It’s been a while since my last post but things should pick back up again now. It was the perfect storm of a lot of traveling and special projects that I wanted to get done.
Some of the traveling was in my Tesla like my road trip to Florida and back while others included a wonderful family trip to Alaska had me leaving my Tesla behind.
Despite the busy period, planning for the Florida trip started a process for me of deciding that the Tesla (and EV) community needed additional tools to help with long road trips in an EV.
More EV Tools Needed
There are many great sites out there like PlugShare, Teslarati (with their mobile app as well as the improved Supercharger map online), OpenChargeMap, and EVTripplanner to help with trip planning. Each site has great information and its own focus and purpose.
Still, the combination of sites and applications left me short on some things when planning my trip:
- At the time nothing outside the Tesla navigation system predicted charge times for charging stops (and Tesla is overly optimistic about those charge times) EVTripplanner has since added much more realistic charge times which is very helpful and better grounded in reality.
- Nothing provided anything like a true elapsed time for the trip so you knew where you’d be and when including those pesky charging times.
- Some sites went through periods of instability just when I needed them.
- When traveling, nothing provided a quick way to pop up information on the next charger on my Tesla’s screen letting me know what food was coming up etc.
- I couldn’t export/print my trip plans to share/discuss with others that were going to travel with me.
- Weather was a constant with a single temperature. The reality is weather varies greatly as you travel long distances and it changes as you’re on the trip.
- Some of the approaches to problems were different than i’d take. For instance I don’t add a percentage of my speed when I drive but I consistently drive 4-5 mph over the speed limit regardless of the speed limit. If you use a percentage like 10% thats 77 on a 70 mph highway (too fast for me) and 26mph on a 25 mph road (too slow for me). That wasnt how I drive.
Creation of EVTripping
So, despite some decent tools being available out there, I set out to create my own trip planning tool for myself and to share with the community. Development was interrupted by various work and personal tasks as well as a lot of traveling, but less than 6 months after I conceived of the idea EVTripping.com was launched.
You can read about the sequence events that led up to the launch and follow along on the story over on the sites’ timeline page.
Response to the site has been overwhelmingly positive despite very limited coverage so far. We’ve added over 150 registered users in less than a week and routed almost a quarter million miles on the production site.
I’ll speak of the site in terms of “we” and “our” because, while i’m the chief cook and bottle washer for the site, I see this as a project for the community of EV drivers and many people are helping to make it better with bug reports, feature requests and ideas.
While some may pessimistically think of the site as some kind of money making scheme the reality is that something like this is unlikely to ever cover the costs of its development and upkeep. I’m just hoping that the few ads that are placed in the least offensive places I could find will at least someday cover the ongoing operational costs.
This first week we’ve had a number of scrambles to fix things like adding support for metrics units and Celsius vs Fahrenheit displays, localizing time to users time, handling foreign character sets, routing to some very interesting places and some interesting routing challenges. Our early users have been super helpful and supportive and i’d like to thank each and every one of them.
Free Tesla Monitoring
A while back I open sourced code to let you control your Tesla and monitor your SolarCity production. EVTripping uses and builds on that to add new functionality to monitor your Tesla to remind you when it’s time to rotate your tires, how much you’re driving, the efficiency you’re getting and more.
There are other sites out there that also monitor your Tesla and can provide information and i’ve heard good things about them. I’ve never used any of them so I don’t know what functionality they have vs EVTripping. I’m focussed on building the tools I need for my Tesla Living and then sharing as much as I can with the community. I have a lot more coming in this area…
We’re not done yet with EVTripping. I call this stage the “minimum viable product”. Where we go from here will depend on you and others in the EV community. I have a lot of plans and ideas for what is needed and in what order i’d do them but that is already changing based on great feedback, so we will decide together were we go with it.
One of my big dreams for the site is to add support for other EVs that can take road trips. I’m defining an EV capable of taking a road trip as one that can fast charge (Superchargers, CHAdeMO, CCS, etc) versus one that you can take trips in but have to plug in for many hours each time you stop. I’m lacking information and connections to those other communities and am trying to reach out for help and support to get the data I need for that dream.
There has been a ton of news about Elon, Tesla, SolarCity, the Gigafactory and all that over the last couple months. There are many great sites like Teslarati and good podcasts like Ride the Lightning and Talking Tesla to keep you up on all the latest news and commentary.
Keep following along as I continue my Teslaliving with stories on this blog and feel free to make use of the free code and applications like EVTripping to make your life with your Tesla or other EV better and to join in Tesla’s vision “to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable transport.”