Sure they have a range of 350-400 miles but if you start taking detours on a long trip and you don’t pay attention to where the nearest gas station is then you are out of luck. Absolutely no different. We’ve all been there and it’s not unique to EVs.

Drama (manufactured or not) is more interesting to read than a “trip went normally, nothing to report” story. “Eventually we arrive in Amsterdam, with plenty of range remaining. It has taken a long time, admittedly, partly due to heavy traffic and partly because of the piecemeal nature of our journey. We’d departed at 9am and walked through the hotel doors at 10pm.” Google maps says the 336 mile trip should take 6 hours 7 minutes without traffic. Small detours to drive to supercharger stalls will add about 12 minutes to the trip, likely somewhat more with surface street traffic. They spent 20 minutes charging in Maidstone, 40 minutes charging in Ghent (not their last stop, despite discussion of an extended charge forced by lack of destination charging), and an unspecified amount of time charging at Breda. If a destination charge had been available, this would likely have been faster: – London to Callais SC, ~90 miles + a 20 mile train ride through the tunnel, stop to charge for 15-20 minutes – Callais to Antwerp SC, 132 miles, stop to charge for 20-30 minutes – Antwerp to AMS, 105 miles Counting deviations from the direct route and assuming no… Read more »

This is journalistic reality TV. Take something thousands of people have done,(including myself in my P85)and making a crisis out of it. Now instead of “we planned the trip and everything worked great”, we get this long spun out story with flimsy metaphors and analogies to crappy movies in order to to make a boring story epic somehow. This reeks of the NYTimes report who also “missed the supercharger” and suddenly had to pick up a brother in law, and then also suspiciously stopped charging the Tesla batt. w/50% left.

This piece is badly written. It reminds me of TV shows where they create a crisis out of something ordinary.

Those are called, “Reality” Shows. And they have very little to do with actual reality.

Those shows are really contrived drama-fests to fill airtime, just as this article was to get eyeballs on their site.

Was the SuperCharger truly missed by accident, or was this yet another “John Broder” attempt by a European journalist? *shrugs*

In the end, it appears the car was quite accurate in displaying range, and no one was towed, despite the poor choices of it’s driver.

Not sure how new firmware is going to solve that problem…

Yep. Daytime soap operas have been replaced by prime-time reality shows in the US.

If the Autocar writer didn’t have a self imposed “Supercharger” only charging criteria for their trip, they could have easily have picked up some extra charge at numerous L2 chargers along the route. In the real world, Tesla owners would opt for a little L2 charging if they “accidentally” missed a Supercharger and didn’t know for sure if they had the range to make it to the next Supercharger. Like most reality shows, the drama in this blog news story was contrived and manufactured. Much ado about nothing.

man. all those imaginary spontaneous road trips. i guess they will have to wait.

I Think I will Take My 1,000 Km Range VW Jetta for a Road Trip Across the Sahara! Wait – there no Gas Stations out there? I thought this places has Oil (& therefore – Gasoline) Everywhere! Oh – my – what WILL I DO? I guess – some people still think that Supercharging – means the car is smarter than they are – and won’t let them get discharged and Stranded because of bad planning or bad follow though! Unfortunately – just like in Flying – the “Nut on the End of the Stick” is usually the cause of most issues! (The ‘Pilot’ for those that don’t know that line!) This is kind of like – Let’s See – can we take a road trip and only stop at an Esso (Exxon) Station and make the trip. Oops – missed a station – can’t stop at a Shell Station, gotta wait until I get to the next Esso/Exxon Station! Wha-ha-ha! Just grab a few $$ worth of Go-Juice at that Shell station right there ahead of you, and then continue on to the Esso/Exxon Station up the road a 100 miles! Same thing here – Grab some time at… Read more »

I would feel infintely more confident in depending on the Tesla Supercharger network than any other public charging stations. Contrast the story in this report with its fabricated drama to the actual drama of trying to drive a Leaf from the UK to Stuttgart. Big difference.

People need to remember that 97% of the time, you just drive your car back & forth to work, school, the mall, grocery store, big box store, movies, etc.

So it is a wee bit more difficult to make a long trip? So what? That is more than made up for with the fact that the vast majority of the time you spend 5 seconds plugging/unplugging in your car at your house and NEVER have to go to gas station and fill-up. All those fill-ups during the year waste a lot of time & money.

I’ve had worse “range anxiety”, pulling my new GMC diesel and 39 ft. fifth wheel through Salt Lake at 11:00pm going down dead end roads because of faulty GPS directions and getting to “Gas Stations” that didn’t have Diesel, and then just limping into a station, before they closed. My lovely bride of 40 years was not to please with my “planning skills”.

I can’t imagine having the 50+’combo flat bedded to the next available Diesel Station!

By the way, I’ve never had that kind of range axniety, in 13,000 carefree miles of driving in my Nissan Leaf.

“Sixty miles remaining. That’s what the Tesla Model S is telling me…” blah, blah… “We’ve got just 15 miles…” + “… 35 miles … ” to the next SuperCharger… (yawn).

15 + 35 = 50. So you’re going to make it. What is all the drama about? You’re cold? Put a jumper on. And next time don’t be an idiot and miss the charger! And even if you only had 50 miles range remaining, get off the motorway and do 40 mph on the back roads and you’ll still make it. How stupid can you get? MW