Tesla Superchargers Explained

Estimated reading time: 4 min

What is a supercharger?

Simply it’s the fastest form of charging a Tesla, they’re owned by Tesla and cost £0.20/kWh or free for selected owners.

The chargers cover a large chunk of the UK and Europe allowing you to move from one to another to your destination for most trips.

When you plugin at home you will be using AC power (from the grid) this needs to be converted to DC power to enter your battery.

Whilst charging at home your car performs this conversion using a single or dual charger module built into the car, a supercharger uses 12 of these charger modules, identical to the ones in your car, housed in an external cabinet to provide up to 120kW DC directly into your car battery, it bypasses the internal chargers in your car.

These 12 modules inside a supercharger cabinet are paired to 2 charging bays/stalls, this means that if 2 cars are connected (e.g. 1A + 1B) then 120kW is shared between two vehicles (as discussed below in more detail).

What speed can I realistically expect from a supercharger?

Tesla claims that you can refill a car from 10% – 80% charge in under 40 minutes, and that you can half-fill the car (i.e. reach 50% charge) in as little as 20 minutes.

These are both achievable, but they represent the optimum outcome and there are various factors that affect speed.

What are the costs?

All Tesla vehicles come with 400 kWh (~1,000 miles) of Supercharger credits annually.

A charge costs £0.20 per kWh or free for selected owners (see below). To top up from empty to 100% in a 75D it would cost you ~£15 but in reality, you probably won’t be arriving at a supercharger with an empty battery and won’t leave with 100% state of charge so this will be less.

More details on this

How do I get free supercharging?

  • Get a referral code when ordering your Tesla, this should give you free supercharging
  • Buy a used Tesla that has unlimited supercharging built in

How do I use a supercharger?

Enter the destination on the in-car navigation. Arrive & Plug in. It really is that simple. A green light will appear near the charge port and this shows you’re now charging.

Keep an eye on the app to see how quickly the car is charging.

When you’re finished go to the plug and press the button to release the cable from the car, now hang up the cable inside the charger and continue your trip.

Charger Pairs (e.g. 1A & 1B)

Image from Stein Ole Strand on https://www.tocn.no/lading-pa-superlader/

Urinal etiquette at superchargers, basically superchargers are in pairs (e.g. 1A + 1B, 2A + 2B), a general rule of thumb is never plugin to a supercharger if another car is going to be immediately next to you. You will see stickers at the base of each supercharger showing their number and pair, if a car is plugged into 1A then don’t plugin to 1B if 2A or 2B is free.

Priority is given to the first car that is plugged into a pair. If someone plugs into the pair you’re using your charge rate might be slightly reduced.

Where can I learn more about each supercharger?

abington.jpg
Abington tesla supercharger
Located at Abington Motorway Services Area Harry Ramsdens does breakfast OK space to walk dog et...
aviemore.jpg
57.189659, -3.836141
“ Situated at The MacDonald Highlands Hotel, Aviemore It’s round the back so there won’t b...
Ballacolla.jpg
Ballacolla, Ireland Topaz Service Station Junction 3, M8
Charging 8 superchargers, available 24/7, up to 120kW Restaurants Supermac’s
14606268_10154650159183982_5094911574266169219_n.jpg
Barnsley supercharger tesla
Situated at the rear of the Tankersley Manor Hotel just 1/2 mile from M1 J36 and easy to get bac...
birchanger.jpg
Birchanger Green tesla
They are in the Days Inn Hotel car park, opposite the back of the coffee shop (Starbucks I think...
hopwood.jpg
Birmingham - Hopwood Park Supercharger
Located in the M42 Motorway Services Area, which is accessible from both directions of travel. F...
supercharge-brighouse.jpg
24-25 M62, North Brighouse HD6 4JX
24-25 M62,South Brighouse, HD6 4JX, United Kingdom Exact coordinates: 53.714315, -1.743758
westbound.jpg
24-25 M62,South Brighouse, HD6 4JX, United Kingdom
24-25 M62,South Brighouse, HD6 4JX, United Kingdom Exact coordinates: 53.714315, -1.743758
tesla-cribbs.jpg
Cribbs Causeway, Patchway, Bristol, United Kingdom
Located on the ground floor of the 2 level car park outside John Lewis – certainly not obvious f...
gordano.jpg
Bristol – Gordano Services
Access from both directions on the M5, at Junction 19. Traffic can be EXTREMELY busy at this loc...
19642709_10158928366185576_465307213122865002_n.jpg
Burtonwood, UK Welcome Break Burtonwood, M62, Burtonwood, United Kingdom
Burtonwood, UK Welcome Break Burtonwood, M62, Burtonwood, United Kingdom
canary.jpg
The Canada Square Car Park, Montgomery Street, London, E14 5EW, United Kingdom
Located in Canada Square car park, located at 2nd level down of car park on level below the entr...
charnock.jpg
Charnock Richard (Chorley) North Services
Access is possible from both directions on the M6, between J27 and J28. It can also be accessed ...
bluewater.jpg
Tesla supercharger, Bluewater, Greenhithe, Kent, London, DA9 9ST, United Kingdom
Supercharger car park is the yellow car park. Use the first ground level entrance and bear left ...
dundee.jpg
Hilton Hotel, Kingsway W, Dundee, DD2 5JT, United Kingdom
Follow the Nav: turn right on entering the car park, the SC’s are around the side of the h...
edinburgh.jpg
edinburgh supercharger
Situated in the staff car park at Edinburgh Airport. At barrier press intercom button and ask fo...
darts-new.jpg
Exeter (Darts Farm)
When arriving ensure you park NOSE IN at the Superchargers! This farm shop is rather good The mo...
Pasted_Image_12_03_2018__23_23.jpg
Fleet, UK Welcome Break, M3 Fleet GU51 1AA, United Kingdom
Fleet, UK Welcome Break, M3 Fleet GU51 1AA, United Kingdom Welcome Break Service Station with pa...
fleet-2.jpg
Fleet, UK Welcome Break, M3 Fleet GU51 1AA, United Kingdom
Welcome Break Service Station with passenger bridge across McDonalds, Waitrose, Whsmith, Harry R...
folkstone.jpg
Folkestone, UK Eurotunnel UK terminal, Ashford Rd Folkestone Kent CT18 8XX United Kingdom
It’s beyond passport control; you have to have a ticket to travel Not child-friendly in a ...
gratham.jpg
Grantham, UK Grantham North Services, Trunk Rd Grantham NG32 2AB United Kingdom
Located at Moto Services which has Costa, Burger King, Whsmiths & Greggs Toilets, Wifi etc A...
gretna.jpg
Gretna Green, UK A74M , Jct 21/22 by Welcome Break Gretna Green DG16 5HQ United Kingdom
Watch out for a brutal speed bump if you turn left away from the SuC. Waitrose, Starbucks, KFC &...
heathrow-5.jpg
51.478181, -0.515753
Not actually at Heathrow Terminal 5 at all, it’s the otherside of the M25 Take ticket from...
leeds.jpg
UK Capitol Boulevard by Village Urban Resort Leeds South Leeds LS27 0TS United Kingdom
Often ICE’d as it contains a gym, go elsewhere if you can. Coffee shop and restaurant Arou...
Lifton-2.jpg
Lifton, UK 1 Fore St. Lifton PL16 0AA United Kingdom
Located at http://www.arundellarms.com/ Food, Drink and Accommodation within They also have dest...
liphook.jpg
Old Thorns Manor Hotel Golf & Country Estate GU30 7PE Liphook United Kingdom
Old Thorns Manor Hotel Golf & Country Estate Starbucks
brent-cros.jpg
London - Brent Cross, UK Brent Cross, Prince Charles Drive London NW4 3FP United Kingdom
The superchargers are quite well signposted. They are on the second level of a multi storey car ...
maidstone.jpg
Maidstone, UK Eclipse Park Maidstone Kent ME14 United Kingdom
Don’t use the Hilton for a snack, unless you are extremely wealthy, and have plenty of tim...
membury.jpg
Hungerford, UK Welcome Break Membury, M4 Hungerford RG17 7TY United Kingdom
Welcome Break – Waitrose, Starbucks, Burger King etc Hungerford, UK Welcome Break Membury, M4 H...
22008296_2021679324525942_4884295532875706122_n.jpg
5.00 (1 review)
M5 Junction 13/14, Lower Wick, Dursley, Gloucestershire
Follow hotel signs for Days Inn It’s a long walk for a coffee If you haven’t visited make ...
newport.jpg
Newport Pagnell, UK M1, Newport Pagnell Newport Pagnell MK16 8DS United Kingdom
Welcome Break location – Burger King, Starbucks and Waitrose inside Highways England, Welc...
northampton.jpg
Northampton, UK Grange Park, Junction 15, M1 Loake Close Northampton NN4 5EZ United Kingdom
“ Remember to register your number plate at reception upon arrival The food in the bar are...
oxford.jpg
Oxford, UK Wheatley services, London road by M40, interchange 8A Oxford OX33 1JL United Kingdom 6
Welcome Break with the usual Waitrose, KFC, Pizza Express and Starbucks Oxford, UK Wheatley ser...
portsmouth.jpg
Langstone Road, Havant, United Kingdom, PO9 1SA
Just off the A27 & A3M Langstone Road, Havant, United Kingdom, PO9 1SA Coordinates: 50.84771...
reading.jpg
Reading, UK 250 S Oak Way, Reading, RG2 6UG, United Kingdom
Breathe in when parking at Reading. If you arrive at Reading after office hours, only option for...
Royal-Victoria-Docks.jpg
Royal Victoria Docks, UK Tidal Basin Rd London E16 1GB United Kingdom
Weird place. Nice cafe. Super near to City Airport. The crystal superchargers are brilliant. Hid...
sarn.jpg
Sarn, UK, 36 M4 Motorway Sarn CF32 9SY United Kingdom
Welcome Break with Starbucks, WHSmiths, Waitrose etc Sarn, UK, 36 M4 Motorway Sarn CF32 9SY Uni...
scotch-corner.jpg
Scotch Corner, UK Holiday Inn Darlington - A1 & A66 Richmond United Kingdom
“Scotch Corner, UK Holiday Inn Darlington – A1 & A66 Richmond United Kingdom &nbs...
south-mimms.jpg
South Mimms, UK South Mimms Services, M25, Junction 23 Potters Bar, EN6 3QQ United Kingdom
Welcome Break location with Starbucks, Pret, Ed’s Diner etc. Watch out for potential gypsi...
northbound.jpg
Stoke-on-Trent Northbound, UK Welcome break northbound M6, Keele Motorway Services/Whitmore Rd Newcastle, Staffordshire ST5 5HG United Kingdom
Stoke-on-Trent Northbound, UK Welcome break northbound M6, Keele Motorway Services/Whitmore Rd Ne...
keele-south.jpg
Stoke-on-Trent Southbound, UK Welcome break southbound M6, Keele Motorway Services Area/Whitmore Road Newcastle, Staffordshire ST5 5HG United Kingdom
“It might be possible to cross from Northbound to Southbound using this tip but the Northbo...
tebay.jpg
Tebay Southbound, UK Tebay Services Westmorland Place Orton Orton CA10 3SB United Kingdom
Located at http://www.westmorlandfamily.com/ Tebay Southbound, UK Tebay Services Westmorland P...
telford2.jpg
Telford, UK M54, Welcome Break, 4 Priorslee Rd Telford United Kingdom
Telford, UK M54, Welcome Break, 4 Priorslee Rd Telford United Kingdom Welcome Break with Waitrose...
thetford.jpg
57 Brandon Rd Elveden IP24 3TP United Kingdom
The bays are located at the back of the car park, behind a line of trees. Pub is dog-friendly Ne...
warrington.jpg
Warrington, UK The Park Royal Hotel, Stretton Road Warrington WA4 4NS United Kingdom 2
“ Often a busy location can be full There is a gym at this location some locals are rumour...
northbound-warwick.jpg
Warwick Northbound, UK M40, Welcome Break Service, North Warwick CV35 0AA United Kingdom
“ Vulnerable to ICEing Warwick Northbound, UK M40, Welcome Break Service, North Warwick ...
warwick.jpg
Warwick Southbound, UK M40, Welcome Break Service, South Warwick CV35 0AA United Kingdom 8
Welcome Break with the usual, Burger King, Starbucks, Tossed etc Warwick Southbound, UK M40, W...
washington.jpg
Washington, UK Campanile Washington Emerson Road Washington NE37 1LB United Kingdom
“ Hotel staff very helpful & accommodating but the food is fairly mediocre Not offici...
west-drayton.jpg
51.511647, -0.461166
“ Attached to West Drayton service center so often is very busy during work hours Grab fre...
westfield.jpg
51.507888, -0.221972
“There are 3 ways in: Quickest – You can drive straight in and across into the norma...
norton-park.jpg
“ Often can be quite busy, go elsewhere if possible As for facilities, Norton Park is a ve...
woodall2.jpg
53.314145,-1.281904
“ Watch out for potholes if travelling from Northbound side Starbucks, KFC, Waitrose etc ...
Showing 53 results

Or visit https://teslaownersgroup.co.uk/directory/categories/tesla-superchargers – Remember this is just the UK, there are thousands more locations worldwide.

Why is a supercharger running slowly?

Temperature

Remember a very cold or very hot battery or ambient temperature will affect the charging time and rate.

State of Charge (SoC)

The car can charge at a must higher charge rate when the battery is relatively empty compared to when it’s getting closer to full (80%+).

Charge Rate Tapering

A Tesla supercharger is capable of delivering up to 120kW of DC power to the battery pack, however, this is generally only when the battery has a fairly low SoC (under 25%), between 25%-80% the charge rate will slowly decrease in power but still give the fastest possible way to charge your car.

At 80% SoC most of the time you will be ready to travel to your next supercharger or final destination, if you need to continue to charge above 80% you will see a dramatic reduction in the charger power.

If there is another charger further along your route it is almost certainly preferable to stop charging, drive on, and stop a second time, rather than continuing to charge above 80%.

Above 95% the rate of charge is slower than many home AC charge units.  And by 98% charge the rate is so low that it is almost certainly not worthwhile for you to wait for the last 2%.

What else could be slowing the charge rate?

Firstly, check you’re not using a paired supercharger (see above) that someone else is using.

Secondly, try moving to another supercharger (e.g. if plugged into 6A, try 1B instead)

How do I know when I’ve got enough charge to continue my trip?

If you’re using the route guidance the navigation system will alert you when your car has enough charge to continue your trip.

Remember if you’re arriving at a location that doesn’t have charging facilities you might need to charge more at the supercharger to ensure you’ve got enough charge to return.

What are Idle Fees?

All charger locations are for charging and that is it, you should never park or leave a car in a charging bay if your car isn’t charging. To combat this, owners campaigned Tesla to start charging people once they’ve finished charging and if they’ve left their car. Idle fees automatically occur when your car has finished charging and hasn’t been moved.

A customer would never leave a car parked by the pump at a petrol station and the same thinking applies with Superchargers.

Idle fees will accrue if the car is not moved within five minutes after the charge session is complete and the station is at least 50% full.

For every additional minute, a car remains blocking a Supercharger bay, it will incur a £0.30 idle fee, e.g. 10 minutes overstay = £3 charge.

The Tesla mobile app notifies you both when charging nears completion and again when fully done. Additional notifications will alert you when idle fees are incurred. Learn more about Idle Fees.

What if there is a problem?

It rarely happens but if a supercharger is out of order then try this:

  • Unplugging/replugging the connector
  • Try another charging stall
  • Rebooting the centre console (press and hold both steering wheel scroll wheels).
  • Report the issue to Tesla Roadside Assitance (number found on user manual inside the car)
  • Consider posting an update on the discussion group

Anything else I should know?

Tesla Charging Etiquette

The signposts at superchargers are easy to hit if you’re not concentrating

I’m still confused about something

Read this & then search the discussion groups

How much does a supercharger cost to install?

To be clear this is the cost for Tesla to install a supercharger bay. The prices vary from £80,000-£500,000+, in short, it depends dramatically on:

  • The current power in the area
  • Available locations
  • Paperwork and planning time
  • The amount of supercharger bays required
  • The plans for future expansion, e.g. 12 bays with enough power for a further 12 bays
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