Last week my car popped up the software update notice and I got the 6.1 (2.2.92) update. Unlike some other minor updates i’ve seen the 6.1 update really hit a sweet spot for me with a number of great improvements in some key areas. I’m going to cover the various pieces in multiple posts. Today’s post is about the trip energy displays.

Two main components

First, the trip energy displays are only relevant when you have a route set in the navigation system. Next, there are two areas where you can see  expected energy usage for your route:

  1. With the navigation guidance instructions.
  2. In the Energy app on the new “Trip” tab.

Both of these use your predicted speed, the elevation, and other factors along your route to come up with estimated energy usage.

Navigation energy guidance

Nav Energy GuidanceAfter calculating a new route the guidance instructions now show a small popup that gives 2 pieces of information:

  1. The expected amount of energy left in your battery when you reach your destination.
  2. The expected amount of energy left in your battery if this is a round trip.

The popup is shown initially when the instructions come up but then it disappears. To get it to come back up touch the estimates section at the bottom of the instructions and it will come up again.

If you need to charge to get to your destination the display will tell you so:


Trip Energy Graph

Trip Energy graphIn the Energy app, there’s a new tab for your trip. After starting a trip you will see your predicted energy usage along that trip on a chart with your starting and ending charges. As you drive your progress next to the estimate is plotted. I’ve found the estimate to be very close to the actual use although its always a little bit more optimistic than reality (1-2%).

The only interaction you can have with this chart is to zoom in so the line fills the screen or to show the entire 0-100% battery range. Zoomed in the differences look much larger than when zoomed out.

I found that some things can make a big difference in the estimate and results. High defrost (a daily use here in New England right now) can really throw off the estimates:

Defrost impacts trip energyIf you’ll end up low on charge or will run out of charge before reaching your destination they make that very clear on the chart:

Trip energy charge neededI drove most of the week with these charts showing and watched the results. For driving around town to your usual spots they will get old. But on road trips I can see them as an invaluable addition to the trip.


Energy prediction factoring in elevation, speed and other factors is a great addition to the Model S’s navigation ability.

I hope that these are steps along the way to a master plan of multiple waypoint routing including automated routing via Superchargers using shortest route, safe charge levels and other factors to pick the best way to get you from point A to point B.

Even better is that this is just one of several great additions in the 6.1 update.