Tesla has opened their planned Supercharger voting site, allowing the public to cast votes for upcoming Supercharger locations.
Tesla Superchargers have reached high penetration levels already – earlier this year, Tesla deployed its 35,000th Supercharger stall globally. This represents about a 35% year-over-year increase in the last few years. The Supercharger map shows that there are very few routes left uncovered by Tesla’s network, and Tesla dominates charging experience satisfaction compared to other charging networks.
But they’re still growing the network and hoping to fill in gaps, particularly on less-common travel roads away from the main interstate highway system.
So last month, Tesla decided to “crowdsource” their network development and sent out a tweet asking for location suggestions to be included in a voting system for upcoming Superchargers. The company included the locations that got the most “likes” in the poll. (Seth’s Bennington, Vermont, suggestion and Fred’s Shawinigan, Quebec, suggestion both made the cut, so if you can’t decide where to cast your fifth vote, those are a couple of Electrek’s suggestions.)
Today, Tesla has opened up that poll, and you can now vote on the 183 suggestions which made the cut. These locations seem to pretty much cover all the regions Teslas are available in – North America, Europe, Oceania, and Asia.
How to vote on Tesla Supercharger locations
In order to vote, you need to head to Tesla’s Supercharger voting site, log in to your Tesla account, and then look at the list and click on your top five suggestions.
Even non-Tesla owners can vote on the suggestions if they have a Tesla account, which could be important, especially given that Tesla is planning to open Superchargers to non-Tesla EVs (and is running a trial of the same thing in Europe).
It seems that this system will be persistent, as well – each person gets five votes during every three-month voting cycle. After three months, votes are reset, and you can vote again. Tesla is taking suggestions for more new locations as well, and popular suggestions will be added to the next three-month voting round.
Tesla says that these votes will “help us decide on new Supercharger locations” – so the votes aren’t, in a sense, “binding” for the company. It’s merely another way for them to gather information about what routes the public might be having difficulty with on top of the large amounts of information they gather from the public fleet of vehicles and from current Supercharger station use.
And Tesla still has its own plans for Supercharger deployment – the company briefly leaked all upcoming Supercharger locations earlier this month, so development is still happening regardless of this vote.
There are some parts of the country where noninterstate routes have very little Supercharger coverage. Particularly, North-South routes in the Great Plains region have little coverage.
But in other parts of the country, like rural Northern California and the Oregon coast, even off-interstate drives are still extremely easy to do, as I recently showed on a 2,200-mile electric road trip with no prep and almost no time spent waiting for charging. (Hopefully, we’ll get more sites like the excellent Harrisburg, Oregon, Supercharger and their food truck/wine tasting table!)
So this is a good move by Tesla because there are definitely some routes that can still be difficult, and this will help fill in gaps that they can’t fill by reading fleet data alone.
However, I think there could also be a public relations reason for this. Any time someone gives Tesla flack for not having a Supercharger in their pet location, Tesla can now point at the poll and say, “OK, go vote for it.” This could take a minor amount of heat off the company because now it’s the voters’ fault for not voting enough, rather than their fault for not installing at such-and-such niche location.
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