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Tesla Supercharger station review, compared to Chevy Bolt charging – Business Insider

Tesla Supercharger station review, compared to Chevy Bolt charging – Business Insider

A Tesla Supercharger station.
Mark Matousek/Business Insider

Finding a charging station was the biggest problem I experienced when driving the Chevrolet Bolt EV and Nissan Leaf last year.That changed when I tested a Tesla Model 3 in late September.Tesla’s Supercharger network made charging faster and easier than I’d experienced before.Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.One of the biggest obstacles holding back the growth of electric-vehicle sales is the speed and availability of charging stations.While in most instances EV owners can charge their vehicles at home, longer trips can require a stop at a charging station. Finding a charging station was the biggest problem I experienced when driving the Chevrolet Bolt EV and Nissan Leaf last year. On multiple occasions, I was unable to find a station I had navigated to, and in one case, the one I found only allowed for charging at very slow speeds.That changed when I tested a Tesla Model 3 in late September. Tesla’s Supercharger network made charging faster and easier than I’d experienced before.Here’s what it was like, and how it compared to my experiences with the Bolt and Leaf.Are you a current or former Tesla employee? Do you have an opinion about what it’s like to work there? Contact this reporter at mmatousek@businessinsider.com. You can ask for more secure methods of communication, like Signal or ProtonMail, by email or Twitter direct-message.

My first experience with electric-vehicle chargers came when I drove the Chevrolet Bolt EV last year.

2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV.
Mark Matousek / Business Insider

I used Apple CarPlay to find nearby charging stations, and it appeared I had a decent number of options. But things went downhill from there.

2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV.
Mark Matousek / Business Insider

It took about two hours to find a charging station that worked and had an opening.

A ChargePoint charging station.
Mark Matousek / Business Insider

But the station I found had a “Level 1” charger, which mean it could add around 25 miles of range per hour.

2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV.
Mark Matousek / Business Insider

I would have had to wait at least three hours to add a significant amount of range and nine hours for a full charge.

I also had difficulty finding a charging station when I drove the Nissan Leaf a few months later.

2018 Nissan Leaf.
Mark Matousek/Business Insider

The Leaf’s navigation system had a feature that displays and provides directions to nearby charging stations, but it was ineffective.

2018 Nissan Leaf.
Mark Matousek/Business Insider

My first attempt at using it directed me to a Nissan dealership that appeared to no longer exist, and my second attempt led me to a large, multistory indoor parking garage without giving my any indication of where the charger was located. 

I eventually gave up and turned to Google Maps, which led me to an easily accessible charging station without any difficulty.

2018 Nissan Leaf.
Mark Matousek/Business Insider

The next day, I began using the ChargeHub app, which allows you to search for nearby charging stations and locate them on a map.

The ChargeHub app.
ChargeHub

The app also tells you the number of plugs at each station, where the plugs are located, the shape of each plug, how quickly it can charge your car, and how much it costs to charge. The app was far more effective than any other method I’d previously used to find charging stations. 

But finding and using a charging station was much easier with the Model 3.

Tesla Model 3.
Mark Matousek/Business Insider

Tesla’s Supercharger stations were easy to find using the Model 3’s navigation system.

The station I chose was tucked into the corner of a strip mall parking lot, but the distinctive appearance of Tesla’s charging stalls made them easy to spot.

A Tesla Supercharger station.
Mark Matousek/Business Insider

One small disadvantage this time was the fact that I had to back into my spot because the Model 3’s charge port is near the trunk, and the charging station’s cables weren’t very long.

Tesla Model 3.
Mark Matousek/Business Insider

I used the touchscreen to open the charge port.

Tesla Model 3.
Mark Matousek/Business Insider

Tesla automatically charges the owner’s credit card for charging sessions. No need to pay at the station.

A Tesla Supercharger stall.
Mark Matousek/Business Insider

All I had to do was grab the cable …

A Tesla Supercharger cable.
Mark Matousek/Business Insider

Once it started charging, I could monitor its progress on the touchscreen.

Tesla Model 3.
Mark Matousek/Business Insider

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