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How to Plan a Trip using the Tesla Trip Planner

Pros and Cons of the Tesla Trip Planner and a quick overview of an alternative trip planning solution


One of the things we love about owning a vehicle is the freedom to travel almost anywhere. Whether it’s a cross-country road trip or a weekend getaway, we need a car that we feel confident taking on long road trips.


This is where we feel Tesla stands out. Their commitment to addressing range anxiety has made road trips with an electric vehicle relatively stress-free. The range of their vehicles, combined with their extensive charging network and in-car navigation system, has made long-distance road trips more common.

In this post, we’ll talk about using Tesla’s trip planner to plan a road trip, the pros and cons of the in-car navigation and then compare it to the popular 3rd party trip planner, A Better Routeplanner, which is a favourite amongst EV drivers.

If your next road trip involves camping, check out our post, ‘How to Go Camping with Tesla Vehicles.’



Tesla Trip Planner


Tesla’s in-car navigation is a reliable trip planner that’s simple and easy to use. You enter your destination on the touchscreen, and Navigation will identify the route, the most convenient locations to charge as well as the estimated charging times.



You can also locate the nearest Supercharger at any time by tapping on the lightning bolt icon on the navigation, and tapping on a red Supercharger pin will show you the total number of open stalls and the cost to charge.


Pros:

  • Convenient - The app is easily accessible on the touchscreen and everything is automatic.

  • Easy to use. Very simple and intuitive.

  • Stress-free. Having access to live data allows the vehicle to accurately predict the amount of charge required and how long the car needs to charge before heading to the next stop.

  • Preconditioning. Since your Tesla knows when you will be charging along your route, the vehicle will automatically precondition the battery to ensure it’s at the optimal state for charging. This increases the charging speed, which means less time spent charging.

  • Less charging stops. If you don’t like stopping to charge, the app will provide you with the route with the least amount of stops.

Cons:

  • Charging options. The app will only suggest Tesla charging stations.

  • No waypoints. Currently, you can only enter one destination at a time, but it looks like the ability to add waypoints might be coming soon. Tesla owners have been requesting this feature for a long time, and Elon finally agreed to deliver it on Twitter (shown below).



A Better Routeplanner


A Better Routeplanner is an app launched in 2016 by a Tesla owner out of pure necessity and has since become a favourite trip planner for many EV drivers. The app allows you to select a vehicle model, enter the destination, and hit plan to get a complete trip plan which includes charging stops and total trip duration. Most EVs have an in-car navigation system, but A Better Routeplanner tends to provide more features and customizations of the route.



Pros:

  • Accuracy. You can customize several variables to get the most accurate trip plan. Some of these include road conditions, driving style, weight, temperature, and battery health.

  • Charging preference. You can select which chargers to use in the route planning.

  • Flexibility. You can choose between the quickest route, the route with the fewest charging stops, or the shortest legs.

  • Waypoints. There is the option to add waypoints.


Cons:

  • Complex. Navigating all the different features can be confusing for beginners.

  • Live Data. This may be a pro or con, depending on how comfortable you are sharing your personal information with 3rd party apps. Since we placed this in the cons, you have an idea of where we sit. A Better Routeplanner allows you to link the app with your Tesla account to fetch live data from the car to make trip planning more accurate. Check out this video from Now You Know to learn more about what information is collected, where it is stored, and how A Better Routeplanner works on the Tesla browser.

  • In-car web browser. The app works well with models that have a fast in-car web browser. Model S and Xs built before February 2018 have the original MCU and hence a much slow browser.


Each trip planner has its share of pros and cons, which is why many Tesla drivers recommend using both apps to get the most accurate and best route possible based on your preference. We like to use A Better Routeplanner to plan our trips in advance and see all the possible routes, and then use the in-car trip planner when we are driving to help improve the accuracy. Either way, both of these trip planners will get the job done.