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The holidays are hard on Tesla’s Superchargers, long lines reported, Barstow broken again [Updated]


There’ve been a lot of talks lately about the upcoming Supercharger V3 having a significantly higher charge rate, and while it could be a future solution to wait times at charging stations it will not affect the current fleet, which is already having difficulties during high demand periods.

The recent Christmas break was no exception. Record wait times were reported at several Supercharger stations and an exceptionally long line at the Barstow Supercharger even made the headlines.

You might remember that the Barstow Supercharger was vandalized a few weeks back which affected a route between LA and Vegas ahead of a busy weekend. Fortunately, Tesla was able to quickly fix the station.

But now it’s back in the news. Since last night, the station has had problems again with long wait times caused partly by the high demand, but accentuated by the fact that several stalls were not functioning or abnormally slow.

Update: We are told that the issues at Barstow have been fixed and owners can always make the LA-Las Vegas trip with the Supercharger in Primm if necessary.

Lines of 20 to 30 cars were reported throughout the day yesterday.

Of course, it’s a problem well-known by Tesla and the company has recently been implementing new programs to fix the issue. Namely, the idle fee to incentivize owners to pick up the car quicker after charging is over and the new ‘Supercharger Credit’ program which will start next year and limit the amount of free energy given to each new Tesla owner per year.

It’s not clear if either of those programs would have had an effect on the problems at Barstow and other high demand stations during busy travel periods.

At the end of the day, nothing beats adding stations and stalls per station. Tesla is, of course, also doing just that, but it seems like the growth of the network is still not perfectly aligned with the growth of the fleet.

Tesla currently operates over 4,800 Superchargers at over 769 locations around the world. The company aims to almost double that number by the end of next year in preparation for the Model 3 hitting the market during the second half of 2017, and in even larger numbers in 2018. Tesla recently released the maps for the expansions in 2017.

Those long lines are certainly making Model 3 reservation holders nervous since the Model S/X fleet is expected to be dwarfed by the Model 3 fleet, but if our theory about the vehicle accepting a much higher charge rate with the upcoming Supercharger V3 is correct, the problem will be easier to handle since the charging sessions will be much shorter.

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