How Tesla lost the highway charging battle

If Tesla is truly absolute in fast charging, we see a size difference compared to other players: its location is generally off highways. We will return to this phenomenon in detail, trying to understand how we got there. What are the pros and cons of electric car drivers?

Traveling by electric car is getting easier, especially in Europe thanks to a sharp increase in the number of fast charging stations. Electric mobility players have raced to break records for opening charging stations to delight drivers of connected vehicles in 2022.

However, we are forced to see significant differences between Ionity, Tesla, Fastned or Totalenergies. As Tesla increasingly opens up Superchargers to all vehicles, it can no longer be seen as an operator reserved for the brand’s vehicles. We will explore together how charging works for long journeys and why Tesla already seems to have lost the highway charging battle.

Where are the Tesla Superchargers?

There is no doubt that Tesla is very well established in Europe and in France, and to date more than 130 Supercharger stations have been installed in the French capital. In terms of available charging stations, this is almost adequate 1,700 for France alone, i.e. more than 12 terminals per Supercharger station. By comparison, No. 2 Ionity has about 570 in France.

Map of Tesla Superchargers in January 2023

With such an impressive number of terminals, Especially for highway travelers, it may be legitimate to wonder where they are located. Indeed, with some exceptions, Tesla Superchargers are usually located off highwaysin malls or hotel parks, unless they’re just in the middle of nowhere.

The trunk allows not to offer charging people traveling on the secondary network to recharge without problems, and it’s also useful for locals who don’t have a home charging solution: no need to take the toll section of the motorway to charge your car’s battery. Tesla is almost an exception in this regard, because The big fast charging operators Ionity, Totalenergies and Fastned build most of their terminals in motorway service areas..

It takes longer than charging itself when it finds a charger

If the advantage of off-road payment is undeniable when traveling to avoid tolls, disadvantages are significant for those who cross the country at high speed on the highway. Indeed, in the case of V3 Superchargers, which can send up to 250 kW of power in a Tesla Model 3 or Model Y battery, the journey to the charger may be longer than the charger itself.

Mâcon compressor: 20 terminals available // Source: Bob Jouy for Frandroid

In many cases, a 500-kilometer road trip through a part of France requires two or three electric car charges, and those charges can be relatively short. If, for example, you can reach your destination by charging three times in ten minutes, it is in your best interest not to leave the highway, otherwise the time lost to the load will increase significantly.

Indeed, reaching a charging point several kilometers from a motorway exit often means crossing a toll barrier and going to the car park where the terminals are located, which easily takes about five minutes. It’s a long way back, Adding a ten-minute drive to fast charging is easier than you might imagineespecially with located Superchargers commercial areas that are difficult to access during peak periods.

Tours Supercharger in commercial area takes many places with thermal vehicles // Source: 1Tesla Otherwise nothing on Twitter

This is especially true of the new Superchargers being built in Perpignan, Montpellier, Bordeaux and Honfleur from 2021. All these Superchargers have the feature of being in a commercial area near the highway as the crow flies, of course, but in practice it takes long minutes to reach a popular charging point after leaving the highway..

Why Tesla is not built on the highway

If Tesla chooses mostly off-highway locations with a share of restrictions for users, why not install more Superchargers in service areas ? Indeed, since 2019, some Superchargers are in really different fields. We can mention in particular the Poulet de Bresse area, the Vidauban Sud area or the Vendée area, where 12 Superchargers work together with Ionity terminals.

But currently the Tesla standard is to install 16, 20 or even 28 terminals charging at the same time, which means there is plenty of parking space reserved for fast charging. If this is imagined in the parking lot of a shopping center with several hundred spaces, in a highway service area with fifty parking spaces, this is a more complex mission.

Tesla Model S on Supercharge // Source: Bob Jouy for Frandroid

It’s really hard to imagine that during the great summer crossovers, About 20 spaces reserved for electric vehicle charging will be respected in the congested area, where finding a place to park becomes mission impossible. We also have an article dedicated to our 4000 km trip in France in the summer of 2022.

Besides, with few exceptions, Ionity or Totalenergies stations have only 4-8 terminals, much less than every Tesla Supercharger station. We can imagine that too The operators of the service areas (usually associated with an oil company) could be Shell’s partner Ionity or Totalenergies rather than Tesla..

Where are the others?

From 2022, the installation of fast charging stations in France has accelerated dramatically, two players alone represent the majority of chargers available: Tesla and Ionity. Among the operators that currently have more than 100 charging points of more than 100 kW in mainland France, we find Freshmile, Fastned, Electra, Engie, Totalenergies, Allego and of course Ionity and Tesla.

Source: Didier Toulouse on Twitter

Of the nearly 4,000 charging stations above 100 kW equipped with the Combo CCS cable in the area, Tesla owns about 1,700, while the second player, Ionity, has only 570.. This clearly shows the difference between Tesla and the others, at least in terms of the number of terminals per station: There are 134 Tesla stations compared to Ionity’s 120, with Tesla having three times as many terminals.

As explained earlier, Ionity terminals and others have an undeniable advantage during long car journeys: they are often located in service areas, which means that you do not waste time recharging.

Moreover, if until now the number of stands at each station was sufficiently low, thus increasing the probability that an empty stand would not be found during a period of major transhumation, this is about to change. At the very end of 2022 Ionity opened a station with 16 terminalsand Fastned did the sameIt proves that Tesla does not have a monopoly on very large charging stations.

A future where Tesla is no longer important

In the world of fast charging, Tesla is no longer important, even for owners of branded vehicles. Indeed, many drivers now prefer to charge at Ionity, Fastned or Totalenergies.time and budget optimization.

Question Supercharge/Fast Charge 👇

When traveling for electric car trips, recently:
– opt for a non-Tesla charger to save travel time
– loaded up on a Tesla Supercharger with a big pass or time waster

— Bob Jouy (@bobjouy) January 4, 2023

After multiple price changes in 2022, it is sometimes more appropriate to charge outside of Tesla Superchargers, and this is especially true for owners of other brands of vehicles (who do not benefit from the same rate as Tesla owners, except to pay). monthly subscription).

However, the current recharge card remains a Jungle A strong argument in favor of Teslaprovides an unparalleled charging experience for car owners of this brand: just plug in to start charging. Moreover, the integration of third-party charging stations in Tesla navigation is still not perfect, which does not encourage customers of the brand to stop anywhere else than Superchargers in search of simplicity.

While other players — such as Fastned, which has been implementing auto-charging for several months, and Ionity with Plug and Charge — can offer a similar charging experience, it’s also to prove the reliability of their terminals in front of the publicTesla probably won’t be the first choice for many owners anymore.

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