Supercharge.info – an interview with the man behind: Keith Winkler

Artikkel

Av: Vigdis Asbjørnsen

For many supercharge.info is the go-to-site for reliable information about supercharger locations and especially information about upcoming locations. Even if Tesla’s worldwide map of superchargers has improved over the years, supercharge.info still offers the most reliable information. Teslas own map (http://www.tesla.com/findus) also shows coming superchargers, but their position is highly indicative and can be off by several kilometers and their dates are not to be taken literally.

Unannounced superchargers have also popped up without showing up on Tesla’s maps before the supercharger is there. Supercharge.info gets its information from everyone who sends in information and from a handful of editors who scour a lot of sites and facebook groups to find new superchargers. The mission for supercharge.info is clear – to help accelerate the transition to sustainable transportation. But who is the creator, – the man behind supercharge.info?

 


I arranged to perform an interview over the phone on the very last day of 2017. Before the interview I made a list of interesting questions like “Which Tesla model do you drive?”, “What is the most remote place you have been with your Tesla?” and “Have you ever had real range-anxiety?”

– Hello Keith, thank you for getting up so early for this interview – how would you present yourself to the readers of TOCN.no?
– My name is Keith Winkler, I am 40 years old and live in St. Luis, Missouri with my wife and 2 year old son. I work in IT for Bayers cross-breeding program to develop better corn crops.

– Which Tesla model do you drive?
– I do not own a Tesla yet, I made a reservation of a model 3 on day one, But so far Tesla are still working through the list of owners who alreay have a model S or X and who lives in California. I hope I will get mine sometime in 2018.

Dang, my questions about charging at remote locations and range anxiety were useless. Who would have guessed that the guy who have made such an effort to make this site actually is not benefiting from it himself – at least not yet? Oh well… back on track – I still have other questions…

– Why did you start supercharge.info?
– My background is within physics and maths and I have always been interested in and followed SpaceX, and from there found my way into the Tesla forums. In the early days the enthusiasts in the forums would upload images of maps with a “dot” for each new supercharger location. I made supercharge.info to make life easier for those enthusiasts.

– What did you see as the main purpose of this site when you started, and has this changed in the last years?
– To track progress and show coverage. Supercharge.info had a zoomable map when Tesla initially just had a big country wide map with no ability to see the streets. Since supercharge.info has a zoomable map down to street level it naturally lead to a requirement of an exact position in order to add a new location. To keep supercharge.info as a trustworthy site has always been important.

– Do you have any future plans for supercharge.info?
– Oh, I have many, but of those I can mention a few – but can not promise when: I would like to add a feature for people to indicate which superchargers they have visited and then be able to share a link to supercharge.info where those superchargers are indicated. Also I might get around to add more diversified icons – maybe also indicate number of stalls on the icon. – And an improved way to submit information about new supercharger locations.

– Any plans to expand into a mobile app?
– No – there is not just enough time. I do offer an API to the database behind supercharge.info and will on request allow others to incorporate the data into their apps. Several already have – like abetterrouteplanner.com.

– What do you think will happen to the supercharge network?
– After speculating, for the past several years, about what other major car manufactures will do, I think we may finally have some answers in 2018. In 2017 just about every car company declared their intentions to electrify their fleet.
As they solidify those plans this year I hope details emerge on how each plan to make long distance travel possible.
It will be particularly interesting to see how General Motors responds in 2018 if the Model 3 significantly outsells Chevy Bolt. If that happens perhaps GM will likely attribute it, in part, to their lack of charging network in the US and will have to take action.

– For Europeans – driving to other countries is a natural thing. We understand the US is a very large country – but does the US Tesla owners take their cars to Canada or Mexico?
– Two guys drove a Model S from Texas, to Panama in early 2014.http://www.hybridcars.com/from-usa-to-panama-in-a-tesla-model-s/
So it is possible. Just very uncommon. As mentioned in that article, Mexico has “cratered roads, occasionally corrupt cops and border officials, bandits, and no Tesla road service – should anything have broken”. Trips to Canada are more common. On the West coast, Vancouver Canada is a common destination. From my location in St. Louis however, Vancouver is a 34 hour drive.

– What is in your opinion the biggest “holes” in Teslas supercharger coverage?
– When I first started tracking supercharges, in September 2013, there were fewer than 50 world wide. Then, and for the next few years, a common thread of discussion was gaps that remained to be filled. That is largely no longer the case is the US. While there are still technically some gaps (North Dakota, parts of Iowa, Montana, etc) I think the travel needs of 99% of owners in the US are covered by the existing network. In 2017 it was more common to hear discussions about supercharger sites that would make travel a bit more convenient or alleviate congestion at the most frequently used sites. A big topic of discussion in 2017 was the impact that Model 3 will have on the supercharger network and if Tesla would be able to expand quickly.

Will supercharge.info also feature the new “lighter” superchargers for parking garages/shopping centers in the cities?
– Yes, this fits with the overall mission of the site.

– What about the upcoming megachargers?
– As long as they will be accessible to S, X and 3, and not only to the Tesla truck, they will also be featured at supercharge.info.

– How much time do you spend updating and extending supercharge.info on a daily basis?
– I spend 10-20 minutes every day. A little less now with five additional editors (Austria, two in the US, Australia and Norway)

– We see that supercharge.info is commercial free – do you plan to keep it this way – we assume hosting it costs you money?
– No definite plans to go commercial. Right now my only motivation for the site is similar to Tesla’s mission statement: To help accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable transportation.

– The Tesla community is much about sharing experiences and helping each other – have you had any nice experiences as part of your Tesla life?
– I have received many nice emails. As I have not been seeking personal attention I have yet to be recognized on the street. And – to my surprise – others have twice started GoFundMe campaigns for supercharge.info. The last is still alive at https://www.gofundme.com/blueshift-fund-superchargeinfo-2
As my expenses are only about $250 per year, the donations already received are enough to fund supercharge.info for a long time.

– Thank you Keith for the interview. From the Tesla community in Norway we wish you a Happy New Year!
– And a Happy New Year to all of you too.

About supercharge.info:
Send tips about new superchargers to map@supercharge.info – remember to include the position of the new supercharger!
So far 2,956 emails received. An average of 2 per day. Peaks at 50 emails per day during busy parts of 2017.During 2017 the site have had:
– A little more than 1 million sessions
– More than 266.000 users
– 75% of the users are returning users from before 2017
– 4,64% of the users come from NorwayTraffic spikes whenever electrek.co mentions the site. Let’s see what this article at tocn.no will result in.

André Asbjørnsen

Legg igjen den første kommentaren