When it comes to road-tripping and driving long distances, the last thing you want is inaccurate charging and distance data with connection losses. So how precise is Tesla’s navigation?

When it comes to calculating routes with charge times, the Tesla Trip Planner is the most accurate system you can get. It is not 100%, and there are environmental factors that do play a role in its accuracy. Tesla’s onboard connectivity and constant software updates, increase accuracy over time.

Of course, Tesla’s navigation isn’t the only kid on the block. This is an extremely competitive field and various companies have tried to fill in the gaps of Tesla’s shortcomings. Check out the rest of the article to find out more.

Tesla Trip Planner Accuracy 

Tesla’s in-car trip navigation system is easy to use. All you have to do is enter your destination on the screen in your Tesla, and the Navigation system will identify the best route and the best charging locations. 

The built-in Tesla trip planner is not 100% accurate, but it is a good way to estimate when and where you need to stop and recharge, especially after you start driving. Once you start your journey, the planner can calculate and consider your speed, heat, and energy consumption more accurately. 

However, various factors cause inaccuracy: 

  • Traffic 
  • Weather conditions 
  • Type of terrain 
  • Wind range 
Photo: @iVanart via Twenty20

These factors all influence how much charge you use in your Tesla, and the trip planner does not take these into consideration, which could cause some real nail-biting moments.

There’s nothing quite like the anxiety of being miles from a charging station and watching the charge on your Tesla dwindle too low for comfort, especially if you trusted the trip planner not to lead you astray! 

If you prefer using Supercharger stations, you can tap the lightning bolt icon and press the red Supercharger pin. This will display how many open stalls there are and what the current cost is to charge. 

You can also use the Tesla trip planner to find Destination Charging locations located near hotels or restaurants you may want to visit on your road trip, so you can recharge as your Tesla does! 

Pro Tip: What’s a good alternative to Tesla’s Route Planner?

A Better Route Planner is an excellent alternative (if not better) to Tesla’s Route Planner. You can use their website and they have an app as well. If you’re going on long road trips, try to plan for and optimize for 250kW V3 chargers. These V3 chargers aren’t paired and should be easier to use than the higher peak charging rates. You can pull into any charging stall (even if sharing a stall) and you will get the maximum capacity at that Supercharger.

Common Problems With Tesla Trip Planner and How To Fix Them

The main problem with the Tesla trip planner is that it makes its predictions based on pristine road trip conditions, which is often not how road trips go. The terrain isn’t always ideal, the weather can be finicky, you could run into some unexpected traffic, and the Tesla trip planner doesn’t do a good job of adjusting to these conditions. 

Wind and cold weather both drain a Tesla’s charge, and since the trip planner doesn’t consider these elements, you’ll end up with some pretty inaccurate suggestions of when you should stop to recharge and how often. 

One way to address this problem is to regularly check your estimated arrival time instead of focusing only on when the trip planner recommends you stop. If you monitor your charge and your estimated arrival time, you can adjust your driving speed and stop locations accordingly since the trip planner won’t do that. 

Another problem with the Tesla trip planner is that it only recommends Tesla charging stations. This makes sense from a business perspective, but it isn’t ideal for road-trippers who may find themselves a bit too far from a Tesla charging station. 

The best way to fix this problem is to use an alternative trip planner in addition to the Tesla trip planner, one that includes all charging stations in their route recommendations. Then, you can compare both routes and make informed decisions. 

Unfortunately, you’ll need to use more than one trip planner, but you risk getting stranded somewhere with zero charge if you don’t. That’s definitely more inconvenient than using two trip planners. 

3 Alternatives to Tesla Trip Planner 

The Tesla trip planner isn’t your only option when you’re planning a road trip in your Tesla. There are several third-party options that you may prefer or may be better suited to your needs. Let’s take a look at some of these alternatives: 

1. A Better Route Planner 

This app is the most popular electric vehicle route planner. It prioritizes fast charging and provides real-time weather and traffic updates. You can also add more than one destination.

If you have an Apple Watch, you can track your route on your watch and use Apple CarPlay to follow your path. 

If you do have an Apple Watch and need a new band, I recommend the Apple Watch Band Sport Loop from Amazon.com. This band is lightweight and breathable and is extra soft on the side that touches the skin, so if you have sensitive skin, this is a great band for you. 

You can tell the app that you prefer Superchargers if you’d prefer. You can also avoid certain networks with the “Network Preferences” feature. 

The app itself is free, but you have to pay for Premium if you want access to the best features. A Better Route Planner generally gets favorable reviews, although some users have complaints about some bugs and frequent app crashes. 

Can A Better Route Planner be Used With The Tesla Browser?

You can use A Better Route Planner in your Tesla browser. If you have a Tesla Model S or X pre-February 2018, your computer will be too slow to efficiently use it with your onboard browser. You just have to use your Tesla login details to log in to the App, which works in conjunction with Tesla navigation.

By the way, I wrote a detailed article regarding this topic. Have a look here: Tesla Third-Party Navigation Apps.

2. PlugShare 

PlugShare allows electric vehicle owners to set charge and wait times, although these times are not always accurate. 

You can filter your routes to access hotels with charging stations and ensure that you have access to other amenities, such as WiFi, restrooms, grocery stores, parks, and more. 

You can also filter your charging stations based on if there’s payment required, if it is in a residential location, or if it is currently in use. 

However, the major drawback to PlugShare is that there is no mobile version, only a desktop version. This isn’t ideal for convenient route planning. 

3. ChargeHub 

This map app allows you to search by your plug type and preferred charger level, and you can filter by specific networks and 24-hour use.

The app also updates in real-time to alert you if a station is currently in use, so you can avoid a long wait time. 

The best part of this app is the community tab, where you can see pictures and read reviews of charging stations all over the country. This way, you don’t waste time and energy traveling to a charging station that is out of order. 

You can enter your starting point and destination, and ChargeHub helps you plan your route around your preferred charging station. However, this app doesn’t factor in weather, traffic, terrain, or other elements that could impact your route planning, so it isn’t entirely accurate. 

Tesla Trip Planner vs. A Better Route Planner 

One of the most popular alternatives to using the Tesla Trip Planner is A Better Route Planner (ABRP). This app is an itinerary maker that is specifically designed for electric vehicles, as it creates fully planned routes that include charging stations. 

The following YouTube video explains in detail how to use ABRP to plan your next Tesla trip: 

But is ABRP better than Tesla’s trip planner? Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons: 

PlannerPros Cons 
Tesla Trip Planner Minimizes the number of stops you take  Conveniently available on your touchscreen  Live data accurately predicts how much charge you need Automatic preconditioning of the battery for optimal charging state Does not suggest non-Tesla charging stations  No ability to enter more than one destination at a time 
A Better Route Planner Ability to select the quickest route or the route with the fewest stops  Ability to minimize trip time  Accurate battery usage estimates Ability to add waypoints  Real-time weather and traffic updates  Real-time charger availability and waiting times  Ability to share live data with other ABRP users  Supports every major electric vehicleApp navigation needs work  Settings are difficult to navigate  Have to pay for Premium for weather, traffic, and charger availability features 
The table above outlines the advantages and disadvantages of using Tesla Trip Planner and the third-party software, A Better Route Planner. It is best used to determine which trip planner is best for you.

ABRP gives you more customizable route options, and it is more accurate in terms of weather and traffic updates, but it isn’t as convenient or easy to use as the Tesla trip planner.

You also have to pay approximately $5/month or $50/year for ABRP Premium membership, which gives you the features that make the app worth it, whereas the Tesla trip planner comes with your Tesla, and you don’t have to pay for a membership.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Here are a couple of common queries about the Tesla trip planner:

How accurate is the Tesla trip planner after the September 2021 update? 

After the update to the trip planner, 65% of Tesla users were satisfied with the planner because the system was more accurate overall, especially with range estimates. However, the planner is still not 100% accurate.

Is A Better Route Planner better than Tesla’s trip planner? 

Tesla’s trip planner minimizes how many stops you make and A Better Route Planner minimizes how much time a trip will take. ABRP is better at taking weather and traffic into consideration, which increases accuracy.

Check out these 20 great gift ideas for yourself or a Tesla fanboy.

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Erwin Meyer
Erwin Meyer

A renowned Tesla enthusiast, and successful entrepreneur, enlightens global audiences through his compelling EV narratives. Discover more about his electric journey on his About Me page. Venture to read Erwin's incredible story that's reshaping the future of motoring. Want to spark a conversation with Erwin? Visit his Contact page, and let’s electrify the world together.