I was recently driving to a meeting in Silicon Valley and had to charge my Tesla. I decided to stop at the San Carlos super-charger on my way to Palo Alto and there were 5 other Tesla cars waiting in line to get a charging space. Most drivers seemed to have gone somewhere else as their cars were charging. The San Carlos supercharger is located within walking distance from Whole Foods, Peet’s Coffee, a gym and some restaurants. Many drivers therefore keep their cars parked at the Supercharger even once their cars have finished charging.
I tweeted at Elon to tell him.
@elonmusk the San Mateo supercharger is always full with idiots who leave their tesla for hours even if already charged.
— Loic Le Meur (@loic) December 11, 2016
Within minutes, Elon promised to take action ?
@loic You’re right, this is becoming an issue. Supercharger spots are meant for charging, not parking. Will take action.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 11, 2016
Six days later, Tesla announced that Tesla owners would be charged if they left their cars after they finish charging. Tesla pushed a software update to their entire fleet with a warning.
Elon listens, answers personally, and makes changes at an incredible speed. That is one of the reasons he is so successful. He manages a 30,000 employee public company like an agile startup. He’s also a PR genius on his own by listening, executing so fast and making his process public. There was quite a bit of coverage of this update.
Will the solution work? It’s unclear. As my Tokyo friend Nizar Grira pointed out, it might make the abusers abuse even more because they will now feel it’s okay to do it since they’re being charged. Tesla owners are wealthy so paying for an expensive parking spot won’t make them leave. They will now be able to say “I’m paying for it, so it’s okay to leave my car there.” It’s possible that this update could make the problem even worse. The real solution will come when cars move themselves in and out of superchargers without a driver, according to rules set by Tesla.
I’m impressed that Elon made the change so fast and I’m sure he will iterate again with another solution if this one fails. I’m also not surprised that Tesla is now the #1 brand ranked by customer satisfaction. Tesla could be even cooler and donate the funds from parking fees to supporting clean energy nonprofits.
The article was published by Loic Le Meur, Founder of Leade.rs a platform for speakers and events.