It seems like all parts of the once "too good to be true" Tesla narrative are - well, turning out to be too good to be true.
Today on the docket: Superchargers. Yes, believe it or not, the idea of free, unlimited supercharging for life that would essentially make driving free in Tesla vehicles has succumb to reality, much like Tesla as a whole of late. Now, the latest bad news for Tesla owners is that some Superchargers in busy areas will be limiting charges to 80% of batteries to "reduce wait times". The news was first reported on by electrek.
We’re not sure whether or not Tesla knows that this will simply have these people back at a Supercharger quicker than they normally would have been, but again, as usual, we digress.
Tesla sent out a memo to employees over the last couple of days announcing the change:
Today, we released a new Supercharger feature that will limit owners’ State of Charge (SOC) to 80% at select high-traffic sites.
The change is going to affect 17% of all Supercharger stations in the United States. The limit will apply to 8% of stations at all times and another 9% will have the limitation only during busy times. Owners will be alerted to the change when they are at a corresponding Supercharger.
Tesla went one step further to explain why the limit was being 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).”
Of course, as many skeptics predicted would happen a long time ago, Supercharger stations get busy on holidays and heavy travel days, resulting in long wait times. Tesla claims that the new "feature", which isn't really a "feature" at all, should result in a "34% improvement in throughput" at the 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.”
Tesla has reportedly bypassed the limitation for owners that are on long-distance trips – but if a Supercharger is your end destination, you may not be able to give your car a 100% charge anymore.
And despite being "OK" with the new feature, electrek couldn’t help but muse:
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.