The bk Group supercharger lounge mystery (#R15)
Not a rant, just me being puzzled about something random.
So, this entire week was just a blur, with Monday being a public holiday, and the rest revolving around car troubles – mainly, but not limited to, the fourth punctured tire since I bought it. I visited the Tesla specialist Nik’s Garage in Erlangen shortly after that got fixed, Erlangen isn’t too far away from Nürnberg/Nuremberg where I picked up some wood for a furniture project, and since I got all the time in the world after that, I also made sure to visit *ALL THE SUPERCHARGERS* in the vicinity – except for the one in Geiselwind, which I have already used a couple times. All in all, a 370km round trip.
Now for the rambly bit: Three of these superchargers aren’t all that noteworthy, they’re somewhat average but of course I’m glad they’re there. Erlangen supercharger for example is located near the A3-A73 autobahn junction on a hotel parking lot, there’s a supermarket nearby but the hotel location might cause it to get ICE’d by regular guests (actually a Dutch family tried charging there on arrival since the Tesla NL chargers are open to 3rd parties – the German ones aren’t!). Feucht supercharger is on a large supermarket parking lot but far away from the entrance, so aside from the spaces being too short for 5m vehicles that’s great. And the Herrieden supercharger located on a larger A6 layby is just generally placed in the middle of nowhere, nicely hidden behind trees in the back yard of an outlet store, and with the city of Ansbach being 10km away.
Endsee supercharger is a bit different. It’s pretty much half way between the A7 superchargers of Satteldorf (Crailsheim) and Dettelbach (Würzburg) so it closes a gap, but it’s not placed at the highway exit of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, which is a somewhat popular tourist attraction (the entire city, that is). It is built on the outskirts of the town of Endsee, with a gas station and a manufacturer of custom furniture nearby. Outskirts is a bit a of a loose term here, since population count is a whopping 121, so there’s hardly a distinguishable town center at all. Anyway, the point being: The other company nearby, and maybe owner of the entire supercharger area, is bk Group.
BK Group does turnkey shopfitting plus facility management afterwards, up to the size of a typical car dealership. And they’ve apparently decided to build AiO lounges near charging stations, with the supercharger right in front of their door being the test case. Snacks, entertainment for kids, a dedicated quiet area for working, plus lavatories. So they built this:
(just phone snapshots twenty minutes before sunset, so please excuse the crudity)
It’s two connected cubicles roughly 10m wide each, with a big-ass screen in front of it advertising all the great things that can be had. Large glass front, nothing in the back. The door to the right is exit-only, the one on the left has a barcode reader interface with minimal instructions taped to the wall.
Now I didn’t spend much time there in general, I just wanted to cross that charger off my list (9 minutes, 66% -> 74% SOC will do – a terrible choice for charging a car!), so I didn’t fiddle around much. But I scanned that poster and was greeted with a “loading” screen for an entire minute. It redirects to https://app.bk-world.shop which I only checked later at home. There, a login is expected.
I understand that this might be a thing that “needs” registration, for access management, maybe they want to link payment information (they offer a 100g bar of vegan chocolate for 11.50€?!), offer goodies for returning customers, the whole loyalty shebang everyone does nowadays. But let’s be realistic here, would you enter a layby restaurant, gas station or similar premises that require registration? What’s with people that do not actually have a smartphone ready (in general or just in the moment?). I know this is aimed at Tesla people right now and even they got a huge gradient in tech-savvyness from the old-time Model S/X’ers to the current “it’s just a car” Model 3/Y buyers. But even with the option to complete that registration on the screen of your car, it doesn’t say the address anywhere except in the QR code on the door (Elon, is there a QR reader and binocular upgrade coming?), and you’re expected to scan an access code to enter, so good luck tracing that one from your car screen onto a piece of paper.
(“Hey, please confirm registration by clicking here or copy the link below to your browser”)
The button does not work, and the link below isn’t snipped away – it’s simply not there.
I spare you of the entire 12388 bytes after base64 decoding (plus logo!) that are LITTERED with style rules like this:
<p style="line-height: 1.5em;font-size: 16px;margin-top: 0;color: #555;font-family: -apple-system, system-ui, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, sans-serif;box-sizing: border-box">
Wenn der Link nicht geöffnet werden kann, kopiere folgende Addresse und füge sie in die Addresszeile deines Browsers ein:
<a href="" style="color: #0066c0;font-family: -apple-system, system-ui, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, sans-serif;box-sizing: border-box;margin-bottom: 0" />
font-family is literally declared 38 times in the entire mail for three lines of text plus a button. It’s in
p and even
img tags (accounting for 1/3 of the entire email size), someone clearly had fun. There are five
tables all nested inside of each other with a total of seven
tr and nine
td‘s, I don’t think they know how HTML tables work. And as you can see, the
<a href> tag is empty, and so is the promised link below.
To be clear: I didn’t just show up a couple days before opening, even though the parking lot was empty aside from the two girls that tried pizza (see below). Their website has a news article (German only, sorry) dated June 3rd about the opening, so exactly one week before I visited. Quite a few newspapers duplicated that press material as well. And people in the Tesla forums have confirmed there was a lot going on that day. So it’s technically open – but cannot be entered because their access system isn’t live or working yet.
Well then – what’s the point of that “24/7 lounge”?
Only thing working and accessible is the pizza vending machine near the six chargers under the solar roof…
Bonus goodies from the mail source code:
- /* https://github.com/wildbit/postmark-templates (“Rock-solid transactional email templates for applications”)
- /* Client-specific Styles: Force Hotmail to display normal line spacing. More on that: http://www.emailonacid.com/forum/viewthread/43/ (solid 404 – good idea to ship that info with every mail)
Well, dear folks at bk: Maybe you want to get that fixed, I’ll check again in late July. Zero customers, zero revenue, right?