Tesla is updating some of its Supercharger stations today to limit the top State of Charge (SOC) to 80% at busy stations in order to reduce wait times.
In a memo sent to Tesla employees today and obtained by Electrek, Tesla announced the new feature:
Today, we released a new Supercharger feature that will limit owners’ State of Charge (SOC) to 80% at select high-traffic sites.
The automaker says that it will affect 17% of all its Supercharger stations in the US.
The limit will apply to 8% of stations at all times, and another 9% will have the limitation during periods of times when they are busier.
Owners will get an alert when they are at a station with the state-of-charge limitation to 80% of the capacity.
In the memo, Tesla explained when the new limit would be enforced:
“80% SOC Limit will be enforced 24/7 at all impacted sites. Please note, some sites will have 80% SOC limits enforced on a permanent basis while others will only be enforced on national holidays and to accommodate large regional events (e.g. Coachella).”
Some Supercharger stations have been known to get very busy on certain holidays, and it often results in long wait times. We reported on the issue last year when Thanksgiving gave Tesla’s Supercharger network got a rough test.
Tesla claims that the new feature, combined with other recent updates to its Supercharger network, should result in “a 34% improvement in throughput” at the affected stations:
“When combined with the recently released On-Route Battery Warmup feature and V2 Supercharger upgrades (to 150 kW), we expect 80% SOC Limit enforcement to result in a 34% improvement in throughput at our busiest Supercharging locations – creating a better, more efficient Superching experience for our owners.”
When Tesla launched its new V3 Supercharger, it also updated the top charge rate at existing Supercharger stations (V2) and released a new feature, On-Route Battery Warmup, that prepares the battery pack to receive the higher charge faster in order to save time when arriving at the station.
Interestingly, Tesla has thought of a way to bypass the new limitation for owners on long-distance trips. If you are routed to a Supercharger station through the trip planner, you are going to be able to get the charge needed to complete your trip.
If the Supercharger is your end destination, it will not work.
A Tesla spokesperson confirmed the new Supercharger update
Update: a few days later, Tesla clarifies that there are other ways to override the charge limitation:
Most people don’t charge to 100% when stopping at a Supercharger, especially since that last 20% takes a while to complete.
Therefore, I’m OK with the new feature for the most part.
The only thing that I think they should change is having the limitation be 24/7 at some stations. It should only be based on how busy the station is at the moment you are charging.
Even the busiest stations have downtime.
It would be frustrating if you get to one of those stations wanting a 90% charge and you get limited to 80% even though there are a bunch of free charge points.
Either way, I think it will improve over time as Tesla deploys more new V3 Superchargers and more stalls per station, especially on busy routes.
Subscribe to Electrek on YouTube for exclusive videos and subscribe to the podcast.