Tesla is combatting Uber and Lyft congestion at its Superchargers in New York City with Supercharger fees after the ride-sharing services have backed up EV chargers.
This week, it appears the Superchargers are more congested than normal, and it could be due to the influx of Uber and Lyft vehicles at locations in Brooklyn and Queens.
Dear @elonmusk and @Tesla please consider increased demand for the superchargers (240kw) and make the new ones nearby these locations- #Brooklyn #BayRidge #BathBeach #Bensonhurst #DykerHeights #Forthamilton
— Vako Ormotsadze (@VOrmotsadze) January 12, 2024
This is not a great experience.
We need more supercharger locations in NYC. As a Tesla customer we shouldn’t have to go through this, second time this week. @elonmusk @Tesla @TeslaCharging @WholeMarsBlog @heydave7 @SawyerMerritt @DirtyTesLa @DillonLoomis22 pic.twitter.com/GVybsMdq8w
— Tesla Shill (@TeslaShill) January 17, 2024
Tesla has sent this message to drivers in the area, indicating that Active Supercharger Congestion Fees will be applied:
“Idle fees have been replaced by congestion fees at select Superchargers near you. Congestion fees accrue when your Supercharger is busy and your vehicle’s battery is above a certain level. This change helps reduce wait times and ensures that everyone has access to Superchargers when they need it.
Congestion fees apply when:
- Supercharger is busy
- Your vehicle’s charge is above the congestion fee charge level
View congestion fees and charge levels at which they apply on your touchscreen.”
The number of Lyft and Uber vehicles that applied for licenses through the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) was well over 9,000 units last year, and several NYC Councilmembers warned that this could cause congestion.
The TLC eliminated the cap on for-hire drivers as long as the vehicles are electric or handicap accessible, but there are now so many in the city that it is causing issues.
On top of this, there are only so many charging stations in the City, and several are operated by Revel, the ride-sharing service that fought the TLC for more for-hire licenses several years ago.
As for congestion fees, Tesla launched them last year in an attempt to keep Supercharger lines moving when certain locations are congested.
Code from Tesla hacker green stated that the congestion fees would apply when vehicles are charging over 80 percent.
The big issue and core problem is that there are a lot of EV drivers in New York, but the infrastructure just has not gotten to a point where it can routinely handle an influx of cars that need a charge.
Revel has been expanding its network of EV chargers throughout New York City and plans to open more stations this year.
Spokesperson Robert Familiar told us:
“Revel’s public fast-charging Superhubs have seen about four times more public utilization in the last two months, which we see as a direct outcome of the Green Rides initiative. We’re anticipating an even greater uptick as more drivers look to skip long lines and hidden fees by charging at our higher-volume Superhubs.”
The 2018 Green Rides initiative has been great for EV adoption, but it surged demand so much that it generally outpaced infrastructure availability.
Jason Kersten, the Press Secretary of the NYC TLC, told me that there will be growing pains until the City is able to build out the appropriate amount of infrastructure. EVs are obviously a great thing for New York, and we talked in detail about the transitional phase that the City will go through over the next 11 years as it gears up for a 100 percent zero-emissions fleet.
TLC Commissioner David Do believes infrastructure will need to catch up as drivers under the Commission jumped at the opportunity to own EVs last year:
“In October, we gave TLC drivers the option of owning their own EV plates instead of continuing to lease gas-powered vehicles, and many of them jumped at it. They’re now hitting the road, leading the charge towards a cleaner and more sustainable city and sending a very clear message: We need more charging infrastructure. We’re doing everything we can to meet that demand as quickly as possible. That includes the city’s commitment to install 13 fast charging hubs in municipal parking facilities citywide, a new Bronx charging depot, and 30 fast chargers at TLC’s Woodside inspection facility.”
88 percent of the 9,756 applications the TLC received between October 18 and November 13 were from individual drivers, not companies. The TLC has, so far, approved 4,732 and continues to process applications.
The TLC and the City of New York have worked together to increase charging infrastructure moving forward. The efforts have resulted in $15 million in federal funding for a charging depot in the Bronx, 30 fast-chargers at the TLC’s Woodside inspection facility, and 13 municipal parking facilities citywide, among other things.
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