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Tesla owners forced to wait in three-hour queues during Christmas car-charging chaos

December 29, 2022

By Paul Homewood



Lengthy queues were spotted in Hertfordshire, Cumbria, Westmorland and Telford as drivers travelled to visit relatives during the holidays.

Around 24 electric vehicle owners were seen waiting for up to an hour to charge in a Waitrose car park in the village of South Mimms, Hertfordshire, on Dec 25.

The Tebay Southbound supercharger in Cumbria, by the M6 Junction, also saw a high volume of vehicles attempting to charge on Dec 27.

Members of the “Tesla Owners Club UK” took to Facebook to vent their frustration at the queues at Tebay, which they said were up to three hours long.

One member commented: “Been here for over an hour. Still 15 in front of me in the queue for a charge.

“Easily another two hours to wait – minimum.”

Another Tesla owner who braved the queue said: “Really upsetting to have the whole family wait for two hours to charge the car.”

In Westmorland, north west England, a driver said scenes at motorway charging stations were “bedlam”.

“Two-hour 30-minute wait for a charge,” he said. “Worst journey as a Tesla driver. Queue now 40 deep.”

A Manchester-based user shared a photo of a long queue of Teslas, and said: “Currently car 15 in a queue of over 20… but you can always rely on the British public to make an orderly queue.”

The UK’s rollout of electric car chargers has stalled so far this year, with the Government set to fall short of its target unless it ramps up monthly installations by 350 per cent.

The Department for Transport (DfT) set a new goal to increase the number of charging points more than ten times to 300,000 by the end of the decade.

Between Oct 1 last year and Jan 1 2022 there were a total of 2,448 electric car chargers installed, but in the first three months of this year that had slowed to 1,915.


The Government target for charging points is a red herring. All of these motorway chargers are commercially owned and run – it is a question of supply and demand. Investors are quite properly not prepared to spend billions on charging points which may only be lightly used most of the time. Consequently there will always be times when demand exceeds supply.

It is the time cars need to charge up that is the real problem. It is inevitable that during busy periods these queues are going to be more and more common, as the number of EVs on the road grows.

Given that there are only 420,000 EVs on the road at the moment, we will see much worse in years to come.

Interestingly these incidents all appear to affect only Teslas, which have their own network. In 2020 about a quarter of EVs on the road were Tesla, a figure of 90,000. I would guess the proportion is still similar.

At the Tebay Services mentioned, there are eight Tesla chargers, which is a good number for what is usually a quiet part of the M6. They are all rapid chargers, 150kW.

I certainly would not call that a shortage of chargers.

  1. Harry Passfield permalink
    December 29, 2022 9:43 am

    Could it just be coincidence that so many needed to be charged during/following an extreme cold spell?

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      December 29, 2022 10:03 am

      Charging demand is certainly likely to increase 50-100% compared with normal. Most will try to start their journey fully charged from home, so this is more about travelling from e.g. Birmingham to Glasgow to visit relatives. Bank Holidays produce longer journeys that challenge EV ranges.

      • Ray Sanders permalink
        December 29, 2022 1:30 pm

        Motorway driving is notoriously bad for EV mpkWh as cruising and no significant gradients offer no regenerative braking.
        A friend of mine with a Nissan Leaf noted a 50% drop in cold dark weather on a motorway.

    • Andrew Harding permalink
      December 29, 2022 11:05 am

      I think that is highly likely, the vast majority of chemical reactions slow down in low temperatures. To compound this effect even further, de-misting, keeping the driver and passenger(s) warm uses a great deal of power from the battery.

      If if ultra-low power head and brake lights didn’t exist, EV cars in winter would be useless.

  2. HotScot permalink
    December 29, 2022 9:44 am


    • John Palmer permalink
      December 29, 2022 10:05 am


  3. Peter Lister permalink
    December 29, 2022 9:44 am

    A totally predictable outcome once electric cars become widespread rather than niche. There will never be enough chargers in the right places when things get busy.

  4. Martin Brumby permalink
    December 29, 2022 9:58 am

    Eight times 150kW is 1.2MW.
    Might be interesting if something malfunctions.
    Of course, you can say something similar about normal petrol stations.

    But I would not be keen to be an ‘early adopter’

  5. dave permalink
    December 29, 2022 9:59 am

    And the Tesla owners are surprised?
    F****** morons.

    The Tesla share price has dropped from $407 on Nov 5 2021 to $112 today.
    Perhaps the investment bubble based on fantasies of hundreds of millions of electric vehicles imminently gliding along our roads has finally popped.

    Meanwhile the CDAS ‘Global Anomaly’ for Sea Surface Temperatures, which expresses its metric by comparison to the climatology of the period 1981-2010 (whatever that phrase means but let it go!), stands at :

    + 0.01 C

    Ask your local CAGW maniac how can we have an EFFECT from a CAUSE (increase in a supposedly meaningful metric) which does not exist?

    • catweazle666 permalink
      December 29, 2022 3:52 pm

      So they expect us to believe they can measure the average Sea Surface Temperature of 139 million square miles of ocean to two decimal places – over a thirty year period?

      Looks like a seriously bad case of false precision syndrome to me!

      • January 2, 2023 2:02 pm

        Exactly, and have you noticed, they never mention the margin of error?!

  6. Simon Newington permalink
    December 29, 2022 10:18 am

    If only there was some kind of energy dense easy to use power source suitable for vehicles with a well established infrastructure !!!

    • lordelate permalink
      December 29, 2022 10:57 am


    • catweazle666 permalink
      December 29, 2022 3:54 pm

      And that could be obtained cheaply and relatively easily in copious quantities merely by drilling holes in the ground!

      You could make a fortune!

  7. December 29, 2022 10:21 am

    Shouldn’t laugh. Actually – scrub that – belly laugh in progress..

    • December 29, 2022 10:39 am

      I will be thinking of the next time I spend 5 minutes putting some diesel in my van having pulled straight up to an empty pump.

  8. M Fraser permalink
    December 29, 2022 10:22 am

    20 plus million vehicles on the roads, probably need to be charged regularly so how many chargers might be required? This cannot be that hard…….but then how much electricity will be required for the charging? And where will the electricity come from?
    At my Primary School decades ago we would have worked this out and the conclusion would be…….err its not possible!
    Sheer absolute madness, is there not one politician who can see this tosh for what it is… a giant Ponzi scheme.

  9. MrGrimNasty permalink
    December 29, 2022 10:25 am

    According to TESLA their fastest charger will give 200 miles range in 15 minutes. Obviously a lot of drivers will want full charge.
    Even the slowest fuel pumps can deliver half a tank in under minute, and that will give most modern cars more than 200 miles range.
    So perhaps a fast changer can serve 3-4 cars per hour, a fuel pump 15-20, allowing time for paying etc. If the TESLA drivers want full charge, the ratio will get even worse.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      December 29, 2022 10:44 am

      MrGN…afaik Tesla recommend that users don’t make use of the very fast charger more than half a dozen times otherwise you risk damaging the battery.

  10. GeoffB permalink
    December 29, 2022 10:27 am


    Numpty Scottish usage: a) Someone who (sometimes unwittingly) by speech or action demonstrates a lack of knowledge or misconception of a particular subject or situation to the amusement of others.

    Anyone know the price at a Tesla charger? 150kW is hell of a charge rate, even at 600V, it is 250 Amps….. presumably DC.

  11. December 29, 2022 10:46 am

    I learnt something interesting over my Christmas lunch. My sister and I used to live near Epsom Downs and on some land beyond the Derby racecourse a centenary wood was planted to commemorate the First World War which saw troops were billeted on the racecourse. My brother in law told me that the finishing touch to this Woodland Trust project is the provision of a car park. BUT…..this has been delayed by a demand that there must be a minimum number of battery charging spaces in the car park. You don’t have to be a genius – or lowering the bar, a Tesla owner – to work out that there is no electricity supply at the site and therefore the Woodland Trust have a huge cost imposition.

    • Dave Ward permalink
      December 29, 2022 7:09 pm

      ” A minimum number of battery charging spaces in the car park”

      To me this only suggests a minimum number of SPACES, not that they actually need to have working chargers…

      • December 30, 2022 10:35 am

        I know from experience that council employees are often quite thick but before they sign-off on the car park they will check for the chargers.

      • catweazle666 permalink
        December 30, 2022 5:19 pm

        Indeed Gerry.
        But will they check that they actually WORK?

  12. lordelate permalink
    December 29, 2022 10:55 am

    Ah, didums. Never mind, my Landrover is full up with fuel that will take me all the way to the Alps next week.

    • Peter Yarnall permalink
      December 29, 2022 11:03 am

      Yep! Us too at the end of Feb. One fill-up between Coquelles and Tignes in my wife’s Evoque. (diesel, 47mpg)

      • lordelate permalink
        December 29, 2022 2:20 pm

        Done the journey a few times in my old Renault Kangoo van 60 ish mpg!

    • teaef permalink
      December 29, 2022 10:42 pm


      • lordelate permalink
        December 29, 2022 11:14 pm


    • Realist permalink
      January 1, 2023 7:42 am

      My 1998 Audi A4 diesel (without a trailer) could cross ALL of France from Thionville to just over the border in Spain without refilling. The péage was and still is a pain though. And miles per gallon has improved since then.

  13. Peter Yarnall permalink
    December 29, 2022 11:00 am

    Come on! We all know that it has nothing to do with converting us all to EV drivers, that is solely for the Islington elite. No, it is all about banning us plebs from driving, controlling our movements and curtailing our freedom.

    • dave permalink
      December 29, 2022 12:42 pm

      What the Islington elite do not understand is that Islington will be as unliveable as everywhere else. Perhaps more so.

      • lordelate permalink
        January 1, 2023 12:19 pm

        Over run I should think by folks looking for their avocardo stuffed with quinoa.

  14. It doesn't add up... permalink
    December 29, 2022 11:05 am

    I’ve drawn attention to this before.

    It will be interesting to analyse in more depth when fuller data are available in about 10 days time. We were of course exporting large quantities at negative prices overnight and paying ROC subsidies even if CFDs paid nothing for 8 hours. Moray East, on market prices, is reported as one of the wind farms that curtailed.

  15. Mad Mike permalink
    December 29, 2022 11:33 am

    I don’t know much about the recharging of EV’s, except there are plans to greatly expand their public charging point availability, but it looks like Tesla has to recharge at Tesla sites due to they unique connecter. If this is the case then I’m amazed that this has been allowed to happen. Why wouldn’t all EV’s have universal connecters?

  16. Realist permalink
    December 29, 2022 12:23 pm

    No sympathy. They should have bought a proper diesel or petrol vehicle in the first place that doesn’t need refilling as often as recharging an EV and only takes ten minutes (even if empty) rather than hours

  17. Gamecock permalink
    December 29, 2022 12:29 pm

    ‘Members of the “Tesla Owners Club UK” took to Facebook to vent their frustration at the queues at Tebay, which they said were up to three hours long.’

    We have identified the problem. It is Tesla owners.

    How quaint that they seek empathy from non-owners.

  18. December 29, 2022 12:54 pm

    These service station charger are 70-80p Kwh desperate times to be charging there to start with.

  19. Cheshire Red permalink
    December 29, 2022 1:06 pm

    Government plans are obviously to force millions off the road, either through purchase costs or restricted access to fuel, ie EV charged electricity.

    If they simply wanted to step-change the process of moving from ICE to cleaner emissions they’d be pushing self-charging hybrids which don’t require charging infrastructure.

    In the face of overwhelming logic and observed evidence of how UK cannot have any hope in Hell of having a reliable national charging network they’re simply not doing what is needed.

    That gives the entire game away. This is Net Zero in action.

    • lordelate permalink
      January 1, 2023 12:20 pm

      All part of the WEF agenda!

  20. Ray Sanders permalink
    December 29, 2022 1:27 pm

    You just gotta love “journospeak” –
    “Around 24 electric vehicle owners were seen waiting for up to an hour to charge in a Waitrose car park in the village of South Mimms, Hertfordshire, on Dec 25.”
    FFS ” the village of South Mimms,” is the sodding great service station by the A1/M25 junction hardly something to be described as a “village”

    • December 30, 2022 10:34 am

      It is not ‘journospeak’ but the usual dismal standard of journalism these days where a few days ago an article on Ukraine had a photo caption saying a rocket was being launched – it was quite clearly a self-propelled gun firing. When I read it I thought South Mimms? Services? So it is the Welcome Break Services at South Mimms that contains a Waitrose, Burger King, Pret, KFC, drive thru Starbucks and fueled by BP for those who are not virtue signallers.

  21. Ray Sanders permalink
    December 29, 2022 1:48 pm

    In the summer a relative of mine filled up his Peugeot 208 1.5l diesel with 41 litres (9 gallons) just before the Channel Tunnel in France. He drove home to Aberdeen (615 miles) without refuelling and wasn’t worried about running out. The following day he refuelled in 5 minutes on his way to work.
    When an EV offers that level of performance and convenience I might be interested. I’m not holding my breath.

    • Micky R permalink
      December 29, 2022 10:33 pm

      There are some diesels which can achieve 900+ miles to a tank of fuel. My Volvo D5 would occasionally show a 1000+ mile range on the display, but never achieved it.

      • Realist permalink
        January 1, 2023 7:49 am

        My diesel shows 1200 km as range (without a trailer) and will achieve over 900 km with a trailer. Admittedly, the “with a trailer” are the infamous “long journeys”, but without a trailer is a mixture of “short”, “medium” and “long” and I do NOT have to refill _every_ day and wait several hours each time.

  22. dearieme permalink
    December 29, 2022 1:48 pm

    “Tesla Owners Club UK” should thank their lucky stars that they got to enjoy a huge subsidy from the taxpayers. But they really should have ensured that “my other car is an ICE”.

  23. Ray Sanders permalink
    December 29, 2022 2:03 pm

    Do no EV advocates ever stop to consider the numbers? 10 x 150kW chargers is 1.5MW. 100 = 15MW, 1,000 = 150MW and 10,000 = 1.5GW = almost the entire net power output on one EPR at Hinkley Point C. 10,000 is only a tiny percentage of all the cars on the road needing to charge at any given time, so convert them all to EVs –
    “Houston we have a problem.”

  24. December 29, 2022 2:12 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

  25. December 29, 2022 2:30 pm

    If that was me, I would leave the ques and head for a petrol station where I know there will be no delays to fill up. Oh yeah, my mistake. These things do not have petrol tanks and, as such, are rendered useless when it gets cold. It gets cold in the Winter, who knew? The Toyota PRIUS was the perfect car. It gave me fifty+ MPG in the Summer and forty+ in the Winter. And it was very reliable and I experienced no “range anxiety.” Don’t people have enough anxiety in their life already? EVs are expensive, pretentious, unreliable displays of self-abuse. Get over yourselves already and buy a petrol car.

  26. markl permalink
    December 29, 2022 3:28 pm

    It’s like that at most charging stations during extended travel periods such as holidays and vacations. Especially the stations that are distant from urban areas and used to accommodate long trips. They become choke points for EVs.
    Range anxiety is real.

  27. Hugh Sharman permalink
    December 29, 2022 3:33 pm

    Thanks again Paul!

    And Tesla’s share price keeps falling every day!
    May I wish you and your readers a Happy and hopefully Prosperous New Year?

  28. catweazle666 permalink
    December 29, 2022 4:05 pm

    Aside from that, in over half a century of motoring a spare gallon in the boot has saved my – and occasion others’ – bacon on quite a number of occasions, often in the dead of night and in an inhospitable environment.

    Anyone ever seen a spare gallon of electricity?

    • December 30, 2022 10:37 am

      I am often bemused by those who carry a fuel can but don’t have any fuel in it!

      • catweazle666 permalink
        December 30, 2022 5:22 pm

        Did you notice if they also carried a few feet of flexible pipe?

    • lordelate permalink
      January 1, 2023 12:25 pm

      Maybe keep a few double A batteries in the boot!

  29. John Culhane permalink
    December 29, 2022 4:58 pm

    The Ukrainians how found a solution. Diesel is easier to find than electricity.

  30. Mad Mike permalink
    December 29, 2022 7:05 pm

    I wonder how EV owners got on in the ongoing freeze in America. I’d image that if you were caught out and had to rely on your car heater, your anxiety levels would know no bounds.

  31. December 29, 2022 7:40 pm

    The energy crisis risks dooming the electric car
    ANDREW ORLOWSKI @ the Telegraph
    29 December 2022

    Western societies are charging into the electrification of transport without actually providing the electricity

  32. Douglas Dragonfly permalink
    December 30, 2022 10:12 am

    Latest rules and regulations concerning EV cars and home charging as reported by Reach plc.

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