Several years ago I started EVTripping.com to support the Tesla community in planning roadtrips due to missing things in the Tesla vehicles like routing via chargers and waypoint navigation as well as the lack of support by Tesla for online trip planning, waypoints etc. Over the years Tesla has mostly closed the gap in those areas although there is still room for some improvement.
After almost 6 years EVTripping is shutting down and I wanted to preserve some of the reasons for shutting down that are currently covered in the FAQ since the EVTripping FAQ will be going away with the rest of EVTripping in a few weeks.
But first some metrics
In almost 6 years we routed almost 120,000 trips covering more than 70 million miles. Routes on average had 4 waypoints, but some had up to 96 (!). Most people started their trips at a 90% charge.
Is EVTripping shutting down?
Yes. After 6 years of running we’ve decided to shut down the service. The shut down will occur on April 30, 2022. All Patreon subscriptions were ended on March 26, 2022.
Why is EVTripping shutting down?
I bought my first Tesla Model S in 2014. Back then the cars had no ability to route through superchargers on their own so you had to be careful and plan your trips. Tesla offered no tools to do this. That was frustrating and painful and led to the birth of EVtripping in 2016.
Later Tesla added automatic routing via Superchargers when necessary. We kept EVTripping alive as Tesla didn’t introduce waypoints or any way to plan for trips outside your car.
By 2022 Tesla had finally added the ability to set waypoints and plan routes via their own site (https://www.tesla.com/trips).
The reason EVTripping was created no longer exists, and we supported the community for many years.
EVTripping continually lost money for it’s entire existence. Setting aside all the custom software development and user support that I personally put time into, there were hosting charges and API charges from the various service providers (Google maps etc) that jumped dramatically over the last 6 years. While we had some steady supporters, the amounts were small ($1/month) and there were very few supporters in general (yet quite a few users). Operating costs were sometimes >$1,000/month until we locked down how many trips people could plan without support etc.
Given the ongoing financial loss and the the fact that the reason for creating EVTripping has gone away I’ve decided to shut it down.
What did you learn by creating EVTripping?
- I’d never done front end web development before to the degree I needed to, so that was a nice challenge and I think EVTripping came out looking great.
- The classic software engineering “Traveling Salesman” problem is much more difficult when the costs of each leg in the trip vary due to things like weather, wind, temperature, car load, etc. That software problem is quite challenging and fun.
- While there’s a very vibrant and active Tesla community, having worked on things like EVTripping and Tezlab and some other Tesla related software, support from the community is minimal at best. The community is watching YouTube videos and participating in discussions but they mostly expect all third party things to be free. For people paying $100K for a car that was disappointing.
- Tesla, after 8 years (of my interactions), still has poor security around their API and no support for third party developers. They randomly break things etc. While they finally added MFA to their user accounts, there are still no controls and they assume all logins are done by you personally and not a third party on your behalf. That’s a lot of liability and responsibility for the third parties and too much trust needs to be given to them by the owners.
- While I’m a Tesla investor and on my second Model S and overall fan, the money I spent on EVTripping would have been better spent on Tesla stock.
- Nobody reads the help or FAQs 😜
- Despite all the above, I learned and grew through the experience and have no regrets. It is just time to move on.
Do you have any parting comments on road trips with Teslas?
- My main disappointment is that after 8 years Tesla is still pitching charge times that are not reflective of the real world on road trips. They’d have you believe on a long trip (say from MA to FL) which i’ve done in both the Model S and Model 3 that your charge times at each stop are 15-20 minutes. They’re more like 40-45 minutes and sometimes higher. That’s with the best planning, arriving at low charge etc. This is deceptive. They need to work on the messaging and the charging speeds. I have a lot of my own data and thousands of data points showing this from owners worldwide.
- Road trips can be fun, but the longer ones (again MA to FL is a good example) is a 20 hour drive in an ICE car, in a Tesla its a 26 hour drive due to charging, so it takes 30% longer. You also have to stop in locations that aren’t great for 45 minutes etc with poor food choices etc. We need more chargers, faster chargers, and better locations for the chargers.
- After 8 years of ownership I still cant easily visit family members in some areas of the country. New Kensington, PA is a good example. Tesla supercharger is about an hour away, no local fast chargers. A single Chademo charger at a dunkin donuts 30 minutes away (and most owners don’t have a Chademo adapter due to cost and availability). Yes, you can get there, but once there driving around is painful. You can charge anywhere but at 3 miles/hour charge rate its almost useless unless you just park the car and use someone else’s for tooling around once you’re there. Think carefully about your destinations and have a plan for destination charging. EVtripping had support for this, Tesla’s planning (in and out of car) does not and you can get stuck for a bit on slow charging if you’re not careful.
- While there are a LOT more chargers available now, road closures, storms, etc can limit access. Sometimes there aren’t backup chargers available and that can leave you in a tricky situation. I came very close to zero charge on a PA to NJ road trip when the supercharger exit was flooded and I couldn’t exit. Plan ahead, have a backup plan.
- While Tesla overstates how fast their chargers are, so do the others. Chademos have been pretty disappointing.
What will you do now?
Well, I’ve had full time jobs throughout and a very busy personal life. So part of this is also not over-extending myself.
I’ll still be around on twitter, but under @teslaliving. @evtripping will go inactive.
I do not frequent any Tesla forums. The Tesla ones were always technically poorly implemented. The others got more and more political over time and were no fun. The early days were good but later just a disappointment.
I do have a blog at http://teslaliving.net, it’s also not too active these days but doesn’t cost me much to operate. Feel free to follow along there.