Tesla: It’s Okay to Double-Park At Supercharger Stalls In A Non-Tesla

In case you missed it, Ford’s EV customers have been given the gift of an entirely revamped charging network overnight—they can now use Tesla’s Supercharging network. That’s 15,000 new DC Fast Chargers available in the blink of an eye since the infrastructure was already built out for Tesla’s existing customers. Kind of amazing, honestly.

However, there’s something funky going on that we’ve known about since Tesla started installing its Magic Dock connectors: its Supercharger cables are just too short. Now, non-Tesla vehicles might have to double-park charging stalls, and Tesla’s app seems just fine with that.

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Let’s back up a second to talk about Tesla’s Superchargers. Originally, the North American Charging Standard (NACS) was simply just known as the “Tesla charger.” Only Tesla’s vehicles came equipped with NACS for both home and DC Fast Charging. Other vehicles used the Combined Charging System (CCS) or the now-antiquated CHAdeMO standard. Tesla recently began the process to standardize NACS, which led to a sweeping industry-wide adoption of the charger port in just a few months.

It’s actually insane to think about how fast the industry moved to a new standard. That typically takes years. And that charge was led by Ford.

Because Tesla’s network was originally designed for Teslas, the automaker was able to maximize its cost savings by ensuring designs worked just well enough for its own vehicles. That included a short cable length that was designed to line up with Tesla’s charger ports, always located in a reflector housing on the driver’s side rear tail lamp.

That’s now a problem for non-Tesla owners. For example, Ford’s F-150 Lightning and Mustang Mach-E have the charger inlet positioned near the front wheel of the driver’s door. The Supercharger cable is too short to reach the front of the vehicle when it’s backed in, and when the car pulls in, the charge port is then located on the opposite side of the vehicle. This means that the only way for the vehicle to charge is to double-park and block another charging stall.

Tesla Charger How To

Tesla’s website reads:

[I]n some cases you might have to park over the line in order to charge comfortably. Avoid parking diagonally to reach the cable and try to obstruct as few charge posts as possible. Charge port locations vary by EV model, which requires cable sharing between adjacent stalls at many sites.

It’s important to note that Tesla is working to resolve this problem with its new “v4” Superchargers. These chargers have longer cables positioned on the outside of the charging unit which allows the charger to swing to either side of the stall This makes it possible for non-Tesla EVs to easily plug in. However, as of yesterday, Tesla is still opening new Supercharging locations with its existing “v3” Superchargers in the U.S. Certain new locations in Europe appear to be receiving the v4 Superchargers in February.

Tesla is also calling on manufacturers to consider standardizing the charge port location on future vehicles. To Tesla’s point, this could be useful in cutting down on costs and cord clutter at charging stations.

Now, non-Tesla owners don’t necessarily need to take up multiple charging stalls. At some Supercharger locations, utilizing the end stall or one of Tesla’s “pull-through” style chargers could be a possibility, though not every location is built to accommodate that layout, so it won’t work everywhere.

Tesla Ford F-150 Lightning Supercharger

Meanwhile, things have been a bit of an issue since Ford began launching the Magic Dock. Ford F-150 Lightning owners have posted photos of themselves charging at Superchargers and we can immediately see the problem should a Supercharger get busy. In fact, with enough non-Tesla vehicles double-parking, the vehicle capacity at a Supercharger could easily be reduced enough to cause a line.

Here’s what one F-150 Lightning owner explains about charging courtesy in a Facebook post:

If we can’t get to an end stall or don’t have a pull through option, then we have to park in the “wrong” spot on the other side of a charger to get the cable to reach. Again, this is where we, as owners and out-worlders, need to exercise patience and courtesy, especially if stations are full and people are waiting to charge. Do your best to not inconvenience other drivers while still getting a charge. Wait for an end spot, look for a pull through or just communicate well with Tesla owners around you. The last thing we want is some viral video that includes a charging etiquette argument with Tesla owners.

Tesla has effectively hampered its ability to detect if a Supercharging stall is open. Since it currently determines this based on whether or not a charger is in use, double-parked vehicles won’t show the spot that they are occupying as unavailable, meaning that a 12-stall Supercharger with 6 Teslas and 3 non-Tesla vehicles charging may show as having 3 stalls available, but they may be occupied by double-parked EVs.

That problem likely won’t get better any time soon. Both Rivian and General Motors are slated to have access to the Supercharging network as early as this month, and with the majority of the industry moving towards NACS, that trend will likely continue. Tesla now Tesla owners will have to bear the brunt of the growing pains at busy Supercharging locations.

The Supercharging network was once Tesla’s sword. One could argue that it helped to catapult the brand above and beyond other EVs at the time given the vast and reliable charging network. But now, opening up the network could be the axe that chops it down, or at least gets owners thinking about what their next vehicle might be since Tesla’s best selling point will be accessible to just about any brand.