How Tesla can Solve Idle FeesSeptember 20th, 2019
When you park at a Super Charger, you can leave your car to charge while you go grab a bite or do some shopping.
At some point though, your car will finish charging. After that, you are taking up a parking spot with your car plugged in.
This is where "Idle Fees" kick in. If you leave your car parked too long, Tesla charges you "Idle Fees" for taking up a charging spot and not moving your car. If something happens to you, you can leave your car there for a very long time and incur significant charges.
This is the solution currently implemented to combat EVHole parking. It is designed to encourage you to move your car ASAP. It gives a little freedom (like 5 minutes) to get to your car before the rates apply.
The problem with this model is that it limits what people can go and do while supercharging. For example, you could go watch a movie in Kingston at the Dalton IMAX. But you can't, because you will have to leave and move your car 45 minutes into the movie. Not ideal.
Is there a better way?
Well, not quite yet, but maybe soon. You see, Tesla has been working for many months on a feature called "Enhanced Summon". It will pick you up somewhere in the parking lot. Additionally, it may drop you off and go park and possibly more with additional regulation and development.
Going back to the initial problem Tesla wanted to solve, cars parked in spots taking up charging stations. Currently you would have to come and unplug your car and move it. But if the cars can move and re-park themselves, then they really just need to be manually unplugged. The manual unplugging of the vehicle can be done by the next Tesla owner in the queue.
So, instead of getting a notification on your phone app to move your car, it could notify the next person in the queue to unplug the Tesla. Failure to do so within a minute will assign this task to the next person in the queue.
Once the car is unplugged, the car will automatically move itself to a new spot and the owner at the front of the queue can back in and charge.
While this solution isn't as good as having a sheer abundance of chargers readily available, it can improve the max capacity experience at Super Chargers. And even if there is an abundance of chargers, Tesla will still charge idle fees if the charging stations are more than half full.
In the end, people could have the option: Get Idle fees, but nobody will touch your car, or don't get Idle fees and permit other Tesla owners to unplug your car so it can go and repark itself.
I think most owners would opt for the latter.
Software Developer always striving to be better. Learn from others' mistakes, learn by doing, fail fast, maximize productivity, and really think hard about good defaults. Computer developers have the power to add an entire infinite dimension with a single Int (or maybe BigInt). The least we can do with that power is be creative.