Tesla owners traveling during the Christmas holiday break encountered an unpleasant surprise at one popular California Supercharger site, experiencing delays of up to two hours or more.

According to a post on the Tesla Motors Club (TMC) forum, owners planning to use the Tejon Ranch Supercharger site in Lebec, Calif. on Dec. 26 were warned that lines of up to 18 Teslas were queued up waiting to use one of the location’s six charging stalls.

A comment left by a user on plugshare.com indicated they waited more than two hours in line to charge at the location. A similar experience of a two hour wait was posted by another TMC forum member.

The Tejon Ranch Supercharger site is located on U.S. Interstate 5 at the foot of a stretch of highway known as “The Grapevine.” The steep grade of the climb can push even Tesla’s top range offering, the Model S 90D and its 270 mile range, to its limits in certain conditions due to the 4,000 foot elevation change.

Congestion at Tesla Supercharger sites is not a new issue, but the experiences encountered at the Tejon Ranch site on Dec. 26 by owners may have been one of the most extreme examples to date.


One TMC forum member theorized that a wildfire that closed down stretches of highway 101 on Dec. 26 resulted in the abnormally high number of Tesla owners arriving at the Tejon Ranch location. However, another forum member that was present at Tejon Ranch that day stated that in conversations with other owners in queue, only one owner had said they were diverted due to the wildfire.

Seemingly cognizant of potential Supercharger congestion problems, Tesla Motors sent out notices in August of this year to select owners, requesting them to reduce their “frequent” usage of local Superchargers. The notice stated that use of Supercharger sites was intended to enable long-distance travel only, and charging should take place at home whenever possible.

The letter however rubbed many Tesla owners the wrong way, with some saying they would supercharge as often as they liked since they had paid for that privilege upon purchasing their vehicle.

A new Supercharger site planned to be built in Buttonwillow, Calif. is expected to alleviate some of the congestion issues affecting the Tejon Ranch location, for which construction is now underway.

With deliveries of Signature Series Model X units beginning this month, and production of the $35,000 Model 3 hoped for within the next two years, how the automaker handles the upcoming increase in demand at its Supercharger locations will be a topic to follow.

Top image source: Facebook.